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.