Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Thomas Aquinas and the Neo-Thomist Tradition

Congratulations to Dr B van der Walt on the publication of his latest book Thomas Aquinas and the Neo-Thomist Tradition. He sent ICS a copy which is now in our library. We are one of the few libraries in North America that currently has a copy of this book.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

ICS Appoints a New Provost

As has been reported in an earlier prayer letter, ICS is entering into a leadership transition period. Doug Blomberg will retire from the ICS presidency on October 31. Further, ICS is venturing into merger negotiations with The King’s University (TKU). In light of this transition, the ICS Board has created a new position of Provost. A Provost is a high-ranking administrator tasked largely but not exclusively with responsibilities of internal leadership. Rather than begin a search for a new president, the Board decided that the position of Provost was best suited in light of the transition period ICS is entering.

After an internal search, the Board is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Ron Kuipers as the new ICS Provost. Ron will be responsible for providing internal institutional leadership, and will collaborate with the Board in developing and promoting ICS’ “Ontario presence” in ways that both increase ICS’ economic sustainability and, as part of any merger with TKU, also makes a strong contribution to the achievement of TKU’s Strategic Plan.

The Board welcomes Ron to the new Provost position and wishes him every success in his new responsibilities. It looks forward to working with him as ICS transitions in this new direction and venture.

John Valk
Chair, ICS Board of Trustees

Prayer Letter: August 2017

Tuesday, August 1:  Please pray for the family of Dan Jack as they mourn the passing of their loved one on July 17th. Dan was a Board member (Calgary) who also served on the Finance Committee. He will be greatly missed for his calm and wise counsel in meetings, and for his love and passion for the work of ICS. A memorial service was held at First Mennonite Church, Calgary, last Friday. We ask God to uphold his wife, Marguerite, and the rest of his family with his abundant love, grace and peace.

Wednesday, August 2:  We ask for your prayers for Ron Kuipers as he takes up the reins in his new role as Provost at ICS. Pray for wisdom and discernment as he leads the Leadership Team, and for strength as he balances this new role with his teaching and mentoring and as Director of the CPRSE. May God grant him great joy in service in the months ahead.

Thursday, August 3:  Pray for a way that ICS can invest the proceeds from the sale of 229 College in a way that is stewardly and meaningful going forward. Please continue to pray for Harley Dekker, Director of Finance and his team of investment advisors.

Friday, August 4:  We ask for your prayers today for Senior Member Bob Sweetman who will be presenting a paper titled “Admiratio, Imitation and the Vita Christi in the Summa Theologiae of Thomas Aquinas” at the Boston College Colloquy in Historical Theology in Boston MA.

Tuesday, August 8:  Our Registrar, Jeff Hocking is on holiday this week and next with his wife Angie and daughter Addie. Pray for safe travels and a refreshment of spirit as they enjoy one another and the people and places they visit.

Wednesday, August 9:  Please pray today for Godfrey Nkongolo, an MA student under the mentorship of Ron Kuipers, who has completed the final draft of his MA Thesis, entitled "Ujamaa--A Gift from Tanzania to Africa: A Critique of Current Social and Political Systems in Africa and a Critical Exploration of Ujamaa as an Alternative," and now prepares for his final oral defense. As well, pray for Godfrey and his family as they prepare for the next stage of his educational journey of attending Carleton University in September to begin a PhD program in the Political Science faculty.

Thursday, August 10:  Pray for our Board of Trustees as they meet this evening, and for John Valk and John Kamphof as they lead them. We ask God to grant them wisdom and clarity of thinking as they work together with the Leadership Team to manage the portfolio of opportunities and changes that ICS is faced with at this time.

Friday, August 11:  Please continue to pray for the planning and preparations that are underway for our first 50th Anniversary celebration on October 14th. We ask God for his favour in finding a suitable venue and for the many other details that need to be finalized.

Monday, August 14:  Pray for the quick settlement of amounts owning ICS from the receiver of 229 College Street. Progress has been made, and we pray for the continued work of ICS and their legal support for a settlement of amounts owed.

Tuesday, August 15:  Please pray for two of our new Master’s students who are coming to ICS this fall. Pray for peace as they work through all the details of obtaining immigration visas and finding the necessary housing for themselves and their families.

Wednesday, August 16:  Please continue to pray for our Board of Trustees and the Leadership Team as they collaborate together in the development of a future vision for ICS which would increase its economic sustainability and contribute to King’s Strategic Plan in our proposed merger.

Thursday, August 17:  We ask for your prayers for Mark Novak, an MA student under the mentorship of Ron Kuipers, who is putting the finishing touches on his MA Thesis, titled "Incarnating the God who May Be: Christology and Incarnational Humanism in Bonhoeffer and Kearney," and anticipates a September oral defense. Pray too for Mark as he gets settled in Hamilton, and as he enters the PhD program at McMaster University in September in the Religious Studies faculty.

Friday, August 18:  Today we thank God for our many friends and supporters who stand with us in our mission throughout the year. We pray for God’s richest blessings on all of you as you enjoy these summer months and we look forward to celebrating our 50th Anniversary with you in the fall and into the new year.

Monday, August 21:  Please pray for Jeff Hocking today as he prepares for registration and orientation, as well as the student retreat coming up in a few weeks. There are a myriad of details to take care of so we ask God for clarity and discernment in the planning and implementation of these important events at the start of our school year.

Tuesday, August 22:  Please pray this week for our faculty and administrative staff as they prepare for the beginning of the school year in a couple of weeks. Pray that they will be encouraged, even in the midst of a lot of changes, by the work that they do. We ask for God’s grace and wisdom as they work together, and for keen discernment in meeting the opportunities and challenges facing ICS at this time. And give thanks to God for sending them to serve the Institute’s mission with commitment and dedication.

Wednesday, August 23:  Today is our course registration deadline when students are supposed to have registered (and paid) for the courses they plan to take in the fall semester. Pray for our Registrar, Jeff Hocking, as he follows up the many loose ends that often happen so that the registration process will be a smooth one for our students.

Thursday, August 24:  Pray for the CPRSE Staff who are helping plan the two-day workshop, Engaging Communities through Research: A Capacity-Building Event, which will assist faith-based universities get into the exciting area of community-engaged research and outreach activities.

Friday, August 25:  Josina Zylstra has asked for our prayers for her and her husband, Herman Dooyeweerd Jr. who has been in a nursing home for the past number of years. We ask our God for strength and comfort as she cares for him each week.

Monday, August 28:  Next week we welcome our Junior Members, both returning and new. Please pray for all of them as they wrap up their summer projects, academic and otherwise, and settle back into the coming year’s routine. It is a joyous time, as we all start afresh as the ICS community, gathered here in Toronto.

Tuesday, August 29:  Pray for CPRSE Research Assistant Hector Acero Ferrer, as he collaborates with staff at World Renew as part of the SSHRC-funded partnered research project, "Faith and Settlement Partnerships: Setting Immigrants and Canada Up for Success," led by the Centre for Community Based Research.

Wednesday, August 30:  Talks with Knox College are going well around the possibility of ICS relocating there. Please pray for continued positive discussions with good outcomes for both Knox College and ICS.

Thursday, August 31:  Pray for the staff at the CPRSE as they participate in planning for a one-day workshop in Toronto on October 21 that is meant to help worship leaders integrate the arts and a concern for social justice into the worship experience. The event is titled "For Such a Time as this: Worship meets Justice and the Arts in Turbulent Times"

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Ron Kuipers: "From the Roots"

Last January, Ron Kuipers, Director of the CPRSE gave a talk at The King’s University at their Interdisciplinary Studies Conference “Glorious and Free”?! Generous Citizenship for the Next 150. Listen to Ron’s talk titled “From the Roots: Religion and the Public Life of the Liberal Democracy”.

Cal Seerveld: "Advice to Recent Art Graduates"

Senior Member Emeritus Cal Seerveld has a short article, “Advice to recent art graduates: Helping your neighbour see surprises,” included in an IVP Academic volume, Contemporary Art and the Church (2017), edited by W. David O Taylor and Taylor Worley. This book holds the major addresses of the 2015 CIVA conference (Christians in the Visual Arts). Seerveld distinguishes “Church” and “City of God,” and calls for jesters (artists) and ventriloquists (art critics and historians) to take up their promising tasks.

Prayer Letter: July 2017

Monday, July 3 and Tuesday, July 4:  This confluence of national holidays in the two countries where most of our supporters live (and we do not forget those beyond the borders of Canada and the US!) gives occasion to thank God for the many gifts and mercies bestowed on us, over the course of our shared histories. But we do not forget the first immigrants to come to North America, so many years ago, who suffered from the depredations of immigrants more recent. We pray for ongoing reconciliation with the former, and a continuing welcome to those who continue to come to our shores, most especially those who find refuge from tyrannies and terror in lands across the seas.

Wednesday, July 5:  We achieved a budget that was close to balanced by the end of the 2016-17 Fiscal Year. The reduction of salaries across the board, and of some positions, were difficult matters to deal with, particularly for those office-bearers with primary responsibility for these decisions and the person charged with operationalising these, Doug Blomberg. We honour all who endured sacrifices, and pray for their ongoing well-being. As we begin this new year, we continue to face many challenges. At the same time, we are encouraged by the possibilities the Lord will bring our way, and seek His wisdom and guidance. People might plan the way, but the Lord will direct their paths (Proverbs 16:9)

Thursday, July 6:  Please pray for our students as they work and study (and take vacations!) during these summer months to prepare for September, and especially for those who are entering new work opportunities and other life transitions. We remember in particular PhD candidate Joshua Harris, who, with Sarah and Rowan, will be moving to Providence, RI later this month to begin a new chapter in their life together. We pray for the Lord’s richest blessings on them as they make this significant transition, and Josh takes up a teaching position at Providence College.

Friday, July 7:  Please continue to pray for our Director of Finance, Harley Dekker and two long-term friends of ICS who have volunteered to assist the Finance Committee on the prudent and strategic investment of the proceeds from the shares in 229 College.

Monday, July 10:  Today Doug Blomberg will learn the results of a biopsy for a growth removed from his scalp two weeks ago. We give thanks for the doctors consulted and the healing hands and medical knowledge Jesus has gifted them. Naturally, please pray for a positive outcome.

Tuesday, July 11:  Please pray today for our Board of Trustees as they meet tonight, and particularly for John Valk (Chair) and John Kamphof (Vice-chair) as they lead the board in its deliberations. Pray for wisdom and clarity in their discussions around the significant concerns facing ICS, such as the partnering negotiations with King’s, and the leadership transition at ICS. As well, please pray for the ongoing search for new board members and new members for the Finance Committee.

Wednesday, July 12:  July being the month that a number of our staff and faculty take holidays, we ask that you pray that their time away will be refreshing and renewing. Some are travelling long distances so we ask God to grant them safe and hassle-free travels.

Thursday, July 13:  On Saturday, the Art in Orvieto summer semester will end and the students and faculty will return home. We have heard from Rebekah Smick, who is leading the event, that the program has gone very well. She says there was a really lovely group of participants who have been great and some very gifted artists to boot. Our two students (Danielle and Julia) are impressing everyone. As everyone returns home, pray that all will have safe journeys, and give thanks for the blessing this has been for all who have been privileged to participate in this wonderful learning opportunity.

Friday, July 14:  We are gearing up for the transition to a new location, which we expect and hope to be Knox College on St. George Street. Please pray that the many details needing to be addressed will be settled expeditiously, and that we will enjoy our inclusion in the Knox community as they warmly welcome us. This then is more than a mere change of location, but the start of a new partnership. And it places us at the heart of the University of Toronto campus, which is not to be discounted.

Monday, July 17:  Scott McNaughton has been diagnosed with a tumour in his bladder. Surgery is scheduled for today. The more prayers, the better! We are hoping for a benign diagnosis when the biopsy is completed.

Tuesday, July 18:  Bob and Rosanne Sweetman’s new grandchild is due tomorrow. Please pray for a safe delivery for Adrienne and child, and give thanks that another image-bearer has been gifted to the world, to honour God in a life of service and praise.

Wednesday, July 19:  We bring before our Lord our continuing negotiations with King’s with respect to a partnering agreement. Please uphold all those involved: the Boards of both institutions and their representatives. On behalf of ICS, Vice Chair John Kamphoff, President Doug Blomberg and the Acting Provost will play a major role.

Thursday, July 20:  We are in the midst of planning our 50th Anniversary celebrations, culminating in a gala event in the Toronto region. Prior to this, Doug Blomberg will be meeting with supporters in a number of locations in western Canada and the US, to thank them for their enduring faithfulness to the vision embodied in ICS. Pray especially for Pat Webb, Vidya Williams, Doug and the larger committee, as they give much attention to the preparations for our Jubilee!

Friday, July 21:  Please pray for our Board as they are in the process of making some important decisions on a number of fronts that will give shape and direction to ICS in the coming months, and beyond. These decisions include the hiring of an Acting Provost to ensure a smooth leadership transition as Doug Blomberg approaches retirement of the ICS Presidency.

Monday, July 24:  We continue to pray for Associate Contract Librarian Hilary Barlow as she learns the ropes of our rather complex collection and suite of services. May she already feel welcome in our community, receiving all the support needed and possible. This is a relatively quiet period, with many Junior Members away from Toronto or at least from ICS, now that classes have finished.

Tuesday, July 25:  As we come to the end of this fiscal year, we offer prayers of gratitude for our donors who continue to demonstrate their steadfast commitment through prayers and financial gifts for our work here at ICS.

Wednesday, July 26:  Please uphold our Master’s and Doctoral candidates before the throne of God, as many of them hunker down to plan or write their theses, prepare for upcoming examinations, and continue reading and reflecting. Two of Ron Kuiper’s MA students are working hard to finish their theses so they can defend in the fall. Both also have been accepted into PhD programs at McMaster and Carleton Universities.

Thursday, July 27:  We continue to dialogue with Redeemer and Tyndale around ways in which we can partner together in the development of an MA in (Educational) Leadership. Pray for discernment and clarity about the many issues that need to be resolved in such an initiative.

Friday, July 28:  Our new fiscal year 2017/18 is soon underway which brings with it the need to plan the year’s advancement and communication schedule. Pray for wisdom for the Leadership Team as they determine priorities for funding, and for Pat Webb, Vidya Williams and Doug Blomberg as they put the communication plan to our constituency in place.

Monday, July 31:  Please pray for Doug Blomberg as he prepares for a significant life-transition: stepping down from the Presidency at the end of October and then beginning a twelve-month sabbatical, for which he has a major book project in view, and a number of smaller projects. There is much to work through these next few months, as he and Heather plan for their future. Pray also for the Board, the faculty and staff, as they too grow into another way of working together.