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.


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.