Monday, 7 January 2019

Next Continuing Ed/ge Module Begins February 7th!

Ever wondered why the good creation included the serpent of Genesis? Or whether God really called for the Canaanite genocide? Or knows what it is like to give birth? If you have—or if your curiosity is aroused—Continuing Ed/ge may be for you!

Continuing Ed/ge is a continuing education program that provides the opportunity for Biblical reflection in a more informal classroom setting and with no formal assignments beyond the Bible reading. It is ideal for adult learners, religious community groups, and spiritual seekers—anyone looking for a chance to dig into questions of the Bible and faith a bit more deeply. The program's 10 modules work through the Bible piece by piece, focusing on three themes over the course of 6 two-hour evening sessions:
  • the evocative-provocative call of wisdom
  • the meaning and significance of gender
  • the nature of power and violence

The next module begins Thursday, February 7th, 6:45-8:45pm.


Since the module on Genesis is foundational to the overall program, it will be offered twice in 2019. In addition to the module beginning on February 7th, the module will be offered again in April/May. The instructor will be Nik Ansell, ICS Senior Member in Theology. Nik is an experienced teacher in continuing education and an established author in biblical studies.

If you or someone you know would be interested in joining the next module, click here for more information on the program and how to register. Space is limited, so register today! 

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Prayer Letter: January 2019

From all of us at ICS to you, our faithful friends and supporters, may God’s richest blessings of love, joy and peace be yours in 2019. We hope you join us in prayer before the Lord as we begin this new year.

Tuesday, January 1 - Friday, January 4:

We ask for your prayers this week for our Senior Members Bob Sweetman, Rebecca Smick, Nik Ansell, and Gideon Strauss as they make final preparations for the classes they will teach this semester. Please uphold them before the Lord as they seek to work out their calling as teachers and mentors.

This week, please pray for our Junior Members returning from their homes, from far and wide, that they will have safe travels. We ask too for their encouragement in their studies as they start a new semester of academic activities.

Monday, January 7 - Friday, January 11:

Please pray this week for Gideon Strauss who will be teaching the first class of the semester (Wednesday morning) in his new course: “Black Panther, Afrofuturism, and the Ethics of Liberation.” We ask God to bless this learning opportunity with creative and insightful interaction.

This week, we ask for your prayers for Bob Sweetman who will be teaching his course: “Albert the Great, Meister Eckhart, and Women’s Spirituality”. Pray too for our students, as well as the TST students who will be joining us, as they begin this new semester of learning.

On Thursday of this week, the first day of the course: “God in Flesh and Blood: Revolutions in Christology” with Nik Ansell will be held in our new Learning Studio. Pray for Nik and the students who will be participating in this course.

Pray also this week for the two distance education courses which start this week: “Biblical Foundations,” taught by Nik Ansell and Jeffrey Hocking, and “Organized Religion: Christianity and Anti-Capitalism in the U.S. and Canada,” taught by ICS PhD candidate Dean Dettloff.

Monday, January 14 - Friday, January 18:

Please pray for this year’s Interdisciplinary Seminar (IDS), titled “Wonder, Order, Love: Reflections on the (True) Origin and End of Philosophy,” which meets on Tuesdays from 1:45-4:45. Senior Members Nik Ansell and Bob Sweetman will will examine the triangulation of wonder, order and love in reflections on the origin and end of philosophy. This course will continue to explore the theme of order and love that became so important in the previous IDS on the legacy of Cal Seerveld, Henk Hart and Jim Olthuis.

We ask for prayer for Ron Kuipers as he continues in his leadership role as President of ICS. Pray for wisdom and discernment as he leads the Leadership Team in the many matters that require decisions, particularly those related to the advancement of the Institute and our ongoing relationship with The King’s University.

We give thanks this week for the new opportunity we have in our Wayfinding program. ICS Adjunct professor Mike Wagenman will be teaching the hybrid version of Vocational Wayfinding offsite in a London venue. Please pray for Mike as he prepares for the sessions, and for this new group of students as they interact with the material.

Monday, January 21 - Friday, January 25:

CPRSE continues to build on the “Currents in Reformational Thought” series, featuring the contributions of our current and emeriti faculty to our scholarly tradition. Currently, the CPRSE team is nearing completion of a forthcoming festschrift on the work of Emeritus Senior Member, Lambert Zuidervaart. Please pray for those involved in editing, producing, and publishing this important series.

On January 24th, ICS/CPRSE will host Dr. Heath Carter, Associate Professor of History at Valparaiso University, for our Winter Term “Scripture, Faith, and Scholarship” seminar. Please pray that this event be a time of fruitful exchange and reflection on the intersection of biblical scholarship and a life of faith.

Monday, January 28 - Thursday, January 31:

Plans are underway to host a third Undergraduate Workshop in the spring of 2019. Following this year’s workshop, Senior Member Ron Kuipers and The King’s University professor Jeff Dudiak will be teaching the course: “To the Unknown God: Paul and Some Philosophers”. Please pray for the course instructors and workshop planning team as they continue to put together this wonderful learning opportunity.

The ART in Orvieto advanced summer studies program which will take place in Italy, between July 16 and August 6. The intensive program will include the Art, Religion, and Theology seminar led by Senior Member Rebekah Smick, as well as an artist's workshop led by David Holt. Please pray for the success of this program which has brought much life to ICS over the past few summers.

We thank God for the response to our Advent Appeal, still ongoing, which has been encouraging. At this time of writing, we still have a way to go to meet our targets in most areas, and we encourage everyone to continue to give as they are able. We are deeply grateful for God’s provision, and also for you, our faithful members and donors.

Monday, 26 November 2018

Register for Winter 2019 ICS Courses Today!

Want to study subjects such as feminist theology and the religious left? Contact Elizabet Aras, Academic Registrar, to register for ICS courses. You can find course descriptions for Winter 2019 courses here. Scroll down on this page to view the course schedule.

Click on images to enlarge posters.

Monday, 12 November 2018

Essays in Reformational Philosophy

Clarence Joldersma, Professor of Education at Calvin College, has published an extended review of Religion, Truth, and Social Transformation (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016) and Art, Education, and Cultural Renewal (McGill-Queen’s UP, 2017), Lambert Zuidervaart’s recent volumes of essays in reformational philosophy. Clarence shows that Lambert’s work takes what Bob Sweetman’s Tracing the Lines (Wipf & Stock, 2016) calls the “holistic” approach to how faith relates to education and scholarship. He concludes: “Anyone interested not only in the reformational tradition, but also in seeing an excellent example of a holistic approach to Christian scholarship in action, would do well to look at these volumes. In the process, they would also come away with a thoughtful … critique of … contemporary society.” For the complete review, see Clarence Joldersma, “Essays in Reformational Philosophy—An Extended Review,” Christian Scholar’s Review 48, no. 1 (Fall 2018): 69-75.

Truth in a Post-Truth Society

Do we live in a “post-truth” era? Are appeals to emotion really replacing factual truth? Has truth become irrelevant? In “Philosophy, Truth, and the Wisdom of Love,” Senior Member emeritus Lambert Zuidervaart shows why standard philosophical notions of factual truth cannot do justice to the broader meaning of truth in the Jewish and Christian scriptures. Truth in this broader sense must be lived out, not simply asserted, and it requires us to seek the good, to resist evil, and to live in hope. This essay stems from the exaugural address Lambert gave in May 2017 after he retired from being a professor of philosophy at ICS and the University of Toronto; it appears in Christian Scholar’s Review 48, no. 1 (Fall 2018): 31-43.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Prayer Letter: December 2018

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen….
By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God,
So that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.
Hebrews 11:1-2 NRSV

Advent is a time of waiting and preparing for the coming of the Christ-child; a time of newness, of looking forward with hope, and of trying to make space to welcome (again) Christ into hearts. In terms of using the liturgical calendar as a way to experience various forms of spiritual disciplines, Advent also stands in a place of “not yet understanding,” of “not yet knowing,” of mystery. Of course we “know” that Christmas is coming. We know that we will celebrate the birth of Christ, and we already have the stories of his life. We know the adult before meeting the baby. The gift that Advent brings us, however, is a chance to practice, to some extent “not knowing” -- to practice a sense of hope and wonder, and fitful, even nervous, preparation for the birth of a long-awaited child. It is a time to prepare ourselves for a new year, where, when we start out by standing in a place of “not knowing” and mystery, we open ourselves to learning more about the Word we hear. In opening ourselves to really contemplating the mystery of the Incarnation, Advent becomes a time of listening and discovery along with its preparations of joy and wonder.
From Bob Sweetman’s book Changing to Stay the Same, Advent.

Monday, December 3 - Friday, December 7

On Saturday, December 1st, ICS hosted its 2018 Open House and Advent Concert. This evening of music, food, and fellowship was an opportunity for the larger ICS community to come together at our new location. We pray in thanksgiving for the success of this gathering and, in a special way, for the numerous ICS supporters and friends that visited us from far and wide..

Please take the opportunity this week to give thanks for our Board of Trustees as they continue to serve in their oversight of the mission and vision of ICS. Please pray for John Kamphof who takes over for John Valk as Chair, and for John Joosse as he takes on the position of Vice Chair. We give thanks for John Valk and his faithful service to ICS over his two terms on the Board.

On December 6th, ICS/CPRSE will host Dr. Esther Acolatse, Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology and Intercultural Studies at Knox College, for the Fall Term Scripture, Faith, and Scholarship seminar. Please pray that this event will be a time of fruitful exchange and reflection on the intersection of biblical scholarship and a life of faith.

As we begin this month which celebrates Christmas by the giving and receiving of gifts, we thank God for our committed and faithful friends for their gifts to us of prayer and financial support. We pray each one of you will receive the amazing gifts of love, joy and peace this Christmas season and are filled with hope with what God will do in the future.

Monday, December 10 - Friday, December 14

Please pray this week for students joining us at ICS in the next term. In particular, we ask for your prayers for those students planning to take our new MWS online course, Organized Religion, Christianity & Capitalism in Canada and the US, and for ICS PhD Candidate, Dean Dettloff who will be teaching the course.

ICS/CPRSE is an active member of the Canadian Interfaith Conversation (CIC), Canada’s premier inter-religious dialogue network. In the context of this partnership, CPRSE has been actively involved in the establishment of the Canadian Interfaith Research Centre for Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), a project seeking to become a leading voice in interfaith research in Canada. Please pray for the continued success of this important collaboration.

Thursday this week is the final day of classes for the fall semester at ICS. As is our custom, on Friday evening we will share in a time of fun, fellowship and good food at our annual Christmas Party. We give thanks for and celebrate the gifts we have in one another in this blessed community of learning in our new home.

Monday, December 17 - Friday, December 21

We pray for continued stamina and enthusiasm for our Senior and Junior Members who are preparing to start their new courses in January. We pray especially for Gideon Strauss as he finds rhythm and creative energy in his new administrative role as Academic Dean.

Please pray this week for PhD Candidate Dean Dettloff as he prepares for the defense of his thesis entitled: Christwreck: Christianity and Design on Wednesday, December 18th. Pray also for Ron Kuipers, Dean’s mentor, and the other examiners as they interact with Dean that the time will be fruitful and inspiring.

Monday, December 24 - Friday, December 28

Please pray today for the families of our staff, faculty and students as they spend time together at this special Christmas season. Some of our families are spread far and wide so we ask God for his protective hand on those who will be traveling. Pray too for those who cannot be with their loved ones because of distance or health reasons that they will be blessed by their local community while being apart from their families.

May the blessings of love, joy and peace be yours as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour this Christmas week.

Monday, December 31

As 2018 draws to a close, we give thanks for another fruitful year of work at ICS and for all our supporters and friends who made that work possible through their prayers and financial gifts. We especially give thanks to God for the strength, grace and wisdom he gave in the renovation process and move to our new home at 59 St. George Street. We pray for God's blessing upon our staff, faculty, and students as we work out our mission, in the classroom and beyond, throughout this next year.