Friday 31 July 2020

Prayer Letter: August 2020

Monday, August 3 - Friday, August 7:

On Thursday this week, ICS will be hosting its third virtual Open House for the Masters in Educational Leadership (MA-EL) program. This time we have invited potential students and other "champions" of the MA-EL program (e.g. principals and influencers) to attend. Edith van der Boom, our new Assistant Professor of Philosophy of Education and Practice of Pedagogy, and Director of the MA-EL program, will introduce herself and her vision for the program. EIizabet Aras, our Academic Registrar, will explain the application process and present the program design. Please pray for Edith and Elizabet, and all the participants, that the Open House will be an effective vehicle for promoting the program.

Please pray these next two weeks for those students wishing to begin the Masters in Educational Leadership program this fall. ICS is accepting applications until August 15 so please pray that the recruitment efforts that have been going on all summer will bear fruit with a strong third cohort.

The Critical Faith podcasting crew and our Senior Members are hard at work recording snapshot interviews about this fall’s courses—all of which will be offered online for the duration of the semester. With discounts available for first-time auditors and ICS alumni/ae, an array of course topics on offer, and the ease of a once-a-week online seminar format, this is an unprecedented opportunity for students to participate in an ICS classroom from anywhere in the world. Please pray for the crew and for our Senior Members as they continue to spread the word and prepare for these courses ahead of the coming semester. If you’re interested in knowing exactly what we’re offering this fall or if you want to encourage someone to try an ICS course for themselves, you can find details on our website at

In light of the growing unrest about systemic racism and violence, and as a first step toward deep and long term institutional reflection on the ways we at ICS are complicit in and benefit from systemic racism, the CPRSE will introduce a series of reflections on our Ground Motive blog beginning this week. The series will feature some voices from within the ICS learning community in a conversation that will expand through the inclusion of BIPOC communities and organizations, and diverse philosophers and theologians. Keep an eye on Ground Motive for the start of this series and pray for those contributing to it, that they might speak graciously and insightfully. Please also pray that these efforts will indeed be a first key step in examining and wrestling with the various forms of privilege and complicity at play within the ICS community, and in asking how we might continually learn to better love our neighbours in our day.

Monday, August 10 - Friday, August 14:

Please pray this week for our Registrar, Elizabet Aras, as she prepares for student registration and the virtual fall retreat to be held in the second week of September. As well, Elizabet and Gideon will be hosting a pre-registration meeting for program students who need to take courses in the fall term on August 11. 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.

On Thursday of this week, ICS will host its fourth and last virtual Open House. The Open House will follow the same format as the August 6th one (see above). So once again, we ask you to pray for Edith and Elizabet as they make their presentations and for all the participants that it would prove to be an informative and inspiring event.

The month of August marks the official beginning of our Fourth Annual Undergraduate Workshop. This time, we will work remotely with undergraduate students from across North America as they reflect on the concepts of evil, resistance, and judgment through an interdisciplinary lens. Please pray for the ICS/CPRSE team as we engage this keen group of students in dialogue and help them hone their scholarship skills in these unprecedented times.

Monday, August 17 - Friday, August 21:

Please pray this week for Gideon Strauss as he leads the last course in our Summer Online Learning Initiative: Lead From Where You Are: Making a Difference in the Face of Tough Problems, Big Questions, and Organizational Politics. This is a one-week intensive designed to help students develop a leadership language and use a set of tools and frameworks to assist them with diagnosing and addressing the toughest problems experienced by organizations, communities, institutions, and societies. Pray for Gideon and the students as they work out fresh insights and new skills together in a workshop format.

The Master of Educational Leadership program starts up this week. Cohort 1, which started the program in September 2018 will be doing two guided readings. Cohort 2, which began in August 2019, will be enrolled in Lead From Where You Are, which is also running this week. Cohort 3, which comprises the new students in the program, will be taking the first course in the program, Finding Joy in Learning. Please pray for Elizabet as she administers the registration and online classrooms for these courses, for the students who will be participating, and for Gideon Strauss and Edith van der Boom as they lead the learning process.

We also want to pray for the various projects which our Junior Members are working on: 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.

Monday, August 24 - Friday, August 28:

We ask for your prayers this week for our administrative staff as they seek to ensure that all the pieces are in place for the beginning of the school year. Pray too for our faculty as they prepare their courses for online delivery this semester. 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 each of them to serve the Institute’s mission with commitment and dedication.

Normally at this time we would ask for prayer for our Junior Members, both returning and new, as they prepare to come to Toronto to begin a new academic year. However, all our classes will be wholly online for at least the fall semester so we will only be able to see our students virtually. Please pray for our faculty and administrators as we prepare to provide the optimum learning experience online. And pray for both our new and returning students that they will have a fruitful online learning experience and that we will all find creative ways to build community at a distance. 

Monday, August 31:

Please pray today for Elizabet Aras as she flies to Sweden on September 2nd to be with her parents who have just recently been reunited after being separated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pray that the travel arrangements will go smoothly and that Elizabet will be at peace during the flight and when she arrives in Stockholm. We ask God to watch over her as she re-integrates into life with her family again and that the family will remain healthy.

As we take a moment to look back over the summer, please also join us in a prayer of thanksgiving for all the Summer Online Learning Initiative courses that were delivered over the last few months. We thank God for each of the many students that took part in the five courses that were offered, and for each of the course leaders for the gifts of their time and efforts spent crafting these individual courses and guiding students’ learning experiences.