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.