Wednesday, 19 February 2020

In Memoriam: Rev. Canon Scott McNaughton

It is with great sorrow that we share the news that the Reverend Canon Scott McNaughton passed away on February 17, 2020 after a battle against cancer.

Scott and his wife, Isabella Guthrie-McNaughton, graciously gave of their time, resources, and skills in service and support of ICS over many years. Scott was a steadfast and active member of the ICS community as, among other things, a dedicated reader of materials published by ICS and an avid fund-raiser on behalf of the school. He was also a reliable fixture at numerous ICS convocations, providing his vibrant piano-playing skills for the added enjoyment of students and attendees celebrating completed academic programs. This remains a fond memory for many ICS graduates, faculty, and staff to this day.

During Isabella's 13 years as ICS's Director of Library and Information Services, the available space for the ICS library was considerably downsized. She and Scott, in the face of that challenge, made possible the move of a large portion of the ICS library from our location in downtown Toronto to a storage location in Hamilton in the summer of 2009. It was Scott and his parish of St. Stephen-on-the-Mount Anglican Church that initially agreed to house the collection in the parish itself -- where it continues to be housed thanks to Scott and Isabella's indispensable efforts.

It was obvious to anyone who knew Scott that he had a servant's heart. This is evident both in and beyond his generous involvement in the work of ICS. Scott was a dearly beloved priest in the Anglican church for many decades, serving at a number of parishes across the diocese of Niagara during his 36 years in ministry: St. George’s in Guelph, St. Stephen’s in Niagara Falls, St. Paul’s in Jarvis, Christ Church in Nanticoke, and -- for the past 24 years -- at St. Stephen-on-the-Mount in Hamilton.

Details for services in celebration of Scott's life and ministry can be found here. Visitations will be held on Friday, February 21 from 2:00-4:00pm and 7:00-9:00pm at St. Stephen-on-the-Mount (625 Concession St., Hamilton). A memorial service for Scott will take place on Saturday, February 22 at 10:30am at Christ's Church Cathedral (252 James St. N., Hamilton).

The family welcomes your attendance to either of these services. They are also accepting donations in memory of Scott and his ministry: either to St. Stephen-on-the-Mount Anglican Church or to the Synod of the Diocese of Niagara - Children’s, Youth, and Family Ministry Fund.

We at ICS are grateful to have had Scott and his gracious spirit as a part of our own institutional life and to have borne witness to his life and broader work, though we are equally sad to have lost him so soon. In remembrance of the gift of his life, therefore, we both offer and ask for prayers of comfort for Scott’s beloved wife Isabella and son Sambath, as well as for his friends, colleagues, and parishioners past and present as they reckon with being parted from him in this life.

Rest in peace.

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.

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

ICS E-Newsletter: February 2020

Prayer Letter: February 2020

Monday, February 3 - Friday, February 7:

On Saturday, February 1, Bob Sweetman gave a paper titled "Aemulatio as Pedagogical and Amatory Ethos in Abelard and Heloise's Letter Exchange" at the Medieval Women III Conference held at the Pontifical Institute for Mediaeval Studies (Toronto)--29 Jan.-1 Feb. It is a prototype study examining the application of the notion of aemulatio or competitive imitation to various sectors of social and cultural life as the beginnings of a broad study of the roots of our contemporary Western fixation on "competition" as an (for many indeed the) essential component of human social and cultural flourishing.

February is tax receipt month at ICS! Please pray particularly for Harley Dekker and Vidya Williams as they lead the process of preparing the receipts for our donors and students. This is quite a time-consuming task and needs to be finished within the next two weeks. We ask for God’s sustaining grace for all involved.

Please pray this week and next for ICS’s Art in Orvieto 2020 -- a three-week Residence Seminar and Workshop for writers, artists and graduate students interested in exploring the relationship between art, religion and theology, taking place in Orvieto, Italy from July 16 to August 6th. This year there will be both an artists’ and writers’ workshop. The discounted early-bird application deadline is February 13th, while the regular application deadline is March 31st.

Monday, February 10 - Friday, February 14:

Please pray this week and next for our Senior Members as they work to finish the grading of their students’ assignments from the Fall 19 courses by February 14. We ask God to bless them in this important work of mentoring and give them the space and energy to finish the task well.

We want to give thanks for the encouraging meetings and events which Ron Kuipers and Gideon Strauss had at Trinity Western University in Langley, BC, and then at The King’s University in Edmonton. We give thanks to God for his watchcare as they travelled, for strength and creativity for Gideon as he delivered his keynote addresses at the IS Conference at King’s, and for the wonderful opportunities for engagement with our alumni and supporters..

Monday, February 17 - Friday, February 21:

Please join us in giving thanks for the tremendous response to our Advent appeal! We were so blessed by the generous donations and the encouraging notes that accompanied them. A huge thank you to our supporting communities for their gifts of inspiration and hope.

Reading Week commences on Monday of this week. This is a welcome opportunity for Junior and Senior Members alike to bury their heads in their books, or digital equivalents, and to concentrate on their current research. May they find joy and creativity in their studies.

February is the month in which faculty evaluate applications of prospective students and make decisions about who will be accepted to study at ICS. We pray for wisdom for the faculty in their deliberations, and for Elizabet, our Registrar, as she processes the applications and prepares the students’ admission files.

Monday, February 24 - Friday, February 28:

The fourth annual ICS Undergraduate Workshop has a call for papers out to undergraduate students looking for a chance to present their work. This year’s workshop is entitled “Evil, Resistance, and Judgment: Creating a World Fit for Human Habitation,” and will take place here in Toronto May 28-30th. We pray that interested students will find their way to this workshop prior to the proposal deadline of March 16th, and that the workshop will provide a supportive environment for them to explore their research ideas.

ICS’s Centre for Philosophy, Religion, and Social Ethics (CPRSE) continues to collaborate with academic and community partners in seeking opportunities to conduct research and curate knowledge mobilization events for the wider public. We pray that CPRSE will find fruitful and inspiring partnerships, maintaining ICS’s links to the community it serves and contributing to the dialogue needed in our world today.

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.