Saturday 9 June 2018

Prayer Letter: July 2018

Sunday, July 1 - Friday, July 6

On July 1, people across Canada celebrate Canada Day, and ponder the blessing of living in a country that is relatively free from strife, that cherishes its ability to provide universal healthcare, and in which many are fortunate to enjoy a good quality of life. This anniversary of Canada’s confederation also gives us a moment to pause and consider the ways we can do better as a country, including achieving justice for and reconciliation with Canada’s indigenous peoples, adopting a strategy to address national poverty more effectively, including the development of a national affordable housing program, and increasing action for ecological justice. When we consider the blessings we receive by living in relative peace and prosperity here in Canada, we think of the global refugee and migration crisis, and pray for those desperate people enduring or fleeing from poverty and war. And to all members of the ICS community in the United States, we pray for God’s richest blessings as you celebrate Independence Day, and may you also use this occasion to pause and consider similar ambiguities in your nation’s witness to the world as a voice for justice and peace.

Please pray this month for our Registrar, Elizabet, as she looks after the academic details needed to be ready for the beginning of the school year in September, such as new courses being approved, registration of students, course schedules, and working with the faculty to get all the course syllabi up on the website. Pray too as she works with the new students in their application process and decisions around course selection.

Monday, July 9 - Friday, July 13

As we begin this new fiscal year, we continue to face challenges. At the same time, we are encouraged by the possibilities the Lord will bring our way, and seek His wisdom and guidance. We look forward to our move to Knox, and work hard to balance the size of the task with the opportunities that this relocation will present for ICS. It has been a challenging year from a budgeting point of view, due to the presidential transition and the delays in getting the lease at Knox signed. With those issues behind us, we are anticipating a good start to our new fiscal year.

Please pray for long-time PhD candidate, Benjamin Groenewold, as he meets with ICS supervisor Bob Sweetman on July 10th about the latest complete draft of his PhD thesis. Benjamin works with his wife and fellow ICS alumna, Dr. Tricia van Dyk, for the LCC International Univeristy in Lithuania, where he teaches courses on Worldview to college students.

We are so very grateful for the continued commitment of our supporters and pray God’s abundant blessing on each one. This support means so much to us, especially as we begin the new fiscal year with the Renaissance ICS campaign, as explained in last month’s appeal letter. Pray for sustained grace and strength as we work to achieve the goals set out before us in our renovation plan for our new home at Knox College. Pray too for vision and creativity as we move forward with new program initiatives and partnership development.

Monday, July 16 - Friday, July 20

Please pray for our Art in Orvieto program that begins on July 15 and runs for three weeks into the beginning of August. Again, we have had good subscription to both our artists' workshop and ICS course that looks at the role of the image in the three main Christian traditions. Please pray for safety both for students and faculty as they travel to and around Italy, and pray that they might have a fruitful time learning, creating, and appreciating art together.

Please join with us in prayer this month as we make decisions about downsizing and begin the ominous task of packing what we will take with us to Knox College. Pray that we will know God’s grace and strength during this time of upheaval in our normal working day, and that we might enjoy a sense of joy and excitement together as we anticipate moving into our new home. As Bob Sweetman so eloquently put it in the meditation he wrote in the summer of 2009, when ICS moved down to the first floor of 229 College: “Even in moves there are things to pray about in gratitude, not just anxiety …. Thank God for the moves we all make; how else would we know we weren’t rocks. And may God be with us in our moves, even to the end of the age.”

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.

Monday, July 23 - Friday, July 27

Please pray for our PhD candidate, Joshua Harris, who, with his wife Sarah and son Rowan, will be moving to Edmonton 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 The King's University.

Please continue to pray for our dear friends, Alice Greidanus and Janet Borgdorff and their families, as they grieve the loss of Morris and Peter. We pray that God will be very present with them and that they will know his abundant grace and peace during this difficult time.

The Centre for Philosophy, Religion, and Social Ethics (CPRSE) continues to build on the “Currents in Reformational Thought” series, featuring the contributions of our current and emeriti faculty to our scholarly tradition. Currently, the CPRSE team is working on the final editing stages of a forthcoming festschrift on the work of Emeritus Senior Member, Lambert Zuidervaart. Please pray for those involved in editing, producing, and publishing this important series.

CPRSE’s Research Assistants, Grace Carhart and Dean Dettloff have contributed immensely to the life of ICS, keeping the community informed through social media, helping with the planning and execution of events, and assisting in other projects run by the Centre, including our new podcast Critical Faith. We pray in thanksgiving for the contribution of Grace and Dean to ICS community through their involvement in the CPRSE, and ask for God’s continued blessings on them.

Monday, July 30 - Tuesday, July 31

Please pray for our Librarian, Hilary Barlow who will be applying for permanent residency/landed immigrant status within the next seven months. Pray that the process of putting the myriad of documents and information together for the application will go smoothly so she can make the February 2019 deadline with little hassle. Hillary is currently on a temporary work permit, but once she makes application, she is eligible to extend the work permit until she gets an answer on her application.

Please pray for Bob Sweetman as he attends the Annual Aquinas Studium, held this year at Villanova University in the Philadelphia area July 29-August 2. The theme of the Studium will be Thomas Aquinas's Trinitarian thought. He will be leading in the presentation of a series of readings that will be the basis for discussions during one of the morning sessions. This will be a great warm up for Bob as he gears up to teach a seminar on Aquinas's presentation of the phenomenon and reality of miracles within the frame set for them by the framing notions of "nature" and "the supernatural".

Currently, CPRSE is exploring new partnership possibilities with community organizations that share the spirit of inquiry and openness of ICS. Please pray that CPRSE is able to continue its history of partnership through collaborations that are fruitful and life-giving in the new academic year.