Friday, 13 July 2018

Dr. Gideon Strauss Named New ICS Academic Dean



Effective September 1, 2018, Dr. Gideon Strauss will assume the role of ICS Academic Dean, replacing Dr. Robert Sweetman, who served ICS ably and faithfully in this role for the past three years. Happy to have served ICS' academic administrative needs in this way, Bob is now also happy to bequeath this responsibility to Gideon, so that he can focus more intently on several research projects he has in development, including a book-length manuscript on Thomas Aquinas.

For, his part, Gideon is looking forward to serving ICS in this important leadership role, saying: “I am grateful for this opportunity to serve my colleagues at the Institute for Christian Studies, as together we seek to nourish the love of God, of wisdom, and of the craft of scholarship.”

To ensure a smooth transition, Bob will serve as Chair of ICS’ Academic Council for one more year, thus allowing ICS to maintain uninterrupted development of existing and new academic programs while Gideon gets up to speed on these files and forges relationships with our academic partners at The Toronto School of Theology, Knox College, and The King's University in Edmonton.

The ICS community expresses its gratitude and appreciation to Bob for his years of effective and selfless service in this role, and welcomes Gideon to ICS' Leadership Team. We are looking forward to the contributions that Gideon will make at this fecund moment in the life of ICS.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Introducing a new MA (Philosophy) in Educational Leadership

ICS in partnership with the Christian Teachers Academy is excited to announce a new Masters of Arts (Philosophy) degree in Educational Leadership. This new program has been approved in principle by the ICS Senate with a program launch for fall 2018!

This Masters program has two strands: Educational Leadership Stream and Educational Classroom Stream. Early in the program students will define their overarching project, begin to develop an ongoing portfolio of learning, and the program culminates with a celebration of their learning.

The program will be delivered through blended instructional methods with many opportunities for online and face-to-face interactions. Individual courses in the program are approved for the Christian School Teachers Certificate (CSTC) and the Christian School Principals Certificate (CSPC). If you are looking to stretch and grow professionally, this is a program for you!

For further information or questions about the program, please contact our Registrar, Elizabet Aras (academic-registrar@icscanada.edu) or Harry Blyleven (The Christian Teachers Academy - hblyleven@hdch.org )

Monday, 11 June 2018

Adorno and Truth

Lambert Zuidervaart, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at ICS, has published a new essay on Theodor Adorno, a leading figure in the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory. The essay is titled “Surplus beyond the Subject: Truth in Adorno’s Critique of Husserl and Heidegger.” It appears in the current issue of Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy 22.1 (Spring 2018): 123-40. In this article, Lambert examines Adorno’s critique of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger on the topic of truth. He shows how, while offering legitimate criticisms, Adorno fails to provide an adequate alternative.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

In Memoriam: Morris Greidanus

by Robert Sweetman


Morris Greidanus’s adult life and the ICS were inextricably interlinked. It began in the heady heyday of the Groen Club at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI, the philosophy club that ran for many years under the mentorship of H. Evan Runner and sent so many eager young souls to the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam for intellectual formation within the Reformational tradition in philosophy. Morris roomed with Hendrik Hart and James H. Olthuis, the former a fervent Groen clubber, the latter still playing hard to get. That association would stick and so create conditions that would tie his subsequent career as pastor and theological mind to the work of the ICS once it opened its doors in 1967.

Morris went on to postgraduate study as did his former roommates but he himself gravitated toward theology and ordination into the ministry of the Christian Reformed Church in North America in 1964. His relationship to ICS grew very close indeed when he took a call to found a campus ministry at the University of Toronto in 1968. His “Hart House Ministry” was a very exciting enterprise that attracted ICS Junior and Senior Members as well as University of Toronto students. Indeed, well attended Sunday services in one of the large meeting rooms of Hart House on the St. George Campus of the University of Toronto meant that Morris had become in effect the pastor of his former roommates and chaplain of the ICS as well as the U of T. It was a pastorate of great spiritual energy and effect that lasted from 1968 to 1974.

In the way of ecclesiastical careers Morris took other calls to serve other communities of Christians and to serve his denomination in its highest synodical offices and yet his connection to ICS endured. He served on its board; he was a perennial MC of its Ontario Family Conference over many years, one half of a formidable tag team with spouse Alice who was an important leader in the all-important music ministry of the conference. Morris the ICS MC displayed Morris’ characteristic gifts. Above all, his wry humour, summoned with lightening swiftness and exquisite comic timing, rescued captive audiences from crushing ennui during the seemingly endless announcements that could not but accompany a conference with so many people, subprograms and volunteers. He managed to make announcement time a sparkling comedy routine filled with gentle humour and heartfelt laughter, not once or twice but time and again over the course of an entire long weekend, year in and year out.

That humour marked the man in so very important ways. It allowed him to maintain connections with people on all sides of the issues that came to divide the several communities within the Reformed world that he made his own. It was not that he didn’t have a place within communal debates; it is that he saw no reason why differences of opinion couldn’t coexist with a warm recognition of one’s interlocutor too as a child of God. This allowed him to be an effective voice in the controversies that seemed to cling around the ICS from its earliest days, patiently explaining what ICS was trying to do to those who did not understand and/or found they could not approve. This was a role he never laid down even in periods when he was less close to the heart of things at ICS. Of course, his theological collaboration with brother-in-law and long-time ICS Senior Member in Theology George Vandervelde—culminating in the appearance of “Our World Belongs to God,” the CRCNA’s contemporary testimony—did not hurt when it came to maintaining warm connections. “Our World Belongs to God” remains to this day a jewel of theology in service of the witness of the people of God.

I wonder if it wasn’t the retirement of Jim Olthuis and George Vandervelde that reintroduced Morris to the living heart of ICS, for he MC-ed both their retirement dinners to great success. At any rate, Morris became a mover and shaker in ICS’s Friends of ICS board in the U.S. and then acting president when Harry Fernhout moved to The King’s University in Edmonton and ICS had to wait an extra year for the advent of Harry’s successor John Suk. Throughout the academic year 2005-2006, he would be on campus spreading his personal serenity to the Senior Members, staff, and Junior Members of ICS in what was an anxious time. I like to think that some of that virtue has remained even in the more anxious times that followed.

Certainly, Morris remained an enthusiastic member and later chair of the FICS board. Just days before his passing, when new President Ron Kuipers was in Grand Rapids to attend the CRCNA’s annual synod, he called Morris hoping to meet with him. By then Morris was in hospital with pneumonia. Alice took the call, gave Ron the low down, and then invited him to come to Morris’ hospital bed to carry on his intended conversation, provided he did not have a cold. That is dedication. Yes, Morris’s adult life and ICS’ has been a mutual dance where both partners have taken turns with the lead to mutual benefit. We know that Morris Greidanus is irreplaceable. His passing is a loss to be sure. But his perseverance and talent and winsome love have ever been and so will remain a great blessing now baked into all that is best of what ICS has been able to do and be.

Requiescat in pacem. Thanks be to God.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Prayer Letter: July 2018

Sunday, July 1 - Friday, July 6

On July 1, people across Canada celebrate Canada Day, and ponder the blessing of living in a country that is relatively free from strife, that cherishes its ability to provide universal healthcare, and in which many are fortunate to enjoy a good quality of life. This anniversary of Canada’s confederation also gives us a moment to pause and consider the ways we can do better as a country, including achieving justice for and reconciliation with Canada’s indigenous peoples, adopting a strategy to address national poverty more effectively, including the development of a national affordable housing program, and increasing action for ecological justice. When we consider the blessings we receive by living in relative peace and prosperity here in Canada, we think of the global refugee and migration crisis, and pray for those desperate people enduring or fleeing from poverty and war. And to all members of the ICS community in the United States, we pray for God’s richest blessings as you celebrate Independence Day, and may you also use this occasion to pause and consider similar ambiguities in your nation’s witness to the world as a voice for justice and peace.

Please pray this month for our Registrar, Elizabet, as she looks after the academic details needed to be ready for the beginning of the school year in September, such as new courses being approved, registration of students, course schedules, and working with the faculty to get all the course syllabi up on the website. Pray too as she works with the new students in their application process and decisions around course selection.

Monday, July 9 - Friday, July 13

As we begin this new fiscal year, we continue to face challenges. At the same time, we are encouraged by the possibilities the Lord will bring our way, and seek His wisdom and guidance. We look forward to our move to Knox, and work hard to balance the size of the task with the opportunities that this relocation will present for ICS. It has been a challenging year from a budgeting point of view, due to the presidential transition and the delays in getting the lease at Knox signed. With those issues behind us, we are anticipating a good start to our new fiscal year.

Please pray for long-time PhD candidate, Benjamin Groenewold, as he meets with ICS supervisor Bob Sweetman on July 10th about the latest complete draft of his PhD thesis. Benjamin works with his wife and fellow ICS alumna, Dr. Tricia van Dyk, for the LCC International Univeristy in Lithuania, where he teaches courses on Worldview to college students.

We are so very grateful for the continued commitment of our supporters and pray God’s abundant blessing on each one. This support means so much to us, especially as we begin the new fiscal year with the Renaissance ICS campaign, as explained in last month’s appeal letter. Pray for sustained grace and strength as we work to achieve the goals set out before us in our renovation plan for our new home at Knox College. Pray too for vision and creativity as we move forward with new program initiatives and partnership development.

Monday, July 16 - Friday, July 20

Please pray for our Art in Orvieto program that begins on July 15 and runs for three weeks into the beginning of August. Again, we have had good subscription to both our artists' workshop and ICS course that looks at the role of the image in the three main Christian traditions. Please pray for safety both for students and faculty as they travel to and around Italy, and pray that they might have a fruitful time learning, creating, and appreciating art together.

Please join with us in prayer this month as we make decisions about downsizing and begin the ominous task of packing what we will take with us to Knox College. Pray that we will know God’s grace and strength during this time of upheaval in our normal working day, and that we might enjoy a sense of joy and excitement together as we anticipate moving into our new home. As Bob Sweetman so eloquently put it in the meditation he wrote in the summer of 2009, when ICS moved down to the first floor of 229 College: “Even in moves there are things to pray about in gratitude, not just anxiety …. Thank God for the moves we all make; how else would we know we weren’t rocks. And may God be with us in our moves, even to the end of the age.”

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.

Monday, July 23 - Friday, July 27

Please pray for our PhD candidate, Joshua Harris, who, with his wife Sarah and son Rowan, will be moving to Edmonton 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 The King's University.

Please continue to pray for our dear friends, Alice Greidanus and Janet Borgdorff and their families, as they grieve the loss of Morris and Peter. We pray that God will be very present with them and that they will know his abundant grace and peace during this difficult time.

The Centre for Philosophy, Religion, and Social Ethics (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 working on the final editing stages 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.

CPRSE’s Research Assistants, Grace Carhart and Dean Dettloff have contributed immensely to the life of ICS, keeping the community informed through social media, helping with the planning and execution of events, and assisting in other projects run by the Centre, including our new podcast Critical Faith. We pray in thanksgiving for the contribution of Grace and Dean to ICS community through their involvement in the CPRSE, and ask for God’s continued blessings on them.

Monday, July 30 - Tuesday, July 31

Please pray for our Librarian, Hilary Barlow who will be applying for permanent residency/landed immigrant status within the next seven months. Pray that the process of putting the myriad of documents and information together for the application will go smoothly so she can make the February 2019 deadline with little hassle. Hillary is currently on a temporary work permit, but once she makes application, she is eligible to extend the work permit until she gets an answer on her application.

Please pray for Bob Sweetman as he attends the Annual Aquinas Studium, held this year at Villanova University in the Philadelphia area July 29-August 2. The theme of the Studium will be Thomas Aquinas's Trinitarian thought. He will be leading in the presentation of a series of readings that will be the basis for discussions during one of the morning sessions. This will be a great warm up for Bob as he gears up to teach a seminar on Aquinas's presentation of the phenomenon and reality of miracles within the frame set for them by the framing notions of "nature" and "the supernatural".

Currently, CPRSE is exploring new partnership possibilities with community organizations that share the spirit of inquiry and openness of ICS. Please pray that CPRSE is able to continue its history of partnership through collaborations that are fruitful and life-giving in the new academic year.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

2018 CONVOCATION AND PRESIDENTIAL INSTALLATION


On May 11, 2018, the ICS community gathered for the Convocation of Junior Members Julia de Boer, Godfrey Nkongolo, Mark Novak, and Joseph Kirby. All those present celebrated in gratitude the commitment and insights that these graduands offered to ICS during their years at our institution, and wished them well as they continue to respond to God’s call in their future undertakings.
This year’s Convocation included the Installation of our eighth President, Dr. Ronald A. Kuipers and his Inaugural Address, Something We Don’t See: ICS and the Training of a Messianic Imagination
In his address, Dr. Kuipers described ICS “as a singular witness to the crucial difference that Christian faith makes in all areas of life,” a place where students are taught “to think about contemporary society, both its blessings and its curses, in light of a story about a God who made the world good, and loves it.” In closing, he charged the graduands “to hold onto and cherish” this messianic story, deeply infused in the life of ICS.

To read the address in our Institutional Repository, click here, and to watch the YouTube video, click here.
For a slideshow with pictures from the event, click here.