Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Shaping a Just Canada: CPRSE Event with Citizens for Public Justice



Shaping a Just Canada
When: Thursday, October 3, 7:00-9:30pm
Where: Christ Church Deer Park, 1570 Yonge St., Toronto, ON M4T 1Z8


The Centre for Philosophy, Religion, and Social Ethics (CPRSE) at ICS is pleased to partner with Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) to host Shaping a Just Canadaa non-partisan forum aimed at equipping voters with the knowledge needed to fully engage in the Canadian political process. CPJ is a faithful voice for social justice in Canadian public policy focused primarily on poverty in Canada, ecological justice, and refugee rights. CPJ’s fall tour will provide a non-partisan look at major issues leading up the fall federal election.

ICS/CPRSE and CPJ invite all members of the public to participate in this event as a means of gaining a clear and practical understanding of the key issues facing Canada in the upcoming election. Such understanding and engagement is especially key for Canada’s faith communities who bring important perspectives to our public discourse. 

The event will feature remarks from CPJ’s new Executive Director, Willard Metzger, and a panel presentation on immigration, refugees, and political participation led by members of Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) and CPRSE's own Héctor Acero Ferrer.

ICS/CPRSE is grateful to Christ Church Deer Park, an Anglican parish in midtown Toronto, for lending the use of their building for this event.

The event is free, but please register to attend at https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/cpj-fall-tour-toronto-on-tickets-66381722519

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Adorno’s Critique of Capitalism

The Times Literary Supplement has published a new essay by Lambert Zuidervaart, ICS Senior Member, on the life and work of Adorno, a prominent philosopher and social critic in the Frankfurt School. Titled “Theodor W. Adorno: Exposing Capitalism’s Blind Domination,” the essay is online in the Footnotes to Plato series, at https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/theodor-adorno-footnotes-to-plato/.

Prayer Letter: September 2019

Monday, September 2 - Friday, September 6:

Please pray this week for the staff, faculty and students as they participate in Registration Week, that it will be an inspiring time together to launch the new school year. Please especially pray for our Registrar Elizabet as she takes care of the many details that are involved in making sure each day fulfills its potential.

Tuesday, Sept 3: This is Orientation Day for all of our new students which will consist of faculty presentations in the morning, followed by lunch. In the afternoon there will be a presentation about the Christian Campus Ministries and a Library Tour of Caven Library, ICS Library, and Robarts Library with our Librarian Hilary Barlow.

Wednesday, Sept 4: This is the day that our Junior Members in Year 1 & 2 finalize their registration for the semester. There will also be meetings with their Senior Member mentors, with Elizabet our Registrar, and Harley Dekker about financial matters.

Thursday, Sept 5: This is Retreat Day which this year will be held at Evergreen Brickworks located in the Don River Valley for the first time. The morning will consist of reflection and chapel and community meeting, followed by lunch. In the afternoon, there will be breakout sessions with the Junior and Senior Members, followed by silent meditation and free time to explore the hiking trails in the area.

We have new students moving from France, Indonesia and Alberta to study at ICS this month. At least two have been offered residency at Knox College. Please pray this week for safe and speedy journeys, that our two international students will find their immigration process smooth, and that all of them will get settled in quickly and happily.

Monday, September 9 - Friday, September 13:

This is the first week of Fall classes, and it is fitting to begin with one of our Foundational courses: “Biblical Foundations” led by Dr. Nik Ansell. Please pray for lively interaction and edification for all the participants as they explore the Bible as the ongoing story of and for God and creation, paying special attention to the way in which God's story is intertwined with that of humanity and the world.

On Tuesday, Dr. Jim Olthuis begins his course “Twentieth-Century Postmodern Theories of (Inter)Subjectivity”. Pray for Jim and the students as they engage the material in an effort to understand the philosophical anthropologies of four 20th Century post-modern Continental philosophers, and how each thinker develops a view of the human self.

On Wednesday, we see the commencement of two courses: “Religion, Life, and Society: Reformational Philosophy”, an exploration of central issues in philosophy, as addressed by Herman Dooyeweerd, Dirk Vollenhoven, and the “Amsterdam School” of neoCalvinian thought, with Dr. Bob Sweetman, and “The Divine (at) Risk: Open Theism, Classical Theism and Beyond” which will explore the different ways in which the God of history is viewed by advocates and critics of “Open Theism” with Dr. Nik Ansel.

Once again on Thursday, two courses will begin: “Aristotle, Aquinas and the Scholastic Approach to the History of Philosophy” with Dr. Bob Sweetman. Pray for Bob and the students as together they examine the role that philosophy or theology's history plays in the conceptual constructions of scholastic thinkers, and what they think is truly first and deepest in the history they study. “Beauty: Theology, Ethics, or Aesthetics?” with Dr. Rebekah Smick also starts today so we ask for your prayers for Rebekah and the students as together they examine a variety of subjective and objective views of beauty in the history of Western philosophy and theology from antiquity to the present, and then consider the implications of these views of beauty for the production of the visual arts, music, and literary culture in Western religion and society.

Monday, September 16 - Friday, September 20:

We would appreciate prayers for the Leadership Team as they finalize the draft of a strategic plan for ICS, geared to enhance our academic programming and increase our institutional revenue. Pray for clarity and wisdom for all those who will be involved in the refining discussions in preparation for the final plan to be presented to our Board of Trustees in mid-November.

Please pray for those involved in preparing our Fall issue of 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 issue to supporters in early October.

We ask for your prayers for the three distance learning courses that start up this month: “The Soul of Soulless Conditions” with Dean Dettloff, “Wisdom and Schooling” with Joonyong Um, and “How to Coach a Strong Team” with Gideon Strauss.

Monday, September 23 - Friday, September 27:

We ask for your prayers for Harley Dekker as he prepares for the auditors this and the preparation of the year-end statements this month. Pray for strength and clarity for Harley as he does this in the midst of the many other aspects of administration in which he is involved.

ICS/CPRSE’s regular podcast Critical Faith is starting up again for the school year. Our Communications Coordinator, Danielle Yett, will continue hosting. This academic year she will be joined by two Research Assistants who will be brought on board the podcasting team. We ask for prayer as the team organizes and plans new content for this year’s episodes. The podcast is a great way for us to showcase the kinds of conversations that happen at ICS, so we also pray that those conversations might prove both enjoyable and edifying.

As the academic year begins, CPRSE staff and research assistants prepare to work on a number of exciting initiatives, including publications, institutional collaborations, and community outreach. We pray that CPRSE continues to be a source of life, activity, and inspiration for all members of the ICS community.

Monday, September 30:

On October 3rd, ICS/CPRSE is partnering with Citizens for Public Justice in “Shaping a Just Canada” a gathering promoting a better understanding of key policy issues in preparation for the upcoming federal elections. Please pray that this collaboration might serve as an opportunity for fruitful dialogue about the role of religion in the public sphere, as well as reflection on the responsibility of faith groups in Canadian political life.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

JM Dean Dettloff Article Publication

Junior Member and PhD candidate Dean Dettloff recently published an article entitled "Žižek’s Ruptured Monism: A Comparative Typological Reading of Less Than Nothing." The article considers whether D.H.Th. Vollenhoven's problem-historical "types" might illuminate the thought of Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižekparticularly by enabling the recognition of what Dean calls a "ruptured monism" at play in his work. 

This article stems from Dean's participation in ICS's Winter 2016 Interdisciplinary Seminar, "IDS: Problem-Historical Approaches to Philosophy, Theology, and Art History," which considered the continuing relevance of Vollenhoven's methods for contemporary thought. The article appears in a 2018 issue of the journal Philosophia Reformata (vol. 83, issue 2).

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Prayer Letter: August 2019

Thursday, August 1 - Friday, August 2:


Please pray for Bob Sweetman as he goes to Boston in order to participate in the Boston College Colloquy in Historical Theology taking place on August 1 through 3. Bob has attended this colloquy twice before and the quality of the papers has been consistently very high. (He is smiling when he says this as he gave a paper at this event in its 2017 iteration.)

Monday, August 5 - Friday, August 9:


Please pray for Gideon this month as he will be contributing to a gathering of the current cohort of fellows of Triga Ventures, a cross-sector training program in South Africa which gives emerging entrepreneurs access to inspiring peers, generous mentors, a global network and value-aligned investors and donors.


Please pray for our president, Ron Kuipers, and the leadership team as they develop a strategic plan for ICS, geared to enhance our academic programming and increase our institutional revenue. Pray for wisdom for all those involved in this process as they lead visioning meetings with faculty, staff and members of the Board and Senate.

Monday, August 12 - Friday, August 16:


Please pray along with us for one of our international students who has been facing difficulties receiving a Canadian study permit. We ask that God would smooth the process with the Immigration Office so that he might be able to start school on time in September.


We also want to pray for the various projects on which our Junior Members are working: theses, proposals, reading lists, dissertations, independent research, presentations and coursework. We pray that the summer season has been an opportunity for them to follow through on these projects and that it brings renewed inspiration and vigour for the upcoming school year.


Currently, ICS/CPRSE is exploring new partnership possibilities with other academic institutions and community organizations that share in our spirit of inquiry and engagement. Please pray that CPRSE continues its history of collaboration through innovative research, effective outreach and rigorous scholarship. 


Monday, August 19 - Friday, August 23:


In two weeks time we will welcome our Junior Members, both returning and new. Please pray for all of them as they wrap up their summer projects, academic and otherwise. Please pray especially for our new students as they make their travel plans and all the other personal decisions that are needed to successfully settle into their new home in Toronto. It is always a joyous time as we all start afresh as the ICS community, and we pray that God will once again be present with us


Please pray this week for our Registrar, Elizabet Aras, as she prepares for registration and orientation, as well as the student retreat coming up on September 5th. There are myriad 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. 


Please pray this week for Gideon as he travels back to Canada, and quickly takes up once again his teaching and facilitating responsibilities in an intensive course in ICS's MA in Educational Leadership during the Christian Teachers Academy at Hamilton District Christian High.



Monday, August 26 - Friday, August 30:


Please pray this week for two new students from abroad who are flying into Toronto at the end of the month. We ask for safe travels and pray that all goes well with the customs and immigration officials at the border.


We ask for your prayers this week for our faculty and administrative staff as they ensure that all the preparations are in place for the beginning of the school year next week. Pray that they will be encouraged by the largest incoming class in some years and 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. We give thanks to God for sending them to serve the Institute’s mission with commitment and dedication.


As the summer season ends, the ICS/CPRSE team finishes the planning of a number of exciting initiatives that will take place in the new academic year, including publications, institutional collaborations and community outreach. We pray that CPRSE continues to be a source of life, activity, and inspiration for all members of the ICS community and beyond. 


Saturday, 29 June 2019

Prayer Letter: July 2019

Monday, July 1 - Friday, July 5:

On July 4, ICS Junior Member, Ted Avram S.J. returns to his home within the Society of Jesus. He will have managed to defend his MA thesis "The Nature of Belief in the Philosophy of Alvin Plantinga and Bernard Lonergan: A Propaedeutic for an Extended Synthesis" on June 28. He still has two papers to finish before completing the requirements for his MA from ICS. Pray for him as he heads back to Ireland for the next stages of his formation to Jesuit life and finishes off the last requirements of his MA degree.

As we begin this new fiscal year, we give thanks for the forward movement of last year. We are encouraged by the possibilities the Lord will bring our way in the coming months, and seek His wisdom and guidance. We are very grateful for our new home at Knox -- for the comfortable environment it provides to work and study and for the new opportunities this new location presents.

Monday, July 8 - Friday, July 12:

Please pray this month for our Registrar, Elizabet, as she looks after the academic details in preparation 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 fifteen new students in their application process and decisions around course selection.

The Leadership Team would appreciate prayers this month as they work on formulating a strategic plan that focuses on new program development with an accompanying funding plan. We are encouraged by the opportunities that have presented themselves, particularly the Master of Education Leadership program. Pray that they have wisdom in the development of focused strategies to enhance this opportunity.

Monday, July 15 - Friday, July 19:

Please continue to pray for Gideon Strauss in Stellenbosch, South Africa, where he is concluding a research project on "Inequality, forgiveness, and political agency: lived theologies among young adults in post-apartheid South African churches" in partnership with Nadine Bowers Du Toit at the Faculty of Theology at the University of Stellenbosch. (This project has been supported by the Nagel Institute for World Christianity at Calvin College with funding from the Templeton Religion Trust.)

July being a month in which some 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 22 - Friday, July 26:

Just because Gideon is in South Africa doesn’t mean that his work as ICS’s Academic Dean stops. Pray for him as he will be participating via Zoom video meetings and email in the work of ICS's Educational Policy Committee, Academic Council and Senate.

Pray also for Gideon as he once again facilitates a multi-session workshop on vocational wayfinding/life design in partnership with a local Christian community of faith, Stellenbosch Gemeente (SG). This year Gideon will also partner with SG to offer a multi-session workshop on Jamie Smith's book You Are What You Love. SG is also organizing two "long table conversations" facilitated by Gideon, on the relationship between discipleship, citizenship, and ownership in the South African context.

Monday, July 29 - Wednesday, July 31:

Pray for Bob Sweetman and Meg Giordano (VU/ICS PhD candidate) this week as they will be in Wayne, Pennsylvania on the campus of Villanova University for the Annual Aquinas Studium (this year's topic: Friendship). May this event be helpful for their research and writing on Aquinas. Meg is writing a dissertation on the nature of violence and the resistance to violence in the thought of Thomas Aquinas, while Bob is working on finishing a book on the virtues of religion and science in the shape of human flourishing according to Thomas Aquinas.


Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Glory to God in the Kitchen: an Art Exhibition by ICS Graduate Ann Post

Still Life with Copper Pot (2018) by Ann Post 

"Sharing the beauty and mystery of art with others has always brought me tremendous pleasure and satisfaction. During the course of my life, I have loved looking at art, making art, displaying art, teaching art; as well as writing about it. In my experience, art connects with every aspect of life: spirituality, nature, people, places, and objects. There is virtually no end to what art can do to enrich and to enhance life. Art has felt like a religious calling or 'vocation' for me. And I believe that art is not meant to be greedily hoarded only for one’s own personal pleasure or monetary gain as a commodity. Rather, it is to be shared with others in this world which God has made and has so freely and graciously given to us. We have been made in the Divine Creator’s image. There is a natural rhythm built into our nature; to give and to take; to make and to share."  

- excerpt from Ann Post's project reflection
-----

In the fall of 2018, recent ICS graduate Ann Post (MWS, 2019) put on her first solo exhibition of still life, landscape, and floral paintings in Mount Vernon, New York. This exhibition was hosted in the gallery of the Mount Vernon Library and was a great success. The exhibition was the culmination of work that Ann began earlier in 2018, and continued to work on during the summer while attending ICS's ART in Orvieto program with Rebekah Smick in Orvieto, Italy. 

Her time spent in the Artists' Workshop in Orvieto gave her the time and space to focus her artistic efforts on creating a series of still life paintings inspired by the aesthetics writings of Calvin Seerveld—specifically, a chapter in his Rainbows for the Fallen World (1980) with which her exhibition shares its title: "Glory to God in the Kitchen."

As part of her final project for her MWS degree, Ann described the intersection of reflection and practice made apparent to her through the process of creating her exhibition. She highlighted these influences and put careful consideration into the craft of developing this particular art exhibition with special attention to the audience, the space and logistics, the various interactions of the individual pieces, and the overall desired outcome of displaying her work for others. All these various aspects of her project came together to solidify her desire to make her own experiences of the "gift" of art available to others in her community—to bring it into contact with people in the midst of living their everyday lives. 

ICS is grateful for the time Ann has spent studying and exploring her artistic vocation with us, and we eagerly look forward to keeping an eye out for her future work!




Monday, 24 June 2019

Richard Middleton Elected President of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies

ICS Alumnus Richard Middleton, Professor of Biblical Worldview and Exegesis at Northeastern Seminary, has been elected President of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies (CSBS), the oldest academic humanities society in Canada, founded in 1933. Middleton was elected Vice President/President Elect at the 2018 CSBS annual meeting at the University of Regina; he became President on June 1, 2019, during the annual meeting at the University of British Columbia.

Originally from Jamaica, Middleton immigrated first to Canada (where he studied at the ICS and received his PhD from the joint ICS/VU program), then moved to the United States to take up a faculty position. He became a member of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies in 1992 and has presented seventeen academic papers at CSBS over those years (as well as twenty-three papers at other academic societies that meet as part of the Congress).

Richard has also published a blog post on being both a Kuyperian and a Wesleyan (originally written as the Foreword to a book on Christian Worldview for Brazilian Christians).
See: https://jrichardmiddleton.wordpress.com/2019/06/12/reflections-of-a-kuyperian-wesleyan/

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Graduates and Undergraduates Talk God and Politics in 2019 Workshop and Joint Course

On May 23-25, 2019 ICS hosted its third annual Undergraduate Workshop that invited undergraduate students from all over to join us in Toronto and to get a taste of graduate education. This year, we were joined by ten undergraduate presenters from the following institutions in Canada, the U.S., and Qatar: Greenville University, Canadian Mennonite University, Cornerstone University, The King's University, Memorial University Newfoundland, and Georgetown University in Qatar. 

Undergraduate participants presented their own research
to the group and fielded questions
These students presented their own academic research as it related to the theme of this year's workshop: God & Politics: Religion and Public Life in the 21st Century. Paper topics ranged from a deep engagement with Indigenous writers thinking about the practice and possibility of "nation-to-nation" sovereignty in Canada today to a historical narrative study of the work and life of Saint Oscar Romero from El Salvador; from a critical study of the Minjung liberation theology movement in Korea to a thorough exploration of Immanuel Kant's reading of the ethical and moral implications of the story of Abraham and Isaac. 

Dr. Ronald A. Kuipers welcoming everyone
to the workshop
The undergraduates' papers received formal responses from ICS Senior Members, Junior Members, and alumni, with each response being followed by extensive group discussion. Each of the undergraduates displayed a remarkable depth of research ability and an admirable aptitude to respond to hard-hitting questions. ICS was proud to host these talented students and wishes each of them well in their ongoing academic work.

Dr. Jeffrey Dudiak introducing prevalent themes
for the workshop and course
The Workshop occurred in conjunction with another undergraduate-graduate joint event: a summer intensive course titled “To the Unknown God”: Paul and Some Philosophers. ICS and The King's University joined together to offer this course, which included a preparatory reading portion, participation in the Workshop, and an intensive one-week in-class portion following the Workshop. During the course, students read a number of philosophers who consider the writings of the Apostle Paul and their relevance to contemporary political questions. The course was led by ICS President and Senior Member in Philosophy of Religion Dr. Ronald A. Kuipers and King's Professor of Philosophy Dr. Jeffrey Dudiak.

Outside of class time, students explored the new ICS location, the University of Toronto campus, and the city of Toronto. King’s alum and ICS Board Member Lynnette Postuma also hosted a dinner with students and professors to celebrate the joint efforts of the two universities to offer this engaging course in Toronto. We at ICS are thankful for the chance to work alongside The King's University, and for the participation of the students who took up the challenge with aplomb, and we look forward to future shared learning opportunities like this one.

Visiting course participants enjoying a dinner hosted by
King's alum and ICS Board member Lynnette Postuma

Course participants taking a tour of campus

Participants in the ICS-King's joint course
"To the Unknown God": Paul and Some Philosophers


----------
Both the Workshop and the course were graciously hosted at Regis College by the Msgr. John Mary Fraser Centre for Practical Theology. ICS would like to extend its thanks to both Regis and the Centre for their hospitality during these events.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

ICS Celebrates Doug Blomberg's Retirement and 2019 Convocation of Junior Members

May 16-17, 2019 were days to celebrate both Junior Member achievements and the pedagogical contributions of ICS Emeritus Dr. Doug Blomberg. Over the course of these two days, ICS Senior and Junior Members, Senators, Board Members, and administration gathered here in Toronto for ICS's annual Board and Senate meetings to discuss the activities of the past year and to envision together the future for ICS. This time of year is an integral part of ICS's institutional rhythm, and we are grateful for the opportunity to come together in celebration and in hope. 

Members of the ICS community (like Dr. Lambert
Zuidervaart, pictured above with Dr. Blomberg)
celebrated Dr. Blomberg's work
These meetings were punctuated by an evening of celebration with the broader community for Dr. Blomberg's tenure as both Senior Member and President at ICS. Throughout the evening, friends and colleagues of Dr. Blomberg shared stories and memories of their time working with him, and reflected on his contributions to Reformational philosophy and the discipline of education. These reflections were marked by gratitude to both Doug and his wife Heather for their service to these communities and the institution of ICS. 


2019 ICS Graduates: Benjamin Groenewold (PhD), Kiegan
Irish (MA) & Ann Post (MWS)
The following evening, the ICS community gathered from far and wide for the Convocation of Junior Members Benjamin Groenewold, Kiegan Irish, and Ann Post. The work done by each of these graduates covers topics like the history and philosophy of our relationship to technology, political philosophy, and artistic practice. Those who attended Convocation celebrated along with the graduates their commitment to their studies and their years spent at ICS sharing both their insights and their desire to learn and grow. In their unique ways, each graduate has made their mark on the shared life of the ICS community. The event was a joyful opportunity to express gratitude for their presence, commend them for their achievements, and pray for blessings as they pursue their future paths.  


John Kamphof (Board Chair), Dr. Ronald A. Kuipers
(President), and Dr. John Kok (Senate Chair)
This year's Convocation also included the exaugural address of Dr. Blomberg entitled, "I believe in the resurrection of the body." In his address, Dr. Blomberg shared some of the influences on the course of his academic career and explored his fascination with distinctly Reformational pedagogy. He reflected on the role of the body in an approach to education, and put forward a biblical understanding of the human person that is inextricably and integrally developed “from the ground up.”


The transcript of Dr. Blomberg's address may be found here in the ICS Institutional Repository, and video of the full address may be watched below and on ICS's YouTube channel.




You can also find more photos from the Convocation ceremony below. 
(Click on the square at the bottom of the slideshow to make full screen)



Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Prayer Letter: June 2019

Monday June 3 - Friday June 7:

ICS’s Centre for Philosophy, Religion, and Social Ethics (CPRSE) hosted ten outstanding undergraduate students in the context of this year’s ICS Undergraduate Workshop, “God & Politics: Religion and Public Life in the 21st Century.” This year, we had participants from Georgetown University in Qatar, The King’s University, Cornerstone University, Greenville University, Memorial University Newfoundland, and the Canadian Mennonite University. The event provided these undergraduate students with a space to share their original research with ICS Senior and Junior Members, as well as to reflect and dialogue in a collaborative environment. We pray in thanksgiving for this opportunity to engage in conversation with youth from across the globe.

We give thanks for the productive Senate and Board meetings that took place on May 16th and 17th respectively. Please continue to pray for the Leadership Team, Board of Trustees, and Senate as they work together to fulfill the mission and vision of ICS in its key role in Christian higher education.

We give thanks to our Lord that Jon Andreas, Joonyong Um (ICS) and Jason Mills (University of St. Michael's College) successfully and meritoriously completed their written and oral exams last month. ICS Junior Member Helena Hoogstad's exams are also on the horizon. Doug Blomberg mentors each of these students, and we thank God for his ongoing involvement in their research. May God bless and guide these candidates as they embark on their dissertations. Please continue to pray for them as they engage in what will no doubt be creative, diligent research, to the glory of God and for the people they will serve. We thank God also for the examiners who serve on the Pre-Thesis Examination Committees, as internal and external members.

Final grades for this past semester are due before June 14th. Please pray for the faculty as they finalize their marking and assessments of the students in their classes, and for Elizabet Aras, our Registrar, as she processes the final reporting to the students.

Monday June 10 - Friday June 14:

Please pray for Gideon Strauss this month as he is once again in South Africa during the summer months. During June and July, Gideon will be in Stellenbosch, where he will be concluding his current research project, "Inequality, forgiveness, and political agency: lived theologies among young adults in post-apartheid South African churches," a study of young adults in that town in partnership with Nadine Bowers Du Toit at the Faculty of Theology at the University of Stellenbosch. (This project has been supported by the Nagel Institute for World Christianity at Calvin College with funding from the Templeton Religion Trust.) Gideon will once again facilitate a multi-session workshop on vocational wayfinding/life design in partnership with a local Christian community of faith, Stellenbosch Gemeente (SG).

This year Gideon will also partner with SG to offer a multi-session workshop on Jamie Smith's book You Are What You Love. SG is also organizing two "long table conversations," facilitated by Gideon, on the relationship between discipleship, citizenship, and ownership in the South African context.

Junior Member Meg Giordano begins the PhD pre-thesis exam process with the written portion of the exam on June 13-20 and ends with an oral exam on June 27. Please pray for her as she undergoes this final exercise before writing her PhD thesis. Please also pray for Bob Sweetman, her mentor, as he guides her into and through these examinations.

Monday June 17 - Friday June 21:

As the end of the fiscal year is upon us, we ask God for strength, clarity of mind, 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. We give thanks for Harley’s unflagging dedication to this work.

As we quickly move 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 of you.

Please pray this week and next for all those involved in our annual Phone-a-thon that will be taking place. It is a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with our supporters across the country. We ask for inspiring conversations with our community that both the caller and the donor would be encouraged by what God has done this past year and gain hope for the future.

Monday June 24 - Friday June 28:

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.
Please remember to pray for Meg Giordano as she does the oral exam, the final part of the pre-thesis exam, this week on June 27. Pray for clarity of thinking and articulation for Meg and for wisdom and discernment for Bob Sweetman and the other examiners.

The month of June has been 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.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

ICS Convocation, May 2019



Don't forget to RSVP to this year's Annual Convocation and the Exaugural Address of Dr. Doug Blomberg. The event will take place at Regis College on May 17, 2019.

Please contact Elizabet Aras for more information.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

New Essays on Knowledge

Senior Member Emeritus Lambert Zuidervaart has published two new essays on a Reformational approach to knowledge. “Distantial Ways of Knowing: Doug Blomberg’s Proposal for a Reformational Epistemology” explores the conception of knowledge proposed by Senior Member and former ICS President Doug Blomberg in his 1978 doctoral dissertation on reformational philosophy and school curriculum. The second essay, titled “Social Domains of Knowledge: Technology, Art, and Religion,” discusses the work of ICS Senior Member Emeritus Hendrik Hart, and it argues that knowledge takes on distinct contours in different social domains. Both essays appear in the most recent issue of the journal Philosophia Reformata (vol. 84, issue 1).

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Prayer Letter: May 2019

Wednesday, May 1 - Friday May 3:

Helena Hoogstad, PhD candidate, commences her written exam on May 2, in the expectation and prayerful hope she will proceed to her oral exam on May 16. Do uphold her in prayer, and please also remember the examiners: Lambert Zuidervaart, Mary Kooy, Janet Wesselius and Doug Blomberg (mentor).

Please pray this week and next for all the preparations that need to be made by faculty, staff, Senators, and Board members alike for the upcoming ICS Senate and Board meetings. As well, please pray especially for Elizabet Aras, our Registrar, as she makes all the arrangements for the Convocation event on May 17th. Pray for calmness and clarity of mind as she works through the many details.

Please pray this week for Ron Kuipers as he travels to Edmonton on Thursday May 2nd to meet with students and colleagues at The King’s University and attends their Convocation ceremonies on Saturday. Then on Sunday Ron continues his western tour as he flies to Vancouver for an event with our supporters on Monday evening. Pray also for Gideon Strauss as he flies from Toronto to Vancouver to join Ron for the event.

Monday, May 6 - Friday, May 10:

On Monday evening, May 6th, Ron Kuipers and Gideon Strauss will be meeting with our support community at Fleetwood CRC in Surrey. Please pray that there will be engaging group interaction as Gideon presents a Wayfinding workshop, and Ron brings the latest updates on what is happening at ICS.

Then again on Tuesday, May 7th, please pray for strength and safe travels for Gideon as he flies back to Toronto, and for Ron as he travels to Calgary for the last stop in the tour. On Tuesday evening, we pray that as Ron meets with the supporting community at River Park Church that it will be a wonderful time of fellowship and blessing.

Jason Mills’ (USMC) oral exam is scheduled for May 9 in the morning, and Joonyong Um’s that evening. Joonyong’s examiners are Nik Ansell, Carla Nelson, Jung-Mi (Joy) Lee and Doug Blomberg (mentor). Please pray for all those involved in these exams, most especially these doctoral candidates.
Please pray this month 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 God grant them clarity of mind and inspiration as they develop their insights.

Monday, May 13 - Friday, May 17:

On Thursday, May 16th, the ICS Senate convenes at 9:00 am under the leadership of Chair and ICS Chancellor Dr. John Kok. Please pray for John and the external and internal senators as they consider the range of issues on the agenda concerning ICS’s academic programs.

As we look forward to Doug Blomberg’s retirement celebration on May 16 and Convocation the following night, please pray both these occasions will be a blessing to all involved, with a wonderful opportunity for members of the community to mingle with each other. Please pray especially for Doug as he finalises and presents his valedictory address.

On Friday, May 17th, the Board of Trustees meet throughout the day starting at 9:00 am. Please pray for grace and wisdom for all our Board members and our Chair, John Kamphof, as they deliberate together on the various matters before them in the care and furtherance of the mission and vision of ICS.

On Friday evening, the ICS community gathers for our annual Convocation. We give thanks to God for sustaining and guiding us in our mission, and for the achievements of our graduating Junior Members. We celebrate with gratitude the diligence and insights each of these graduands have demonstrated these past years, and pray for them in the vocations to which they are called. We pray also for Dr. Doug Blomberg as he presents his exaugural address, “The Resurrection of the Body.” We pray for God’s grace for all who will be participating in this special event and express thanks for this opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our community.

Monday, May 20 - Friday, May 24:

Doug and Heather Blomberg depart Toronto on May 22, on their way home to Australia, with a couple of recreational stopovers. May our Lord be the wind beneath their wings.

Please pray this week and next for the ICS annual phone-a-thon that is taking place. Pray for the Board members and Junior Members who have volunteered to make these important calls to our donors. May God bless each call with happy engagement and the encouragement of one another.

ICS/CPRSE’s third annual Undergraduate Workshop “God and Politics: Religion and Public Life in the 21st Century” happens this week from the 23rd to the 25th. Please pray for the safe travels of all the undergraduates who will be attending this workshop. Please pray also for all the Junior Members and Senior Members planning and responding to papers in the workshop alongside these undergraduates that everyone’s participation and interactions will be a benefit to their continuing scholarship.

Monday, May 27 - Friday, May 31:

Dr. Ron Kuipers’ and The King’s University’s Dr. Jeffrey Dudiak’s conjoint intensive summer course, “To the Unknown God”: Paul and Some Philosophers will be in full swing this week. This is an exciting moment in ICS and King’s continuing efforts to work together institutionally. Please pray for wisdom for Ron and Jeff as they lead the course, and for both undergraduate and graduate student participants alike that they may benefit greatly from the opportunity to reflect deeply on the relevance of Paul’s thought to today’s world.

The 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 directly 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.

Monday, 15 April 2019

April Mid-Month News Update

Heather and Doug Blomberg begin a busy month of travel from Australia to the U.S. and Canada on April 24th. Please pray for a safe and enjoyable journey for them both as they first travel to Los Angeles for the pre-thesis oral exam of Junior Member Jon Andreas on the 27th. This is a deeply significant milestone for Jon, so we ask also for prayers of clarity of understanding and articulation on his behalf. Please pray also for the Examination Committee—Doug (Jon’s mentor), Ron Kuipers, Brian Walsh (internal examiners), and Roy Clouser (external examiner)—as they prepare the exam and as they guide Jon through this process.

We also ask for prayer for two other of Doug’s students as they sit their doctoral examinations this month. Jason Mills, a St. Michael’s College PhD candidate, will take the written portion of his exams, and Joonyong Um, an ICS Junior Member, will begin his PhD examination process. Please pray for insight and focus on these students’ behalf as they prepare for and take these exams. Please pray also for Doug and the other examiners in their various preparations to preside over these exams, and that they might have clarity and wisdom in their evaluations of these students when the time comes.


Monday, 8 April 2019

In Memoriam: Chris Gort

By Bob Sweetman

Chris Gort was born in Driebergen in The Netherlands in 1941. He was born into an educator’s family that followed its calling to Jakarta in Indonesia and on to Dokkum in the northeast corner of Friesland in The Netherlands. In 1960 he immigrated to Canada under the sponsorship of a great-uncle in Edmonton. Upon arrival he soon met John Olthuis, scored an invitation to John’s wedding in 1961, where he met John’s sister, Elaine, who would become the love of his life. They married in 1966 while he was studying for his MSc in Engineering which he would receive in 1968. In 1968 he and Elaine would also move to Toronto where Chris took a position with IBM. Adventures in Germany followed and then a return to Toronto in the late 1970s for good. In Toronto, Elaine could develop her own gifts in medical care and Chris left IBM to become a successful project manager overseeing his share, we might say, of the remarkable growth of Toronto throughout the late twentieth and early twenty-first century.

Chris’ relationship with the Olthuis family ensured a relationship to the Reformational stream within the community of Dutch immigrants in Canada. John Olthuis tells the story of an early meeting involving himself, Chris, and Jim Visser in Edmonton that makes up a crucial episode in the earliest prehistory of the present-day Citizens for Public Justice. With John and Jim Olthuis for brothers-in-law, and Jean Olthuis as sister-in-law, there was no escaping the swelling energy of the Association for the Advancement of Christian Scholarship and its fledgling educational initiatives, above all, the Institute for Christian Studies and, for a number of years, the Curriculum Development Centre. Nor were Chris and Elaine immune to the excitement around the Christian Reformed Church Chaplaincy at the University of Toronto and its Hart House Fellowship which evolved into a worship community calling itself St. Matthew’s-in-the-Basement.

For the Institute for Christian Studies, the story of Chris reached a new level when he agreed to serve on the ICS Board of Trustees in the early 2000s. The beginning of his first term was shrouded by financial crisis that led to a painful lay-off of staff. When in his second term he agreed to serve as Board Chair, ICS found itself facing new challenges that caused Chris to dive into the inner life of the ICS in a big way. In 2008 ICS President John Suk resigned. Chris approached then ICS Academic Dean Bob Sweetman and convinced him to serve as Acting President within a heightened team concept of leadership. Chris himself would chair a Leadership Team made up of himself, Bob Sweetman, and Claire Veenstra (then, Director of Finance and Administration). Together they faced down the ravages of the financial crisis of 2008-2009 and began to seriously try and rethink everything about ICS. Chris took an even greater role when Bob Sweetman stepped down as Dean and Acting President in November 2010 to fight a second round of cancer. Chris became President and served ICS in that role for the next 2½ years. Much good that has slowly come to pass in the intervening years had its beginnings in those 4-plus bracing years.

Chris encouraged academic and administrative staff to come up with good ideas, but emphasized that good ideas were only a very small part of the process by which good new things come to fruition. He also modeled how effective team-building happens. He empowered academics at ICS to develop new programs of study and research. ICS’s Centre for Philosophy, Religion, and Social Ethics is a good case in point. The basic idea was a part of a White Paper on ICS’s future written by Bob Sweetman. The CPRSE was given its name and first concrete form by Lambert Zuidervaart, and then given its present orientation and team-building ethos by Ron Kuipers. All of these initiatives emerged out of an effective communal leadership context. Throughout his presidency Chris encouraged ideas around partnerships, preaching the need over and over again. Again, the several collaborative projects that are currently in development—with The King’s University in Edmonton, with The Teacher’s Academy/Edvance in Ontario, with Knox College in Toronto—can be seen as connected to his warm advocacy of partnering and of an openness to the changes real partnering demands. Above all, Chris’ team-building talents modeled a style of leadership—a mesh of empowerment and responsibility—that has become something of a mantra within the ICS today. Through it all, ICS has found a way to be resilient and focused on present and future service in the face of challenges that could easily have undone it. Chris Gort’s leadership has been a great blessing.

So it was that we at ICS were taken aback when Chris was diagnosed with ALS just short of 2 years ago. We have watched with wonder as he faced his disease with dignity and thoughtfulness, and were saddened by his death on April 2, 2019. We offer this memorial tribute as a token of our gratitude to Chris for his gift of self to ICS, to Elaine for lending us her retired husband when we had such need, and to our God whose loving hand was surely at work in the happy conjunctions that led Chris to ICS and ICS to him. 

Requiescat in pace, Chris.

Monday, 1 April 2019

ICS E-Newsletter: April 2019

Prayer Letter: April 2019

Monday, April 1 - Friday, April 5:

The Finance Committee, along with the Leadership Team, are hard at work on the coming year’s budget. Please pray for them in their deliberations, that they might be granted insight and wisdom from the Holy Spirit as they make stewardship decisions for the 2019-2020 budget year.

CPRSE continues to explore new partnership possibilities with community organizations that share the spirit of inquiry and openness of ICS, by seeking funding opportunities, areas of common interest, and potential collaborative projects. Please pray that CPRSE is able to continue its history of partnerships through fruitful, innovative, and life-giving collaborations in 2019 and beyond.

Monday, April 8 - Friday, April 12:

Thursday, April 11th is the last day of classes for this academic year. This year, ICS is happy to report that we are resuscitating the tradition of holding a spring retreat! Give thanks along with us as we build community, and together reflect on the historic academic year now winding down at ICS. 

Please pray for this important culminating event in the school year as we listen to one another’s experiences and praise God for his sustaining grace throughout this past year.
ICS/CPRSE’s third annual Undergraduate Workshop, “God and Politics: Religion and Public Life in the 21stCentury,” is quickly approaching. Our planning team is busy looking after the final logistical details. Please pray for the workshop’s planning team, and for all those involved in the event, as they prepare to receive undergraduate students from across North America.

Monday, April 15 - Friday, April 19:

Please pray for Ron Kuipers and Pat Webb this week as they travel to Kingston on Wednesday to meet with our supporting community there. Pray for safe travels and engaging interactions in our individual visits along the way and our group event on Wednesday evening.

We give thanks for our Junior Members who are such an important part of our community. We pray for them as they wind up their course papers over the next few weeks and make plans for their summer work and studies in the coming year.

April 21 - Easter Sunday

But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid;I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead and is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.

Monday, April 22 - Friday, April 26:

Please pray for Elizabet Aras, Registrar, Gideon Strauss, Academic Dean, and the Academic Council as they focus on finalising the agenda and supporting materials for the upcoming Senate meeting (May 16). Please pray that they will accomplish all that is needed to be done in this busy time.

Please pray this weekend for Ron Kuipers, and Brian Walsh, as they travel to California to give a PhD area exam to an ICS student, currently in prison there. Pray that all will go well logistically on Saturday and that Ron and Brian will have wisdom and discernment as they lead this academic examination. We give thanks for the opportunity to provide this educational experience for this student in difficult circumstances.

In three weeks time, the Senate and Board will meet again in Toronto. We give thanks for their service, and pray for safety as they travel from near and far. We ask God to grace their deliberations with wisdom and vision.

Monday, April 29 - Tuesday, April 30:

On Monday, Bob Sweetman is participating as "Internal-External" Examiner in the formal defence of the University of Toronto's Centre for Medieval Studies candidate Ellen Annika Margareta Ekman. Her Ph.D. thesis titled “Anselm of Laon, the Glossa Ordinaria, and the Tangled Web of Twelfth-Century Psalms-Exegesis” is part of a significant effort of Ellen's director, Alexander Andre, to bring to light the ways in which the Bible became the principal text of formal theological study in the period of history (the twelfth and early thirteenth century) when the educational institution, the university, was born.

Our Annual Convocation is fast approaching and we want to pray that the many preparations for this important event will go well and come together in time. We pray also for the faculty, students, and board members who will be participating in this important ceremony, and for Elizabet Aras, our Registrar, as this is her first time overseeing this event.

On April 28-30, ICS/CPRSE will join a number of academic institutions and community organizations in the “Our Whole Society” conference, an initiative spearheaded by the Canadian Interfaith Conversation. This conference is a space for academics, practitioners, faith leaders, and community members, to discuss the role of faith in public life. Please pray for CPRSE staff, as they take up active roles in this important event.


Friday, 1 March 2019

Prayer Letter: March 2019

Friday, March 1:

We offer prayers of thanks for the recent engagement of ICS PhD student Julia de Boer to Sankalp Lal. The ICS community wishes the couple peace and encouragement as they make plans for their upcoming wedding and much joy as they anticipate their future together.

Monday, March 4 - Friday, March 8:

Please pray today, Monday March 4th, for the Board of Trustees as they meet this evening. We ask for guidance as they discuss the various matters before them, and wisdom in their decision-making. As this is the time of year when they begin to look forward to the next fiscal year and its budget, we ask God to give them clarity and understanding of the operational needs of ICS as it continues to work out its mission.

Please pray this weekend for safe travels for Ron Kuipers and Pat Webb as they drive on Sunday the 10th to enjoy an evening get-together with our friends in Sarnia. We ask God for engaging conversation as we share with them updates on ICS and its work, and as we enjoy food and fellowship together.

The Finance Committee will begin the preparations this month for developing the 2018-19 budget proposal for consideration by the Board at its May meeting. Please pray for each member of the committee, our Director of Finance, Harley Dekker and the rest of the Leadership Team as they plan and forecast for the next year.

Monday, March 11 - Friday, March 15:

We ask for your prayers as our ICS faculty, students, staff, and committees continue conversations about long-term institutional vision and future program planning. This is long, detailed and often invisible work that requires much wisdom and foresight. We are thankful for the care taken already by those involved in having these conversations, and we pray for their continued stamina and spirit in guiding ICS.

Please pray this week for our Perspective production team as once again they work hard to bring completion to this special alumni issue. Pray particularly for Danielle Yett and Hector Acero Ferrer as they give leadership to the process, ensuring that all keeps to the timeline. We ask God to give the authors creative minds as they write and encouragement as they participate in this project together.
Recruitment for our third Undergraduate Workshop, titled “God and Politics: Religion and Public Life in the 21st Century” is underway. Please pray for the workshop’s planning team as they continue to promote the event among prospective participants and supporters.

Monday, March 18 - Friday, March 22:

We ask for prayers for those involved in this semester's Interdisciplinary Seminar: Order, Wonder, Love: Reflections on the (True) Origin and End of Philosophy. This is an integral part of the academic work shared by the ICS community. We are thankful for the opportunity for Senior and Junior Members to work together in considering this topic, and for the blessing of Jim Olthuis' and Henk Hart's eager participation in the course.

Preparations for the meeting of the Senate in early May begin this month. We pray for those diligently at work on the materials necessary for this event, noting especially Registrar Elizabet Aras and Academic Dean Gideon Strauss. 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.

ICS/CPRSE is an active member of the Canadian Interfaith Conversation (CIC), Canada’s premier inter-religious dialogue network. In the context of this partnership, CPRSE has been actively involved in the planning of the 2019 Our Whole Society Conference, bringing together scholars, practitioners, and religious leaders. Please pray for the continued success of this important collaboration.

Monday, March 25 - Friday, March 29:

We ask for your ongoing prayers for the staff of ICS in all that they do to keep the day-to-day life of ICS chugging along. We are thankful for their commitment, their expertise, and their furtherance of ICS's mission.

The last day of classes for the Winter 2018 semester is fast approaching! Please pray for the students as the work hard to complete their assignments and study for their final exams. We want to especially pray for those students who intend to graduate in May, as well as those who are finalizing their theses or preparing for their defense.

We give thanks this week for Senior Member Bob Sweetman who will be inducted into the Jesuit Honour Society--Alpha Sigma Nu--on the 29th of March. This honour is in recognition of his many years of involvement in support of Regis College and its students.


Thursday, 31 January 2019

Prayer Letter: February 2019

Friday, February 1:

Please pray today for Bob Sweetman as he gives a paper titled "Languishing in the Wild Spaces of Love: Plato's Alcibiades, Mechthild von Magdeburg and the Spectre of Amatory Risk" for the conference Medieval Women II sponsored by the Pontifical Institute for Mediaeval Studies and the University of St. Michael's College.

Monday, February 4 - Friday, February 8:

Please pray this week for our Educational Policy Committee and Academic Council as they meet this month to identify and articulate, with input from a wide range of stakeholders, a clear academic strategy for ICS,

As you know, February is tax receipt month! Please pray particularly for Harley Dekker and Vidya Williams as they lead the process of preparing the receipts for our donors and students. This is quite a time-consuming task and needs to be finished within the next two weeks. We ask for God’s sustaining grace for all involved.

The next module of Continuing Ed/ge, our continuing education program, begins this Thursday, February 7 at 6:45 in the ICS classroom at our new home in Knox College. Pray for Nik Ansell as he teaches this exciting new material.

CPRSE continues to explore 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 partnership through fruitful, innovative, and life-giving collaborations in 2019.

We are grateful for the success of the first stage of experimentation towards a radically affordable all-online MWS program: 19 students enrolled in our Biblical Foundations and 58 students enrolled in our Organized Religion course for Winter 2019. Please continue to pray for all those involved in the recruitment and admission of our new students.

Monday, February 11 - Friday, February 15:

Please pray this week and next for our Senior Members as they work to finish the grading of their students’ assignments from the Fall 18 courses by February 15. We ask God to bless them in this important work of mentoring and give them the space and energy to finish the task well. Please also pray for the successful recruitment of a large enough second cohort of students in this program to secure the sustainability of the program.

February is the month in which faculty evaluate applications of prospective students and make decisions about who will be accepted to study at ICS. We have received many more applications this year, for which we praise God, and we pray for wisdom for the faculty in their deliberations. Pray too for Elizabet, our Registrar, as she processes the applications and prepares the students’ admission files. This year we already have five MA applicants (three from King's) and two MWS applicants, and are expecting at least one PhD applicant.

Please give thanks for the pioneer cohort of students in ICS's new MA (Phil) in Educational Leadership program. Pray for these students and those who will be teaching the courses that it will be a fruitful and engaging learning experience for all.

Monday, February 18 - Friday, February 22:

Reading Week commences on Monday of this week. 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 they find joy and creativity in their studies.
ICS/CPRSE is an active member of the Canadian Interfaith Conversation (CIC), Canada’s premier inter-religious dialogue network. In the context of this partnership, CPRSE has been actively involved in the planning of the 2019 Our Whole Society Conference, bringing together scholars, practitioners, and religious leaders. Please pray for the continued success of this important collaboration.

Please pray this week for Gideon Strauss as he prepares for and facilitates an ICS Your Next Five Years vocational discernment weekend retreat at ClearView Christian Reformed Church of Oakville, Ontario.

Monday, February 25 - Thursday, February 28:

Two of our PhD students, Samir Gassanov and Meg Giordano, have had their thesis proposals approved by ICS and VU supervisors alike and will be moving on this month to begin preparing for the Prethesis Exam which they both hope to take in late Spring or early Summer (June-ish). Samir proposes to write a thesis tentatively titled "Doing Justice to Property: What Augustinian Christians Can Learn from Medieval Mendicants and Modern Jurists.” Meg proposes to write a thesis tentatively titled "Crimes Against Personhood: A Thomistic Account of Personal Violence".

Recruitment for our third Undergraduate Workshop, titled “God and Politics: Religion and Public Life in the 21st Century,” is underway. Please pray for the workshop’s planning team as they continue to promote the event among prospective participants and supporters.

Monday, 7 January 2019

Next Continuing Ed/ge Module Begins February 7th!


Ever wondered why the good creation included the serpent of Genesis? Or whether God really called for the Canaanite genocide? Or knows what it is like to give birth? If you have—or if your curiosity is aroused—Continuing Ed/ge may be for you!

Continuing Ed/ge is a continuing education program that provides the opportunity for Biblical reflection in a more informal classroom setting and with no formal assignments beyond the Bible reading. It is ideal for adult learners, religious community groups, and spiritual seekers—anyone looking for a chance to dig into questions of the Bible and faith a bit more deeply. The program's 10 modules work through the Bible piece by piece, focusing on three themes over the course of 6 two-hour evening sessions:
  • the evocative-provocative call of wisdom
  • the meaning and significance of gender
  • the nature of power and violence

The next module begins Thursday, February 7th, 6:45-8:45pm.

MODULE 1
Genesis

Since the module on Genesis is foundational to the overall program, it will be offered twice in 2019. In addition to the module beginning on February 7th, the module will be offered again in April/May. The instructor will be Nik Ansell, ICS Senior Member in Theology. Nik is an experienced teacher in continuing education and an established author in biblical studies.

If you or someone you know would be interested in joining the next module, click here for more information on the program and how to register. Space is limited, so register today! 

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Prayer Letter: January 2019

From all of us at ICS to you, our faithful friends and supporters, may God’s richest blessings of love, joy and peace be yours in 2019. We hope you join us in prayer before the Lord as we begin this new year.

Tuesday, January 1 - Friday, January 4:

We ask for your prayers this week for our Senior Members Bob Sweetman, Rebecca Smick, Nik Ansell, and Gideon Strauss as they make final preparations for the classes they will teach this semester. Please uphold them before the Lord as they seek to work out their calling as teachers and mentors.

This week, please pray for our Junior Members returning from their homes, from far and wide, that they will have safe travels. We ask too for their encouragement in their studies as they start a new semester of academic activities.

Monday, January 7 - Friday, January 11:

Please pray this week for Gideon Strauss who will be teaching the first class of the semester (Wednesday morning) in his new course: “Black Panther, Afrofuturism, and the Ethics of Liberation.” We ask God to bless this learning opportunity with creative and insightful interaction.

This week, we ask for your prayers for Bob Sweetman who will be teaching his course: “Albert the Great, Meister Eckhart, and Women’s Spirituality”. Pray too for our students, as well as the TST students who will be joining us, as they begin this new semester of learning.

On Thursday of this week, the first day of the course: “God in Flesh and Blood: Revolutions in Christology” with Nik Ansell will be held in our new Learning Studio. Pray for Nik and the students who will be participating in this course.

Pray also this week for the two distance education courses which start this week: “Biblical Foundations,” taught by Nik Ansell and Jeffrey Hocking, and “Organized Religion: Christianity and Anti-Capitalism in the U.S. and Canada,” taught by ICS PhD candidate Dean Dettloff.

Monday, January 14 - Friday, January 18:

Please pray for this year’s Interdisciplinary Seminar (IDS), titled “Wonder, Order, Love: Reflections on the (True) Origin and End of Philosophy,” which meets on Tuesdays from 1:45-4:45. Senior Members Nik Ansell and Bob Sweetman will will examine the triangulation of wonder, order and love in reflections on the origin and end of philosophy. This course will continue to explore the theme of order and love that became so important in the previous IDS on the legacy of Cal Seerveld, Henk Hart and Jim Olthuis.

We ask for prayer for Ron Kuipers as he continues in his leadership role as President of ICS. Pray for wisdom and discernment as he leads the Leadership Team in the many matters that require decisions, particularly those related to the advancement of the Institute and our ongoing relationship with The King’s University.

We give thanks this week for the new opportunity we have in our Wayfinding program. ICS Adjunct professor Mike Wagenman will be teaching the hybrid version of Vocational Wayfinding offsite in a London venue. Please pray for Mike as he prepares for the sessions, and for this new group of students as they interact with the material.

Monday, January 21 - Friday, January 25:


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 nearing completion 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.

On January 24th, ICS/CPRSE will host Dr. Heath Carter, Associate Professor of History at Valparaiso University, for our Winter Term “Scripture, Faith, and Scholarship” seminar. Please pray that this event be a time of fruitful exchange and reflection on the intersection of biblical scholarship and a life of faith.

Monday, January 28 - Thursday, January 31:

Plans are underway to host a third Undergraduate Workshop in the spring of 2019. Following this year’s workshop, Senior Member Ron Kuipers and The King’s University professor Jeff Dudiak will be teaching the course: “To the Unknown God: Paul and Some Philosophers”. Please pray for the course instructors and workshop planning team as they continue to put together this wonderful learning opportunity.

The ART in Orvieto advanced summer studies program which will take place in Italy, between July 16 and August 6. The intensive program will include the Art, Religion, and Theology seminar led by Senior Member Rebekah Smick, as well as an artist's workshop led by David Holt. Please pray for the success of this program which has brought much life to ICS over the past few summers.

We thank God for the response to our Advent Appeal, still ongoing, which has been encouraging. At this time of writing, we still have a way to go to meet our targets in most areas, and we encourage everyone to continue to give as they are able. We are deeply grateful for God’s provision, and also for you, our faithful members and donors.