In the days ahead you will continue to find the latest Fourth Church updates posted here.

If you would like to receive them via email, simply add your name to our distribution list.

During This Time of a Stay-at-Home Order

Online Worship and Prayer
Providing Essential Services
Please Let Us Know...
How You Can Help
Staying Connected: Resources and Opportunities
Earlier Updates

Online Worship and Prayer

We continue to livestream Sunday worship at 11:00 a.m. from Shannon Kershner’s home. The link to online worship (which you can also watch later in the week) is posted on our home page, along with a link to the bulletin to download and print. You can invite others to join us online by directing them to our website or sharing the link www.bit.ly/FPCworship

If the 11:00 hour does not fit your schedule, the service is available for viewing throughout the week. You can also subscribe to our worship and sermon podcast and sign up to receive the weekly sermon by email.

On Wednesday mornings we gather online at 9:30 a.m. for Morning Prayer via Zoom. If you would like to join staff in this time of praying for Fourth Church members and for those in need, please email Carol Allerton for the Zoom information.

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Providing Essential Services for the Most Vulnerable

In this time of the stay-at-home order and our closed campus, we remain firmly committed to caring for the most vulnerable among us.

Fourth Church Meals Ministry is continuing to serve those in our community who are hungry. We will continue to be outside in the Cloister handing out “to go” lunches on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays and “to go” meals for Sunday Night Supper. This enables us to distribute meals while also limiting lines and in-person gatherings.

The Chicago Lights Social Service Center has transitioned to offering “curbside” emergency services on weekday mornings from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 pm., providing

  • Essential emergency clothing (underwear, socks, T-shirts, gloves, hats)
  • Hygiene, incontinence, and menstruation items
  • Inclement weather gear (ponchos, handwarmers, coats)
  • Pre-assembled bags of food for those who have scheduled Food Pantry appointments

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Please Let Us Know...

As a connectional community committed to living out our care for one another and remaining together while apart, we very much we want to hear from you! Our pastors, Deacons, Stephen Ministers, and other volunteers are available to connect with you by phone and email. Please let us know by contacting Carol Allerton in our Pastoral Care Office—

  • if you are—or someone you know is—in self-quarantine or feeling isolated, lonely, anxious, or sick

  • if you are a medical professional or are a provider of essential services, as we want to reach out and care for you as well in what we know are are difficult days for you and your colleagues

  • if you have a prayer request; our Interim Minister for Pastoral Care, Dave Handley, is receiving these requests as part of our Morning Prayer and Deacon Prayer Ministries

  • If you would like to talk to a pastor, please call the church (312.787.4570) and your request will be forwarded to someone on the pastoral staff

  • If you would like to be in phone contact with a Stephen Minister, please leave a confidential message at 312.573.3365 or contact Dave Handley.

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How You Can Help

Our commitment to caring for those in need and remaining connected while apart depends on all of us. How can you help?

Provide essential items for those in need. While we can no longer receive individual donations of canned goods, clothing, or hygiene items direct from households, you can order and have shipped to the church the items on our emergency distribution list.

In the days ahead we will also be making available a list of needed food items that can be shipped for delivery to Meals Ministry.

Reach out to those who are lonely, anxious, or sick. If you are available to reach out via phone or email to those in our community who might be feeling isolated or lonely, please let our Pastoral Care Office know by contacting Carol Allerton (callerton@fourthchurch.org). She is collecting names of those willing to help in this way.

Give online or via Venmo (@Fourth-Church). Your gifts to Fourth Church matter now more than ever! Our expenses continue, as we provide essential services to those in need and as we enable staff who can work remotely to do so and and we continue to pay any of our staff whose jobs can only be done on site but who are now at home. We won’t be passing offering plates on Sunday (although we will be encouraging people to make an offering gift online). So your generosity in this time makes a big difference!

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Staying Connected: Resources and Opportunities

In this time while we are not in the same place, we continue to explore new opportunities for all of us to be community and church.

Instructors in our Center for Life and Learning program for adults sixty and over are sending out links to exercise and music, emailing assignments and offers for conversation, and even taught yoga via Zoom! Chicago Lights Tutoring staff are facilitating virtual relationships between mentors and students, supplying educational and engagement tools, and creating content for e-learning.

Sunday School lessons and crafts to do at home are posted at online, and information about online youth group and recently-home-from-college gatherings as posted online as well.

Watch our website for additional resources and ways to connect. We also encourage you to follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

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· · ·

From March 17, 2020

Closing the Fourth Church Campus

Dear Friends,

You have received several updates from Fourth Church in the past week as we have continued to reflect the ever-evolving recommendations around responses to COVID-19. Today I write with another.

In accordance with recent federal guidelines, we will be closing the Fourth Church campus this Wednesday, March 18. It will remain closed until further notice.

We will, of course, continue to livestream an online worship service on Sundays at 11:00 a.m. We hope you will join us in worship there.

We also remain firmly committed to continuing to feed those in our community who are hungry. Meals Ministry will be outside in the Cloister handing out “to go” lunches on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays and “to go” meals for Sunday Night Supper. This allows us to distribute the meals in a way that limits lines and in-person gatherings.

This is but one of the creative responses we are already beginning to see as we seek to be church in new ways in this new time. They have included—

  • The Center for Life and Learning using Zoom technology to bring a yoga class to its members
  • Pastors planning for regular, ongoing ways to connect with the congregation throughout the week
  • Our coming together via technology to worship on Sunday, with more than 700 devices signed in to the livestream at 11:00 a.m. on March 15 and an additional 500 people watching the service afterwards
  • Deacons setting up a calling ministry for those who are isolated or homebound (if you are homebound, quarantined, or feeling isolated, please let our Pastoral Care Office know: we want to remain connected to you!)

Many of you have asked how you can be supportive and help in all this.

  • If you would be willing to call those who are isolated or quarantined, please let our Pastoral Care Office know.
  • While we can no longer receive individual donations of canned goods, clothing, or hygiene items direct from households, you can order and have shipped to the church the items on our emergency distribution list.
  • Please continue to financially support this congregation: We are enabling all staff who can work from home to do so; we are also continuing to pay any of our staff whose jobs can only be done on site but who are now at home. Your giving to Fourth Church makes that possible.

We also want you to know that your pastors, Fourth Church staff, and this faith community walk alongside you in these disrupted days! If you or some you know wants to talk with a pastor, please call our reception desk (312.787.4570), and they will connect you by phone with the pastor on call that day.

And be sure to watch our website, emails, and page on Facebook for additional opportunities to connect remotely in the days ahead.

Please also continue to join us in prayer, for as Nanette Sawyer reminded us in the Prayers of the People this past Sunday, “One of the things we know we can do together, even if we are not in the same physical space together, is to pray. We pray because prayer changes things. It changes us. So wherever we are this day, let us join our hearts together as we pray for our world, our nation, our churches, and our lives.”

Faithfully,

Shannon J. Kershner
Pastor

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· · ·

From March 12, 2020

Suspending In-Person Worship

As of March 12, 2020, Session has voted to suspend in-person worship at Fourth Church indefinitely.

There is something deeply powerful about gathering in person to worship God, and we will miss that this Sunday and in the weeks ahead. But we will still have opportunity to worship together—online.

We will continue to make an 11:00 a.m. worship experience available via our livestream platform at www.fourthchurch.org. We hope you will join us in that and share it with others who may also be missing opportunity to experience worship in person at their church.

As Christians, we claim that the church is not the building; the church is the people. And while we, as the body of Christ, may not be gathered in one place for the next weeks, we will be gathered in worshipful spirit, exploring new opportunities to be community and church while not in the same place.

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· · ·

In the Days Ahead
In the days and weeks ahead we will continue to look to the state and local public health departments and the CDC for guidance about best practices, policies, and procedures.

During this time we ask that you—

Join us in praying. Pray for patients, doctors, nurses, researchers, and public health officials. Pray for leaders who have to make difficult decisions. Pray for those who are providing essential services. Prayer reminds us whose we are.

Communicate. If you or someone you know is currently in self-quarantine or is sick, please let our Pastoral Care Office know. We want to make sure we stay connected throughout this season!

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