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. 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.

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Edit: Unfortunately, because of travel restrictions and health concerns surrounding COVID-19, ICS will be conferring this degree and inviting Barbara to deliver a keynote address at a later date yet to be determined. Once public health social-distancing recommendations slacken, and possibilities for gathering become clearer, we will announce an alternate date for this celebration. 

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.