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

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.