Tuesday 29 September 2020

Prayer Letter: October 2020

Thursday, October 1 - Friday, October 2:

We want to give thanks that our Registrar, Elizabet Aras, arrived safely in Sweden and, after a two-week quarantine, is now settled back home with her parents. As the summer and the relocation took its toll on her energy levels, she is also grateful for her vacation last week which allowed her to get caught up on sleep and visiting loved ones. Please continue to pray that Elizabet’s work as ICS’s Registrar will continue to go smoothly.

Edith van der Boom gives thanks for her position here at ICS and asks for prayer for wisdom and insight as she works on developing courses for the winter semester. In addition, she would add a request that the recruitment and leadership teams would have clarity around what strategic changes are needed so that new students will sign up for the MA-EL program.

We are planning on hosting a Writing Workshop sometime this month (date TBD). Please pray for creative wisdom on how to work this event into the calendar and the academic program. Please pray also that this provides a fruitful opportunity to build academic community and equip our Junior Members for their various studies.

Monday, October 5 - Friday, October 9:

On Monday afternoon, Benjamin Shank will defend his PhD dissertation, Resounding Empathy: A Critical Exploration of Paul Ricoeur's Theory of Discourse, to Clarify the Self's Reliance on Relationships with Other Persons. In this fascinating and original piece of interdisciplinary scholarship, Benjamin uses Ricoeur's understanding of the generative semantic power of metaphor to explore Ricoeur's philosophical anthropology. Specifically, Benjamin asks why Ricoeur's recognition of our essential reliance on others for our ability to produce and share metaphors does not carry over more strongly into Ricoeur's understanding of what it means to be a capable human person. In making his case, Benjamin innovatively explores the relevance of recent discoveries in the field of early childhood development for philosophical understandings of what it means to be human. In general, he concludes that philosophers working in the area of philosophical anthropology pay insufficient attention to the crucial role that the first two years of life play in shaping the kind of adult selves we become. In addition to his mentor, Ron Kuipers, the members of Benjamin's examination committee are Stephanie Arel (external, Fordham University), Henry Venema (external, Brandon University), Jeffrey Dudiak (Internal, cross-appointed to ICS from King's University), and Bob Sweetman (internal, ICS). All examiners have praised the quality of Benjamin's dissertation, and deem it ready for defense and ultimately the awarding of ICS's PhD. Benjamin has worked very hard to get to this final stage, and we congratulate him on reaching this milestone. Pray for Benjamin to have a calm mind and steady nerves during the exam, that the defense will be a productive and fruitful learning experience for him, and that everyone involved in the exam has an uninterrupted internet connection (as this is the first ICS PhD defense to be held completely online)!

Please pray with us over these next few weeks as we work with the contributors to our fall issue of Perspective. This issue is a very special one as it will pay tribute to Hendrik Hart and his amazing contribution to ICS and its mission. Pray particularly for our editors, Danielle and H├ęctor, as they ensure that all goes smoothly and timelines are met.

Please pray this week for the Academic Council and Educational Policy Committee as they resume their meetings and their work on the policy handbooks. Pray for clarity of thinking as they revise and update these handbooks to better serve Senior and Junior Members in their work, and as they consider together the shape of academic life at ICS.

Please pray for the Recruitment Committee as they spend the afternoon on Wednesday thinking long-term about promotional strategies and course planning. We learned a lot this past summer in the offering of our Summer Online Learning Initiative and we want to bring the best of those ideas and learnings to bear in organizing an interesting and accessible course lineup for next summer’s program and the 2021/22 academic year.

Monday, October 12 (Thanksgiving) - Friday, October 16:

This being the week of Canadian Thanksgiving, we want to join together and give thanks for the many answers to prayer this year. We have been blessed by our ICS community again and again as they faithfully supported us in our times of need; we have seen God’s hand of protection over all of us during the first wave of the pandemic and all its challenges; and we have been encouraged by the grace and strength that God has given us during the difficult times.

On Friday, Aron Reppmann, Daniel Napier, and Bob Sweetman will be giving papers at the 45th Patristic, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies Conference entitled Thought and Prayer, to be held virtually under the auspices of Villanova University. The papers to be read in the session, organized by Aron, entitled Egyptian Imaginaries in Patristic and Medieval Thought and Prayer, will be:
  • “The Alexandrian Jewish Origins of Immaterial Spirit” by Daniel Austin Napier, Independent Scholar

  • “Philosophy as Egyptian Woman in Clement of Alexandria and Gregory of Nyssa” by Aron Reppmann, Trinity Christian College

  • “Aemulatio and the Egyptian Desert in Raymond of Capua's Vita of Catherine of Sienna” by Robert Sweetman, Institute for Christian Studies
Aron Reppmann is the Chair of the Senate and Chancellor of ICS, and Daniel Napier is an alum of ICS and the VU Amsterdam.

Monday, October 19 - Friday, October 23:

Remember back in the June prayer letter, we asked for prayer for Jueun Moon (PhD-Y2) and her new husband, Silvere Gangloff, who got married in Wisconsin and then had to be separated while Jueun returned to Korea. The happy news is that Jueun will be moving to France this month to reunite with her husband. Please pray for a safe and smooth journey toward this blessed reunion.

Various CPRSE projects and events will be starting up again this month, one of which is the Critical Faith podcast. After a brief post-summer break, we’re hoping to kick this semester off with a series of episodes on reading the book of Genesis with Nik Ansell. Please pray for clarity and creativity in the planning of these episodes, and that these conversations might reach a wide audience.

Monday, October 26 - Friday, October 30:

Monday marks the start of Reading Week for ICS Junior and Senior Members. Please pray for our students that they might have the creative energy and space to complete their writing and study assignments. Pray too for the faculty that God would graciously encourage and refresh them in their vocation at ICS.

Pray for ICS, and especially Harley Dekker, this week and next as he works with the auditors to finalize the annual audit of our financial records for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2020. We continued to see some positive financial developments this past year and we give thanks to God for his care of us.

Please uphold the Board of Trustees in their oversight of the vision and mission of ICS, especially as they plan for the Board meeting via Zoom on November 27th, and the AGM, again via Zoom, on November 28th. Pray for strength and wisdom for each one as they continue to provide support and leadership in the working out of God’s call to ICS now and into the future.