Monday, 18 April 2016

Prayer Letter May 2016

Monday, May 2:  Junior Member Benjamin Shank’s PhD Pre-thesis Oral Exam begins at noon today. His thesis proposal is titled, "Becoming Attestation: Thinking about Alterity and Metaphor after Paul Ricoeur". The examination is a challenging and rigorous procedure, for which Ben has been busy preparing for quite some time. He has to demonstrate he has read widely and deeply. Do please uphold him in prayer, that he can give the best account of his understanding and do justice to all the effort he has put in.

Tuesday, May 3:  Tomorrow afternoon, the Board of Trustees Co-Chairs (Ansley Tucker and John Valk) will meet with the Leadership Team (Bob Sweetman, Ed Hayley, Pat Webb, Ron Kuipers and Doug Blomberg). Please pray for Ansley and John as they travel today and tomorrow morning (respectively) from Victoria, BC and Fredericton, NB -- almost “from sea to sea”! This is a rare opportunity for them to meet in person, and we ask you to uphold them before the throne of God in their conversations and deliberations.

Wednesday, May 4:  Tonight, we celebrate the publication of Senior Member Lambert Zuidervaart's new book Religion, Truth, and Social Transformation: Essays in Reformational Philosophy. We offer prayers of gratitude for Lambert's work and for this important collection of essays exploring and developing the Reformational tradition. We also pray God will bless the celebration, and the fruit of this work!

Thursday, May 5:  The Senate meets throughout the day at ICS. The Agenda comprises course proposals and proposals concerning more wide-ranging matters (Master of Worldview Studies Coherence and Infrastructure, Faculty Profiles with respect to procedures for review, and updates to Retirement Policies), Senior Member Activity Reports, and Reports from the President, Dean’s Office and the Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethics. Though admittedly a lighter agenda than is often the case, it nonetheless will require rigorous attention.

In the evening, the Board of Trustees meets to consider reports on our Strategic Initiatives in Advancement and Partnering, and a report from the Finance Committee. Please pray for safe travel for Senators and Trustees gathering from near and far, for wise insights and decisions, and give thanks to our Lord for their service and the gifts they bring to bear. We depend immeasurably on these volunteers and those who work for us to safeguard and enhance the vision of ICS and its academic mission.

Friday, May 6:  This morning the Board reconvenes, opening with a meeting of the “internal community” -- Trustees and Senators, Senior and Junior Members, and Administrative Staff. This a wonderful annual (often biannual) opportunity for wide-ranging, free-flowing discussion about the overarching concerns of ICS, setting the stage for the more formal deliberations that follow. Do please once again ask our Lord Jesus Christ to bolster in wisdom all who participate.

It’s a busy few days! Tonight, our broader community joins together at Convocation to celebrate the hard-won achievements of our graduands, Dean Dettloff, Ruthanne Crapo, Caleb Ratzloff, Tricia Groenewold Van Dyk, Marg Hoogland and Tanya deRoo. We will also welcome Dr. Gideon Strauss, who will present the Address. Gideon is our new half-time faculty member, who conceived and is steering the Wayfinding stream in the Master of Worldview Studies. We hope many of you will join us, but know that however far away you are, you will be with us in spirit.

Monday, May 9:   Continue to pray for our annual phone-a-thon as it moves into its third week. Pray for our four Junior Members (Joe Kirby, Hector Acero-Ferrer, Danielle Yett and Joshua Harris) making the calls that God will bless their conversations with our friends and supporters. We give thanks for their invaluable contribution, and the many encouraging (on both sides) conversations with donors that take place.

Tuesday, May 10:  We thank God and praise him that Heather Blomberg has been given the “all clear” after her recent exploratory surgery. Her family and friends and the ICS community rejoice in this happy outcome. Thank you for your prayers; we have no doubt you helped her through this.

Wednesday, May 11:  This afternoon, Bob Sweetman and Doug Blomberg will be meeting with representatives of Tyndale University College and Seminary and Redeemer University College, at ICS. This is part of an ongoing discussion concerning collaboration in a Master Arts in Educational Leadership. Please pray for further progress on this initiative, serving graduates from our partners and beyond. It would constitute one of the qualifications necessary for aspiring principals in public schools.

Thursday, May 12:  April was an unprecedented month on our Ground Motive blog. Such rich discussions developed from all the reflections on Lambert Zuidervaart’s newest book! We give thanks for Dean Dettloff’s work on this project and the participation of all the interlocutors. This is an excellent forum in which to have ongoing dialogue with ICS alumni and other philosophers, church members and others about issues of Reformational philosophy and theology, in an informal and engaging way.

Friday, May 13:   Next Friday is the coursework deadline for Junior Members. They have a heavy schedule in order to complete three or four papers on time. May our Lord sustain them in their perseverance as they wrestle with ideas, to the glory of God.

Monday, May 16:  Arvilla, spouse to Senior Member Jim Olthuis, has begun a six month treatment of chemotherapy. Dear Heavenly Father, we beseech you to draw near to your daughter. Give her strength during the rough times of treatment, and hope in your Resurrection. Bless her loved ones as they journey with her.

Tuesday, May 17:  We are thankful for the dedicated service of our administrative staff. They go above and beyond the call of duty, day after day, in our small but but always very busy community. Please pray that the Lord’s face will shine upon them, and give them encouragement and peace.

Wednesday, May 18:  This afternoon, Doug Blomberg will be talking with the President of one of our potential partners. This and similar discussions are still in the exploratory phase. We hope you will join us in prayer around this important conversation.

Thursday, May 19:  Many in our community will be travelling during May and the summer months to visit family and friends, both near and far. We pray for safe journeys and reinvigorating times of sharing and relaxation.

Friday, May 20:  Today we pray for the financial vitality and viability of ICS. May our staff, Board, Senate and Senior Members have insight and wisdom as they work for the longevity of our wonderful school. Jesus, make us good stewards of these blessings.

Monday, May 23:  As course papers have rolled in, our Senior Members and Adjunct Faculty are knuckling down to interact with (and grade!) these. It is a privilege for faculty to share in the fruits of Junior Members’ labours, and to evaluate not only their learning, but also the faculty’s own teaching in light of the outcomes. May God bless them in this task.

Tuesday, May 24:  Today, Ethan Vanderleek defends his MA Thesis titled, " ‘In the Embrace of Absolute Life’: A Reading of Christology and Selfhood in Michel Henry’s ‘Christian Trilogy' ”. These are always fruitful conversations, giving candidates the opportunity to engage with around issues that are dear to their hearts with senior scholars who are experts in the area. Please do pray for Ethan on this landmark moment in his life and service of Christ. Ethan now serves as Chaplain at the Multifaith Centre of Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey BC, and we pray God’s blessings on him in this ministry also.

Wednesday, May 25:  Today ICS has the opportunity to promote its new Wayfinding program at the gathering of CRC Campus Ministers at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo. Pray for Gideon Strauss, Pat Webb and Jeff Hocking as they present the new program and build relationships with these key influencers of prospective students.

Thursday, May 26:  We give thanks to our Creator and Redeemer, incarnate in Christ, for our myriad supporters who have sustained us, many for fifty years or nigh on. Next year is indeed our fiftieth, our Jubilee. What a cause for celebration, that this ever fragile institution should survive so long! This is possible only by God’s grace, demonstrated through the hands and feet, eyes and ears, and ultimately, the hearts of His faithful disciples.

Friday, May 27:  We’re only a few weeks from starting summer classes here. Join us in praying for those former Senior Members returning to teach at ICS for the summer semester: Sylvia Keesmaat, Adrienne Dengerink Chaplin, and Jonathan Chaplin. It’s a real joy to welcome them to our community again, though they are never far from our hearts. We pray also for broad interest and subsequent good enrolment in our Summer School.

Monday, May 30:  The 8th International Conference of IAPCHE (International Association for the Promotion of Christian Higher Education) starts today, hosted by Baeksoek University in Korea. ICS has a long association with IAPCHE, including collaboration on the Christian Academic Studies Certificate (which was nested within our Master of Worldview Studies) and the Faith and Learning Network, which we host in our library. Do please uphold this conference in your prayers, as it is an important venue for conversations that grew originally from Reformational roots, back in 1975.

Tuesday, May 31:  229 College Street has been our home for more than forty years. We have been able to live here because of the generosity of our supporters, who gifted it to us in the beginning. Unfortunately, the business that became our major partner over time went into bankruptcy a few years ago, and has been in receivership ever since, creating great uncertainty. Quite recently, we learnt that 229 will be up for sale. There is of course much sadness attached to this, given our shared history and consequent affection for 229. However, the positive outcome is we will receive a significant sum in return for our share. This is without doubt a reason to be thankful to our Redeemer, who has given us a new lease of life -- and potentially, a lease on space that will enable us to continue in this strategic location for the immediate future. Do pray for a swift conclusion to what has been a drawn-out process. And praise God, from whom all blessings flow!

We would love to pray for you, our lovely prayer partners and sponsors. Do you have prayer requests, opportunities for us to partner with you? Requests, both those you would liked shared in the monthly letter and perhaps ones that can be quietly prayed about by our prayer letter team, can be emailed at any time to Julia de Boer (