Mission and Insight Trips

Upcoming Mission and Insight Trips | Trip Team Expectations
Application Forms | Contact

Mission trips enable us, as representatives of Fourth Presbyterian Church, to live with and learn from our brothers and sisters from around the world, from Central America to Chicago’s South Side. We share their struggles with hunger and violence. We do what we can to help, but mostly we show that we care.

We also discover that when we break away from our routines, we see new connections and make lasting friendships with each other.

If you are unable to travel, you can still participate in global mission by attending special programs featuring our partners from around the world. Events are announced in the News@FourthChurch e-newsletter (request a subscription via news@fourthchurch.org) and the Sunday bulletin insert “News and Opportunities.”

Occasionally calls go out for items needed by our hosts, such as medications and church school supplies, which our travelers can take with them. We invite you to consider supporting this aspect of global mission.

The material things, though, are secondary. Invariably our hosts make one request we all can honor: “Pray for us.”


Upcoming Mission and Insight Trips

Music Mission Trip to Cuba
Villages in Guatemala
Colombia Peacemaking Insight Trip

Villages in Guatemala
July 4–12, 2020

Register online here.

This trip is hosted by Common Hope, which serves Guatemalans through programs in education, health care, and housing. Mission teams will work in small groups with Common Hope staff, who will provide language translation along with the trip leaders.

Participants may

  • visit families in a local community, help construct a simple home, or sort supplies in a warehouse
  • learn about the culture, history, economics, challenges faced by, and gifts of the people of Guatemala
  • be enriched by exploration of Antigua and the surrounding area, learn how coffee is grown, and climb a volcano

Accommodations will be comfortable dormitory-style facilities at Common Hope’s project site. Meals will blend traditional Guatemalan cuisine
and typical American fare.

Trip leaders
Tom Schemper, Director of the Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being
Sue Schemper, Spiritual Director and Pastoral Counselor

Age range
Twelve years and up; those under eighteen must be accompanied by an adult

Estimated cost
$2,300 per person, plus airfare (can assist with fundraising).
Children under 14 receive a $500 discount.
Some scholarships may be available.
($500 of the trip cost is a direct donation to Common Hope)

Applications due January 15
Participants may register online until January 15, 2020
(a deposit of $1,125 is required)

For more information contact Vicky Curtiss (312.981.3598).

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Peacemaking Insight Trip: Colombia
Bogotá and Baranquilla
August 1–8, 2020

Register online here.

This trip is an opportunity to inform our own peacemaking efforts by learning from community leaders in Colombia. The Iglesia Presbyteriana de Colombia (IPC) was the first Protestant church in Colombia and the first Presbyterian mission in Latin America. They, along with the PC(USA), have been an active part of supporting the peace process in Colombia. IPC has also provided leadership for DiPaz, the Inter-Church Dialogue for Peace in Colombia.

Places We Will Visit
Bogotá, Colombia
Cradled by the Andes, Bogotá offers a blend of cosmopolitan cool and colonial history. Colombia’s vibrant capital is home to both sophisticated restaurants and attractions and grittier “barrios.” We will visit both neighborhoods and famous sites such as the La Candelaria Gold Museum, Museum of Art, and the La Minga Eco-Retreat.

Barranquilla, Colombia
A bustling seaport known for its enormous Carnival, Baranquilla offers warm locals and amazing Caribbean cuisine. We will learn about the work of the Presbyterian Mission and Reformed University, see Museo Romántico or Mueseo del Caribe, as well as experience the city.

Trip leaders
Philippe and Molly Melin

Nature of trip
Educational, addressing peacemaking efforts, cross-cultural understanding

Age range
Fourteen years and up; those under eighteen must be accompanied by an adult

Estimated cost
$2,400 for a single room
$2,175 for a double room
(airfare not included)

Applications due May 1
Participants may register online until May 1, 2020 (a deposit of $1,000 is required)

For more information contact Vicky Curtiss (312.981.3598).

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Music Mission Trip to Cuba
March 2–9, 2020

Registration for this trip is closed.

Share the gift of music and be inspired by the faith of our Cuban Christian sisters and brothers!  Join members of Fourth Presbyterian Church and St. John’s Episcopal Church of Chicago on this weeklong music mission trip to Cuba.  Our hosts will be Rev. Liudmila Hernández and her congregation, the First Presbyterian Church of Havana, with whom Fourth Church has had a partner relationship for over nineteen years. 

Participants will

  • become familiar with the historical, political, economic, and cultural context for Christian witness in Cuba
  • be inspired by  the resiliency of churches thriving amid scarcity by interacting with church members, and learning about particular ministries of the First Presbyterian Church in Havana and the work of Matanzas Seminary
  • sing (or listen to singing) as part of the Sunday morning worship service as well as concerts in several other Presbyterian churches

Sights to see will likely include Old Havana, the Capitol Building, the Ernest Hemingway Museum, the Museum of the Revolution, and an art museum. We will also spend time at the beach and the U.S. Embassy. Overnight accommodations will be in a hotel in Central Havana overlooking the sea, with most meals served at the church. Ground transportation will be by school bus.

Trip leaders
John Sherer, Organist and Director of Music, Fourth Presbyterian Church
Vicky Curtiss, Associate Pastor for Mission, Fourth Presbyterian Church

Nature of trip
Deepening relationships; cross-cultural learning; sharing the joy of music and faith.

Age range
18 years old and older

Group size
40 persons

Web resource
Presbiteriana de la Habana Facebook page

For more information contact Vicky Curtiss (312.981.3598) or John Sherer (312.981.3592)

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Trip Team Expectations

God calls us to receive and share the love of Jesus Christ, a love that crosses all cultural, geographic, economic, and generational boundaries. Mission trips provide opportunities for serving, learning, advocacy, peacemaking, spiritual inspiration, and building relationships and cross-cultural awareness.

As we interact with brothers and sisters from around the world, we honor their dignity and show respect through mutuality, learning and receiving from them while giving support in solidarity. It is essential for us to follow their lead and wisdom on addressing the quality of life and witness of faith in their context.
Mission trip participants are asked to bring an open and humble mind of a beginner. 

  • Reflective worship is an important part of every trip.  
  • Mission trips start well before the date of departure and extend beyond our return home. All participants are expected to participate in orientations, trip-related activities, and debriefing and post-trip activities. Articles or books may be recommended reading.
  • Mission team members need to be flexible, cooperative, and positive, supporting the team leaders and our hosts as they need to adapt to unexpected circumstances and changes in plans. 
  • Accommodations are purposely modest to lower the cost of the trip and to benefit from the hospitality of our hosts. 
  • Estimated costs include airfare, most meals, lodging, ground transportation, and in some cases a contribution toward the project or people served. Actual costs may vary depending on changes in airfare and the number of participants who register.
  • Each team member must pay a 50 percent deposit of fees by the stated deadline, $100 of which is nonrefundable. Limited scholarships may be available upon request.
  • Unless stated otherwise, persons of all ages and abilities are welcome to apply.
  • For international trips, you must have a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond your return date. A copy of the first two pages of the passport must be submitted with trip applications.

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Application Forms

Please see the individual trip descriptions for online registration links.

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For More Information

Contact Vicky Curtiss
Associate Pastor for Mission, Fourth Presbyterian Church
vcurtiss@fourthchurch.org
312.981.3598

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