Monday, 16 October 2017

For Such a Time as This! Worship meets justice and the arts in turbulent times

ICS' Centre for Philosophy Religion and Social Ethics is sponsoring this one-day workshop on October 21, 2017 at First Christian Reformed Church in Toronto. The workshop will explore creative ways in which the arts can be integrated into worship settings so that Christians can be inspired by the Gospel's call to pursue justice. The day will include a live performance of the play Just Faith? by students from Toronto District Christian High School!

King’s and ICS to Begin Affiliation Discussion

For years, there has been talk about affiliating two Canadian institutions in the Reformed tradition: The Institute for Christian Studies (ICS) and The King’s University. King’s and ICS signed a Memorandum of Understanding on September 30 at the Board of Governor’s twice-yearly meeting at King’s.

"It’s been a long process getting to where we’re at, which is the very beginning," said King’s President Dr. Melanie Humphreys. "ICS operates under a Legislative Act in Ontario and we operate under an Act in Alberta, and it’s important that we maintain both of these."

The two institutions have a vision for accomplishing something bigger than either can accomplish on their own – a Canadian Christian university in the Reformed tradition offering both undergraduate and graduate degrees. The initial scope of discussion includes the development of conjoint degrees, a financial agreement, and a study of governance structures that may need to happen in order to give full effect and meaning to an affiliation. This would also contribute to King’s vision for a centre for Christian thought and action, a goal in the university’s strategic plan, Shared Vision 2020.

Outgoing ICS President Dr. Doug Blomberg initiated conversations some time ago to bring the two institutions together and affirms that he is "deeply grateful for this outcome."

"Our institutions align ideologically quite well, and it’s very exciting to envision what our affiliation could become, including imagining how it might extend our shared mission in Christian higher education" said Dr. Ronald Kuipers, new Provost at ICS.

"We have a lot of questions to answer and work to do in figuring out what will allow us both to benefit and build capacity," said Humphreys. "This is just the beginning of exploring what we can do to advance both our missions programmatically."

In the upcoming year, King’s and ICS will set timelines and processes in motion to be able to realize this vision.

This article is being jointly published in both Connection and Perspective magazines.

Friday, 29 September 2017

SAVE THE DATE – Saturday, November 11th, 2017

We are celebrating our 50th Anniversary!
you are invited!

When:   Saturday, November 11th, 2017 from 11:00am to 5:00pm

Where:   King’s Christian Collegiate
              528 Burnhamthorpe Rd West, Oakville ON L6M 4K6 · Map

Ticket Price:   $50 per person


A donation receipt will be issued for any amount above the personal ticket price. To reserve a table (8 tickets) please call 416-979-2331 ext. 223.

Featuring:  Prayer and Thanksgiving Service at 11:02; Gala Luncheon at 12:00 with a program of celebration and the launch of our 50th Anniversary Campaign
Annual General Meeting will follow at 3:30

You won’t want to miss this special day of
Looking back with gratitude. Looking forward with anticipation!

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Bob Sweetman in Pennsylvania

Bob Sweetman is presenting a paper Sat. 14 Oct.--"Aemulatio and the Practice of Scholarly Friendship in Abelard's Historia Calamitatum and his and Heloise's Subsequent Exchanges" for the Session titled Intimacies in Medieval Thought at the conference "A Sacrifice of Praise: Liturgy, Prayer, and Hymnody at the Center of Faith and Life", the 42nd Patristic, Medieval and Renaissance Studies Conference at Villanova University, Wayne PA (13-15 October 2017).

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Richard Middleton Organizing Conference in Rochester

On October 20-21, Northeastern Seminary will be holding a theology conference on its campus in Rochester, NY, co-sponsored with the Canadian-American Theological Association. The plenary speaker will be Richard Mouw and there will be about three dozen academic papers presented on the conference theme: "Evangelical Theology: New Challenges, New Opportunities."

Here is the link for the conference:

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

World-Viewing: ICS introduces new course

On September 27th, ICS introduced a new course in the Master of Worldview Studies program. This course, World-Viewing: An Introduction to Worldview Studies, taught by Associate Professor of Worldview Studies, Dr. Gideon Strauss, serves as a touchstone for the MWS program as a whole, providing students with an overview of the program, an initial set of frameworks and tools for finding their way through the program, and a selection of readings that will prime students for reflecting on six interrelated wayfinding questions: Who am I? Where do I belong? What do I believe? What do I love? What opportunities and constraints do I face in my particular context? What am I to do with my life? The course will use a new hybrid format, with six bi-weekly in-person classroom sessions as well as weekly structured interactive online forum discussions in response to reading assignments.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Prayer Letter: October 2017

Sunday, October 1:  John and Ann Vanderhoek are hosting a gathering of supporters this afternoon at their home in Chilliwack. Doug and Heather Blomberg will be present. Please pray for an edifying interaction around ICS’s vision for the future.

Monday, October 2:  Today, we ask you to pray for CPRSE's Partnership Development Grant application for the next academic year (to be submitted in November). As grant applications time draws near, please pray for the wisdom and discernment needed to expand the research work of CPRSE in paths that are respectful of ICS's historical mission as a Christian institution of higher learning.

Tuesday, October 3:  We ask God to give wisdom and clarity to Bob Sweetman today as he participates on a panel at Classis Toronto Meeting "Ever Reforming: What Does the Reformation Mean for the Christian Reformed Church in North America Today?"

Wednesday, October 4:  Please pray today for the 50th Anniversary Planning Committee as they meet to bring closure to some of the many decisions that need to be made for the November 11th event. We are grateful to God that the venue details have been finalized and so thankful for the folks at King’s Christian Collegiate who have been helping us. Please pray for wisdom in the program planning in particular this week.

Thursday, October 5:  Following a year of negotiations, we are hoping soon to move operations to Knox College at the University of Toronto. This will save considerable costs in rental and embed us in larger community within the Calvinist tradition. We are praying for a smooth transition -- moving is usually a challenge! -- and very positive collegial relations among faculty, staff and students from both institutions.

Friday, October 6:  Jan and Fran Boer have invited supporters to join them for lunch tomorrow in a Surrey restaurant. Doug and Heather Blomberg will be part of this event to celebrate ICS’s 50th Anniversary. A number of past Board members and alumni have accepted this invitation. May this be a time of encouragement for all, as they reflect on the history and ongoing vision of ICS.

Tuesday, October 10:  Please pray with us this week as we work to finalize the compilation of our Jubilee edition of Perspective. We desire to have the issue in the mail to everyone by the 16th and so in these days we ask God for energy and clarity to ensure that all the details are taken care of before it goes to print. Pray particularly for Kathy Lynch, Vidya Williams, Pat Webb and Doug Blomberg in this process.

Wednesday, October 11:  Tonight the second “in-person” class of our new course called World-Viewing: An Introduction to Worldview Studies takes place at ICS (see News item above for more details). Pray for Dr. Gideon Strauss as he teaches and for the participants that they may enjoy lively and meaningful discussion and interaction.

Thursday, October 12:  In partnership with TIFF, Ryerson University, and Imago, CPRSE has begun the planning process for a second edition of "Opening Frames," our interdisciplinary conference on film and spirituality. We ask for your continued prayers for the success of this and all other public outreach initiatives hosted by ICS/CPRSE.

Friday, October 13:  Pray for Bob Sweetman today as he prepares to give a paper tomorrow at the 42nd Patristic, Medieval and Renaissance Studies Conference at Villanova University, Wayne PA (see News item above for more details). We ask for energy for Bob and meaningful interaction among all who will participate.

Monday, October 16:  The ICS administrative staff is the backbone, indeed, the skeleton, that holds our organisation upright. We ask you for your prayers to strengthen them in their many tasks. Though they are often overburdened, their resilience is exemplary.

Tuesday, October 17:  Our 50th Anniversary Celebration is just over three weeks away. (Please book your place!) We ask our Lord to bless this special occasion of worship, fellowship and remembrance of our many years and the multitude of people who have enabled our vision and mission to flourish, for whom we give profound thanks.

Wednesday, October 18:  The Board of Trustees bears many responsibilities in its oversight of ICS policies and operations. They give uncounted hours and offer their gifts freely to our vision. Please remember them in your prayers.

Thursday, October 19:  On Saturday, CPRSE staff will lead a workshop at the event "For Such a Time as This: Worship Meets Justice and the Arts in a Turbulent time," hosted by First CRC, Toronto. Please give thanks for this opportunity to extend the reach of ICS's work on the topics of justice and faith within the Christian Reformed Church of Canada.

Friday, October 20:  ICS alumnus, Richard Middleton, asks for prayer for those participating in a theology conference he is organizing (see News item above for more details). The conference takes place on the Northeastern Seminary campus in Rochester, NY today and tomorrow. Pray for strength and wisdom for Richard as he takes care of the many details and concerns that arise.

Monday, October 23:  Today marks the start of Reading Week for ICS Junior and Senior Members. Please pray for our students that they might have the creative energy and space to complete their writing and study assignments. Pray too for the faculty that God would graciously encourage and refresh them in their vocation at ICS.

Tuesday, October 24:  We are so thankful to God for our supporters, many of whom have been with us since the beginning. Doug Blomberg had much joy from his meetings with our broader community in Grand Rapids, Blackfalds, Chilliwack and Surrey these past few weeks. Their support in prayer and personal encouragement, as well as financially, is of course essential to our mission. We thank them, and praise Jesus for His provision for the mission that ultimately belongs to Him.

Wednesday, October 25:  Please uphold the Board of Trustees in their oversight of the vision and mission of ICS, especially as they head towards Board meetings on November 9th and 10th, and the AGM on November 11th following the 50th Anniversary celebrations. Pray for strength and wisdom for each one as they continue to lead through the transitions and changes this year has presented.

Thursday, October 26:  Please pray for Dr. Gideon Strauss, Associate Professor of Worldview Studies as he and Pat Webb participate in the Edifide Convention today and tomorrow. Gideon will be presenting a two-part workshop titled Your Next Five Years: Mapping the Adventure. Participants will learn to use a powerful paradigm and a number of tools for life and career planning they can use in their lives and with their students. We ask for strength and energy for Gideon as he leads this workshop, and for Pat and Gideon as they make connections and represent the work of ICS.

Friday, October 27:  Please pray for Bob Sweetman as he prepares to lead a session in the Adult Education Series "The Reformation and Me" at First CRC Toronto on Sunday. We trust God to bless this session with thoughtful and edifying discussion.

Monday, October 30:  Doug Blomberg will step down as President on October 31 and commence his sabbatical, during which he plans to write a book on theories of learning within a reformational philosophical perspective, among other, smaller projects. Please give thanks to our Lord for Doug’s time of service in this role and pray he will have clarity of mind and perseverance in a complex task this coming year and subsequently.

Tuesday, October 31:  Though this day is commonly known as Halloween (or formally, All Hallows’/Saints’ Eve), this is also Reformation Day. As you well know, this is the 500th Anniversary of Martin Luther’s protest, nailed to the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg. We give thanks and praise to Jesus Christ for this momentous renewal of Christian faith, of which we and multitudes are grateful heirs. May we remain faithful to the gospel and ever open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Semper reformanda!

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Material Spirituality with Neal DeRoo

How can we think of ourselves as leading “spiritual lives” in the 21st century? What do we mean when we talk about meaning? Can we separate “religion” and “spirituality”? How do liturgies shape us? Are liturgies limited to church services? Are we only able to express our spirituality in the context of religious communities?

On September 29th, the Institute for Christian Studies will host philosopher Neal DeRoo to talk about questions like these through his work on phenomenology and contemporary philosophy. Weaving together insights from Edmund Husserl, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Henry, Merleau-Ponty, and Herman Dooyeweerd, DeRoo suggests a paradigm for thinking about our embodied expressions of spirituality, expressions that DeRoo argues are not exclusively religious but part of every domain of life.

The morning will begin with a presentation by DeRoo entitled “Material Spirituality: Religion and Phenomenal Expression,” followed by an interview and a Q&A session open to those attending.

The event will be held in the ICS classroom, at 229 College Street, from 10:30-12:30 on Friday, September 29.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

ICS/CPRSE Announcement

Dear ICS community,

It is my great pleasure to announce the appointment of Hector Acero-Ferrer to the position of Associate Director of the Centre for Philosophy, Religion, and Social Ethics at ICS. Hector will be working for the CPRSE two days per week (.4 FTE) starting September 1, 2017, on a 10-month contract that will last until the end of the current fiscal year (June 30, 2017). This appointment, based on the recommendation of ICS' Leadership Team, has also been approved by ICS' Board of Directors.

This appointment is necessary in order to maintain ongoing CPRSE projects and also to pursue new ones, while at the same time allowing me to focus on my new duties as Provost of ICS. Among other benefits, this appointment will allow the CPRSE to revamp and resubmit an application to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) for a 2-year Partnership Development Grant project that proposes to explore social justice concerns about current modes of mental healthcare delivery in Canada (in partnership with Shalem Mental Health Network and the Centre for Community Based Research, among others). Maintaining a robust track record with SSHRC is important for many reasons, not the least of which is the extra funds we receive, based on that track record, from SSHRC's Research Support Fund. (Over the last three years, ICS has received more than $140,000 from this fund, an amount over and above the grant monies received).

The Leadership Team is very excited to have Hector take on this role, as he has ably and enthusiastically served the CPRSE as a Research Assistant for the last 4 years. Hector is intimately familiar with all CPRSE research projects, and also has close professional relationships with many of the project partners. This past year, especially, Hector has gone above and beyond the call of duty in order to ensure that the CPRSE meets its partnership commitment to the Faith and Settlement Partnerships research project (a two-year SSHRC-funded partnership project led by the CCBR). Hector has also been a valuable contributor to ICS' advancement efforts, including helping with the production of Perspective. In his role as Associate Director, Hector will help ensure that the work of the CPRSE continues to contribute to ICS' advancement agenda by maintaining the momentum the CPRSE has gained over the last several years, thus helping it continue to raise ICS' profile amidst our support community and the wider public.

So please join me in welcoming Hector into this role, and in offering your prayers and support, so that the many gifts he brings to the work of the CPRSE may bless and sustain ICS as it pursues its historic mission in Christian higher education, and continues to strive toward a vibrant, thriving future.

Ron Kuipers

Monday, 21 August 2017

Truth, Resistance and Societal Evil

Emeritus Professor Lambert Zuidervaart has published a piece titled “Truth, Resistance and Societal Evil” in iai News, an online forum hosted by the Institute of Art and Ideas in the United Kingdom. The article is adapted from Lambert’s recent convocation address, and it mentions the ongoing controversy about how to respond to racism in the United States.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Thomas Aquinas and the Neo-Thomist Tradition

Congratulations to Dr B van der Walt on the publication of his latest book Thomas Aquinas and the Neo-Thomist Tradition. He sent ICS a copy which is now in our library. We are one of the few libraries in North America that currently has a copy of this book.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Prayer Letter: September 2017

Friday, September 1:  Today, Héctor Acero-Ferrer takes up the part-time position of Associate Director of the Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethics. Please give thanks to God for this important boost to the capacity of CPRSE and support Héctor in your prayers.

Tuesday, September 5:  Today we formally welcome returning and new Junior Members to ICS for the 2017-18 Academic Year. JMs will meet with faculty and staff in a series of orientation events this week. We give thanks for this re-gathering of the ICS community and pray our Lord’s blessing on the launch of another year of Christian scholarship.

Wednesday, September 6:  Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those who are suffering in Texas. We do have alumni and donors there and think especially of them, but our hearts go out to all who are suffering from this cataclysmic event.

Thursday, September 7:  This morning our annual start-of-year Retreat will again take place at St. Andrew by-the-Lake on Toronto Island. This is a wonderful venue for such an event. We give thanks for the preparation by Registrar Jeff Hocking and his wife Angie. May this be an enjoyable day of relaxed fellowship and worship together.

Friday, September 8:  Please pray for those involved in preparing our 50th Anniversary Perspective, as authors, editors, organisers, designers and printers. It is always a challenge to get such a publication ready in a timely manner, and we ask our Lord to guide and uphold all contributors to the process as they aim to mail this significant issue to supporters mid-October.

Monday, September 11:  This is the first week of Fall classes, and it is fitting indeed to begin with one of our Foundational courses: “Reformational Philosophy”, with Dr. Bob Sweetman. Please pray for lively interaction and edification for participants.

Godfrey Nkongolo will be defending his MA Thesis this afternoon. Please pray for a stimulating interaction with the examination committee and a successful outcome. His thesis is titled “UJAMAA: A Gift from Tanzania to Africa” and is under the mentorship of Dr. Ron Kuipers.

Tuesday, September 12:  Today we see the commencement of two courses: “Matter, Body and Gender in the Thought of Hildegard of Bingen, Bernardus Sylvestris, Alan of Lille and Thomas Aquinas” (Dr. Bob Sweetman) and “With/Out Reason: Art and Imagination in the Western Tradition (Dr. Rebekah Smick)”.

Wednesday, September 13:  Our second Foundations course, aptly titled “Biblical Foundations”, launches today under the leadership of Dr. Nik Ansell.

Thursday, September 14:  Dr. Nik Ansell backs up again this morning as instructor for “The Divine (at) Risk: Open Theism, Classical Theism and Beyond.” This afternoon, Dr. Ron Kuipers will teach “Wittgenstein: Language & the Philosophy of Religion”.

Friday, September 15:  This week, our Distance Education courses begin: “Wisdom and Schooling” led by PhD Candidate Helena Hoogstad (Dr. Doug Blomberg serving as Professor of Record) and “Vocational Wayfinding”, taught by Dr. Gideon Strauss.

Monday, September 18:  This afternoon, Mark Novak (mentored by Dr. Kuipers) is defending his MA thesis, titled “Incarnating the God Who May Be: Christology and Incarnational Humanism in Bonhoeffer and Kearney.” Please pray he is able to present this result of much hard work in clear terms and that it will be an enriching interaction with the examiners for all involved.

Tuesday, September 19:  We invite prayers for the relatively “unsung heroes” at ICS, the administrative staff who keep the wheels turning and are vital to our scholarly mission. Please uphold Harley Dekker, Jeff Hocking, Kathy Lynch, Pat Webb and Vidya Williams in their essential and often demanding tasks.

Wednesday, September 20:  Tonight in Grand Rapids, ICS Trustee Dr. Matt Bonzo is hosting a “50th Anniversary of ICS” gathering of supporters. President Doug Blomberg will be attending, and will also participate in tomorrow afternoon’s Friends of ICS Board Meeting. Please pray that both events are a time of joy and reflection as we look forward to how the Lord will lead us.

Thursday, September 21:  Josina Zylstra (widow of Bernard) requests prayers for her husband, Herman Dooyeweerd Jr., and herself. He has been in a nursing home in Toronto for the past several years. We ask our Lord and Saviour for strength and comfort for them both, as Josina cares for him. May God continue to bless their faithfulness to each other.

Friday, September 22:  In last month’s Prayer Letter we asked you to pray for our search for an appropriate venue for our 50th Anniversary Celebration Event on November 11th. We give thanks to God for a successful conclusion to this search. We are very pleased that we can hold this special event at King’s Christian Collegiate in Oakville.

Monday, September 25:  Trustee Marg Hoogland will be hosting a gathering of supporters in Central Alberta, in the context of our 50th Anniversary celebrations. Doug Blomberg will be part of the conversation. We give thanks for their ongoing commitment to ICS, going back over very many years, and pray for an encouraging evening of fellowship.

Tuesday, September 26:  Ron Kuipers will be presenting a paper at a conference at the University of Minho, in Braga, Portugal. His paper is "Successful Prophecies, Failed Hopes? Richard Rorty and the Demise of Social Justice." We ask Jesus to bless Ron and all participants as he speaks and interacts with them.

Wednesday, September 27:  We give thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ for the wondrous blessings He has bestowed on ICS these past 50 years and for those who have gone on to serve in many vocations across the world. We pray for them as they heed His call.

Thursday, September 28:  We beseech our Lord to enable our 50th Anniversary celebrations to go smoothly, and to uphold those most closely involved in its planning. There are many details to consider, many people we hope to see in Toronto. Please pray everything will fall into place and a great number will be able to join in this landmark event.

Friday, September 29:  We praise God for the faithful band of supporters who have stood by ICS’s vision and mission all these years. Without them, there would be no ICS. We pray for their continued support as we look forward to our next 50 years, by God’s grace.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

ICS Appoints a New Provost

As has been reported in an earlier prayer letter, ICS is entering into a leadership transition period. Doug Blomberg will retire from the ICS presidency on October 31. Further, ICS is venturing into merger negotiations with The King’s University (TKU). In light of this transition, the ICS Board has created a new position of Provost. A Provost is a high-ranking administrator tasked largely but not exclusively with responsibilities of internal leadership. Rather than begin a search for a new president, the Board decided that the position of Provost was best suited in light of the transition period ICS is entering.

After an internal search, the Board is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Ron Kuipers as the new ICS Provost. Ron will be responsible for providing internal institutional leadership, and will collaborate with the Board in developing and promoting ICS’ “Ontario presence” in ways that both increase ICS’ economic sustainability and, as part of any merger with TKU, also makes a strong contribution to the achievement of TKU’s Strategic Plan.

The Board welcomes Ron to the new Provost position and wishes him every success in his new responsibilities. It looks forward to working with him as ICS transitions in this new direction and venture.

John Valk
Chair, ICS Board of Trustees

Prayer Letter: August 2017

Tuesday, August 1:  Please pray for the family of Dan Jack as they mourn the passing of their loved one on July 17th. Dan was a Board member (Calgary) who also served on the Finance Committee. He will be greatly missed for his calm and wise counsel in meetings, and for his love and passion for the work of ICS. A memorial service was held at First Mennonite Church, Calgary, last Friday. We ask God to uphold his wife, Marguerite, and the rest of his family with his abundant love, grace and peace.

Wednesday, August 2:  We ask for your prayers for Ron Kuipers as he takes up the reins in his new role as Provost at ICS. Pray for wisdom and discernment as he leads the Leadership Team, and for strength as he balances this new role with his teaching and mentoring and as Director of the CPRSE. May God grant him great joy in service in the months ahead.

Thursday, August 3:  Pray for a way that ICS can invest the proceeds from the sale of 229 College in a way that is stewardly and meaningful going forward. Please continue to pray for Harley Dekker, Director of Finance and his team of investment advisors.

Friday, August 4:  We ask for your prayers today for Senior Member Bob Sweetman who will be presenting a paper titled “Admiratio, Imitation and the Vita Christi in the Summa Theologiae of Thomas Aquinas” at the Boston College Colloquy in Historical Theology in Boston MA.

Tuesday, August 8:  Our Registrar, Jeff Hocking is on holiday this week and next with his wife Angie and daughter Addie. Pray for safe travels and a refreshment of spirit as they enjoy one another and the people and places they visit.

Wednesday, August 9:  Please pray today for Godfrey Nkongolo, an MA student under the mentorship of Ron Kuipers, who has completed the final draft of his MA Thesis, entitled "Ujamaa--A Gift from Tanzania to Africa: A Critique of Current Social and Political Systems in Africa and a Critical Exploration of Ujamaa as an Alternative," and now prepares for his final oral defense. As well, pray for Godfrey and his family as they prepare for the next stage of his educational journey of attending Carleton University in September to begin a PhD program in the Political Science faculty.

Thursday, August 10:  Pray for our Board of Trustees as they meet this evening, and for John Valk and John Kamphof as they lead them. We ask God to grant them wisdom and clarity of thinking as they work together with the Leadership Team to manage the portfolio of opportunities and changes that ICS is faced with at this time.

Friday, August 11:  Please continue to pray for the planning and preparations that are underway for our first 50th Anniversary celebration on October 14th. We ask God for his favour in finding a suitable venue and for the many other details that need to be finalized.

Monday, August 14:  Pray for the quick settlement of amounts owning ICS from the receiver of 229 College Street. Progress has been made, and we pray for the continued work of ICS and their legal support for a settlement of amounts owed.

Tuesday, August 15:  Please pray for two of our new Master’s students who are coming to ICS this fall. Pray for peace as they work through all the details of obtaining immigration visas and finding the necessary housing for themselves and their families.

Wednesday, August 16:  Please continue to pray for our Board of Trustees and the Leadership Team as they collaborate together in the development of a future vision for ICS which would increase its economic sustainability and contribute to King’s Strategic Plan in our proposed merger.

Thursday, August 17:  We ask for your prayers for Mark Novak, an MA student under the mentorship of Ron Kuipers, who is putting the finishing touches on his MA Thesis, titled "Incarnating the God who May Be: Christology and Incarnational Humanism in Bonhoeffer and Kearney," and anticipates a September oral defense. Pray too for Mark as he gets settled in Hamilton, and as he enters the PhD program at McMaster University in September in the Religious Studies faculty.

Friday, August 18:  Today we thank God for our many friends and supporters who stand with us in our mission throughout the year. We pray for God’s richest blessings on all of you as you enjoy these summer months and we look forward to celebrating our 50th Anniversary with you in the fall and into the new year.

Monday, August 21:  Please pray for Jeff Hocking today as he prepares for registration and orientation, as well as the student retreat coming up in a few weeks. There are a myriad of details to take care of so we ask God for clarity and discernment in the planning and implementation of these important events at the start of our school year.

Tuesday, 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 a lot of changes, by the work that they do. We ask for God’s grace and wisdom as they work together, and for keen discernment in meeting the opportunities and challenges facing ICS at this time. And give thanks to God for sending them to serve the Institute’s mission with commitment and dedication.

Wednesday, August 23:  Today is our course registration deadline when students are supposed to have registered (and paid) for the courses they plan to take in the fall semester. Pray for our Registrar, Jeff Hocking, as he follows up the many loose ends that often happen so that the registration process will be a smooth one for our students.

Thursday, August 24:  Pray for the CPRSE Staff who are helping plan the two-day workshop, Engaging Communities through Research: A Capacity-Building Event, which will assist faith-based universities get into the exciting area of community-engaged research and outreach activities.

Friday, August 25:  Josina Zylstra has asked for our prayers for her and her husband, Herman Dooyeweerd Jr. who has been in a nursing home for the past number of years. We ask our God for strength and comfort as she cares for him each week.

Monday, August 28:  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.

Tuesday, August 29:  Pray for CPRSE Research Assistant Hector Acero Ferrer, as he collaborates with staff at World Renew as part of the SSHRC-funded partnered research project, "Faith and Settlement Partnerships: Setting Immigrants and Canada Up for Success," led by the Centre for Community Based Research.

Wednesday, August 30:  Talks with Knox College are going well around the possibility of ICS relocating there. Please pray for continued positive discussions with good outcomes for both Knox College and ICS.

Thursday, August 31:  Pray for the staff at the CPRSE as they participate in planning for a one-day workshop in Toronto on October 21 that is meant to help worship leaders integrate the arts and a concern for social justice into the worship experience. The event is titled "For Such a Time as this: Worship meets Justice and the Arts in Turbulent Times"

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Ron Kuipers: "From the Roots"

Last January, Ron Kuipers, Director of the CPRSE gave a talk at The King’s University at their Interdisciplinary Studies Conference “Glorious and Free”?! Generous Citizenship for the Next 150. Listen to Ron’s talk titled “From the Roots: Religion and the Public Life of the Liberal Democracy”.

Cal Seerveld: "Advice to Recent Art Graduates"

Senior Member Emeritus Cal Seerveld has a short article, “Advice to recent art graduates: Helping your neighbour see surprises,” included in an IVP Academic volume, Contemporary Art and the Church (2017), edited by W. David O Taylor and Taylor Worley. This book holds the major addresses of the 2015 CIVA conference (Christians in the Visual Arts). Seerveld distinguishes “Church” and “City of God,” and calls for jesters (artists) and ventriloquists (art critics and historians) to take up their promising tasks.

Prayer Letter: July 2017

Monday, July 3 and Tuesday, July 4:  This confluence of national holidays in the two countries where most of our supporters live (and we do not forget those beyond the borders of Canada and the US!) gives occasion to thank God for the many gifts and mercies bestowed on us, over the course of our shared histories. But we do not forget the first immigrants to come to North America, so many years ago, who suffered from the depredations of immigrants more recent. We pray for ongoing reconciliation with the former, and a continuing welcome to those who continue to come to our shores, most especially those who find refuge from tyrannies and terror in lands across the seas.

Wednesday, July 5:  We achieved a budget that was close to balanced by the end of the 2016-17 Fiscal Year. The reduction of salaries across the board, and of some positions, were difficult matters to deal with, particularly for those office-bearers with primary responsibility for these decisions and the person charged with operationalising these, Doug Blomberg. We honour all who endured sacrifices, and pray for their ongoing well-being. As we begin this new year, we continue to face many challenges. At the same time, we are encouraged by the possibilities the Lord will bring our way, and seek His wisdom and guidance. People might plan the way, but the Lord will direct their paths (Proverbs 16:9)

Thursday, July 6:  Please pray for our students as they work and study (and take vacations!) during these summer months to prepare for September, and especially for those who are entering new work opportunities and other life transitions. We remember in particular PhD candidate Joshua Harris, who, with Sarah and Rowan, will be moving to Providence, RI later this month to begin a new chapter in their life together. We pray for the Lord’s richest blessings on them as they make this significant transition, and Josh takes up a teaching position at Providence College.

Friday, July 7:  Please continue to pray for our Director of Finance, Harley Dekker and two long-term friends of ICS who have volunteered to assist the Finance Committee on the prudent and strategic investment of the proceeds from the shares in 229 College.

Monday, July 10:  Today Doug Blomberg will learn the results of a biopsy for a growth removed from his scalp two weeks ago. We give thanks for the doctors consulted and the healing hands and medical knowledge Jesus has gifted them. Naturally, please pray for a positive outcome.

Tuesday, July 11:  Please pray today for our Board of Trustees as they meet tonight, and particularly for John Valk (Chair) and John Kamphof (Vice-chair) as they lead the board in its deliberations. Pray for wisdom and clarity in their discussions around the significant concerns facing ICS, such as the partnering negotiations with King’s, and the leadership transition at ICS. As well, please pray for the ongoing search for new board members and new members for the Finance Committee.

Wednesday, July 12:  July being the month that a number of our staff and faculty take holidays, we ask that you pray that their time away will be refreshing and renewing. Some are travelling long distances so we ask God to grant them safe and hassle-free travels.

Thursday, July 13:  On Saturday, the Art in Orvieto summer semester will end and the students and faculty will return home. We have heard from Rebekah Smick, who is leading the event, that the program has gone very well. She says there was a really lovely group of participants who have been great and some very gifted artists to boot. Our two students (Danielle and Julia) are impressing everyone. As everyone returns home, pray that all will have safe journeys, and give thanks for the blessing this has been for all who have been privileged to participate in this wonderful learning opportunity.

Friday, July 14:  We are gearing up for the transition to a new location, which we expect and hope to be Knox College on St. George Street. Please pray that the many details needing to be addressed will be settled expeditiously, and that we will enjoy our inclusion in the Knox community as they warmly welcome us. This then is more than a mere change of location, but the start of a new partnership. And it places us at the heart of the University of Toronto campus, which is not to be discounted.

Monday, July 17:  Scott McNaughton has been diagnosed with a tumour in his bladder. Surgery is scheduled for today. The more prayers, the better! We are hoping for a benign diagnosis when the biopsy is completed.

Tuesday, July 18:  Bob and Rosanne Sweetman’s new grandchild is due tomorrow. Please pray for a safe delivery for Adrienne and child, and give thanks that another image-bearer has been gifted to the world, to honour God in a life of service and praise.

Wednesday, July 19:  We bring before our Lord our continuing negotiations with King’s with respect to a partnering agreement. Please uphold all those involved: the Boards of both institutions and their representatives. On behalf of ICS, Vice Chair John Kamphoff, President Doug Blomberg and the Acting Provost will play a major role.

Thursday, July 20:  We are in the midst of planning our 50th Anniversary celebrations, culminating in a gala event in the Toronto region. Prior to this, Doug Blomberg will be meeting with supporters in a number of locations in western Canada and the US, to thank them for their enduring faithfulness to the vision embodied in ICS. Pray especially for Pat Webb, Vidya Williams, Doug and the larger committee, as they give much attention to the preparations for our Jubilee!

Friday, July 21:  Please pray for our Board as they are in the process of making some important decisions on a number of fronts that will give shape and direction to ICS in the coming months, and beyond. These decisions include the hiring of an Acting Provost to ensure a smooth leadership transition as Doug Blomberg approaches retirement of the ICS Presidency.

Monday, July 24:  We continue to pray for Associate Contract Librarian Hilary Barlow as she learns the ropes of our rather complex collection and suite of services. May she already feel welcome in our community, receiving all the support needed and possible. This is a relatively quiet period, with many Junior Members away from Toronto or at least from ICS, now that classes have finished.

Tuesday, July 25:  As we come to the end of this fiscal year, we offer prayers of gratitude for our donors who continue to demonstrate their steadfast commitment through prayers and financial gifts for our work here at ICS.

Wednesday, July 26:  Please uphold our Master’s and Doctoral candidates before the throne of God, as many of them hunker down to plan or write their theses, prepare for upcoming examinations, and continue reading and reflecting. Two of Ron Kuiper’s MA students are working hard to finish their theses so they can defend in the fall. Both also have been accepted into PhD programs at McMaster and Carleton Universities.

Thursday, July 27:  We continue to dialogue with Redeemer and Tyndale around ways in which we can partner together in the development of an MA in (Educational) Leadership. Pray for discernment and clarity about the many issues that need to be resolved in such an initiative.

Friday, July 28:  Our new fiscal year 2017/18 is soon underway which brings with it the need to plan the year’s advancement and communication schedule. Pray for wisdom for the Leadership Team as they determine priorities for funding, and for Pat Webb, Vidya Williams and Doug Blomberg as they put the communication plan to our constituency in place.

Monday, July 31:  Please pray for Doug Blomberg as he prepares for a significant life-transition: stepping down from the Presidency at the end of October and then beginning a twelve-month sabbatical, for which he has a major book project in view, and a number of smaller projects. There is much to work through these next few months, as he and Heather plan for their future. Pray also for the Board, the faculty and staff, as they too grow into another way of working together.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Video Now Available: Philosophy, Truth, and the Wisdom of Love

2017 Convocation Address by Dr. Lambert Zuidervaart, Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, ICS

• Watch the Video on Youtube

Are we now in a "post-truth" era, as the Oxford Dictionaries seemed to suggest when choosing that phrase as the International Word of the Year in 2016? Are appeals to emotion and personal opinions really replacing factual truth? Has truth become irrelevant? Tracing our Western conception of truth to its pre-Socratic origin as a godlike search for that which is uncreated and indestructible, Lambert says a philosophy in line with the Jewish and Christian wisdom traditions would see truth instead as a way of life, as something we do rather than merely assert.

The importance of this endeavour is readily apparent in these times of "alternative facts" and "fake news". A conception of truth rooted in what is good rather than mere theoretical immutability would help us work together to live in the truth, indeed in faithfulness, rather than taking uncertainty as our cue to discard the possibility of truth altogether. But what then of our longtime servant "factual truth"? In this inspiring and intriguing address, Lambert displays the biblical underpinnings for his ongoing work on a new theory of factual truth, within a broader conception of truth that we may summarise as the call to love God above all, and our neighbours as ourselves.

Truth in Husserl, Heidegger, and the Frankfurt School

ICS is happy to announce the publication of another book by Professor Emeritus Lambert Zuidervaart, titled Truth in Husserl, Heidegger, and the Frankfurt School: Critical Retrieval. Published by the MIT Press, the book is dedicated to Merold Westphal, a leading Christian scholar in continental philosophy, and to the memory of Johan van der Hoeven, Lambert’s PhD supervisor at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. In this new book, Dr. Zuidervaart takes up the most important writings and authors in recent German philosophy in order to propose a new and comprehensive idea of truth. The book has received strong endorsements from scholars in the field. They say it “adroitly moves beyond the sterile isolation” between continental and analytic philosophy (Daniel Dahlstrom) and “takes important steps toward … a more comprehensive conception, in which truth, intersecting with goodness, calls for societal transformation” (Maeve Cooke). They also describe the book as “meticulously researched and elegantly written” (James Gordon Finlayson) and as a “timely must-read for anyone interested in truth” (Barbara Fultner). For more details about this path-breaking book, be sure to visit the publisher’s website.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Art, Education, and Cultural Renewal

Professor Emeritus Lambert Zuidervaart has published a new collection of essays titled Art, Education, and Cultural Renewal: Essays in Reformational Philosophy (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017). The book is a companion volume to Religion, Truth, and Social Transformation, published last spring and featured in a symposium on ICS’s Ground Motive blog. In the new book, which is dedicated to Calvin Seerveld, Lambert presents a socially engaged philosophy of the arts and higher education, in interaction with leading Kuyperian thinkers such as Seerveld and Nicholas Wolterstorff. Publication of the book was made possible in part by grants from the Priscilla and Stanford Reid Trust and the Andreas Center at Dordt College. For more details about this intriguing book, be sure to visit the publisher’s website.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Prayer Letter: June 2017

Thursday, June 1:  Bob Sweetman is leading the Aquinas Studium this year held at Regis College 29 May to 1 June. He is also giving the Keynote Lecture entitled "Gratitude and the Movement of Being Outward" at this event. Join us in asking God for a rich and edifying experience for all who attend this week-long seminar.

Friday, June 2:  Final grades for this past semester are due before June 8th. Please pray for the faculty as they finalize their marking and assessments of the students in their class, and for Jeff Hocking as he processes the final reporting to the students.

Monday, June 5:  There will be a workshop on Bob Sweetman’s latest book, Tracing the Lines: Spiritual Exercise and the Gesture of Christian Scholarship, at the 3rd Biennial Regional Conference of the International Association for the Promotion of Christian Higher Education held at Calvin College 4-6 June. We pray that those who attend this workshop will enjoy stimulating discussion around improving Christian higher education internationally.

Tuesday, June 6:  We give thanks that at the board meetings last month the 2017-18 budget was approved. Pray for continued discernment for all the staff as we put our plans into action within the necessary confines of the budget.

Wednesday, June 7:  As we move quickly toward the end of our fiscal year this month, we would ask that you would prayerfully consider sending in your financial support if you have not already done so. We are so grateful for the continued and generous giving of our support community and we pray God’s blessing on each one.

Thursday, June 8:  Please pray for Bob Sweetman today as he performs his duties as an examiner for the Centre for Medieval Studies of the University of Toronto of Peter O'Hagan’s PhD thesis entitled "Teaching the Tradition: Twelfth-Century Scholastic Commentaries on Paul's Letter to the Romans" (Alexander Andrée supervisor) .

Friday, June 9:  Tomorrow Doug Blomberg heads out for a much-deserved week’s holidays. Pray that he and Heather will enjoy a wonderful time of rest and relaxation and will return to us refreshed. We give thanks for Doug’s ministry these many years, and particularly at this time for his faithful service as President since 2014.

Monday, June 12:  We are pleased to report that we have a part-time librarian joining us. We welcome Hilary Barlow, Associate Contract Librarian to the ICS community and please join us in prayer for her as she begins her time with us.

Tuesday, June 13:  We still have a few vacancies on the Board of Trustees that need to be filled, in particular Central Ontario. We are grateful for the people who stepped up for this responsibility in January. The Board tends our vision and mission, as well as fiduciary responsibilities to ensure godly stewardship of our finances. We would welcome someone with business acumen to help support this important area.

Wednesday, June 14:  We continue to be grateful for the productive discussions around the prospective partnering with The King’s University. We were pleased to have President Melanie Humphreys join us at our board meetings in May so that our talks could continue in person. Pray for God’s continued grace and wisdom in future negotiations and the ensuing planning.

Thursday, June 15:  Luke Seerveld, FICS Board member and son of Cal and Ines, will be in Toronto until the 24th, videoing interviews with several people involved significantly with ICS over the past fifty years. This production will be a centrepiece of our Jubilee celebrations in the fall. We give thanks for his gifts and contribution, and pray for him in the demanding schedule he has voluntarily proposed. We ask for prayers also for all the FICS Board, and give thanks to our Lord for them and for our many faithful supporters in the US.

Friday, June 16:  This weekend “Art in Orvieto,” an ICS four-week residency seminar and workshop program for writers, artists and graduate students interested in exploring the relationship between art, religion and theology, begins in this hill-top Italian city. Twelve students, including two of our own MA students, and a number from the US, will be attending this event. Pray for safety for the participants and leaders in their travels to Italy as well as during the program, and that this unique educational opportunity will bring rich insight and creativity to their studies.

Monday, June 19:  We continue in our search for alternative accommodation for ICS should we need to move now that the sale of our share of the building has been completed. This process is quite labour intensive and brings with it a fair amount of anxiety around the complexities of moving and the need to find an acceptable new home. Pray that God will give wisdom to Harley and Doug in particular as we work toward a solution and peace to each one involved as we look to the future.

Tuesday, June 20:  Pray for the students who have been accepted into programs for this fall, as well as for those who are still undecided. We ask God to bless them with wisdom as they discern this important step in their life, and pray that God will provide the necessary funding for study and life in Toronto.

Wednesday, June 21:  The month of June is busy for faculty as they get caught up on their supervising and mentoring responsibilities and begin to prepare for the new academic year in the fall. Pray for the space and energy in their lives to work with the students in this important way.

Thursday, June 22:  A Community Based Research conference, entitled “Engaging Communities through Research” will take place in November at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo. Pray for Ron Kuipers this month as he participates in the planning for this event, and for his significant participation at the conference as a panelist and workshop leader.

Friday, June 23:  Please pray for wisdom as we seek qualified advisors and appropriate vehicles for investing the proceeds of the sale of our interest in 229 College, so that we may build a more solid financial basis for our ongoing mission.

Monday, June 26:  Dean Dettloff, a PhD student entering his third year at ICS, is also Toronto correspondent for America: The Jesuit Review magazine. His provocative articles which examine current issues in politics and society are published regularly and can be found online at Pray for Dean as he continues this important ministry to the community alongside his busy study program and contribution to ICS as a Junior Member.

Tuesday, June 27:  As the end of the fiscal year is upon us, we ask God for strength and encouragement for Harley Dekker, our Director of Finance and Administration. There is much to do at this time of year, such as preparation for the year end financial audit, getting the books in order for the new budget year, and preparing for the start of the academic year in September.

Wednesday, June 28:  Today Bob Sweetman and Rosanne Lopers-Sweetman are travelling to Tanzania to be with their daughter Adrienne and her husband Kashu Nengereki as they look forward to the birth of a baby boy, Bob and Rosanne's first grandchild. Please pray for safe travels for Bob and Rosanne and for a joyous time together as a family, celebrating this very special occasion. May Adrienne and Kashu and their new baby be surrounded by God’s love and protection at this time.

Thursday, June 29:  This month we have been trying to finalize working relationships with a number of local Christian organizations who want to use our Wayfinding program in their professional development programs. Please continue to pray for Gideon Strauss, Bob Sweetman, and Pat Webb as they work to develop customized programming and delivery methods for these groups.

Friday, June 30:  Doug Blomberg arrived two weeks early, this day in 1951. His accountant father was grateful, as there were end-of-fiscal-year tax benefits! (Both his father and mother were grateful in many other ways, too, of course.) Pray for him as he prepares for a transition to another phase of life, especially as he gives much attention to preparations for our upcoming 50th Anniversary.

Monday, 8 May 2017

ICS Convocation May 12

ICS will be holding its annual convocation on May 12 at 7pm at Regis College (100 Wellesley St W). We will be celebrating with seven graduates and Dr. Lambert Zuidervaart, who will be giving his exaugural address. Please join us as you are able. If you have any questions about the event, please contact our Registrar, Jeffrey Hocking (

Monday, 1 May 2017

Announcement re sale of shares in 229 College

It has been almost a year since the decision to sell the ICS minority shares in 229 College Street was taken by the Board. Now, after many months of false starts, dialogue and negotiations, we announce that the sale was finally completed on Monday, April 24th to an independent developer.
The successful sale of our minority share in 229 College is a major factor in positioning ICS within a sustainable financial future. The proceeds received from the sale will be invested in an endowment which will provide the annual income needed to protect our capacity in the long-term to deliver on our mission. We believe this new endowment is the most prudent way to utilise a gift, given many years ago by faithful supporters, to sustain ICS into the future.
This sale comes at a critical time in our discussions with The King’s University on what our joint venture will look like and provides ICS with a stronger financial base from which to play its part.

We know that many involved with ICS have a deep attachment to 229 College Street as it has been home to ICS for more than 40 years. However, we trust that you will join with us in giving thanks to God for this amazing provision and for our faithful supporters whose steadfast generosity has made all this possible.

John Valk
Chair, ICS Board of Trustees

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Alumnus Adam Smith accepts position in Iowa

ICS alumnus (2006) Adam Smith has just accepted a faculty position, after finishing a PhD in Politics at Brandeis. This fall he will be starting as Assistant Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Dubuque, in Iowa.

Adam Smith in Iowa

ICS alumnus Adam Smith (2006) has just accepted a faculty position, after finishing his PhD in Politics at Brandeis. This fall he will be starting as Assistant Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Dubuque, in Iowa.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Richard Middleton Speaking Tour

ICS Alumnus Richard Middleton will be in the UK from April 20 through May 4, speaking at a variety of venues (at least ten), all organized by the the reformational organization called Thinking Faith Network, in Leeds (previously known as WYSOCS). One of the venues (St. Andrews) will be hosted by Tom Wright, and one at the Jubilee Centre in Cambridge by Jonathan Chaplin. Richard's speaking schedule is available online.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Mark Novak Presenting Papers

Junior Member Mark Novak will be very busy presenting papers this spring!

On April 20 he will be presenting a paper titled "Metaxologizing Our God-Talk: Desmond, Kearney, and the Divine Between" at the Symposium on work of William Desmond at KU Leuven (Belgium).

On May 13 he will present a paper titled "Eschatological Erotic Enfleshment: Incarnation as Nuptial Nexus of Human and Divine"at the Graduate Conference on "Unravelling Religion" at Queens University (Kingston).

On May 30, he will present a paper titled: “‘Yes, yes’ with/out ‘No, no’: Understanding (apparent) Equivocation in Derrida” at the Canadian Theological Society annual meeting at Ryerson University (Toronto).

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Prayer Letter: May 2017

Monday, May 1:  We give thanks and praise to our Lord Jesus Christ for the sale of our shares in 229 College Street a week ago today. It was a very difficult step for the Board to take, and we give thanks also for their leadership in the many governance issues they deal with.

Tuesday, May 2:  The Finance Committee will be finalising the draft budget this week, for consideration by the Board when it meets in Toronto on May 11. Please uphold the members of this committee in prayer: Ken Van Wyk (Chair), Samir Gassanov, Dan Jack, John Valk, Harley Dekker and Doug Blomberg.

Wednesday, May 3:  Last week we completed interviews with a number of applicants for the Library Services Associate position, and conversations with referees are taking place. As we seek to finalise this appointment, we ask you to pray for discernment, and that the person whom we invite will be willing to accept the call.

Thursday, May 4:  Preparations are underway for the ICS annual phonathon coming up next week. Pray for all of us in advancement that the work of preparing the information and materials needed for this important event will go smoothly.

Friday, May 5:   Next week, the ICS Senate and Board will meet in Toronto. Please pray for them as they study the materials distributed in preparation for these meetings, and for safety in their travels to and from, however short or long these trips will be.

Monday, May 8:  Today is the first of two days in the Whole Society Conference in Ottawa. Please pray that this significant gathering will be a blessing for all involved, and uphold especially Ron Kuipers, who is a member of the planning committee.

Tuesday, May 9:  As we continue in our discussions with The King’s University around our merger, may we implore our loving Creator, Redeemer and Counsellor to lead us on a path to the celebration of God’s glory in higher education.

Wednesday, May 10:  Please pray for our Junior Members as they wrap up their course papers, with some also working on their theses. It is an intensive period, with diligence and focus required. May the Holy Spirit guide them as they develop their insights.

Thursday, May 11:  Senate convenes at 9:00 a.m, under the leadership of Chair (and ICS Chancellor) Dr. John Kok. Please pray for John and the external and internal senators as they deliberate on the range of issues the agenda comprises concerning ICS academic programs.

Friday, May 12:  The ICS Board of Trustees meets today and tomorrow morning. Every meeting of the Board is significant for the often weighty matters it has to consider in formulating and overseeing policy directions. At this meeting, the projected merger with King’s will naturally be a major item, as also the budget will be. We ask our Lord to grant them wisdom as they “reason together”, with God in their midst.

Tonight the ICS community gathers as it is able for our annual Convocation. Here we give thanks to God for sustaining and guiding us in our mission, and for the achievements of our graduating Junior Members. May we celebrate with gratitude the diligence and insights these graduands have demonstrated these past years, and pray for them in the callings to which they are called. We pray also for Senior Member Emeritus Dr. Lambert Zuidervaart, as he presents his “Exaugural” (an ICS coining, it seems), and thank God for his inestimable contribution to our mission.

Saturday, May 13:  Please continue to hold the Board in your thoughts and prayers this morning, as it concludes its deliberations and many depart for home in the afternoon.

Monday, May 15:  In the wake of last week’s meetings, there are many matters for the administration and faculty to consider and implement. Appropriately, the Leadership Team meets this morning. We ask God to give wisdom, as the Apostle James encourages us to do.

Tuesday, May 16:  From today until Friday, the Undergraduate Workshop organised by Junior Members Joshua Harris and Héctor Acero-Ferrer will be held at Scarboro Missions. Please pray that the nine presenters from Canada and the US will enjoy valuable interaction with ICS Junior and Senior Members. We give thanks as well for the generous donor who has provided travel scholarships for students from the US, making it possible for them to participate.

Wednesday, May 17:  Planning for the upcoming Jubilee celebrations in the fall is underway! Please pray for all those who will be involved -- members of the board, staff, students and faculty at ICS, and the many volunteers in the different cities where the events will take place -- that God will grace each one with creativity and energy in their work.

Thursday, May 18:  The sale of our shares in the building brings with it concerns about the possibly imminent need to relocate, and to a more affordable site. Please pray that God will lead us to what we hope will be our new home and ask for His wisdom to be granted to those negotiating with potential lessors.

Friday, May 19:  We give thanks for last month’s film and spirituality conference (in partnership with the Toronto International Film Festival and others) and the opportunities for community outreach it provided. Please pray also that the potential for this to be a recurring event will be realised over the coming years.

Tuesday, May 23:  Summer is often a time for vacations, but also a time for concerted attention to research and course planning by Senior Members. Many Junior Members too will have their heads down as they write MA theses and PhD dissertations, or prepare for their post-coursework comprehensive exams. We invite you to come before the throne of God to importune His guiding grace.

Wednesday, May 24:  Our small community in Toronto continues to grow, with more and more young children being carried, or crawling, walking or running around our campus. This is a joy for families and friends, but brings with it -- as all parents know -- challenges and pressures, including financial ones. Please pray the Lord will give them strength and provide their every need, as they sacrifice to seek first the Kingdom of God.

Thursday, May 25:  We want to take this opportunity to give thanks for our donors who have responded so faithfully to our phonathon. We are grateful for God’s provision to us through them and are inspired by their commitment to our mission.

Friday, May 26:  Our alumnae/i are spread far and wide, serving God and the world in many different callings. We invite you to pray for them, wherever they are, whatever they do -- and as alums, for one another.

Monday, May 29:  The Leadership Team will meet this morning. Please support them prayerfully in their deliberations.

Tuesday, May 30:  We ask you to join with us in thanking God for the service of Morris Greidanus (Chair), Peter Borgdorff (Secretary-Treasurer), and their colleagues on the Friends of ICS Board, and for all our many faithful supporters in the US. We invite you to pray for Luke Seerveld (also a FICS Board member) who has volunteered to interview significant figures in the history of ICS for a video marking our 50th year. It will be a demanding undertaking, but one Luke joyfully assumes!

Wednesday, May 31:  This last day of May means we have one month left to meet our donations target for this fiscal year. It is vitally important we achieve this goal as it obviously impacts our ability to balance our budget. Please pray that God will continue to provide for this real need through the help of our friends and supporters, as you consider your response to our phonathon appeal.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Opening Frames: Cinema and Transcendence

Opening Frames, our upcoming conference on spirituality and film (April 3-4 at the TIFF Lightbox), has garnered great media coverage, both locally and internationally! Toronto's Now Magazine published a story on the conference, and the Globe and Mail also published an extended piece in the Friday Film section of their March 31 edition. Here's a quote from John Semley's article in the Globe and Mail (p. R5):

"[Serious spiritual cinema is] a cinema of quietude; of slowness, stillness and devastating moments of subtle grace. It's the cinema of transcendence. And it's the subject of a two-day conference hosted in Toronto this weekend by the Institute for Christian Studies."

There are only a handful of spots left in this conference, so act fast and register if you want to attend!

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Bob Sweetman and Joshua Harris in Toronto

Senior Member Bob Sweetman will be presenting his paper "The Pastoral Uses and Limits of Mimesis: The Case of the Vita Lutgardis of Thomas of Cantimpré" on April 6 at The Medieval Academy of America's Annual Conference held this year at the University of Toronto.

Junior Member Joshua Lee Harris will be presenting his paper “Transcendentals in Medieval Philosophy: Worthless or Crucial?” at this conference on April 8.

For more information about this conference visit

Monday, 27 March 2017

Prayer Letter: April 2017

Monday, April 3:  Today and tomorrow we are holding our second CPRSE Art Talks! event this year: Opening Frames: Cinema and Transcendence (details on our main web page). Tonight, American film legend Paul Schrader is the keynote speaker. Pray that this conference will be a blessing to all those attending.

Tuesday, April 4:  Sadly, we have to report that Dianne Bergsma’s husband Jerry passed away on March 14, at the age of 80. Dianne thanks you for your prayerful support and acts of kindness during his illness. Please pray for her and her extended family in this time of grieving.

Wednesday, April 5:  
This afternoon the Educational Policy Committee meets, for what is the last scheduled meeting of the academic year, though other meetings will be convened if necessary. Please pray for this team as it conducts its important business.

Thursday, April 6:  The Medieval Academy of America is convening this year at the University of Toronto. Please pray for the success of this gathering, and for Bob Sweetman and Josh Harris as they present papers, today and Saturday respectively. (See News on our website.)

Friday, April 7:  It is hard to think how quickly the academic year passes! Another semester concluded this week. We give thanks for the wonderful Junior Members who are part of our community, and we pray for them as they wind up their course papers over the next few weeks. Tonight, as is customary, we gather to celebrate God’s goodness to all and God’s grace evidenced in one another. Praised be His Name!

Monday, April 10:  We give thanks for all those who have responded to our annual membership renewal mailing, for their continued faithfulness in support of Christian graduate education. Please also continue to pray for our new Board members as they take up their responsibilities in their various regions, and for our “at large” trustees also.

Tuesday, April 11:  We are anticipating the purchaser will close on the sale of our shares in 229 College Street next week. Please importune our gracious God that there will be no last minute impediments!

Wednesday, April 12:  Academic Council meets on a close to monthly basis. As with EPC, this is the last scheduled meeting of the academic year, and it will focus on finalising the agenda and supporting materials for the upcoming Senate meeting (May 11). Please pray that they will accomplish all that is needed in this busy time.

Thursday, April 13:  The Finance Committee is hard at work on the coming year’s budget. Please pray for them in their deliberations, that these will be suffused with the wisdom the Holy Spirit graciously affords.

Good Friday, April 14:  Today we remember in a more focused way what we remember constantly, as we take up the cross daily and follow Jesus. We praise Almighty God: our Heavenly Father, Who sent His Son to die for us; Jesus, Who surrendered His life in loving obedience to His Father; and the Holy Spirit, Who fulfils the promise to be with us, our constant companion and counsellor. And we look forward in anticipation to Easter Sunday, when we commemorate and celebrate, also in a highly focused way, Christ risen from the dead, breaking the bonds of sin and death. Hallelujah!

Monday, April 17:  We pray for the Friends of ICS Board in the United States, under the leadership of Morris Greidanus and Peter Borgdorff. We also give thanks for board member Luke Seerveld, who has once again volunteered his time and expertise to produce a video for ICS. This will feature a series of interviews with people who have contributed significantly to our vision and mission, some from almost the beginning, with an eye on our upcoming Jubilee celebrations later this year. Please pray for him as he finalises his schedule and prepares to visit with people in Sioux Center, Grand Rapids and Toronto. The project, with all the preparation required, will be demanding. May the Lord give him strength, and may the product redound to the glory of God!

Tuesday, April 18:  We want to pray this month for all those who will be participating in our annual phone-a-thon. We ask particularly for God’s blessing on our students as they talk with our friends and supporters across Canada and the US, that it might be an enriching and encouraging time of fellowship for all.

Wednesday, April 19:
  Faculty will be regretting that classes have finished for the year, but they will continue to be busy mentoring Junior Members and evaluating course papers. We give thanks to our Saviour for bringing them here to serve Him in their teaching and research. May He continue to uphold them and guide them in their scholarly vocation.

Thursday, April 20:  
We ask for your prayers as we draw closer to our Undergraduate Workshop mid-May, when selected students from colleges across North America will come to Toronto to present papers and receive substantive feedback from ICS Junior and Senior Members. Please pray that this unique opportunity is spiritually and academically edifying for all involved, especially the undergraduates, many of whom have never done anything like this before.

Friday, April 21:  We covet your prayers for all those with administrative roles at ICS, whether full- or part-time: Kathy, Jeff, Harley, Vidya, Pat, Doug, Bob and Ron. May our Lord bless and keep them as they serve in their vital tasks.

Monday, April 24:  
The “Our Whole Society” conference is coming up on May 8-9 in Ottawa, with the themes of Solidarity in Diversity, Reconciliation, and Immigration and Refugees. Pray for the final stages of preparation of this event, in which Ron Kuipers is heavily involved, and that this conference will be a blessing to all those attending and that it will foster peace and mutual understanding in Canadian society.

Tuesday, April 25:
  These days we are looking forward to the celebration of our 50th Anniversary in October and the celebrations that will take place to commemorate this milestone. Please pray along with us that God will provide the necessary support, both financially and people, that will be necessary for the planning and execution of the events in different cities in Canada and the US.

Wednesday, April 26:
  We give thanks to our Lord Jesus, for the prospective merger with The King’s University. As we continue to explore and negotiate this, we ask for your steadfast prayer support. The merging of colleges and universities is a growing phenomenon in the United States and elsewhere, and there is always much to consider in melding two institutions, their heritages, faculty and staff.

Thursday, April 27:
  We invited you three weeks ago to pray for Junior Members as they write their class papers and urge you to do so again, as they work hard to bring these to a form with which they are satisfied.

Friday, April 28:
  In two weeks, the Senate and Board meet again in Toronto. We give thanks for their service, and pray for safety as they travel from near and far. We pray also for the final preparations for Convocation at that time, on May 12.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Isabella Guthrie-McNaughton, Director of Library and Information Services

It is with real sadness that we say goodbye to Isabella Guthrie-McNaughton from her role as ICS’s Director of Library and Information Services. Isabella joined us in August 2004, after working at the Royal Ontario Museum for 24 years and also at Redeemer University College.

Isabella has been a highly valued colleague, an integral member of our community, these more than twelve years. She has been, and remains, fully committed to the vision and mission of ICS, bringing her great expertise to her varied tasks, and regularly rising above the call to duty in her humble, self-sacrificial way.

We pray God’s richest blessings on Isabella as she takes on her new role as Public Services Librarian at Tyndale University College and Seminary. We will sorely miss you, Isabella!

Friday, 24 February 2017

Wednesday March 1: Scripture, Faith and Scholarship

Wednesday March 1, 2017

Scripture, Faith and Scholarship

Dr. Natasha Duquette
Associate Academic Dean and Professor of English
Tyndale University College

When: 1:45-4:30

Where: ICS Classroom on First Floor of 229 College St.

Who: The ICS Community of Junior and Senior Members

What Else: Tea Time as a Special Treat

Natasha Duquette is Associate Academic Dean of Tyndale University College.  She is a literary scholar whose area of speciality is 18th century women's writing.  She has contributed multiple chapters to the Handbook of Women Biblical Interpreters, and two monographs of interest: an earlier monograph using the notion of the sublime to explore the intersection of Literature, Aesthetics and Theology—Sublimer Aspects: Interfaces Between Literature, Aesthetics and Theology and a newer monograph called Veiled Intent: Dissenting Women' Aesthetic Approach to Biblical Interpretation.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Dan Jesse in South Carolina

Dan Jesse (MA, 2008) will be presenting a paper entitled "An Invitation to Sorrow -- Saturating our Liturgy With Sadness" at the 2017 Meeting of the Society for Continental Philosophy and Theology at Furman University (March 23-24).

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Prayer Letter: March 2017

Wednesday, March 1:   On Monday morning, former Senior Member Shannon Hoff (Memorial University) and Professor John Russon (University of Guelph), began teaching a course for ICS. Please pray for their leadership and for stimulating interaction among all involved. We are thankful indeed for their generosity in offering their time and expertise. You can find details of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit on our website.

Thursday, March 2:  On Tuesday, we sadly bade farewell to Isabella Guthrie-McNaughton. We praise God for leading her to serve ICS so faithfully and expertly over the past twelve years, and ask for blessings on her as she takes up a new position at Tyndale University College and Seminary in Toronto. [See News ]

Friday, March 3:  You will soon receive our annual membership renewal mailing. Let us give thanks for one another, members of the body of Christ at work in support of Christian graduate education. Please pray also for those confirmed as nominees to fill vacancies on the Board, as you vote in your various regions, and for “at large” trustees also.

Monday, March 6:   Dianne Bergsma wishes blessings to all and thanks everyone for the responses to the February Prayer Letter received for her husband Jerry. Your prayers were very much appreciated by Dianne, Jerry and their family. She asks for continued prayers for Jerry as he continues in palliative care due to spreading cancer of the spine at the Hotel Dieu Shaver hospital where they now try to balance the medication to manage the pain while trying to keep him awake and somewhat alert.

Tuesday, Match 7:  We give thanks for the successful MA thesis defences in recent weeks by Héctor Acero-Ferrer and TJ Skulstad-Brown. We pray they will find many ways in which to bring their insights to bear in their varied callings, in service of our Lord Jesus Christ and their neighbours, whoever and wherever they may be.

Wednesday, March 8:  This afternoon is the meeting of the Educational Policy Committee, one of our most active teams. Please pray for insight and discernment as they deliberate on curricular matters that are at the core of our mission.

Thursday, March 9:  Tomorrow morning at ICS the Board of Trustees will convene a special meeting with faculty, staff and Junior Members to discuss plans for the future, particularly with respect to a potential merger with The King’s University, Edmonton. The Board will reconvene in the afternoon and again on Saturday morning to continue its deliberations around this matter. We ask the Holy Spirit to hover over these conversations, gifting all involved with the wisdom promised if only we have the humility to entreat God for this.

Friday, March 10:  This evening we will celebrate the retirement of Lambert Zuidervaart after many years of faithful service to ICS, including a long period before he was appointed Senior Member in Philosophy in 2003. Please pray for a wonderful time of conversation and reflection, and of thankfulness to our Lord and to Lambert for his inestimable contribution. May he be blessed as he continues to follow Christ on the path which has been his lifelong vocation.

Monday, March 13:  The Finance Committee is busy preparing the 2017-18 budget proposal for consideration by the Board at its meeting on May 12. The goal is to achieve a balanced budget, obviously a crucial step in doing all we can to ensure ICS’s sustainability, knowing that throughout we depend utterly on the grace of God to uphold us in the task with which we are entrusted. We beseech our Father in Heaven to aid us in our calling to strive that His will be done on earth and praise Him in His power and glory.

Tuesday, March 14:  Bob Sweetman will be making a number of conference presentations over the next few months. Details of these will be announced in our News column as they come closer. Please pray in the meantime for the strenuous hours, days and weeks he will be putting in to bring his papers to their final form.

Wednesday, March 15:  Academic Council convenes this afternoon for its monthly meeting to consider proposals from its various sub-committees and the offices of the Academic Dean and President. May the hand of God guide each one, and the committee communally, to do what is pleasing to Him and to the honour of His name.

Thursday, March 16:  The anticipated sale of our shares in 229 College Street has been delayed by the requirement for an Environmental Assessment, a matter of course for buildings of its age, of which there are many in our vicinity. Please continue to uphold ICS before the throne of God, that there will be a positive and expeditious outcome

Friday, March 17:  As we prepare for the meeting of the Senate meeting on May 11, we pray for those diligently at work on the materials necessary for this event, noting especially Registrar Jeff Hocking and Academic Dean Bob Sweetman. We pray also for the Senate itself, as it oversees the academic program of ICS, and for Dr. John Kok in particular as he provides leadership as Senate Chair and Chancellor.

Monday, March 20:  The Leadership Team meets again this morning to update one another, review the various facets of the Institute’s operations and advise the President. Please pray for insight and discernment in their consultation.

Tuesday, March 21:  Junior Members will once again delight us with an issue of Perspective they are putting together. Please pray for them as they write, collaborate and edit. It’s sure to be a joy to read!

Wednesday, March 22:  Please bring our administrative staff before the Lord for His encouragement and blessing: Jeff Hocking, Kathy Lynch, Vidya Williams, Harley Dekker and Pat Webb.

Thursday, March 23:
 We pray for ICS’s discussions with The King’s University, that there may be a strengthening of a distinctively Christian witness in higher education in Canada that redounds to the glory of God.

Please pray for Dan Jesse as he presents his paper at Furman University (see News).

Friday, March 24:  It’s less than two weeks until the ICS Art Talks! event on April 3 and 4. This conference on film and spirituality, in collaboration with the Toronto International Film Festival, is overseen by Rebekah Smick and Ron Kuipers, working also with a number of other partners. Please pray for the final planning and successful conduct of this significant public outreach.

Monday, March 27:  Our faculty are at the heart of our mission, to help the next generation shape their thoughts and lives in service of the Kingdom of God, whose thumbprint is as broad as creation itself. Please pray for them: Nik Ansell, Ron Kuipers, Rebekah Smick, Gideon Strauss and Bob Sweetman, bringing their names before the one whose name is above all names.

Tuesday, March 28:  The task of graduate students -- also at the heart of our mission -- is demanding in many ways, the rigours of research itself, of course, but also the stresses and strains of being far from home in most cases and the financial burdens they carry. We invite you today to pray for our Junior Members and their families, some with young children, as they seek to honour the call of Jesus to serve Him in the field of Christian scholarship.

Wednesday, March 29:  Let us give thanks to Jesus for one another, ICS supporters in prayer and financially, for the wonderful response to our Advent Appeal. May God bless and keep you, in the various ways you serve in our Lord’s vineyard. Pray with us for bountiful fruit on the vine in the second half of this financial year.

Thursday, March 30:  The Undergraduate Workshop at Scarboro Missions is just over six weeks away (May 16-19). We are grateful for the Missions’ generous provision of this facility and travel support and pray for all those who have taken up this wonderful opportunity. Some of our “senior” Junior Members (who organised this event) and some Senior Members also will participate in this mentoring experience; we give thanks for those who took the lead in this initiative, especially PhD candidate Josh Harris. We continue to pray for further enrolments.

Friday, March 31:  The biennial “Our Whole Society” conference, under the auspices of the Canadian Interfaith Conversation, this year has the theme of “Religion and Citizenship at Canada’s 150th” (Ottawa May 8-9). CPRSE, represented by Director Ron Kuipers, is a “Conversation Partner” in this event. Please pray for this gathering, and for Ron in particular as he engages in its planning and execution.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Feb 8 2017 Mystical Landscapes Talk and Tour

Please join us for group tour of Mystical Landscapes: Masterpieces from Monet, Van Gogh and more at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The tour will be preceded by an introductory talk on the exhibition by ICS Senior Member Rebekah Smick. Professor Smick is a contributor to the book associated with the exhibition as well as a member of the exhibition’s advisory committee.

Wednesday, February 8, 6 pm
Institute for Christian Studies
100-229 College Street

All inclusive tickets for both tour and talk: $20
Limited availability. Please call or e-mail Kathy Lynch by Monday, January 30 to reserve tickets on a first come/first serve basis.
416-979-2331 x221

Dr Tricia Van Dyk: Not Just Cause and Effect

Dr. Tricia Van Dyk will have an essay published in the journal Interdisciplinary Literary Studies, in a special issue on the work of Martha Nussbaum, a well-known American philosopher. The essay, titled “Not Just Cause and Effect: Resituating Martha Nussbaum's Defense of Novels as Moral Philosophy in a Hermeneutical Framework,” stems from Tricia’s PhD dissertation at ICS and the VU University Amsterdam. Tricia and her husband Benjamin Groenewold and their two children live in Lithuania, where Tricia and Benjamin teach philosophy at LCC International University.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Undergraduate Workshop: Creation: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

The Institute for Christian Studies in cooperation with Scarboro Missions is currently soliciting proposals for a four-day undergraduate workshop on the theme of Creation.

Questions we hope to consider include but are not limited to the following:

  • What is creation? What is implied in a relationship between creation and its creator?
  • How is creativity related to rationality or intelligence? In what sense, if any, is creativity a distinctively human phenomenon?
  • Do great works of art owe themselves to something like the “creative genius” of their creator? What is a properly artistic creation, if there is such a thing?
  • In what ways can traditional and/or contemporary creative enterprises serve as “common ground” for constructive dialogue and mutual recognition amongst diverse people groups?
  • Do human beings have an ethical obligation to be creative? Are there moral dangers associated with creativity?

Selected participants will have the opportunity to present their own work before peers and receive feedback from ICS Junior and Senior Members, making connections and “learning the ropes” of the scholarly enterprise at the graduate or professional level. The workshop is a great opportunity for outstanding undergraduate students who might be interested in deepening existing lines of research and pursuing new ones with guidance from budding and established scholars in disciplines such as philosophy, theology, religious studies, etc.

The workshop will be held May 16-19 and the call for papers deadline is February 1, 2017. Please follow the link below for further details.

Undergraduate Workshop

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Prayer Letter: February 2017

Wednesday, February 1:  Dianne Bergsma (PhD, 2014) asks for our prayers for her husband Jerry. “He is in much pain due to cancer which was diagnosed in early December, and which was a shock to the doctors and to all of us. It had already spread to the bones and nerves of his spine. They tried radiation treatments but they had no effect and they admitted him to the St. Catharines hospital. After two weeks there he was transferred Friday a week ago to the Hotel Dieu Shaver hospital here in St. Catharines, where he is receiving palliative care, and we can be with him day and night.
“Thank you for the love and care we have received throughout the years from the ICS community. Wishing you all continued blessings, Dianne.”

Thursday, February 2:  At time of writing, we are very close indeed to the sale of our share in 229 College Street. Please pray that soon all the “i’s” will be dotted and the “t’s” crossed. We give thanks to God for the excellent counsel our lawyers have provided and for finally being able to see the end in sight with this process. We are also looking forward to having the necessary funds to begin building an endowment that will sustain us into the future.

Friday, February 3:  We continue to explore how we might form a very close relationship with The King’s University, Edmonton. Such an undertaking is obviously complex and we ask the Lord to prepare the way to a positive conclusion.

Today, the research team for the SSHRC-funded partnered project, Faith and Settlement Partnerships: Setting Immigrants and Canada up for Success meets to report on the progress of case studies, including key informant interviews and focus groups. CPRSE Director Ron Kuipers and CPRSE RA Hector Acero Ferrer have been working with World Renew, The Interfaith Council of Peel, and the Peel Newcomers Strategy group, as part of this research project supervised by the Centre for Community-Based Research.

Monday, February 6:  The Leadership Team meets this morning at 11:00, as it does every two weeks. This is a vital means of helping to ensure we are addressing our mission in close collaboration across all departments and ventures. Please ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in their deliberations.

Isabella Guthrie-McNaughton meets for a half-day today as a member of the Toronto School of Theology’s Library Committee. Please join in upholding her in this important meeting.

Tuesday, February 7:  Tomorrow evening, as you may have seen in our News column, Senior Member Rebekah Smick will host a tour of Mystical Landscapes at the Art Gallery of Ontario. This will be preceded by an introductory talk by Rebekah. We ask for God’s blessing as she speaks and for God’s presence in the time of reflection and engagement with this amazing art exhibition for students and other participants.

Wednesday, February 8:  The Educational Policy Committee is one the most active sub-committees of Academic Council. Chaired by Academic Dean Bob Sweetman, it comprises also SM Nik Ansell, JM Mark Novak and Librarian Isabella-Guthrie McNaughton. Please pray for a fruitful discussion of course proposals and other aspects of our programs.

Thursday, February 9:  We give thanks to God for a moving and successful Interdisciplinary Studies Conference, Glorious and Free: Generous Citizenship for the Next 150 at The King's University, Edmonton last month, where Ron Kuipers delivered a keynote address entitled From the Roots: Religion and the Public Life of Liberal Democracy.

Friday, February 10:  Thank you for the faithful support of our Junior Members in your prayers and financially. They are at the core of our mission as a graduate school. We praise God for bringing these young people to our community and ask you to continue to uphold them and the Senior Members who strive to nurture them in Biblically-grounded scholarship. May they be a blessing as they commit themselves to prepare for their call to teach, in wholehearted service of Jesus Christ.

Monday, February 13:  Junior Members are once again collaborating on our next issue of Perspective. Under the leadership of Hector Acero-Ferrer, they are busy writing and editing articles and preparing the layout of this magazine. They will be assisted on the production side by our own Daryl Kinsman and graphic artist Kevin van der Leek. Please pray for them as they labour joyfully on this task.

Tuesday, February 14:  This is the month where we ask our community to respond to the call to renew their membership at ICS. Our membership is the wellspring of our strength, the bedrock of our community. We thank God for our members who stand with us and resolve to continue to build on the work we are doing together. Please ask God for continued enthusiastic interest and support from these core people in our ICS community.

Wednesday, February 15:  Academic Council meets this afternoon; please pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in their discussion. Also remember in your prayers the preparations for the 7th Annual Aquinas Studium being organised by Bob Sweetman, with the help of Fr. Gilles Mongeau SJ of Regis College.

Thursday, February 16:  We ask for God’s blessings on the preparations for the March 10 evening reception in honour of Lambert Zuidervaart's completed tenure as Senior Member at ICS.

Friday, February 17:  We give thanks to God for our administrative staff, Kathy Lynch, Vidya Williams, Harley Dekker, Pat Webb and Jeffrey Hocking, for their meticulous and dedicated service. Please ask our Lord to sustain them in the many challenges they face and the ongoing routines that mark their work-days.

We pray that Hector Acero-Ferrer will have a clear mind and apt words today, when he defends his MA Thesis, Liberating Tradition: An Exploration of Liberation Theology Through the Lens of Paul Ricoeur's Hermeneutics.

Monday, February 20:  Today is Family Day in Ontario (and we realise this celebration of the significance of the family happens in other places and on other days elsewhere). We invite you to pray for the babies and infants in our community, children of our Junior Members and spouses, that they may be protected from illness and accidents and recover quickly and fully when difficulties beset them.

Tuesday, February 21:   Reading Week commences today. This is a welcome opportunity for Junior and Senior Members alike to bury their heads in their books, or digital equivalents, and to concentrate on their current research. May our Lord give them perseverance and insight.

Wednesday, February 22:  We pray our Lord’s blessings on the ongoing preparations for an ICS/CPRSE-TIFF-Imago sponsored exploration of Religion and Film with Calvin grad Paul Schrader as keynote speaker.

Thursday, February 23:  This regular meeting of the Canadian Interfaith Conversation (where ICS/CPRSE has a seat) will focus on interfaith dialogue and youth between the ages of 18-35. Please pray for ICS Ph.D. Candidate Hector Acero-Ferrer as he contributes to the discussion on how best to help young people approach interfaith dialogue.

Friday, February 24:  Doug Blomberg will be undergoing a medical procedure today. Please pray for the doctors involved, that all goes well and there is a healthful outcome.

We ask for blessings as the final planning touches added to the Building Our Whole Society: Religion and Citizenship at Canada's 150th Conference (May 8-9, Ottawa). Ron Kuipers serves on the Planning and Programming Committees for this conference, under the auspices of the Canadian Interfaith Conversation.

Monday, February 27:  Next month, March 10th and 11th, there will be a Special Meeting of the Board of Trustees in Toronto to consider how to proceed in our ongoing negotiations with The King’s University. May our Lord grant wisdom to all who gather for this purpose, and protect them as they travel.

Tuesday, February 28:  Tomorrow there is a court hearing involving the Receiver overseeing our bankrupted Co-Tenant’s share in 229 College Street. Because of this relationship, ICS is a creditor. Doug Blomberg will be in attendance for these proceedings. Please pray that justice is served for ICS, and also for all those who have suffered over a long period from the actions of the previous partner.