Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Matthew Kaemingk is Coming to ICS!

January 23, 1:30pm
Knox College (59 St. George Street), Classroom 2

Rev. Dr. Matthew Kaemingk will be coming to ICS as the next guest speaker in our Scripture, Faith, and Scholarship Symposium series. Rev. Dr. Kaemingk is the author of Christian Hospitality and Muslim Immigration in an Age of Fear (Eerdmans, 2018), and was just awarded Redeemer University College's 2019 Emerging Public Intellectual Award. Rev. Dr. Kaemingk will join us on Thursday, January 23 at 1:30pm to share some of his research on the topics of Christian public life, and contemporary Muslim immigration, and to discuss the relationship between his scholarship and his faith.

Our Scripture, Faith, and Scholarship Symposium is a wonderful opportunity for communal learning, and we look forward to welcoming Rev. Dr. Kaemingk, and to sharing this symposium with you all!

Additionally, on the previous evening (January 22), Rev. Dr. Kaemingk will deliver his World and Our Calling lecture entitled "Christian Hospitality and Muslim Immigration in an Age of Fear" at Redeemer University College in Ancaster. This lecture is open to the public, and you are also invited to attend. Details about this event may be found here:

Please email if you have any questions about these events.

Wednesday, 25 December 2019

ICS E-Newsletter: January 2020

Prayer Letter: January 2020

As our Advent campaign draws to a close, we want to take this opportunity to express our deep gratitude to you for your faithful support in 2019. We are excited about the impact we have made -- and will continue to make with your help. Your financial gifts, together with your prayers and encouragement, sustain our best efforts to make ICS a place where students are formed to await, expect, and participate in God’s new thing.

May God’s richest blessings be yours throughout 2020!

PS: If you haven't had the opportunity to contribute, you can still do so online:
Canadian Donors: Donate online via CanadaHelps at
US Donors: Donate online at
If you plan to send your gift via mail, the envelope must be postmarked no later than December 31, 2019 to be eligible for a 2019 charitable tax receipt. Thank you!

Wednesday, January 1 - Friday, January 3:

We ask for your prayers this week for our Senior Members Bob Sweetman, Rebekah Smick, and Nik Ansell 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 6 - Friday, January 10:

Please pray this week for Rebekah Smick who will be teaching the first class of the semester (Wednesday afternoon) in her course: “Reconsidering Kant’s Aesthetics.” We ask God to bless this learning opportunity with creative and insightful interaction.

On Wednesday evening this week, will be the first day of the course: “God in Flesh and Blood: Revolutions in Christology” with Nik Ansell. Pray for Nik and the students in this course that they might enjoy robust discussion of the material with one another.

This week (Thursday morning), we ask for your prayers for Bob Sweetman who will be teaching his course, “Spiritual Exercise as Christian Philosophy from Augustine to Bonaventure”. Pray too for our students, as well as the TST students who will be joining us, as they begin this new semester of learning.

Pray also this week for the three distance education courses which start this week: “Biblical Foundations,” taught by Jeffrey Hocking, “Set the Captives Free: Chistianity and Prison Abolition” taught by ICS PhD graduate Dean Dettloff, and “Foundations and Implications of Phenomenology” taught by ICS alumnus Neal DeRoo, professor at The King’s University in Edmonton.

Monday, January 13 - Friday, January 17:

Please pray for this year’s Interdisciplinary Seminar (IDS), titled “Naming the Divine Within and Without,” which meets weekly on Tuesday afternoon. With close attention to pre-modern Christian thinkers and contemporary scholars, this course will explore some of the ways in which a traditional understanding of transcendence and immanence has been maintained, modified, challenged, and reconceived since the advent of: the “linguistic turn,” the much-heralded “end of metaphysics,” and the alleged peril (and promise!) of a “post-truth” era. Pray for Senior Members Nik Ansell and Bob Sweetman as they lead this seminar.

This month, ICS/CPRSE is joining a number of academic institutions and community partners in a SSHRC Partnership Grant application spearheaded by the Centre for Community-Based Research in Waterloo, furthering the work done in the “Faith and Settlement Partnerships” research project. Please pray for the success of this collaborative effort designed to better serve Canada’s newcomers and their host communities.

Monday, January 20 - Friday, January 24:

Please pray this week for Ron Kuipers and Gideon Strauss as they travel to Langley, BC for meetings with the Society for Christian Schools in BC at Trinity Western University. While there, the SCSBC has volunteered to host a gathering of ICS supporters in the area and this will take place at TWU on Tuesday evening, January 21st. Please join us in prayer for both the meetings of ICS and SCSBC, and the evening event, that they will be productive and inspiring for all involved.

Then on Tuesday evening, Gideon Strauss will travel to Edmonton to take part as the keynote speaker in The King’s University’s Interdisciplinary Studies conference on January 22-23 titled “For Love or Money? Vocational Wayfinding.” Following the evening lecture on Wednesday, January 22nd, Ron Kuipers will host a reception for ICS supporters. Please pray for Gideon as he prepares his addresses and as he speaks on the connection between work and identity. Pray too that the get-together on Wednesday evening will be a good time of fellowship and conversation for all who attend.

On January 23th, CPRSE will host ICS’ Winter Term “Scripture, Faith, and Scholarship Symposium,” featuring recent Emerging Public Intellectual Award-winner Rev. Dr. Matthew Kaemingk. In the symposium, titled “Hospitality, Scripture, and Inter-religious Dialogue: Our Calling in an Age of Global Migration,” Dr. Kaemingk will speak about the major challenges to inter-religious dialogue in light of the most recent refugee crisis. Please pray that this event will be a fruitful opportunity to gather as an academic community as well as to reflect about some of the most pressing issues of our times.

Monday, January 27 - Thursday, January 31:

Plans are underway to host ICS’s fourth annual Undergraduate Workshop, on the topics of evil, resistance, and judgement. Following this year’s workshop, Senior Member Ron Kuipers and The King’s University professor Jeff Dudiak will be teaching the course: “Evil, Resistance, and Judgement: Hannah Arendt and Religious Critique.” Please pray for the course instructors and workshop planning team as they continue to put together this wonderful learning opportunity.

Plans are underway for ICS to hold its fourth “ART in Orvieto”, a 3-week summer residency in Orvieto, Italy for artists, writers, graduate students, upper undergraduates, and adult learners who have an interest in the theory and practice of art and faith. Please pray for a good response by interested applicants so that we will have the numbers to make this unique learning opportunity a success. For more information, please visit our website.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Ron Kuipers Presents at International Conference on Law and Religion

On October 6-8, 2019, President Ronald A. Kuipers attended and presented at the 26th Annual International Law and Religion Symposium, graciously hosted by the International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS) at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. 

The focus of the symposium this year was Human Dignity and Freedom of Religion or Belief: Preventing and Addressing Persecution. President Kuipers joined dozens of presenters and hundreds of attendees from all around the world to discuss various approaches to the question of how implementing the concepts of human dignity and religious freedom can help prevent and respond to persecution worldwide. More information about the conference, photos, and videos from panels, breakout sessions, and keynote addresses can be found here on the conference website.

President Kuipers presented on a panel entitled "Human Dignity and Religious Freedom: Conceptual Frameworks" alongside Tore Lindholm (Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, University of Oslo) and Alberto Melloni (Professor, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and Chair holder of the UNESCO Chair on Religious Pluralism and Peace, University of Bologna, Italy). 

You can view President Kuipers' presentation and the full panel discussion here.

Monday, 4 November 2019

Prayer Letter: December 2019

The Kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed;
nor will they say, “Look, here it is!” or “There it is!”
For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.
—Luke: 17:20-21

Monday, December 2 - Friday, December 6

On Saturday, November 30th, ICS hosted its second annual Advent Concert. The concert, titled “Creator of the Stars of Night” was held in the Knox College Chapel and featured the Incontra Vocal Ensemble with Matthew Otto, Artistic Director and Conductor. We give thanks for the beautiful evening and, in a special way, for the numerous ICS supporters and friends who visited us.

On Tuesday, December 3rd, ICS/CPRSE will host its Fall Term “Scripture, Faith and Scholarship Symposium.” This event has been organized and will be facilitated by students in the Educational Leadership stream of our MA program. We give thanks for this opportunity to come together as a community of learning under the leadership of our MA-EL students and we pray that the symposium can become a chance to reflect on the impact of our educational practices in the community we serve.

On Thursday, December 5th, Ron Kuipers and other members of our community will be representing ICS at a breakfast and panel discussion event in downtown Toronto put on by Cardus titled Capitalism, Culture and Character. We pray that this will be a good opportunity to engage in conversations around this contemporary topic and to build awareness of ICS and its programs.

Monday, December 9 - Friday, December 13

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 Joosse who takes over from John Kamphof as Chair, and for Diane Stronks as she takes on the position of Vice Chair. We give thanks for each trustee for their faithful service to ICS on the Board.

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.

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 continues to seek rhythm and creative energy in his administrative role as Academic Dean.

Monday, December 16 - Friday, December 20

As we look forward to next week 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.

Please pray along with us for one of our international students who is re-applying for a Canadian student visa so he can start his program in January. We ask for your prayers that this time the process with the Immigration Office will go more smoothly so he can finally start his program at ICS.

Monday, December 23 - Friday, December 27

Please pray today for the families of our staff, faculty and students as they spend time together during the 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 30 - Tuesday, December 31

As 2019 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 and wisdom he gave in the launch of our MA in Educational Leadership program. 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.

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Prayer Letter: November 2019

Friday, November 1:

Please pray for the Academic Council of the ICS during the course of this year, as they imaginatively consider the big picture and future strategy with regard to ICS's three main streams of education: our MA-PhD program, our MA (Phil) in Leadership program, and our MWS (Masters in Worldview Studies) and continuing education efforts. Pray particularly for the continued development of the MA in Educational Leadership.

Monday, November 4 - Friday, November 8:

Please continue to pray for ICS and especially Harley Dekker this week as the auditors finalize the annual audit of our financial records for the fiscal year that ended June 30. Once again, we have had some positive financial developments in the past year for which we are very thankful.

We would value your prayers this week as the staff and faculty, and our volunteers work together to get the latest issue of Perspective out in the mail to our ICS community. It is a busy and full day to prepare this mailing and we are grateful for those who give of their time and energy to help us complete it quickly. We ask God to bless our efforts with joy and fellowship as we work together.

Please pray this week for Junior Member Samir Gassanov as he prepares for his oral exam on Friday, November 8th. You will recall from the October prayer letter that Samir has been undergoing his pre-thesis examination process, a combination of essay writing and an oral exam in which he will defend his thesis proposal. Pray for strength and clarity of thinking for Samir as he presents his work, and for wisdom and discernment for Bob Sweetman and the other examiners on Friday during the oral exam.

Monday, November 11 - Friday, November 15:

The ICS Board of Trustees will meet on Friday in Toronto, one of two times per year when the Board is, for the most part, able to gather together in person. Pray for them as they prepare for and travel to Toronto for their deliberations. We praise God for calling each one of them to serve ICS in this way and we ask that their meeting will be blessed with insight and clarity of thinking as they give oversight to the vision and mission of ICS.

Our Annual General Meeting will also take place on Friday, November 15th at 59 St George Street in Toronto at 7:00 pm. Please pray for John Kamphof as he gives leadership to the meeting and for all those who will participate in the presenting of reports.

Monday, November 18 - Friday, November 22:

Please pray for our faculty (including adjunct faculty) as they teach in the final weeks of this term and as they prepare for their teaching in the quickly approaching Winter term. Pray too for our Academic Dean, Gideon Strauss, as he leads the faculty in their academic programming deliberations.

Pray also for those of our MA and PhD students who are working diligently to complete their degrees in the course of the current academic year. We ask God for creative minds and a steadfast heart as they pursue their educational goals for this year.

Please pray this month for the team of ICS/CPRSE’s podcast “Critical Faith” as they wrap up this semester’s lineup of activities and prepares for next semester. The podcast directors have been successful in creating a more dynamic format which has generated meaningful conversation between scholars, practitioners, faith leaders and ICS Senior and Junior Members. Please pray that our podcast will continue to be a space for fruitful exchange of ideas and an opportunity to carry out ICS’s mission beyond the borders of the classroom.

Monday, November 25 - Friday, November 29:

On November 25, Danielle Yett will orally defend her master’s thesis titled “Making Sense: An Expansive Study of Imagination, Structural Metaphor and Aesthetic Normativity with Calvin Seerveld.” Please pray for Danielle’s presence of mind during her defense, that she might faithfully present the research she has done. Please also pray for her mentor Rebekah Smick and the members of her thesis committee, that they might all have a time of fruitful discussion.

Please pray this week as we make final preparations for our special Advent Concert on Saturday, November 30th. The concert, titled “Creator of the Stars of Night” will be held in the Knox College Chapel and features the Incontra Vocal Ensemble with Matthew Otto, Artistic Director and Conductor. The concert will be held in support of the Institute for Christian Studies.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Shaping a Just Canada: CPRSE Event with Citizens for Public Justice

Shaping a Just Canada

When: Thursday, October 3, 7:00-9:30pm
Where: Christ Church Deer Park, 1570 Yonge St., Toronto, ON M4T 1Z8

The Centre for Philosophy, Religion, and Social Ethics (CPRSE) at ICS is pleased to partner with Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) to host Shaping a Just Canadaa non-partisan forum aimed at equipping voters with the knowledge needed to fully engage in the Canadian political process. CPJ is a faithful voice for social justice in Canadian public policy focused primarily on poverty in Canada, ecological justice, and refugee rights. CPJ’s fall tour will provide a non-partisan look at major issues leading up the fall federal election.

ICS/CPRSE and CPJ invite all members of the public to participate in this event as a means of gaining a clear and practical understanding of the key issues facing Canada in the upcoming election. Such understanding and engagement is especially key for Canada’s faith communities who bring important perspectives to our public discourse. 

The event will feature remarks from CPJ’s new Executive Director, Willard Metzger, and a panel presentation on immigration, refugees, and political participation led by members of Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) and CPRSE's own H├ęctor Acero Ferrer.

ICS/CPRSE is grateful to Christ Church Deer Park, an Anglican parish in midtown Toronto, for lending the use of their building for this event.

The event is free, but please register to attend at