Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Allyson Carr's New Book

ICS PhD alumna Allyson Carr has just received notification that Palgrave Publishing has awarded her a contract to publish a much revised version of her ICS 2012 PhD thesis under the title: Story and Philosophy for Social Change in Medieval and Postmodern Writing: Reading for Change.

The book takes up the work of Christine de Pizan, Luce Irigaray and Allyson's own very deep distillation of the philosophical work of Hans-Georg Gadamer to explore the work of fiction within philosophy. This is a wonderful testament to the hard work and perseverance of Allyson and at the same time to the quality of work done by ICS PhD candidates.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Prayer Letter: January 2017

Tuesday, January 3: Winter Semester starts today, and the first course up this morning is Rhetoric as Philosophy from Isocrates to the Age of Abelard and Heloise, with Dr. Robert Sweetman. We pray for an energetic and edifying three hours!
Please note that further detail about this semester’s courses can be found at http://courses.icscanada.edu/search/label/W17.

 Wednesday, January 4:  Each year we offer an Interdisciplinary Seminar (“IDS”), which includes all available Senior Members. This semester’s offering is Archaeology, Power and “Truthtelling” in Michel Foucault as Challenge to and Resource for Christian Thought. Bob Sweetman will be teaching again this morning, ably joined by Dr. Nik Ansell. This will no doubt be a challenging but rewarding session. May the Lord bless Junior and Senior Members alike as they interact in pursuit of understanding and wisdom.

Thursday, January 5:  This morning, Dr. Nik Ansell leads God/Sex/Word/Flesh: Gender, Theology, and the Body. He brings fresh eyes to the biblical text, in ways that are often provocative but always an encouragement to Junior Members to delve deeper and follow the Spirit’s guidance to hear the Word of God with greater clarity. May our Lord bless them richly in this quest.
Later today, Dr. Ron Kuipers returns to his favoured time slot to teach Pragmatism and Religion: From Classical to Neo. A noted authority on Richard Rorty, Ron always attends to the implications for serving Jesus in daily life and scholarship, as expected from someone who has learned so much from his study of the pragmatists, and no doubt even more from his mentor, Senior Member Emeritus Dr. Henk Hart. Please uphold Ron and his students as they work this afternoon to the glory of God.

Friday, January 6:  The response to our Advent Appeal, still ongoing, has been marvellous. At time of writing, we have met our targets in most areas, and we encourage everyone to continue to give, thus sustaining our mission in Christian graduate education. We are deeply thankful to God for His provision, and also for you, our faithful members and donors.

Monday, January 9:  Our off-campus courses begin today. The first two are in on-line (distance) format: Biblical Foundations, led by Jeff Hocking (PhD Candidate and Registrar) and Leadership: Vision and Mission, to which we welcome Dr. Dirk Windhorst (late of Redeemer University College) as Instructor and Adjunct Faculty. The third course is Vocational Wayfinding, with Dr. Gideon Strauss; this will be offered in hybrid mode (partly on- and partly off-campus). May the teaching and learning in these courses redound to the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, January 10:  In mid-December, we received the very welcome news from The King’s University that they hope we proceed expeditiously in our discussions towards the merger of our institutions. Praise God! King’s President, Dr. Melanie Humphreys, will this month prepare an agreement clarifying the terms of this endeavour and how we will move forward. This will help to frame a meeting (probably virtual) between representatives of King’s and ICS. Please importune our Sovereign Lord that there be positive outcomes of this stage, and that further steps may be taken to achieve the partnership we fervently desire.

Wednesday, January 11:  John Calvin has been credited with inventing committees, and we certainly have quite a few of these! These are all essential, of course (we do not establish committees without necessity, to echo Occam’s Razor), and a prime example is our Educational Policy Committee, meeting this afternoon. As most of you well know, EPC is the first rung in our ladder of oversight, from whence proposals for our academic program proceed to the Academic Council and thence to Senate (and ultimately, the Board of Trustees). Please pray for the members of this committee, and for all who have been entrusted with this responsibility as the ladder is ascended. May we be reminded that there is a ladder from earth to the Throne of God, and may we implore Him to gift each and every one with insight and wisdom. May God indeed be the truly ultimate overseer of our vision and mission.

Thursday, January 12:  We expect to hear the week after next about the sale of our share in 229 College Street. This is of crucial importance to us, in itself and also in relation to our negotiations with King’s. King’s rightly wants us to present a balanced budget. We have all been praying about this for some time, and we must continue to do so. Thank you for being our prayer partners--I hesitate to say “prayer warriors”, but we do need to recall that we are in a battle, not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities in the heavenlies.

Friday, January 13:  The Finance Committee meets this month, at a time not determined at the time of writing. This is a very important meeting, indeed, as plans have to be in place for our essential goal of a balanced budget for the next financial year. Once again, there are hard decisions to make. Though the parameters of the budget have been set, the details need to be finalised, for consideration by the Board. Our prayers need to be with them.

Monday, January 16:  Please pray with us as we work to revitalise ICS's continuing education contribution around the metaphor of Wayfinding. We are experimenting with ways of leveraging a Reformational understanding of vocation: in our Wayfinding MWS at large, in versions of Vocational Wayfinding online, and in the community we are building via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. As well as enrolling students in the courses, we need to partner effectively with churches and other ministries and organisations if we are to have the long term benefit and impact we hope for.

Tuesday, January 17:  The adage that “teaching is in the service of learning” underscores the fact that Junior Members are at the heart of our mission. Please pray for them as they work assiduously in their studies (they all certainly do this!), and for their families and friends, who support them in their dedication to Christian scholarship. It comes at a cost, and often does not ultimately reward them in the way people in similar callings can anticipate. But they come to ICS to seek treasures that will not rust and decay, but belong to the Kingdom of God. At this time, please pray also for Junior Members working hard on another JM issue of Perspective. We know how much this initiative was appreciated a couple of years ago, and we are thankful to them and to God that they have again volunteered for this.

Wednesday, January 18:  As noted previously, Academic Council is a vital link in the chain (yes, a switch from the ladder metaphor) that binds our core mission, that of teaching and mentoring those who will provide biblically authentic academic leadership in colleges and universities and in many other roles besides. Do please pray for Council as it convenes this afternoon.

Thursday, January 19:  Pray for CPRSE Director Ron Kuipers and ICS Junior Member Hector Acero-Ferrer as they develop case studies of partnerships between faith-based and government-funded settlement organisations. Ron and Hector will conduct key informant and focus group interviews with representatives from the Interfaith Council of Peel, the Peel Newcomers Strategy Group, and World Renew. This research is part of a two-year SSHRC Partnership Development project, Faith and Settlement Partnerships: Setting Newcomers and Canada Up for Success, led by the Centre for Community-Based Research in Kitchener, Ontario.

Friday, January 20:  We currently have a few vacancies on the Board of Trustees. Thankfully, a number of people have stepped up for this responsibility -- and have done so enthusiastically! The Board tends our vision and mission, so is vitally important. Ballots will be sent with the Membership package early next month. Please pray for those who have offered themselves, and for all of us in preparing to vote.

Monday, January 23:  The Leadership Team meets every two weeks, thus including this morning’s meeting. Bob Sweetman (Dean), Ron Kuipers (CPRSE), Pat Webb (Advancement) and Harley Dekker (Finance) constitute this committee, charged with consulting with and advising President Doug Blomberg. Please pray for their deliberations, as together they seek direction for ICS as a whole, not as just a collection of parts.

Tuesday, January 24:  As reflected in the last issue of Perspective and the graphic on the front page of the Annual Report, our alumni are spread across the world and serve in many different capacities. There are numerous others who could have been identified but, whether named or not, please pray for them whoever and wherever they are. They are continuing to carry the vision of a world in which “not one square inch or centimetre” is acknowledged to be beyond our Lord’s control.

Wednesday, January 25:  The sale of our share of the building, for which we prayed two weeks ago, will in one way or another affect where will be located. We have been exploring various sites, and believe we have found something quite suitable. We do need to cut our rental costs significantly and hope this will be possible. Pray with us that the Lord leads us to a place where we can viably continue our mission.

Thursday, January 26:  Give thanks for the ICS Advancement and Administrative Teams: Pat Webb, Kathy Lynch, Vidya Williams, Harley Dekker and Jeff Hocking. They make a vital contribution to the execution of our mission, and support it wholeheartedly. They are faithful servants indeed (“administrators” are “ministers”), a calling Paul affirms as a gift.

Friday, January 27:  This afternoon, Presidents of the Association of Reformed Colleges and Universities meet in Washington DC, in conjunction with the Coalition of Christian Colleges and Universities. The latter focuses on US concerns; ARCU is an annual gathering of our sibling institutions, on both sides of the border. President Doug Blomberg will participate in this important opportunity to gather with our closest partners. Please pray our bonds will be strengthened even more, especially as we seek to reposition ourselves in an alliance with The King’s University.

Monday, January 30:  In Fall this year, we will celebrate our Jubilee, DV. We have very much indeed to be thankful for. All of us in our reformational tradition know what a life-changing matter it was for us, in coming to understand that Jesus is King over all creation, scholarship not excluded. Yes, some were born into it, and have been faithful to it; some were converted to it, captured (perhaps, enraptured) by a fuller, more comprehensive expression of the gospel. Praise God for His incarnation in Jesus, our Lord and Saviour. And pray as we head into this year for those who will be planning the best way to bring us together in what promises to be a stellar celebration! Hallelujah!

Tuesday, January 31:  New Year’s Eve was a month ago, and “Auld Lang Syne” was oft sung. At the end of this month, we take time to remember our forebears, without whom ICS would not be what it is. We remember especially our Emeriti, Calvin Seerveld, Henk Hart, Jim Olthuis, Lambert Zuidervaart, and the late George Vandervelde. We by no means name all those who have contributed to our ICS reformational tradition, but we would be (and are) much the poorer without them.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Art in Orvieto Information Night, Dec. 1

Art in Orvieto Information Night
Thursday, 1 December 2016, 7–8:30pm
Toronto School of Theology
47 Queen’s Park Crescent East · map

Building Our Whole Society: Religion and Citizenship at Canada's 150th

As a member of the Canadian Interfaith Conversation, ICS/CPRSE Director Ronald A. Kuipers is helping plan a two-day multi-sectoral conference on the theme of religious citizenship, to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Canada's confederation. Titled Building Our Whole Society: Religion and Citizenship at Canada's 150th, the event will be held at St. Paul University in Ottawa on May 8-9, 2017. Confirmed keynote speakers are Dr. John Borrows, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law, Nexen Chair in Indigenous Leadership, University of Victoria, as well as the prominent Canadian public intellectual Dr. John Ralston Saul.

Announcement from Dr. John Valk, Chair, Board of Trustees

ICS has been in conversation with The King’s University in an effort to determine whether some partnering arrangement might be a possibility. The Board received a Proposal to Merge from King’s President Melanie Humphreys two weeks ago that moved the discussion along significantly.

The ICS Board of Trustees reviewed the proposal on Saturday November 12th. After considerable discussion, Trustees agreed to give this serious consideration. We communicated to President Humphreys that the Board is committed to making a partnership with King’s a reality. This response was received with enthusiasm.

There are still quite a number of issues to be worked through, primarily the matter of ICS’s Ontario Charter and the development of an appropriate financial model. ICS will in the next few weeks respond to the numerous items contained in the MOU in order to seek further clarification and to begin to state ICS’s desires in the creation of a partnership. While we are at a beginning phase, the prospect of a joint venture with King’s creates new possibilities for both institutions.

May much light, wisdom and insight guide and direct us all as we seek to further the mission and vision of ICS as it has been entrusted to us, and in a new way so that its endeavours may continue to flourish.

New Research Partnership of Faith and Immigration/Refugee Settlement

This year, CPRSE joined a new, two-year research project led by our friends at the Centre for Community-Based Research in Kitchener-Waterloo, and funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s Partnership Development Grant program. Titled Faith and Settlement Partnerships: Setting Immigrants and Canada up for Success, the project explores ways to build upon the successful track record of settlement organizations working together with faith groups to welcome and help establish newcomers to Canada. We are leading two of six case studies, focusing on the work of CRCNA’s World Renew as a federally sanctioned Sponsorship Agreement Holder, as well as the work between the Peel Newcomers Strategy Group and the Interfaith Council of Peel. As a co-applicant to this Partnership Development Grant, ICS received funding for a Research Assistant to work on the project in 2016-17. The CPRSE has hired ICS Ph.D. candidate Hector Acero Ferrer to fill this role, and he is already hard at work on the project.

Chris Cuthill PhD Defence

Junior Member Chris Cuthill successfully defended his ICS Ph.D. thesis “Cross Pollination: The Crucifixion in Holocaust Art” on November 11. A student of Senior Member Rebekah Smick, Chris examined the use of Christian crucifixion imagery in Jewish art responding to the Holocaust. We offer Chris hearty congratulations on this fine accomplishment and much encouragement as he continues his work as Art Chair at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Lambert Zuidervaart at Harvard

Professor Emeritus Lambert Zuidervaart presented a new paper on the philosopher and social critic Theodor Adorno at Harvard University on November 19. The paper, titled “History and Transcendence in Adorno’s Idea of Truth,” was part of a special conference to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the German publication of Adorno’s most important book on epistemology, ethics, metaphysics. More details are at the conference website for “Adorno’s Negative Dialectics at Fifty.”

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Ruthanne Crapo Presenting Papers

ICS Alumna Ruthanne Crapo is at the Department of Philosophy at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College.

Last June Ruthanne traveled to Bristol, UK to an invited workshop with her dissertation figure, Luce Irigaray. She presented with the other workshop attendants on the following: “Practicing an Irigarayan Ethic: Animal Welfare and Ecological Feminism – Extending the Work of Luce Irigaray.”

She has also received an invitation to present next March at the American Philosophical Association Midwest Regional Conference at the Radical Philosophy Association’s panel. She will be co-presenting with a colleague and two students and their title is as follows: “Decolonizing Philosophy: Subaltern Orality and Theories of Justice.”

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Prayer Letter: December 2016

Thursday, December 1:  Pray for the necessary enrolments in the Art in Orvieto courses and workshops in summer 2017, as the deadline draws near. This is an exciting reprise of this event two years ago, but cannot operate without the income to support it. Pray especially for the information event at Toronto School of Theology this evening.

Friday, December 2:  We give thanks for Wednesday night’s Mystical Landscapes event at the Art Gallery of Ontario, particularly the sold-out lecture by Charles Taylor (enabled by Senior Member Rebekah Smick’s invitation).

Monday, December 5:  We praise God for Chris Cuthill’s PhD defence last month. May our Lord continue to prosper him in his vocation as Chair of the Art faculty at Redeemer University College. [See News on our website, www.icscanada.edu, for more detail.]

Tuesday, December 6:  Senior Member Gideon Strauss will be speaking on vocational wayfinding at Smithville Christian High for their Career Day tomorrow. This arises from interest stirred by teachers attending Gideon’s Edifide (Ontario Christian Teachers’ Association) workshop. He will present the keynote ("Love God and Do What You Want") and twice lead a workshop ("Your Next Five Years"). Please uphold Gideon and those participating in your prayers.

Wednesday, December 7:  The Educational Policy Committee meets this afternoon. It is the “first stop” on the way to approval of courses and general curricular matters, making recommendations to the Academic Council, from whence they are presented to the Senate. We ask our Lord to gift them with wisdom in their deliberations.

Thursday, December 8:  We are currently negotiating a merger with The King’s University [see News]. Please pray for all involved in this very welcome but complex process. To repeat the prayer of John Valk, Board Chair: “May much light, wisdom and insight guide and direct us all as we seek to further the mission and vision of ICS as it has been entrusted to us, and in a new way so that its endeavours may continue to flourish.”

Friday, December 9:  Please pray for Senior Member Ron Kuipers, as he plays his part in planning the Building Our Whole Society conference in May next year. [See News.]

Monday, December 12:  We ask for your prayers for students hoping to join us at ICS in September 2017. Pray for them as they prepare and arrange their application materials to meet the February deadline, that they will have clarity of purpose and the Holy Spirit’s confidence in their direction for this stage of their lives.

Tuesday, December 13:  With a view to both the impending sale of 229 College Street and the need to reduce our rental costs, we continue to investigate potential sites in the vicinity of the University of Toronto. There are promising signs indeed, and we implore our Sovereign God for direction.

Wednesday, December 14:  Academic Council is scheduled to meet this afternoon, whether in person or virtually. Please pray for God’s guidance as they map out responsibilities for the coming semester, including preparing materials for the Senate meeting in May.

Thursday, December 15:  Today is the final day of classes for the fall semester. As is our custom, we meet this evening to share a fellowship meal and convivial conversation at our Christmas Party, a time to celebrate the gift each is to one another in the Body of Christ. Praise Jesus for this precious gift of relationships he bestows!

Friday, December 16:  A few PhD candidates are applying for teaching positions at this time. We come before the Throne of Grace to ask for fulfilled opportunities as they take another step in their vocation as Christian scholars.

Monday, December 19:  With the start of the Christmas break, many Junior Members will be busy writing papers for their courses. We pray for them in this very demanding time, that they will be able to focus on their work, but also have the space to enjoy quality time with family and friends.

Tuesday, December 20:  As the day of celebration of Christmas in the giving and receiving of gifts approaches, we thank God for our committed and faithful friends for their gifts of prayer and financial support. We pray each one of you will receive the amazing gifts of love, joy and peace, this Christmas season.

Wednesday, December 21:  We praise God for the acceptance for publication of Allyson Carr’s book, Changing the Story: Reading Tradition for Transformation in the Work of Christine de Pizan and Luce Irigaray. This is based on her PhD dissertation.

Thursday, December 22:  We give thanks to our Lord for our Board members who retired after the November meetings: Ansley Tucker (Chair), James van Manen (Secretary), Peter Brouwer and Philip Preville. We pray also for those who have or soon will be nominated to serve.

Friday, December 23:  On Christmas Day, we celebrate Jesus, the Messiah Christ, who came to dwell with us -- “Emmanuel”! He gives us life; He renews our life. He is our Creator, Redeemer, Comforter. May we know God’s presence, not just on Christmas Day, but this day, for he is the King of All Days. Hallelujah!

Monday, December 26:  Please pray for CPRSE Director Ron Kuipers and Research Assistant, Junior Member Hector Acero Ferrer in their engagement with the Faith and Settlement project [see News].

Tuesday, December 27:  We continue in prayer for the sale of 229 College Street, which we have long anticipated. This is very important for our financial plans, which include reserving the bulk of our revenue from this for an endowed position.

Wednesday, December 28:  We ask for your ongoing support for staff and faculty as they continue to deal with the aftermath of the difficult financial and employment decisions implemented in July. And we give thanks for their faithfulness in adjusting to these sad and costly circumstances, in straitened times.

Thursday, December 29:   The family and friends of Staff, Faculty and Junior Members are spread far and wide, as are our alumnae and alumni. We know, wherever we are, we are united in the bonds of our relationships, and in many, many cases, in the bonds of Christ. We ask our Lord to comfort our loved ones in our absence and to comfort we who are apart from them. The Christmas season can be a particularly trying time to be separated from those we hold dear.

Friday, December 30:  The new year is upon us, but in calendar terms only, as our Church year already began with Advent and Christmastide. We look back with thankfulness for what God has graced us with. And we look forward in fast-held and fast-founded hope, where the love, comfort and advocacy of the Holy Spirit is shed abroad.

Philosopia Reformata Set for sale

As part of his involvement in Christian university education ICS supporter Jack Vos has accumulated a set of the periodical PHILOSOPHIA REFORMATA. It's a complete set from the first issue in 1936 through 2009. Now he is downsizing his library, and would like to find a person who could make use of it.

PHILOSOPHIA REFORMATA - A rare, complete set from 1936 through 2009, in very good condition, not bound. Price negotiable. Contact Jack Vos @ jbvos@sympatico.ca or call 705-726-2894

Friday, 4 November 2016

Charles Taylor: Religion, the spiritual and art

In conjunction with the Mystical Landscapes exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario, philosopher Charles Taylor will speak about how attitudes toward religion influence understanding of modernity and its culture.

Wednesday November 30, 2016 at 7 pm
Baillie Court, Art Gallery of Ontario
Members $15 | Public $17 | Students $10

For more information visit www.ago.net/charles-taylor-religion-the-spiritual-and-art

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Reformational Conception of Truth

Professor Emeritus Lambert Zuidervaart has published a new essay in Philosophia Reformata, the journal published by the Association for Reformational Philosophy in the Netherlands. The essay summarizes his current work on developing a Reformational conception of truth. It is titled “Holistic Alethic Pluralism: A Reformational Research Program,” Philosophia Reformata 81, no. 2 (2016): 156-78.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

2016 Annual General Meeting

The ICS Annual General Meeting will be held on Friday, November 11 at 7:00 p.m. at the Institute for Christian Studies, 229 College Street, Toronto.

Members are cordially invited to participate in this gathering. Reports from the Treasurer and the President will be presented. There will be opportunity to discuss matters arising from these and other items on the Agenda. Most members of the Board of Trustees will be attending; it will be a great chance to meet with the people who shepherd the vision and mission of ICS. Please come, if you're able.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Philip Shadd at Ryerson

On Thursday October 27th CPRSE Research Associate Philip Shadd presented his most recent research, which concerns the issue of institutional rights and of hospitals as conscientious objectors in particular. His line of argument is inspired and informed by neo-Calvinist social thought. This issue and argument should especially be of interest to anyone concerned with religion given that religious reservations to physician-assisted death are common.

The talk was part of Ryerson's Philosophy of Religion Reading Group, organized by Dr. Klaas Kraay.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Christian Counselling Services 50th Anniversary Celebration

Christian Counselling Services celebrated their 50th anniversary on October 21, 2016 in Toronto. The evening included a musical performance by David and Lynnell Julien, and a keynote address by Senior Member Emeritus James Olthuis on "Letting Love Happen."  For more information about Christian Counselling Services please visit their website: christiancounsellingservices.com.

All proceeds from this event went to the Ken Van Wyk Legacy Fund in support of work with low income clients.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Janet Read's Art Exhibition

ICS Alumna Janet Read's new exhibition titled Ways of Cloud and Water will be held at Rebecca Gallery, 317 Harbord St., Toronto.

The opening is on Saturday October 15 from 2-5 pm, and her works will be on display until November 12.For more information, visit Rebecca Gallery.

From Henk's Archives

Hendrik "Henk" Hart was the first Senior Member at the Institute for Christian Studies, where he taught from its founding in 1967 until his retirement in 2001. Over the course of his career, Henk explored such themes as, among others, the relationship between reason and faith, what the call to do justice means for Christians, and how the Bible might be read for the sake of wisdom in God's world. Many of these explorations were published in articles and books, but further investigations into these and other themes were undertaken in letters, notes, jottings, and journals. From Henk's Archives is a series on Ground Motive offering readers a look into this previously unpublished material graciously selected by Henk himself.

The material shows a wide variety in form, content, and length. Though it is edited for accessibility, it is not necessarily edited for more formal publication. Some pieces reflect more polish than others. What emerges is a panoply of writing that provides a way into the life and work of one of ICS's founding members, a career marked by provocations and consolations, ranging from devotional inspiration and personal introspection to theoretical frames and thought experiments. It is of interest for readers long familiar with Henk's work, now able to see other sides of and motivations for his thought, as well as new readers, who might encounter the seeds of contemplation that have grown into longer studies and projects. Pieces in From Henk's Archives will be published as they are made available from the author and collected into this dedicated page on Ground Motive (see below).

Ground Motive considers it a blessing and a privilege to host this collage of literature from one of the founders of the Institute, and we hope it finds a wide and welcoming audience.

--Ground Motive Editors

Book Reception in Grand Rapids

Religion, Truth, and Social Transformation: Essays in Reformational Philosophy by Professor Emeritus Lambert Zuidervaart was one of the books featured at a book reception in Grand Rapids. The reception, sponsored by the Philosophy Department at Calvin College, took place on Thursday, October 20, at 3:30 pm, in the Meeter Center Lecture Hall. For more information about Lambert’s book, go to the website of McGill Queen’s University Press or to the recent book symposium on ICS’s Ground Motive blog.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Prayer Letter: November 2016

Tuesday, November 1:  Tonight the Board of Trustees meets to review the President’s Report, held over from the last two meetings due to pressure of business, and to finalise preparations for the Annual General Meeting on November 11. Please pray for the Spirit’s guidance in their deliberations.

Wednesday, November 2:  These first weeks of November bring with them the task of preparing the Annual Report for 2015-16 for the AGM on November 11th. As we reflect on this year, through our staff, faculty and students, we are reminded again of how faithful God has been. Pray this process will go smoothly and will instil in each of us a deepening sense of gratitude for the task with which our Lord has entrusted us.

Thursday, November 3:  Our Junior Members are the primary reason for our existence as a graduate school. We invite you to uphold them before the throne of God as they continue their studies. They and their spouses are making significant sacrifices as they run the race towards completion, in their dedication to integrally Christian scholarship.

Friday, November 4:  Most of the thirty-four members of Christian Higher Education Canada meet today in Toronto. Doug Blomberg will participate in the Universities caucus conversation on the topic of Religious Freedom and the Future of Higher Education in Canada. In light of the challenges to Trinity Western University’s Law School from provincial law associations and the proposal by Universities Canada to remove exemptions on the grounds of discrimination for faith-based institutions, this is a very important conversation indeed. Please pray for insight and wisdom as CHEC seeks to address this challenge communally. After lunch, former ICS Board Chair Aileen Van Ginkel will moderate a discussion titled Our Future as CHEC; pray also for this session, and Aileen in particular as she gives leadership.

Monday, November 7:  There are very promising signs of movement towards the sale of 229 College, in which ICS holds a 27% share. The Board has resolved to invest the bulk of the proceeds for an endowment to support the mission and vision of ICS into the future. This is a crucial moment in our history. Please pray for a positive and timely conclusion to what has been a long drawn-out process, due to the receiver’s reluctance to list the property for sale.

Tuesday, November 8:  Members will soon vote for new trustees in BC-Western US, Midwest US-Canada, Southwest Ontario and Central Ontario. Give thanks to our Lord for those who have offered to serve and pray for a significant turnout as people cast their votes.

Wednesday, November 9:  This afternoon the Educational Policy Committee is scheduled to meet to review course proposals and other curricular matters, and prepare recommendations for Academic Council. Following this, the Leadership Team and Admin. Team will hold their regular two-weekly meeting staff meeting. Please pray for fruitful discussions in both contexts, guided by the Holy Spirit.

Thursday, November 10:  We praise God for our administrative staff: Jeff Hocking, Vidya Williams, Kathy Lynch, Pat Webb, Harley Dekker and Doug Blomberg. May our Lord continue to encourage and strengthen them in their ministry--for “ministry” is at the heart of what “administrators” do. Without them, our mission would perish; with their commitment to our vision, they enable us to flourish: by the grace of God!

Friday, November 11:   Please pray that we will know the presence of Jesus in our midst during our Annual General Meeting this evening. There will be the normal matters of business to deal with, along with the opportunity for all present to discuss issues of interest. We will also say farewell to three Trustees, Peter Brouwer, Philip Preville and Ansley Tucker (Chair), with thankfulness to them and to God for their service.

Saturday, November 12:  The Trustees gather today in Toronto, with many members able to be present (and some joining electronically). Pray for them as they continue to safeguard our vision and chart our course into the future. It is an often onerous task, with many weighty matters to consider, yet they serve with joyfulness and unremitting dedication. We praise God for calling them to serve us in this way.

Monday, November 14:  The Leadership Team (Pat Webb, Bob Sweetman, Ron Kuipers and Doug Blomberg) meets this morning. This two-weekly event is an important opportunity for consultation across the various sectors of the Institute, and an invaluable support to the President in executing his responsibilities under the Board’s direction. Please join us in entreating the Holy Spirit to lead the group through its deliberations.

Tuesday, November 15:  We offer thanks for our faithful supporters over so many years. We could not survive without your commitment. We pray especially at this time for our US supporters, and for the Friends of ICS who represent them. At the FICS meeting a few weeks ago, we shared many of the details of our mission, and their feedback was invaluable.
We have served a large number of American students over the years. Current Junior Members in this category include Danielle Yett, Daniel Rudisill, Benjamin Shank, Josh Harris, Jenna Arkema, Jazz Feyer-Salo, and Dean Dettloff. May God bless them as they pursue their calling, no doubt with nostalgia from their home country, family and friends.

Wednesday, November 16:  Please bring our Academic Council before the Lord as it meets this afternoon. As well as their regular oversight of policies and their implementation of recommendations brought to the meeting in the main by the various committees, there may also be matters arising from the recent Board meeting to address.

Thursday, November 17:  We invite you to support in prayer our Junior Members who have come to us from overseas and sacrificed much to be with us: Helena Hoogstad (South Africa), Joonyong Um (Korea), Godfrey Nkongolo (Tanzania) and Fisseha Feleke (Ethiopia).

Friday, November 18:  We have several students in our distance courses each semester, from Canada, the US and beyond. They too are an important part of our community, usually working or studying full-time. Do support them in your prayers, also.

Monday, November 21:  In a time when funding study at ICS becomes ever more difficult for our Junior Members, we give thanks for the opportunities they are able to make for themselves. In this regard we give thanks to our Lord for the opportunity MA candidate Julia de Boer has to teach Latin at the Westminster Classical Christian Academy in Toronto and the contribution she is able to make to the lives of her young students, even as she carries on with her studies.

Tuesday, November 22:  We praise God for the significant infrastructure grant recently received from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and give thanks for the hard work by Ron Kuipers, Director of CPRSE, and former Associate Director, Allyson Carr, that made this possible. [See the item in News on our website.]

Wednesday, November 23:  Continue to pray for further openings for the Wayfinding program, particularly the Vocational Wayfinding course, to be offered as adult discipleship classes in churches, and as professional development courses in Christian organisations. Interest continues to grow, but it takes time to develop connections and to work out the details for each group. Please pray along with us that this opportunity to reach out to the broader Christian community will see fruit in God’s time.

Thursday, November 24:  We give thanks for the generosity of our supporters during the current appeal and ask for your prayers as we prepare our Advent Appeal for mailing next month. This is a major event on our advancement calendar.

Friday, November 25:  We continue to explore ways to expand our Master of Worldview Studies program locally and globally. We pray in particular for an adequate number of enrolments for the Art, Religion and Theology courses and workshops next summer in Orvieto, building on the first offering there in 2015. [See News.]

Monday, November 28:  Isabella Guthrie-McNaughton, our Director of Library and Information Services, is a member of the Toronto School of Theology Library Committee, which is meeting this morning. This is an important forum, enabling ICS to interface with TST and also University of Toronto libraries. May God bless them in their discussions.

Tuesday, November 29:  Please pray for the development of the Master of Arts in Educational Leadership, in partnership with Redeemer and Tyndale University Colleges. While this program is commencing as a focus on leaders in Christian schools, our hope is that it will reach out into other fields.

Wednesday, November 30:  Tonight’s presentation by Charles Taylor at the Art Gallery of Ontario, organised in part by Senior Member Rebekah Smick, is a significant event, to which ICS supporters have been invited. Please pray for fruitful interaction around the relationship between spirituality and art. [See News.]

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

ICS Library Catalogue in New Home

The ICS Library Catalogue is now enjoying its new home at ics.insigniails.com. This upgrade from the previous Inmagic based catalogue gives the ICS library a new and better search system, permanent URLs and worldwide discovery. Additionally, it also converts our library catalogue into a standard data format, protecting our cataloguing efforts from obsolescence for years to come, and it obviates the need to maintain an in-house catalogue and web server.

The new catalogue is now live and accessible from our library website at library.icscanada.edu/search.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Richard Middleton in Australia and Canada

ICS Alumnus Richard Middleton will be in Australia for a month (mid-September through mid-October) as Visiting Theologian-in-Residence, first at St. Barnabas’ Theological College in Adelaide and then at St. Mark’s National Theological Centre in Canberra, both member schools of Charles Sturt University.

In Adelaide he will present a paper on the Aqedah (Abraham’s attempt to sacrifice his son in Genesis 22) at a symposium on “Lament in Scripture and Life” (with ten other biblical scholars). In Canberra he will present a paper on the imago Dei and suffering in the book of Job, at a Biblical Seminar (with seven other biblical scholars).

On returning from Australia, he will give the J. J. Theissen Lectures (three lectures on suffering and lament) at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg.

These presentations are all related to research for a book Richard is working on, tentatively called The Silence of Abraham, The Passion of Job: Explorations in the Theology of Lament (to be published by Baker Academic).

Friday, 23 September 2016

Rebekah Smick and Mystical Landscapes

Senior Member Rebekah Smick, with other faculty from the Toronto School of Theology, is helping curate Mystical Landscapes at the Art Gallery of Ontario (Oct 22-Jan 29). This exhibition features paintings from such masters as Monet, Van Gogh, and Gauguin. Eminent Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor has accepted Rebekah's invitation to speak on the evening of November 30 at the AGO. We are also hoping to have him speak to the ICS/TST community while he is in Toronto.

For more information about this exhibition, visit https://www.ago.net/mystical-landscapes.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Prayer Letter: October 2016

Monday, October 3:  On Friday we sadly bade farewell to Daryl Kinsman, our Manager of Information Technology and Communications, who has made an inestimable contribution to the mission of ICS for seventeen years. We give thanks to Daryl and to God for his service, and pray blessings on Daryl and Teresa. Daryl has graciously offered to step in from time to time on a voluntary basis, for which we are immensely grateful.

Tuesday, October 4:  Senior Member Emeritus Jim Olthuis shares the wonderful news that his wife Arvilla's six months of treatments have been most successful. The cancer is no longer detectable. Hallelujah! We want to thank all of you for your support and prayers. Join us in a prayer of gratitude.”

Wednesday, October 5:  Please pray for success in our protracted negotiations with the receiver around the sale of our building. This is crucial for our ongoing mission.

Thursday, October 6:  Representatives of Redeemer, Tyndale, Edifide and ICS meet by conference call this afternoon to plan market research into the viability of our collaborative MA in (Educational) Leadership. We implore the Holy Spirit to guide the meeting and that those participating will have ears to hear. May this project be a blessing to those who lead in Christian schools, in whatever capacity, and to the students and families they serve.

Friday, October 7:  We give praise to God for leading us to the sources of funding we need at this time, and are grateful indeed to those who have provided us with these resources. Pray for continued wisdom as we carefully steward these resources during this critical period.

Monday, October 10:  Thanksgiving Day/Jour de l'action de grâce (Canada): We give thanks and praise to our Lord Jesus Christ for our daily sustenance in more ways than we can count. In the present context, we specifically give thanks for his gracious call to serve him in higher education and the means he provides to enable us in this glorious task.

Tuesday, October 11:  We praise God for the significant interest shown by different congregations and other ministry organizations in the first course offering, Vocational Wayfinding, in our new Wayfinding MWS. To provide more flexibility for those congregations who are just getting started in their fall discipleship training, we are offering a series of start dates for Module 1 of this course later this month and into the first two weeks of November. Once again, we ask for prayer as the administrative and teaching logistics are worked through to provide the best learning experience for these small groups.

Wednesday, October 12:  This afternoon, the Friends of ICS Board will meet, with a few members gathering in Grand Rapids and others joining by conference call. In the afternoon, the Educational Policy Committee will meet to review course proposals and other matters related to our academic program. Please uphold these important meetings in your prayers.

Thursday, October 13:  Please pray for the health and well-being of the children we welcomed recently and joyfully to our community: Akito, son of Junior Member Joe Kirby and Nanako; Joshua, son of Junior Member Timothy Skulstad-Brown and Lara; Rowan, son of Junior Member Josh Harris and Sarah; Addie, daughter of registrar Jeff Hocking and Angie; and Theo, son of former Senior Member Shannon Hoff and John.

Friday, October 14:  Our Senior Members are at the core of our mission. Their teaching and research and their close engagement with and care for Junior Members bring them great joy. At the same time, they bear a great weight of responsibility. May God graciously encourage and refresh them in their vocation at ICS.

Saturday, October 15:  Today Gideon Strauss and Pat Webb represent ICS at the CRC Day of Encouragement. We are looking forward to the opportunity to meet and build relationships with the ministry leaders and members of our supporting churches. Pray that we might be a source of encouragement and equipping for service through our conversations and in the chatroom dedicated to Vocational Wayfinding.

Monday, October 17:  Our negotiations for a lease on space in 229 College continue. Please pray for an acceptable rate and timely outcome. Given the difficulties we are experiencing, however, it is prudent for us to explore other options, just in case. Please support Harley Dekker and Doug Blomberg as they investigate opportunities not too far from our present location and at an affordable rate.

Tuesday, October 18:  Together we uphold our administrative staff - Vidya Williams (Manager of Donor Relations), Jeff Hocking (Registrar), Harley Dekker (Manager of Finance) and Kathy Lynch (Administrative Assistant) - in their essential and demanding responsibilities.

Wednesday, October 19:  Academic Council meets today at 1:45 p.m. The agenda is not available at the time of writing, but we ask that their deliberations be guided by the Holy Spirit, as they consider the recommendations brought to them by Council’s several committees.

Thursday, October 20:  President Doug Blomberg obviously carries a range of responsibilities. We entreat our Lord Jesus to guide and sustain him through often taxing times.

Friday, October 21:  The Mystical Landscapes exhibition, co-curated by Senior Member Rebekah Smick, opens tomorrow at the Art Gallery of Ontario (see “News” on our website). We pray this will evoke deepened understanding of creation’s meaning, in the works of God’s hands and the hands of God’s image-bearers.

Monday, October 24:  Please uphold the Board of Trustees in their oversight of the vision and mission of ICS, especially as they head towards the AGM and Board meetings on November 11 and 12 respectively. Four new trustees will be elected; may our Lord lead the right people to join the Board in this vital leadership capacity.

Tuesday, October 25:  We are ever dependent on the generous support of our many donors. We praise God for gathering his people in commitment to our shared vision. We are very grateful and give thanks to our faithful supporters who partner with us prayerfully and financially.

Wednesday, October 26:  If Senior Members are at the core of our mission, this mission focuses in great part on our Junior Members, who are the very raison d’être for teaching! We are thankful for each and every one the Lord has brought to us. We pray for their growth in authentically Christian scholarship, that they may be fully prepared as ambassadors for Christ in the academy.

Thursday, October 27:  Please pray for Dr. Gideon Strauss, Associate Professor of Worldview Studies as he, along with Pat Webb, attend the October Convention of Edifide. On Friday morning, Gideon will be presenting a workshop on Vocational Wayfinding, designed to introduce participants to frameworks, tools, and resources with which to navigate the work-life journey and with which to help others (in particular senior level high school students) prepare for their work-life journey. We ask for strength and energy for Gideon and Pat as they make connections and represent the work of ICS.

Friday, October 28:  We give thanks to our Lord for Senior Member and Academic Dean Bob Sweetman’s faithful and tireless service these 25 years. We also celebrate the publication of his new book tonight. May this time be a blessing for those who are present and for all who will “take up and read.”

Monday, October 31:  Reformation Day/La Fête de la Réformation:  Luther’s posting of the 95 Theses traditionally marks the beginning of the Reformation in 1517. We give thanks for his life and for the way in which Luther was used to bring Scripture once more to the forefront in the Christian Church. We pray that we may be faithful in our pursuit of “the inner biblical reformation of scholarship”.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

New Book on the Character of Christian Scholarship by Bob Sweetman

ICS is pleased to announce the publication of Tracing the Lines: Spiritual Exercise and the Gesture of Christian Scholarship by Bob Sweetman, ICS' H. Evan Runner Chair in the History of Philosophy. This book is the first in a new series incubated at ICS' Centre for Philosophy, Religion, and Social Ethics, entitled Currents in Reformational Thought. Tracing the Lines explores what Christian scholarship is and should be, with an eye to locating historical resonances with the rich varied tradition of two thousand years of Christian scholarship. Locating his own thought within the reformational intellectual tradition, Bob shows how a variety of historical streams of Christian thought have all contributed to informing a contemporary understanding of Christian scholarship. In the end, he offers an understanding of Christian scholarship as scholarship attuned to the shape of our Christian hearts.

Stay tuned for the announcement of a Toronto book launch event!

Purchase the book at Wipf and Stock.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Doug Blomberg's chapter in Diversity and Intersectionality

ICS president and senior member in education Doug Blomberg has contributed a chapter to Diversity and Intersectionality: Studies in Religion, Education and Values (editors Jeff Astley and Leslie J. Francis). ​Doug's paper was selected from hundreds presented at the International Seminar on Religious Education and Values Conference in 2014. In "Will/ing Acceptance of Others", Doug explores the significance of the Biblical-Augustinian concept of will (and thus, freedom in decision-making) in nurturing students' openness ​to others.

The will is sadly ignored, even in Christian circles, in favour of a polarity between thinking and feeling. This significantly impacts the way schooling is practised. Posing complex problems and encouraging students to consider their responses in light of their deepest convictions enables them to discipline their thoughts and feelings towards inclusiveness and other vital values. Nurturing critical awareness of core commitments and decisions in accord with these supports education with true depth, going to the heart of people's lives.

This is the understanding of religious convictions and their outcomes we aim to foster at ICS. To find out more about this book please visit www.peterlang.com/view/product/47481

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Senior Member Lambert Zuidervaart Retires

D​r. Zuidervaart's phased retirement came into full effect on July 1. We thus congratulate SM/Professor Emeritus​ Zuidervaart on his new status and wish him and his wife Joyce Recker God's richest blessings! Retiring from paid employment does not mean giving up on his vocation, however. As might be anticipated, Lambert has an ongoing research agenda mapped out.

The formal celebration of Lambert's retirement, including his Exaugural Address, is being organised. Stay posted!

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Seeking Nominations for Board of Trustees

In November 2016, four vacancies on the ICS Board of Trustees will arise:

Region 1 (British Columbia and Western U.S.)

Region 3 (U.S. Midwest and Canada)

Region 5 (Southwestern Ontario)

Region 7 (Central Ontario).

The Board seeks nominations from among the membership in each of these regions. ICS members in these regions may nominate themselves, or another member with her or his consent. Nominations should consist of two to five paragraphs that include a brief biography of the nominee and the skills or attributes she or he will contribute to the Board.

Please email nominations by 5:00 p.m. EST on September 23, 2016 to ICS Board Secretary James van Manen at jamesjvanmanen@gmail.com.

Thank you!

Faith and Settlement Partnerships: Setting Immigrants and Canada Up for Success

The Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethics (CPRSE) is again partnering with the Centre for Community-Based Research on a two-year, SSHRC-funded research project. This is entitled Faith and Settlement Partnerships: Setting Immigrants and Canada Up for Success and will investigate partnerships among faith-based and government-funded settlement organizations. The goal is to determine how these partnerships can better lead to positive outcomes for newcomers, benefiting Canadian society as a whole. CPRSE will partner with the CRCNA's World Renew and faith-based settlement organizations in the Peel region of the Greater Toronto Area to explore best practices in immigration and refugee settlement, including the role that religious organizations can and do play in this process.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Harley Dekker our new Manager of Finance

We are very pleased indeed to announce the appointment of Mr. Harley Dekker, BComm, CPA, CMA as Manager of Finance. He is eminently qualified for the core tasks required, and his background in commercial real estate is a bonus in our current circumstances. Harley will continue to work part-time for Global Scholars Canada (with Executive Director Harry Fernhout); with his new role at ICS, he is employed full-time in Christian higher education. It is a great blessing that he has a heart for this vocation and is joining our team. A volunteer for many years as treasurer of Willowdale CRC, Harley was also recently appointed to the Board of The Lighthouse Christian Social Services. We give thanks to our Lord for this gracious provision.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Jonathan Chaplin awarded Herman Dooyeweerd Prize

Adjunct faculty member and former senior member in Political Theory at ICS (1999 to 2006) Jonathan Chaplin has been awarded the Herman Dooyeweerd Prize for his book Herman Dooyeweerd: Christian Philosopher of State and Civil Society by the Association for Reformational Philosophy at their conference in Leuven (Belgium) the week of August 15. The prize is awarded for work in the fields of philosophy or the history of philosophy that most furthers the cause of the "Philosophy of the Cosmonomic Idea" and has been conferred four times previously, since 1993.

• Visit the Notre Dame Press page for the book

Adrienne Dengerink Chaplin at the University of London

Adjunct faculty member and former senior member in Philosophical Aesthetics at ICS (1999 to 2007) Adrienne Dengerink Chaplin has been appointed to a one year, half—time lectureship at the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of London as "Teaching Fellow in Religion, Philosophy and the Arts". She is teaching two courses on the relation between religion and spirituality and art and is also contributing to an ethics course.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Prayer Letter: September 2016

Thursday, September 1: As per the reminder in our News column on the website, the Board of Trustees is seeking nominations for new Board members. Please ask the Lord to send us the servants we need. And pray also for the meeting of the Board of Trustees this month, on a date yet to be determined.

Friday, September 2: We give thanks to God for sending us Harley Dekker to be our Manager of Finance. Please pray for him as he takes up this vital role, that he will pick up the many matters he will oversee with relative ease and that the on-campus community will surround him with loving support. (Do look at the News item that gives more information about Harley, if you have not already done so.)

Monday, September 5:  Today we observe Labo(u)r Day, in commemoration of the struggle for workers’ rights in the late nineteenth century. Though the significance of this holiday is often overlooked, it should remind us to pray and work for a more just society, in which “labo(u)rers are worthy of their hire”, not only in North America, but globally.

Tuesday, September 6: Today marks the commencement of Orientation Week at ICS. We happily welcome our returning and new Junior Members as they meet with faculty and administration to help chart a course for the academic year. May their conversations be blessed by the Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, September 7: We continue to face uncertainties around the lease of our facilities at 229 College, to do with area, expense and length of lease. Please pray with us for a beneficial outcome.

Thursday, September 8:  Today is ICS's Community Fall Retreat. This annual event has traditionally served as a wonderful start to another year of our life together at ICS and we pray that this year will be no exception. We meet once again at St. Andrew’s by the Lake on Toronto Island, a delightful and hospitable venue.

Friday, September 9: You will understand how vital it is to ICS that the sale of the building proceeds expeditiously. This is ultimately in the hands of the Receiver, as we hold a minor share of 229. The Receiver has a fiduciary responsibility to ensure the best possible outcome for the many creditors, who have been waiting a long time for redress. We beseech our Lord to bring this matter to a speedy conclusion, for the good of all involved.

Monday, September 12:  The first class of the semester begins today: “Reformational Philosophy” with Bob Sweetman. This is a compulsory foundational course for Junior Members in the MA and PhD programs, drawing on the rich heritage of the tradition that led to the establishment of ICS in 1967. This course is often challenging, as one would expect. Pray for Bob and the Junior Members participating, that they may all grow in love and understanding of the comprehensive call of Jesus to serve him in all areas of life, including the realm of higher education and scholarship more broadly.

Tuesday, September 13:  Courses at ICS address our philosophical and cultural tradition broadly, and specific topics always in depth. Two classes begin today: “Nietzsche, Foucault, and the Genealogical Approach to the History of Philosophy” with Bob Sweetman and “The Aesthetics of Compassion” with Rebekah Smick. We are thankful for the invitation God issues to engage with the breadth of human thought from a biblical perspective.  

Wednesday, September 14:  Our second foundational course, “Biblical Foundations” led by Nik Ansell, nurtures Junior Members in the biblical perspective that we desire to pervade each and every course. Senior Member Emeritus Jim Olthuis -- who just keeps on giving -- leads our Junior Members and others beyond our immediate student body (from the Toronto School of Theology, in particular) in the other course commencing today, “Deconstruction and Hermeneutics”.

Thursday, September 15:  Nik Ansell revels in addressing hard questions in a provocative manner, always rooted in biblical orthodoxy. His course, “Facing the Darkness: The (Human) Nature of Evil”, is no exception (and we hope the same for all our courses, not only Nik’s). “Community, Faith and Judgment: Hannah Arendt and Religious Critique” (Ron Kuipers) is today’s second offering, engaging with significant and pervasive issues and an incisive mind (that of a “secular Jew”) to explore a fundamental conviction of our tradition, the religious rootedness of all intellectual discourse (“criticism” being a matter of digging down to the roots). In this, as in all courses, we pray that God’s voice will be heard, that wisdom will be uncovered in the many voices of creation, especially the voices of those made in the image of God.

Friday, September 16: Junior Member Joonyong Um (PhD candidate in Philosophy of Education) and alumnus Justin Cook (Director of Learning, Ontario Association of Christian Schools) recently conducted a Project Based Learning workshop in Korea. Joonyong served as translator, and reports that “it was a great success, with 150 enthusiastic teachers”. We give praise to God for this opportunity, which we trust will bear much fruit among teachers there.

Monday, September 19:  Three distance education classes begin this week: “Ways of Learning” with Joonyong Um under the supervision of Doug Blomberg,  “Christianity and the Ecological Crisis” with Chris Allers, ABD, and Vocational Wayfinding” with Gideon Strauss. This course also marks the launch of the Wayfinding concentration in our Master of Worldview Studies.
Tuesday, September 20: The Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethics has secured funding for research into how partnerships among faith-based and government-funded settlement organizations can foster better outcomes for newcomers to Canada. Give thanks to God for this provision, and pray that it will bear good fruit. (More detail is provided in our News column on the website.)

Wednesday, September 21: We are continuing our negotiations around the joint development of an MWS in Malawi with Edinburg Theological Seminary, Texas and Marion Medical Missions, Illinois and of an MA in (Educational) Leadership with Redeemer and Tyndale  University Colleges. There are many curricular, personnel and logistical issues to address. Please uphold these discussions in your prayers and ask the Lord to guide all of those involved.

Thursday, September 22: As we pursue our commitment to partner with a kindred higher education institution, we ask you to support our discussions in your prayers. Our heartfelt desire is to see the vision and mission of ICS sustained, and we are open to how the Lord will lead us forward. We believe God has plans to prosper this vision, giving us hope and a future, whatever form this might take. Let us call on the Lord and pray to Him, for He will listen (see Jeremiah 29:11-12).

Friday, September 23: Each year, Junior Members visit our “Library Annex” in Hamilton, where the bulk of our collection is housed. We are very thankful for this cost-saving facility, under the dutiful care of Isabella Guthrie-McNaughton, and for the willingness of St. Stephen on the Mount Anglican Church to host us these past several years. Do pray for Isabella, Manager of Library and Information Services, in her untiring dedication to ensuring the best possible resources and assistance for Junior and Senior Members, and the many who visit the ICS Library, in person and at a distance (through the Institutional Repository and the Faith and Learning Network).

Monday, September 26: Please continue to pray this week for the on-going development of our Wayfinding program which was launched last week with the course Vocational Wayfinding. We have made strong connections with a number of churches and Christian ministries who want to use this program in their adult discipleship or professional development programs. Pray for wisdom as we work out the myriad of details that are part of partnering together in the offering of this type of program.

Tuesday, September 27: We have been undertaking exploratory work in case the need for alternative accommodation arises. Though we hope a move will not be necessary, it is important we are prepared. Please pray for guidance as we investigate various possibilities.

Wednesday, September 28: The Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethics is developing a number of further exciting projects. Rebekah Smick is a curator of the “Mystical Landscapes” exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario (Occ 22-Jan 29). A partnership with the Toronto International Film Festival, Imago, Knox Presbyterian and Ryerson University hosts a two-day event entitled “Post-Secular Cinema” in March 2017. And in May, there is a multi-sectoral conference on the theme of religious citizenship in Ottawa. Please pray for Ron Kuipers, Dr. Smick and others involved in the ongoing and naturally complex organisation of these three events.

Thursday, September 29: We offer prayers of thanks for the many people who have presented ICS with gifts of prayer, money and expressions of appreciation these last few months in response to our latest appeal. We are constantly blessed by your interest and support and we pray that God will strengthen our partnership as we work together in the mission field of higher education.

Friday, September 30: Many of our recent graduates have naturally moved into new areas of service. Tricia Van Dyk and Benjamin Groenewold are among them, jointly taking up the position of Professor of Ethics at LCC International University in Klaipeda, Lithuania. Do uphold them, and their children Miriam (9) and Peregrine (5), as they embark on this ministry.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Prayer Letter August 2016

Since August is holiday month for a lot of people, including the folks at ICS, we thought it would be appropriate to lay out our priority concerns needing prayer for this month on the five Mondays of August. Please join with us as we bring these major items before the Lord.

Monday, August 1:
Pray for the work of the Search Committee for a Manager of Finance, which as we announced last month, is necessitated by the departure of Ed Hayley at the end of July. Please pray the Lord will send us just the person we need to fill this vital role and that the committee will have wisdom and discernment as they interview the different candidates. It is critical that we have someone in place before the school year begins September 5th.

Monday, August 8:
Please continue to pray for the negotiations with the Receiver for 229 College concerning the renewal of our lease. The main issue is our decision to reduce the size of our footprint and thus our rental costs, as approved in our budget for this year. Please pray for a way through this that enables us to meet our objectives: primarily, both a quick sale and an affordable lease.

Give thanks with and for Henk Hart, who started working for ICS on this day 50 years ago. His first task was putting stamps on a mailing!

Monday, August 15:
Please pray this week for the development of our Wayfinding program and a successful launch in September. We have made strong connections with several churches and Christian ministries who are interested in partnering with us in a pilot launch of the continuing education option this September. Please pray for the logistical planning and organization that is needed to deliver this program to those who wish to participate.

We also have strong interest from several Christian organizations who see the potential of this program to be a component of their educational programming for staff. Pray for wisdom as we work out those details in the coming months.

Monday, August 22:
Please pray this week for our faculty and administrative staff as they prepare for the beginning of the school year in a couple of weeks. Pray that they will be encouraged, even in the midst of difficult times, by the work that they do. We ask for God’s grace and wisdom as they work together, and for keen discernment in working through the issues facing ICS at this time. And give thanks to God for sending them to serve the Institute’s mission with commitment and dedication.

Monday, August 29:
Next week we welcome our Junior Members, both returning and new. Please pray for all of them as they wrap up their summer projects, academic and otherwise, and settle back into the coming year’s routine. It is a joyous time, as we all start afresh as the ICS community, gathered here in Toronto.

And we do remember also the broader ICS community of supporters and alumni, near and far, which of course includes all who read this. We give thanks to our Lord for you, and for His sustenance in the past and into the future.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Employment Opportunity – Manager of Finance

A tradition of inquiry. A spirit of engagement. The Institute for Christian Studies (ICS) is an accredited, independent graduate school of interdisciplinary philosophy and theology, affiliated with the Toronto School of Theology at the University of Toronto. ICS brings a rich tradition of critical inquiry to the issues shaping our complex world. We are equipping new generations of scholars and leaders to ask the difficult questions and challenge the easy answers. Our Masters and PhD graduates are providing leadership across the globe – in universities, churches and social agencies.

For further information about the Institute for Christian Studies, please visit www.icscanada.edu.

The Position:

ICS is seeking an experienced and organized individual to fill the role of Manager of Finance on a twelve-month contract. This is a 60% of full-time position. Reporting to the President, the Manager of Finance assists in implementing the mission of ICS, with particular responsibility for the financial aspects of the organization.

Areas of Responsibility:
  • Working with the Treasurer, prepare the annual budget with input from stakeholders, including preparation of cash flows and multi-year projections
  • Supervise work of contract bookkeeper for ICS and Friends of ICS; monitor income and expenses, including payroll; facilitate and supervise annual financial audit
  • Prepare regular financial reports for Finance Committee, Board of Trustees and AGM and attend as requested by the President or Board Chair
  • Supervise management of investments and restricted funds
  • Manage timely and accurate submission of required financial reports, including annual Charity Return (T3010), tax rebate applications, SSHRC grants, etc.
  • Manage annual tax reporting for students, staff and faculty – T4s, T2202s, etc.
  • Manage financial processes for student tuition, fees and financial awards; serve on Financial Aid Committee
  • Prepare staff and faculty contracts, job descriptions and job postings as needed; manage employee benefits program
  • Maintain required reporting for changes in Directors, signing authorities etc.;
  • Maintain legal documents such as building lease, copier leases, etc.

  • Commitment to ICS mission and readiness to work in a faith-oriented environment
  • Appropriate qualifications and experience in finance
  • Computer proficiency, including Microsoft Office (Excel, Word), Google Apps (Gmail, Docs) and QuickBooks.
  • Ability to work effectively in a team environment
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills (written and oral)
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Ability to take initiative and thrive in a small office environment

Please submit a letter of interest addressed to Dr. Doug Blomberg, President, along with your resume and three references (including contact information) by email to: president@icscanada.edu. All applications are due by 28 July 2016 at 5:00 pm EST.

We thank all applicants in advance; only those invited for interviews will be contacted.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Farewell Ed Hayley, DFA

Ed Hayley, Director of Finance and Administration, has served us expertly for four-and-a-half years. He recently accepted a call to serve as Manager of Finance and Administration at Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria BC, and will end his role on July 31. We are very sad indeed to see Ed leave us, but pray wholeheartedly that our Lord will bless him in his new ministry. Not only his competence in the role he is relinquishing, but also his pastoral concern and love for and encouragement to the ICS community, will be sorely missed. Please join us in our prayers for blessings on Ed and Cindy, and fortitude as they address all the challenges and chores such a move entails.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Nominations for Board of Trustees

In November 2016, four vacancies on the Board of Trustees will arise in the following regions: Region 1 (British Columbia and Western United States), Region 3 (the Midwest of the United States and Canada), Region 5 (Southwestern Ontario), and Region 7 (Central Ontario). The Board seeks nominations from among the membership in each of these regions. ICS members in these regions may nominate themselves, or another member with her or his consent. The nomination should consist of two to five paragraphs that include a brief biography of the nominee and the skills or attributes she or he will contribute to the Board. Please email nominations by 5:00 p.m. EST on September 16, 2016 to ICS Board Secretary James van Manen at jamesjvanmanen@gmail.com. Thank you!

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Prayer Letter July 2016

Friday, July 1: On this Canada Day, we in Canada offer our thanksgiving to Jesus Christ for his bounteous grace, in this, “our home and native land”. We also pray for fervent commitment to reconciliation between those who were the earliest inhabitants and those who came here more recently, noting most recently refugees from Syria. Our prayer is that justice rolls down on all of us who are neighbours together, in the pursuit of “peace, order and good government”.

Monday, July 4: Today our American supporters celebrate Independence Day, with thanks to God for the blessings that have grown from this over more than two centuries. As in Canada, and many other countries in which colonisation (and slavery) is a large part of our history, we ask for forgiveness for the way we have treated our neighbours and pray for an ever closer bond of love and justice among us all. May Jesus show us the way to honour more faithfully our commitment to love God above all else, and our neighbours as ourselves.

Tuesday, July 5: Faculty meet this morning to review progress in our conversations with potential partner institutions. This is a crucial initiative, mandated by the Board of Trustees. As things unfold, we are confident of maintaining our programs and our Toronto location. The changes that might need to occur are not always easy to contemplate, which is of course the case when we face significant and relatively unknowable events in our personal as well as our institutional lives. Our bottom-line commitment is to sustain the vision and mission of ICS. Please pray with us for our Lord’s guidance and wisdom as we move ahead in dialogue, hopeful all things will work together for good in God’s providence.

Wednesday, July 6: Many of you will have seen on the ICS website our advertisement for a Manager of Finance, necessitated the impending departure of Ed Hayley at the end of this month (see also our prayer request on July 29). Please pray the Lord will send us just the person we need to fill this vital role. And pray also for Ed and his wife Cindy, as they do the myriad things necessary to relocate to Victoria, BC, where Ed will take up a role at Christ Church Cathedral.

Thursday, July 7: As you will have seen in the News announcement, the Board of Trustees is seeking four new regional members. Please do seek the Lord’s wisdom in this if you are an ICS member in BC/Western US, Midwest Canada/US, Southwestern Ontario or Central Ontario. We invite you also to pray for discernment for those in regions where there are vacancies as they consider potential nominees.

Friday, July 8: Arvilla Sipma is halfway through her therapy regime and is handling the treatments well. She covets your continuing prayers.

For some time, we have been in conversation with Dr. John Van Dyk about a Master of Worldview Studies concentration designed for people currently engaged in development work in Malawi (and beyond). These African leaders earnestly desire to build their expertise and formal qualifications; the project will be partially underwritten by Marion Medical Mission, Illinois. There are currently eight applications for admission. ICS has long sought to expand its academic mission into the majority world, and we give thanks to God for bringing us this exciting opportunity to serve and for John’s initiative in this venture. Many of you will know John, a longtime ICS supporter who is now (after retiring from Dordt College), Provost at Edinburg Theological Seminary, Texas. There are many challenges to face as we consider mounting such a program, of course, and we pray for wisdom and the Lord’s guidance as we do so.

Monday, July 11: Dr. Sylvia Keesmaat, for many years Senior Member in Biblical Studies at ICS, today commences her one-week Summer School intensive, “Reading Romans in the Shadow of Empire.” We pray for Sylvia as she teaches and for those enrolled in the course, that this be a time of spiritually and intellectually rewarding communal learning.

Tuesday, July 12: Real estate transactions take time. Though we are anticipating the sale of 229 College, as you know, it is prudent for us to have bridging finances in place in case this transaction takes longer than hoped. Please pray that the negotiations around this proceed smoothly and in a timely fashion.

Wednesday, July 13: Doug and Heather Blomberg leave today for Australia, eagerly anticipating a too brief reunion with their children, grandchildren and friends. Other members of our faculty and administrative staff will also be travelling at various times this summer. Please pray for safe and enjoyable trips for all concerned, and that their vacations will bring needed refreshment leading up to the start of the new academic year.

Thursday, July 14: The Receiver for 229 College finally came to us with a lease proposal and a very short time frame – just one month – in which to accept this. There are a number of factors involved. One is that we want to reduce our footprint and thus our rental costs (as budgeted), but he is insisting we keep the current space. He has good reasons to do so, one being that a fully-leased building will attract a buyer more quickly and that we will more than recoup our additional expenses through the subsequent appreciation in the sale price. But this will not work for us. Please pray for a way through this that enables us to meet our objectives: primarily, both a quick sale and a reasonable, economical lease.

Friday, July 15: 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 all its challenges, as explained in the June appeal letter. Pray for sustained grace and strength as we work to achieve the goals set out before us. Pray too for vision and creativity as we move forward with new program initiatives and our partnership development.

Saturday, July 16: Today marks the 50th birthday of alumnus Jon Andreas. Jon has been a faithful supporter over many years, as were his forebears. Despite the fact he is in a California prison, Jon recently celebrated the conferral of the MA degree by Edinburg Theological Seminary, Texas, and also the success of his Comprehensive Examination for the PhD. (Doug Blomberg has been appointed to Jon’s doctoral committee.) Dr. John Van Dyk is Jon’s mentor, as he was at Dordt College. Please do pray for Jon’s well-being as he soldiers on wearing the armour of God, in circumstances one hates even to imagine. He trusts deeply in the reality of God’s forgiveness. May we be among those who visit him in prison, in prayerful solidarity, if not in person.

Monday, July 18: ICS is collaborating with Redeemer University College and Tyndale University College and Seminary to develop an ICS MA in Leadership, initially with a focus on schools but later expanding beyond this context. A Master’s degree enables entry into the Ontario College of Teachers Principal’s Qualification Program, essential for those who are interested in assuming the role of principal. We are currently planning market research to evaluate the level of interest in such a program. We pray Jesus will continue to direct our steps along the pathway of his choosing.

Tuesday, July 19: The Board of Trustees met on June 29 for an update on the sale and lease of the building, the progress of the Wayfinding program, the MA in Leadership and budget implementation. Please pray for all trustees, and particularly for Board officers Ansley Tucker (Chair), John Valk (Vice Chair), James van Manen (Secretary) and Ken Van Wyk (Treasurer).

Wednesday, July 20: It is a month now since the official beginning of Summer, and Junior Members are catching up on their reading, taking Summer jobs, travelling home to visit family and friends and generally just taking time to relax and refresh before classes start once again in September. We ask our Lord to bless them richly, no matter how near or far they may be.

Thursday, July 21: Two months ago today, a number of ICS supporters and others were privileged to gather and celebrate the birthday of Ines Seerveld, a most warm and generous person. As Cal’s life-partner and mother to their children, Ines has been a mainstay in his life for many wonderful years, and we thank God for this relationship and the part she has played and continues to play in their shared ministry, through ICS and in many other venues. Their friend Bea Vandervelde, widow of George (Senior Member in Systematic Theology) was also present. We ask you to uphold these faithful members of the ICS community as they face the challenges common in later life, along with their families, and we give thanks for the people they are.

Friday, July 22: We ask you to remember the Friends of ICS (FICS) as they represent us in the United States and provide essential infrastructure for our financial transactions there. Pray especially for FICS President Morris Greidanus (Acting President at ICS for a time) and Secretary Peter Borgdorff as they provide leadership.

Monday, July 25: Though things are certainly quieter around ICS during summer, with classes in recess and so many people away at one time or another, administrative staff are at their desks on a regular basis, making sure the wheels keep turning. Some of them will take a vacation break here or there, of course; we pray they will be refreshed by this. And we give thanks to God for sending them to serve the Institute’s mission in the diligent manner they do.

Tuesday, July 26: This month we are continuing the development of our Wayfinding program, particularly the work of making connections with churches and Christian ministries who are interested in partnering with us in the continuing education option. There has been strong interest in the use of this program as advanced discipleship training programs in churches and as professional development for campus ministers and teachers. Please pray for the logistical planning and organization for a successful launch in September, and for continued interest and support from potential partners.

Wednesday, July 27: We thank you, our prayerful supporters, for your ongoing commitment to the calling of ICS. As you know, we have taken significant steps to decrease our expenses, and also to increase our earned income. The former has brought with it gracious sacrifices on the part of our staff and faculty. Please uphold each and every one of ICS’s employees as they negotiate this difficult transition.

Thursday, July 28: For several weeks now, Doug Blomberg has been in conversation with Rev. Dr. Tony Kim, Founder and CEO of The Graduate Institute of Christian Philosophy, Baltimore. Kim is a graduate of the Vrije Universiteit (VU) in Amsterdam. He approached ICS with the prospect of gaining support for the further accreditation of GICP degrees, and we are happy to explore this collaboration, remembering as we do with gratitude the importance of our longstanding partnership with the VU on the road to accreditation of our MA and PhD degrees. We ask for a blessing on this venture, if it be God’s will.

Friday, July 29: Ed Hayley, Director of Finance and Administration, has served us expertly for four-and-a-half years. As you will know through other sources by the time this day arrives on your calendar, he has accepted a call to serve as financial officer at Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria BC, and this is his last day with us. We are sad to see Ed go, but pray our Lord will bless him in his new ministry. Not only his competence in the role he is leaving, but also his pastoral concern and love for and encouragement to the ICS community, will be sorely missed. Please join us in our prayers for blessings on Ed and Cindy.