Friday, 13 March 2020

Updated: ICS During COVID-19

MARCH 17, 2020 UPDATE:
Following the city of Toronto's increased social distancing recommendations, and the University of Toronto's closure of most of their library locations, ICS will close its administrative offices and library effective today until public health authorities declare it advisable to resume in-person operations. We greatly value the health and safety of our staff, faculty, and students--as well as our neighbours--and we consider this a small but important step to slowing the spread of this virus.

ICS staff and faculty will continue working regular hours remotely during this time, and may be reliably contacted by email if you wish to get in touch for any reason. We will continue to monitor the public health situation daily and will make any important updates (including the status of upcoming events and summer courses) known to you here as soon as possible. To that end, we also continue to invite applications to our Undergraduate Workshop in May, our course on Hannah Arendt in April-June, and ART in Orvieto in July-August. No fees for these courses/events will be charged until it is clear that the courses/events will in fact take place.

In the meantime, our Senior and Junior Members forge ahead with classes and projects, our staff go on planning and executing everyday operations, and we all pray for safety and swift healing for those affected by this health crisis. 
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SUSPENSION OF IN-PERSON CLASSES (MARCH 13, 2020):

In light of the ongoing development of the COVID-19 virus, and in conjunction with our colleagues at the Toronto School of Theology and the University of Toronto, ICS has determined that it is appropriate to cancel all ICS in-person seminars for the remainder of the Winter semester (March 16-April 10). Junior and Senior Members have already been notified accordingly about how to participate in their respective seminars via teleconference during this time period.

Because we share a campus with both Knox College and the University of Toronto, ICS has committed to following the lead of Knox College, the Toronto School of Theology, and the University of Toronto with respect to the implementation of any social distancing measures deemed appropriate.

For the latest on these specific measures, you can read a message from the President of UofT here. For the latest on Canada's COVID-19 monitoring, national response, and prevention and preparation advice, please visit the Government of Canada website or the Toronto Public Health page.

Following campus measures, the ICS offices and library will remain open during this period, and we will continue with daily operations. We will keep you updated as to whether any of this changes, and about the status of upcoming ICS events as we continually monitor the state of affairs on campus, locally, and globally. We also request during this time that anyone who feels ill stay home and seek appropriate healthcare if necessary.

ICS is grateful for your patience and support as we adjust and attend to the unfolding situation day to day, and as we seek to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our students, staff, and faculty.

Monday, 24 February 2020

Honourary Doctorate to be Awarded to Dr. Barbara Carvill

The Institute for Christian Studies is pleased to announce that it will be awarding an honourary doctoral degree (D. Litt., honoris causa) to Dr. Barbara Carvill at its upcoming Convocation on May 15, 2020. Barbara's prolific and influential body of academic work, as well as her enduring commitment to ICS and its scholarly mission speak to the transformative impact of her love for learning, and make her an eminently worthy recipient of this award.

Barbara has been connected to ICS since the early 1970s, when she and her husband Robert first moved to Toronto. Since that time, she has taken on many official roles, serving twenty years as an ICS Senator, during which time she also served as Chancellor of ICS. She currently serves as President of the Friends of ICS, ICS’s US charitable foundation. She has also funded ICS's Carvill Student Award and the Robert Carvill Book Award in her late husband's memory, and has contributed to two ICS Master's thesis examinations as an external examiner.

Barbara's life and career beyond the walls of ICS also bear witness to a thoroughgoing devotion to the well-being of learners. She has taught German at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, MI since 1978, where she continues to teach as Professor Emerita. Calvin University has recognized Barbara's gifts as an inspirational teacher, giving her the Exemplary Teacher Award in 2003 and the Faith and Learning Award in 2011. With her colleague Wallace Bratt, she has also inspired alumni to fund the Students of Wallace Bratt and Barbara Carvill Scholarship for German majors and minors at Calvin—thus demonstrating the continued vitality of her legacy as an advocate for Christian education.

Throughout her career, Barbara has published numerous articles, reviews, and other publications on various topics in German literature of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. From this specialization and from her own nascent love of languages, her scholarship has played a significant role in fostering a Reformationally "integral" Christian perspective on foreign language learning. This integral perspective is most apparent in the book she co-authored with David Smith, The Gift of the Stranger: Faith, Hospitality and Foreign Language Learning (Eerdman's, 2000), and again as a co-author of Teaching and Christian Imagination (Eerdman's, 2016).

In addition to her teaching and writing, Barbara has a gift for organizing others around an integral vision for language learning. She is a key figure behind the formation of the North American Christian Foreign Languages Association and is a founding member of the North American Christian Foreign Language Teachers' Association (currently called the Christian Association of World Languages), where she served as President in the 1990s.

Taken together, the legacy of Barbara's thought and teaching presents a concerted call to see learning as, fundamentally, an act of welcome—a call she continues to make to this day. In short, Barbara's career has consistently modeled not only heroic support for ICS but also an effective way to carry the central intuitions of the Reformational tradition into the specific area of language learning.

ICS is both grateful and indeed honoured to be able to confer this degree upon Barbara. We hope you will join us for Convocation on May 15, where Barbara will deliver the keynote address, to celebrate her life’s work and the lasting impact she has had on all levels of Christian education.

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

In Memoriam: Rev. Canon Scott McNaughton

It is with great sorrow that we share the news that the Reverend Canon Scott McNaughton passed away on February 17, 2020 after a battle against cancer.

Scott and his wife, Isabella Guthrie-McNaughton, graciously gave of their time, resources, and skills in service and support of ICS over many years. Scott was a steadfast and active member of the ICS community as, among other things, a dedicated reader of materials published by ICS and an avid fund-raiser on behalf of the school. He was also a reliable fixture at numerous ICS convocations, providing his vibrant piano-playing skills for the added enjoyment of students and attendees celebrating completed academic programs. This remains a fond memory for many ICS graduates, faculty, and staff to this day.

During Isabella's 13 years as ICS's Director of Library and Information Services, the available space for the ICS library was considerably downsized. She and Scott, in the face of that challenge, made possible the move of a large portion of the ICS library from our location in downtown Toronto to a storage location in Hamilton in the summer of 2009. It was Scott and his parish of St. Stephen-on-the-Mount Anglican Church that initially agreed to house the collection in the parish itself -- where it continues to be housed thanks to Scott and Isabella's indispensable efforts.

It was obvious to anyone who knew Scott that he had a servant's heart. This is evident both in and beyond his generous involvement in the work of ICS. Scott was a dearly beloved priest in the Anglican church for many decades, serving at a number of parishes across the diocese of Niagara during his 36 years in ministry: St. George’s in Guelph, St. Stephen’s in Niagara Falls, St. Paul’s in Jarvis, Christ Church in Nanticoke, and -- for the past 24 years -- at St. Stephen-on-the-Mount in Hamilton.

Details for services in celebration of Scott's life and ministry can be found here. Visitations will be held on Friday, February 21 from 2:00-4:00pm and 7:00-9:00pm at St. Stephen-on-the-Mount (625 Concession St., Hamilton). A memorial service for Scott will take place on Saturday, February 22 at 10:30am at Christ's Church Cathedral (252 James St. N., Hamilton).

The family welcomes your attendance to either of these services. They are also accepting donations in memory of Scott and his ministry: either to St. Stephen-on-the-Mount Anglican Church or to the Synod of the Diocese of Niagara - Children’s, Youth, and Family Ministry Fund.

We at ICS are grateful to have had Scott and his gracious spirit as a part of our own institutional life and to have borne witness to his life and broader work, though we are equally sad to have lost him so soon. In remembrance of the gift of his life, therefore, we both offer and ask for prayers of comfort for Scott’s beloved wife Isabella and son Sambath, as well as for his friends, colleagues, and parishioners past and present as they reckon with being parted from him in this life.

Rest in peace.

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Prayer Letter: March 2020

Monday, March 2 - Friday, March 6:

Please pray today, Monday, March 2, 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.

Recruitment is underway for the Fourth Annual ICS Undergraduate Workshop, titled “Evil, Resistance, and Judgment: Creating a World Fit for Human Habitation.” We will host this year’s workshop at the University of Toronto’s Multi-faith Centre from May 28-30th. Please pray for the workshop’s planning team as they continue to promote the event among prospective participants so that deserving students will find their way to this workshop prior to the proposal deadline of March 16th.

Monday, March 9 - Friday, March 13:

Please pray for our Perspective production team as they work hard to finish compiling the content for the spring issue. Pray particularly for Danielle Yett and H├ęctor Acero Ferrer as they give leadership to the process, ensuring that all runs according to the timeline. We ask God to give the authors creative minds as they write and encouragement as they participate in this project together.

Please pray this month for ICS’s Art in Orvieto 2020 -- a three-week Residence Seminar and Workshop for writers, artists and graduate students interested in exploring the relationship between art, religion and theology, taking place in Orvieto, Italy from July 16 to August 6th. This year there will be both an artists’ and a writers’ workshop. The deadline for applications is March 31st so please pray that the required number of participants will sign up before that time.


Monday, March 16 - Friday, March 20:

Preparations for the meeting of the Senate on May 14th begin this month. We pray for those diligently at work on the materials necessary for this event, especially our Registrar, Elizabet Aras and our Academic Dean, Gideon Strauss. We pray also for the Senate itself, as it oversees the academic program of ICS, and for Dr. Aron Reppmann in particular as he provides leadership as Senate Chair and Chancellor.

The Finance Committee will begin the preparations this month for developing the 2020-2021 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 23 - Friday, March 27:

We ask for prayers for those involved in this semester's Interdisciplinary Seminar: “Naming the Divine Within and Without.” 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 we ask for prayer for Senior Members Nik Ansell and Bob Sweetman as they lead this seminar.

Please join us in giving thanks to Senior Members Bob Sweetman and Gideon Strauss for their generous contribution to our upcoming Critical Faith series on Reformational philosophy. Through this podcast series, the CPRSE aims to effectively share the basic pillars of the ICS philosophical tradition with our wider community of support. We pray that Critical Faith continues to be a space for learning, dialogue and reflection for all listeners.


Monday, March 30 - Tuesday, March 31:

The last day of classes for the Winter 2020 semester is fast approaching! Please pray for the students as they work hard to complete their assignments and study for their final exams. We especially want to pray for those students who intend to graduate in May, as well as those who are finalizing their theses or preparing for their defenses.

We’ve begun receiving applications for students wishing to start various academic programs next year! Please pray for those potential students as they discern whether they might make ICS their academic home, as they work to meet upcoming application deadlines, and as they plan for their immediate and long term futures. Please also pray that the Lord might continue to bring many more eager and insightful students through our doors.


Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Matthew Kaemingk is Coming to ICS!


January 23, 1:30pm
Knox College (59 St. George Street), Classroom 2

Rev. Dr. Matthew Kaemingk will be coming to ICS as the next guest speaker in our Scripture, Faith, and Scholarship Symposium series. Rev. Dr. Kaemingk is the author of Christian Hospitality and Muslim Immigration in an Age of Fear (Eerdmans, 2018), and was just awarded Redeemer University College's 2019 Emerging Public Intellectual Award. Rev. Dr. Kaemingk will join us on Thursday, January 23 at 1:30pm to share some of his research on the topics of Christian public life, and contemporary Muslim immigration, and to discuss the relationship between his scholarship and his faith.

Our Scripture, Faith, and Scholarship Symposium is a wonderful opportunity for communal learning, and we look forward to welcoming Rev. Dr. Kaemingk, and to sharing this symposium with you all!

Additionally, on the previous evening (January 22), Rev. Dr. Kaemingk will deliver his World and Our Calling lecture entitled "Christian Hospitality and Muslim Immigration in an Age of Fear" at Redeemer University College in Ancaster. This lecture is open to the public, and you are also invited to attend. Details about this event may be found here: https://www.redeemer.ca/events/christian-hospitality-and-muslim-immigration-in-an-age-of-fear/.

Please email ics-communications@icscanada.edu if you have any questions about these events.

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

ICS E-Newsletter: February 2020

Prayer Letter: February 2020

Monday, February 3 - Friday, February 7:

On Saturday, February 1, Bob Sweetman gave a paper titled "Aemulatio as Pedagogical and Amatory Ethos in Abelard and Heloise's Letter Exchange" at the Medieval Women III Conference held at the Pontifical Institute for Mediaeval Studies (Toronto)--29 Jan.-1 Feb. It is a prototype study examining the application of the notion of aemulatio or competitive imitation to various sectors of social and cultural life as the beginnings of a broad study of the roots of our contemporary Western fixation on "competition" as an (for many indeed the) essential component of human social and cultural flourishing.

February is tax receipt month at ICS! 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.

Please pray this week and next for ICS’s Art in Orvieto 2020 -- a three-week Residence Seminar and Workshop for writers, artists and graduate students interested in exploring the relationship between art, religion and theology, taking place in Orvieto, Italy from July 16 to August 6th. This year there will be both an artists’ and writers’ workshop. The discounted early-bird application deadline is February 13th, while the regular application deadline is March 31st.

Monday, February 10 - Friday, February 14:

Please pray this week and next for our Senior Members as they work to finish the grading of their students’ assignments from the Fall 19 courses by February 14. We ask God to bless them in this important work of mentoring and give them the space and energy to finish the task well.

We want to give thanks for the encouraging meetings and events which Ron Kuipers and Gideon Strauss had at Trinity Western University in Langley, BC, and then at The King’s University in Edmonton. We give thanks to God for his watchcare as they travelled, for strength and creativity for Gideon as he delivered his keynote addresses at the IS Conference at King’s, and for the wonderful opportunities for engagement with our alumni and supporters..

Monday, February 17 - Friday, February 21:

Please join us in giving thanks for the tremendous response to our Advent appeal! We were so blessed by the generous donations and the encouraging notes that accompanied them. A huge thank you to our supporting communities for their gifts of inspiration and hope.

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.

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 pray for wisdom for the faculty in their deliberations, and for Elizabet, our Registrar, as she processes the applications and prepares the students’ admission files.

Monday, February 24 - Friday, February 28:

The fourth annual ICS Undergraduate Workshop has a call for papers out to undergraduate students looking for a chance to present their work. This year’s workshop is entitled “Evil, Resistance, and Judgment: Creating a World Fit for Human Habitation,” and will take place here in Toronto May 28-30th. We pray that interested students will find their way to this workshop prior to the proposal deadline of March 16th, and that the workshop will provide a supportive environment for them to explore their research ideas.

ICS’s Centre for Philosophy, Religion, and Social Ethics (CPRSE) continues to collaborate with academic and community partners in seeking opportunities to conduct research and curate knowledge mobilization events for the wider public. We pray that CPRSE will find fruitful and inspiring partnerships, maintaining ICS’s links to the community it serves and contributing to the dialogue needed in our world today.