Monday 15 July 2013

Tom Wolthuis to Preach in Owen Sound and Smithville this Month

On Sunday, July 21, ICS President Tom Wolthuis will be preaching at First CRC, 201 - 4th Avenue, Owen Sound.

On Sunday, July 28, he will be at Smithville CRC, 6522 Smithville Road, Smithville.

The Spirit of Technology: ICS Junior Member Joe Kirby Publishes Article in Online Academic Journal

Junior Member Joe Kirby has published a paper in the online academic journal Cosmos and History, vol. 9 no. 1 (2013), entilted “The Spiritual Meaning of Technological Evolution to Life”. The article treats the relationship between technology, evolution, and human spirituality in the context of the current ecological crisis. Click the link above to be taken to the journal’s Table of Contents page, where you can download a pdf copy of the article.

Thursday 4 July 2013

Tom Wolthuis to Preach in Kingston, St. Catharines, Owen Sound and Smithville in July

On Sunday, July 7, ICS President Tom Wolthuis will be preaching at Westside Fellowship, 1021 Woodbine Road, Kingston.

On Sunday, July 14, he will be at Jubilee Fellowship, 13 Wilholme Drive, St. Catharines.

On Sunday, July 21, he will be at First CRC, 201 - 4th Avenue, Owen Sound.

On Sunday, July 28, he will be at Smithville CRC, 6522 Smithville Road, Smithville.

Wednesday 3 July 2013

A Message for the People of Alberta

To our supporters and the people of Alberta who have been affected by the recent flooding:

We have read the news and watched TV coverage of the recent flooding in Calgary and surrounding areas and we were brought up short after seeing devastating images of the aftermath. Many of us have families and friends in Alberta and have visited on many occasions so to see it in such a state was unbelievable.

We think deeply of all of you who have been affected profoundly by one of nature’s disasters and the heartbreak, pain and loss that come along with it. Our hearts go out to all of you. We are also touched by the bravery, collaboration, and patience of Albertans as they deal with the aftermath of the flood.

We pray for all of you as you work to clean up and rebuild your lives and communities. We wish you, your family, and your community continued hope, courage, safety, and well-being— that your spirits will remain positive as you strive to recover and rebuild your beautiful cities in the days and months ahead.

Grace and peace
From all of us at ICS

Condolences to Henriette Thompson and Family

We extend our condolences to ICS Board of Trustees chair, Henriette Thompson, with the peaceful passing of her father, Jakob (Jack) Fokkens on June 15 in Brampton. A service of thanksgiving for his life was held at the Georgetown Christian Reformed Church on June 19.

Sarah Hyland in Thailand

Junior Member Sarah Hyland will be travelling to Thailand with her family for three weeks. While there, they will be working with the minority Shan ethnic group in Thailand at their request to learn English. They will also be supporting Shan leaders in their ministry as they grow their own churches and care for those affected by HIV/AIDS.

Wounded Gay Elephant - Presidential Musing by Dawn

In my early wanderings around the ICS community, visiting churches in Ontario, talking with supporters, listening to conversations and questions, I am picking up the scent of an elephant in the room. Yes, that one. I’m talking about the gay elephant.

Many people seem interested in discussing “the gay issue" with my husband and me. Some have talked about gay friends and relatives. Others are concerned that ICS is “liberal” based on a history of accepting gay people as Christian brothers and sisters. Some request biblical exegesis. Others are seeking pastoral guidance. Some have expressed disappointment that our leadership on this matter is insufficient right now when the church needs us. Others, no doubt, might be displeased that there is any mention of this elephant.

Ron Kuipers, the Director of our Research Centre, discusses this topic in a Ground Motive blog entry at

It has been two decades since the brouhaha surrounding ICS regarding homosexuality. I wasn't around for that. Almost none of the current employees of the Institute were here for that experience. For us, it is history. There seem to still be some wounds from this, however, both within and outside of ICS. The wounded gay elephant is an elephant, after all, and elephants never forget, right?

“Gay rights” is a hot topic right now. The US Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act recently and also opened the door again to gay marriages in California. Exodus International closed down and apologized. They had worked hard for many years to change gay people so they would live straight lives. Many people, including many Christians, consider gay rights to be today’s civil rights issue. Others consider it the most important gate-keeping issue for churches wishing to keep out those they deem to be unrepentant sinners. Perhaps some spend their lives working to rid the church of all sinners. We saw many empty church buildings in our recent drive around the Netherlands.

When visiting Holland for the first time in June, we met some distant relatives. One church-going relative mentioned this topic as something that divides Christians, indicating a hope that the churches in North America could be leaders regarding the treatment of gay people. Many people have suffered wounds.

Although I recognize that Reformed Christians have differing opinions about how the laws of our countries ought to treat gay people, I was really taken aback by what I heard from a Reformed Christian at the conference we attended in the Netherlands. She indicated that in her country of Nigeria, Christians had just had a victory (not her exact words, but this seemed to be the tone) in that people can now be locked up for fourteen years for homosexual behavior. Wow! There might be North American Christians who would agree with this law, but I trust that the vast majority of readers of this musing are as shocked and disappointed as I am that Christians today would fight for such a law.

More locally, we likely all know stories of someone who has been wounded by the treatment of gay people within our churches. Although there is disagreement within churches on this topic, there is likely also some commonality within our denominations. For example, can we agree that it is not right to lock up practicing homosexuals for fourteen years? Our Research Centre is working on a project related to Faith & Justice. I anticipate that I will learn something from this study regarding the church’s approach to justice. I have many questions. For example, how best can we, as Christians, practice justice in the area of homosexuality?

Justice has many variations. So do elephants.

Prayer Letter: July 2013

Monday, July 1: At the beginning of this month we celebrate Canada Day (July 1) here and Independence Day (July 4) in the U.S. Let us thank God for the many blessings we receive due to our good fortune in living in these countries. Also, while we are grateful for our lives here, we also pray for those people living in countries plagued by poverty and war.

Tuesday, July 2: ICS Board Chair Henriette Thompson’s father passed away last month. Please keep Henriette and her family in your prayers

Wednesday, July 3: We offer prayers for the people of Alberta who are affected by the recent flooding. We pray for courage and patience as they deal with the aftermath of this flooding.

Thursday, July 4: To all our members of the ICS community in the U.S., we pray for blessings as you celebrate Independence Day.

Friday, July 5: Junior Member Sarah Hyland and her family will be in Thailand for three weeks, working with the minority Shan ethnic group. We ask God for safe travel and blessings for this trip.

Monday, July 8: A group of alumni is working to set up an alumni network for ICS. Please pray for happy reunions between alumni and their alma mater, and also for a vibrant alumni association.

Tuesday, July 9: The summer months are often a time when Junior Members can give sustained attention to their Masters and PhD thesis projects. We pray for our Junior Members and ask for God's blessing and guidance on their research and writing.

Wednesday, July 10: There will be a Scripture, Faith and Scholarship Seminar at ICS with Dr. Andrew Basden, Professor of Human Factors and Philosophy of Information Systems at Salford University in the UK. We pray for blessings on all who attend.

Thursday, July 11: We pray for blessings for the Friends of ICS Board and all those who are doing advancement work in the US.

Friday, July 12: We offer prayers of thanks for the many people who have presented ICS with gifts of prayer, money, and expressions of appreciation, especially in these quiet summer months. We are blessed with your interest and support.

Monday, July 15: We continue to pray for safe and pleasant journeys and we pray for rest and renewal for the Senior Members and Administrative Staff who are enjoying vacations this month.

Tuesday, July 16: We ask for energy as we prepare for the new Junior Members who will be arriving in September.

Wednesday, July 17: The Leadership Team meets today. We pray for God’s wisdom to guide this meeting.

Thursday, July 18: We ask God to bless Senior Member Ron Kuipers as he continues his work as Director of our Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethics.

Friday, July 19: We offer prayers of praise for the talents of Senior Member Lambert Zuidervaart who has been named a Visiting Scholar at Calvin College.

Monday, July 22: We pray for stamina and wisdom for Senior Member Doug Blomberg as he continues in his role as Academic Dean.

Tuesday, July 23: Today we pray for God's help for those who are struggling with illnesses. We ask God for strength, patience and for good results from treatment.

Wednesday, July 24: Senior Members often spend much of the summer developing course curriculum and giving attention to research projects. We are extremely grateful for the work of our Senior Members and ask for God's blessing on them.

Thursday, July 25: Summer is here and many people are planning vacations. Many members of the ICS community will be traveling in the summer months to spend time with family and friends. We pray for safe travel and that the time spent with loved ones would be rich and refreshing.

Friday, July 26: Today we pray for stamina and wisdom for those who are involved in planning for our conference to be held next May in Edmonton.

Monday, July 29: We continue to pray for blessings and energy for ICS Presidents, Tom and Dawn Wolthuis, as they manage their many responsibilities.

Tuesday, July 30: We ask God's help and guidance for all those who are doing advancement work for ICS. Please pray that support for the vision and mission of ICS continues to grow.

Wednesday, July 31: We celebrate the addition of nine new Junior Members to the ICS community this fall, and we remember them in our prayers as they make the necessary preparations and transitions over the summer in order to begin their studies in September.