November 7, 2018
The Preacher's Note
Dear Friends,

This week we mark the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day and the end of World War I. The world thought that would be the “war to end all wars,” but sadly it was not. What does our faith teach us about violence, war, healing, and reconciliation? How does Jesus, whom we call the Prince of Peace, guide us?

Join us this Sunday to sing, pray, and listen for God speaking a new word to us through scripture and sacrament.

Wishing you the peace of Christ,

Nanette Sawyer

A Teaching Service
Since its inception, Jazz at Four has been guided by four spiritual principles: Reformed, Always Reforming; Pedagogical (Educational); Spirit Driven; and Inclusive. During these autumn weeks, we are sharing how these values influence our life together. This week we reflect on the pedagogical (educational).

Each of us has a unique faith journey in which we relate to the Christian faith and its traditions in different ways. Some of us grew up in Presbyterian congregations or considered ourselves Protestant or Catholic. Others of us came from families that were multi- or interfaith in nature. Some who gather at Fourth Church have had no particular religious upbringing.

Jazz at Four is a teaching service, committed to sharing knowledge of Reformed worship as well as Christian scripture and theology in ways that are responsive to our diverse experiences of religion and spirituality. In this service, we seek to educate one another as together we uncover new layers of meaning in the various movements of our worship.

Why do we confess? Why do we gather around the Communion table? What is the history behind a hymn or the context behind a psalm? Drawing on diverse learning styles, we explore these questions and deepen understanding using word and song, prayer and silence, commentary and even conversation.

As you leave each service, our hope is that your vocabulary of faith is broadened and that the mediums through which you encounter God are increased.

Meet the Leaders
Nanette Sawyer, Associate Pastor for Discipleship and Small Group Ministry

We see you on Sundays preaching or leading worship, but what do you do the rest of the week?

My work at Fourth Presbyterian Church is all about community building. I try to help our large church have smaller, more intimate opportunities for congregants to connect with each other in deep ways. I create and support small groups, work for racial equity at our church, and develop interfaith relationships with our neighbors of other faiths.
Small groups include everything from book groups to Bible studies, from men’s breakfast programs to monthly Women at Fourth fellowship gatherings. We have groups for couples and groups for people over fifty. We’re also starting a new thing called Deep Listening Dinners to help people get to know each other more deeply and to practice our listening skills. We even have a group for people who want to play bridge!

You could spend your Sundays doing anything! Why this congregation? Why this work?

One of my passions is helping people to feel and believe how very precious to God and beloved they are. It is one of our callings, as followers of God in the way of Jesus, to share this message and this experience with as many people as possible. I see this happening all around me at Fourth Church. This good news message is shared in the preaching here, in all our mission work, in the way we work with our children and youth, and in our service to the community. I love the urban vibrancy of Fourth Church and feel honored to work with such fantastic colleagues.

In December, we are moving to Buchanan Chapel. What excited you about moving to Buchanan Chapel?
When we worshiped together in Buchanan Chapel in September, I loved how physically close we were to each other. I could see everyone’s faces and hear everyone singing. In addition to the coziness that I think we’ll experience in the chapel, there are so many opportunities for creativity and for making the space beautiful and meaningful. I’m excited to make some new banners that bring in a sense of sacred space and try some new ways of sharing our prayers with each other. One idea is to make strings of prayer flags, with our prayers written on small colored flags of fabric. I think it could be very beautiful, impactful, and moving.

What keeps you busy when you aren’t at Fourth Church?
I love to walk along the lakefront; I find it so peaceful and healing. It soothes my soul. Cozy mystery novels (that’s an actual genre of fiction!) help me to take a little mental vacation. I also love to cook, so I’m often perusing cookbooks and listening to audio books while chopping vegetables. But when I feel too lazy to chop vegetables, I like to go out for dinner or brunch with my wife and enjoy the salmon sushi or the gluten-free pancakes (with real maple syrup!).

Is there a poet, theologian, or activist who has made a large impact on your life and ministry?
Mary Oliver, without a doubt, is the poet who speaks to my soul through pretty much every poem she has ever written. She has one poem called “Where Does the Temple Begin, Where Does It End?” In it she writes

There are things you can’t reach. But
you can reach out to them, and all day long.
The wind, the bird flying away. The idea of God.

All of her poetry, in my experience, reaches out to the idea of God. Her words brush against the edges of God, make us think about God’s mysterious beauty and presence, everywhere around us, whether we remember or forget. God is there, hiding in the beautiful details of creation. I’m so grateful that her poetry can awaken this remembrance in me.
Leslie Beukelman, Voice

How long have you been a part of the Jazz at Four band?
My first time singing with the band was in July; since September, I have been here on most Sundays.
You could spend your Sunday afternoon doing anything! Why this band and this community?
One of my main goals as a musician is to make people feel something, to help them transcend to another place in their heart and mind. I grew up singing in church; it was always a place I could sing and just let it out. Hearing all of the different voices singing together is beautiful to me. It’s the instrument we all have, and it’s very special. I love having the opportunity to sing with this band; the guys are incredible musicians, and it’s a joy to make music with them weekly. I might come in not knowing exactly how we will do a specific tune, but we create something together to share with the congregation that will only happen on that very day. It’s so much fun.
In December, we are moving to Buchanan Chapel. What excited you about moving to Buchanan Chapel?
I absolutely love the Sanctuary. I walk in there and experience this overwhelming feeling I can’t explain. However, when we moved to the Buchanan Chapel one Sunday in September for Jewish High Holy Days, it was another type of feeling that felt much more intimate. The congregation being seated “in the round” felt like a little unit of love, and the musician placement felt much more natural to me, too. I think the chapel suits this style of service. I look forward to it!
What keeps you busy when you aren’t at Fourth Church?
When I am not at Fourth Church, I am rehearsing for a variety of upcoming performances and then performing with those groups. I have a trio with two other women (one of them is Allison, another vocalist regularly at Jazz at Four) called The Oh Yeahs; we are finishing our first album, which we plan to have out in the world by Christmas. I also sing in a big band one Sunday night a month at FitzGerald’s nightclub, at a Presbyterian church in Winnetka on Sunday mornings, and on Saturday nights I am usually in some ballroom singing the top 40 hits for a private function. My weekdays are filled with going out to hear shows, performing with other bands, and attempting to get my own music together.
Do you have a favorite jazz song? Is there an artist that has made a large impact on your career as a musician?
The first jazz song I really learned was “ In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning” by David Mann and Bob Hilliard, and I still absolutely love it. The lyrics instantly grabbed my attention, and over the years they continue to be relevant and have also become more meaningful. This is true with many jazz standards, and I love the Great American Songbook for that very reason—“like a fine wine, the jazz singer gets better with age.” As I grow up and experience life, I am able to interpret this music in a deeper way. It makes me hopeful and taught me that making honest music is more important than fame (though if fame happens, I wouldn't complain!). I'm grateful to be able to share music with people and make a living doing what I love to do.

Ministry Spotlight
Are you interested in being a Greeter at Four?

Hospitality is a Christian commitment to the God who commissions us to welcome the stranger because we were once strangers ourselves. At Fourth Church our open doors reflect God’s commission found in Revelation 3:8: “I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut.”

Greeters at Four are ministers of hospitality who seat worshipers, receive the offering, and assist newcomers in finding their way. Greeters make a commitment of serving once a month.

Are you interested in being a Greeter at Four?

Contact Shawn Fiedler , the Ministerial Associate for Worship, to sign up!

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