Sunday 3 May 2020

Prayer Letter: May 2020

Friday, May 1:

For many around the world, the beginning of May is joyously celebrated as the height of spring and the promise of new beginnings. In the midst of this continuing public health crisis, may our eyes be open to the many blessings God bestows on us amid the revival of plant and animal life. And let’s pray for God’s grace, strength and the continued health of our ICS staff and faculty as we continue to live through this COVID-19 crisis.

In the theme of new beginnings, we also give thanks with ICS Junior Member Julia de Boer and her husband Sankalp for the birth of their son Theophil John de Boer-Lal on April 30. Mother and baby are both home resting from a long and stressful labour amid both complications and abnormal public health conditions. We ask for prayers for their continued recovery and Julia and Sankalp’s adjustment to a new pace of life as parents. We are overjoyed at the blessing of new life among the ICS community, and look forward to welcoming this new addition in person at the first possible opportunity.

Monday, May 4 - Friday, May 8:

We want to give thanks this week that we are finally able to receive our mail at ICS. Not being able to receive communications from our friends and supporters has made this time of physical distancing even more difficult. But praise God -- the mail has arrived!

We ask for your continued prayers for the Leadership Team as they work toward finalizing the draft budget for approval at the Board meeting at the end of May. This is proving to be a complicated process as it is difficult to assess the impact of COVID-19 on future revenue and expenses. Pray for grace and insight as we endeavour to make the wisest possible stewardship decisions.

Monday, May 11 - Friday, May 15:

On Tuesday, the Summer Online Learning Initiative will begin with a six-week adaptation of Dr. Ron Kuiper’s course on Hannah Arendt: Evil, Resistance, and Judgment: Hannah Arendt and Religious Critique. Dr. Kuipers will be joined by ICS alum and recent University of Toronto graduate, Dr. Andrew Tebbutt, in the presentation of this summer online course which we trust will attract students and alumni from far and wide. Please pray for wisdom for Ron and Andrew as they lead the course, and for all the participants that they may benefit greatly from the opportunity to reflect deeply on the relevance of Arendt's very timely insights for today’s world.

We also ask for your prayers for the planning and execution of our new Summer Online Learning Initiative taking place May through August. Please pray for Gideon Strauss as he leads the academic program, for the staff involved in its administration and promotion, and for the faculty and students who will be teaching and taking the courses.

On Friday evening this week, the ICS community would have been gathering together for our annual Convocation. However, because of the physical distancing measures in place, Convocation 2020 had to be cancelled. We will greatly miss this time of giving thanks to God for sustaining and guiding us in our mission, and for the achievements of our graduating Junior Members. Despite the fact that we cannot gather together to celebrate in our usual way, we pray that we will remember with gratitude the diligence and insights each of our students has demonstrated these past years, and pray for them in the vocations to which they are called.

Monday, May 18 - Friday, May 22:

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 in their writing projects.

Please pray this week and next for all the preparations that need to be made by the staff, Leadership Team, and Board members for the upcoming Board meeting at the end of the month. Please also remember to pray for Gideon Strauss and Elizabet Aras as they continue to prepare for the meeting of the Senate in mid-June.

Monday, May 25 - Friday, May 29:

On Thursday, May 28th, the Board of Trustees will meet virtually in two 90 minute sections, before and after lunch. Please pray for grace and wisdom for our Chair, John Joosse, and all our Board members as they deliberate together on the various matters before them during these unpredictable times. Pray also for ease of use of the virtual meeting technology so that the deliberations go smoothly with little or no disruption.

As we come to the last day of May, we want to express our gratitude to our supporters for all the ways you have encouraged us and blessed us during this difficult time.

Thank you for being there for us!