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Fourth Presbyterian Church (Chicago)

The Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago is a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) located in the Magnificent Mile neighborhood of Chicago, directly across Michigan Avenue from the John Hancock Center.

Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago
4th Presbyterian Chicago 2004-11 img 2602.jpg
Fourth Presbyterian Church (Chicago) is located in Chicago metropolitan area
Fourth Presbyterian Church (Chicago)
Fourth Presbyterian Church (Chicago) is located in Illinois
Fourth Presbyterian Church (Chicago)
Fourth Presbyterian Church (Chicago) is located in the United States
Fourth Presbyterian Church (Chicago)
Location126 East Chestnut Street
Chicago, Illinois
ArchitectRalph Adams Cram
Architectural styleGothic Revival
NRHP reference #75000648
Added to NRHPSeptember 5, 1975


The Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago was formed on February 12, 1871 by the merger of Westminster Presbyterian Church and North Presbyterian Church.[1] The combined congregation dedicated a new church building on Sunday, October 8, 1871. The Great Chicago Fire began later that day and destroyed the young congregation's new sanctuary.

The congregation subsequently built a second building, located at the corner of Rush Street and Superior Street, which it dedicated February 1874.[2]

After nearly 40 years at that location, in 1912, the congregation decided to construct a new building on Pine Street (now North Michigan Avenue), which was then a fairly undeveloped part of the city. The congregation employed architect Ralph Adams Cram to create a Gothic Revival building. Cram, who also designed the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, worked on both churches silmutaneously during 1912. Only Fourth Presbyterian was completed, however, and was dedicated in 1914.[2] In contrast, St. John the Divine is still officially unfinished and is considered a work in progress.

Cram designed and built the sanctuary however but the parish house, cloister, manse, and garth, which lie to the south along Michigan Avenue, were designed by Howard Van Doren Shaw.[3] The church building is the oldest structure on Michigan Avenue, with the exception of the Chicago Water Tower, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[2]

In 1884, the congregation worked with Rush Medical College to establish the city's Presbyterian Hospital[4][5]


The church in 1914

According to the latest PC(USA) statistics, in 2012 Fourth Church had 5,540 members.[6]


Shortly before the turn of the 19th century, Rev. M. Woolsey Stryker (1885-1892), a widely quoted pundit as well as prolific hymnwriter, served as pastor, but left Chicago to become President of his alma mater, Hamilton College in upstate New York. Reverend John Buchanan, who held the post of senior pastor for 25 years, retired as of January 31, 2012. In March 2014, Fourth Presbyterian's members voted at a congregational meeting for the Reverend Shannon Johnson Kershner to lead the church as its next pastor commencing on May 1, 2014.[7][8]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c "History of Fourth Presbyterian Church". Fourth Presbyterian Church. Retrieved 2014-05-18.
  3. ^ "Fourth Presbyterian Church". ChicagoArchitecture.Info. Retrieved 2013-10-28.
  4. ^ Moore, R. Jonathan (October 2004). Fourth Presbyterian Church. Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago Historical Society. Retrieved 2013-10-28.
  5. ^ "Rush History". Rush University Medical Center. Retrieved 2013-10-28.
  6. ^ "" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-01-28.
  7. ^ Brachear, Manya A. (10 May 2010). "Pastor retiring from Magnificent Mile church". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2013-10-28.
  8. ^ "Biography of Reverend Shannon Johnson Kershner". Fourth Presbyterian Church. Retrieved 2014-05-18.

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