Saturday 30 October 2021

Prayer Letter: November 2021

Monday, November 1- Friday, November 5:

At ICS/CPRSE, we are excited to announce that the opening session of our 2021 Colloquium, Philosophy Otherwise: Relearning the Philosophical Craft, will take place on Monday, November 1st, at 6:00pm! This will be the first of five sessions designed to help us reflect critically on the impact of systemic racism in our scholarly community and tradition, as well as to envision ways to integrate considerations of diversity, equity, and inclusion in our learning, research, and public outreach.

We give thanks for the members of the Colloquium Planning Committee (Héctor Acero Ferrer, Abbi Hofstede, Andrew Tebbutt, and Danielle Yett) who have been working tirelessly over the past year putting together a program that responds to ICS's institutional call to acknowledge, lament, and uproot systemic racism in our institution. We also give thanks that along the way we have developed meaningful relationships with scholars, who represent radically diverse scholarly approaches and tradition, and are making significant efforts to reflect on what it means to think philosophically and theologically in a post-2020 world.

Colombian philosopher, Dr. María del Rosario Acosta, Professor & Interim Vice-Chair of the Department of Hispanic Studies at the University of California Riverside, will be providing the leadership in this first session. Dr. Acosta brings to us a wealth of experience in Continental Philosophy, as well as decades of direct work with survivors of political violence and police brutality. In her work on "Grammars of Listening," Dr. Acosta attempts to open a philosophical space to listen to the voices of individuals and communities oppressed and marginalized through systemic violence. In doing so, Dr. Acosta considers the act of listening both as a philosophical category and as a practice that can aid philosophy in reimagining itself in a post-colonial world. Please pray for Dr. Acosta as she leads this session, and all those who will be participating in the colloquium that they might have insight as they reflect on their own philosophical and scholarly practices.

Also today, November 1, is the application deadline for students wanting to enter the MA in Education Leadership program if they want to start in the 2022 winter term. Please pray for wisdom for Gideon Strauss and Edith van der Boom as they review the students’ applications this month.

During Thursday night, October 28, ICS Emeritus Calvin Seerveld's wife Ines passed away in her sleep. We are grieved to hear of her passing, but give thanks that Ines was able to live out her days in the comfort of her own home and in the tender care of her husband and those who loved her. On these days of All Saints' (November 1) and All Souls’ (November 2), we ask you to take a moment to remember Ines, Cal, and their family and friends in your prayers. We pray also that God will send comfort and resurrection hope to all those who are mourning her loss, and especially to Cal.

On Wednesday, November 3rd, there will be a MA-EL Virtual Open House for current and future educators, between 4-5pm ET. This Open House will help future students understand the program and hear how current students are benefiting from this unique learning opportunity. Please contact Elizabet Aras,, for further details if you are interested in attending and/or know someone who might be. And please pray that this event will prove to be instructive and welcoming to potential students.

On Friday, November 5th, the ICS/CPRSE will host the Fall 2021 Scripture, Faith, and Scholarship Symposium with Jonathan Hamilton-Diabo, June Callwood Professor in Social Justice and Special Advisor on Indigenous Issues at Emmanuel and Victoria Colleges. In his presentation, "Fill the Earth and Subdue: Exploring Relationships with Land," Jonathan will share with our community how his frontline and academic work in Indigenous issues has expressed his faith and spirituality. We pray in thanksgiving for Jonathan as he gives the ICS community a glimpse into the ways in which his interpretation of sacred texts has helped to shape his professional journey.

Monday, November 8 - Friday, November 12:

Please continue to pray for Harley Dekker this week as he works diligently with the auditors to finalize the annual audit of our financial records for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2021. We need to have the information ready in time for the AGM and the Annual Report, so we ask that God would bless these efforts with grace and speed of deliberation. Once again, we are very thankful for God’s watchful care over us, especially in the second half of this year during the pandemic.

Please pray this week and next for our Perspective production and mailing crew, especially Vidya Williams, Héctor, and Danielle as they work with Kevin, our designer, and Randy, our printer, to meet the deadline for sending out the mailing in a couple of weeks. This is always a hectic time so we ask for grace and strength for each one as they work together. May all enjoy a sense of accomplishment in the completion of this important and special project.

A number of our Junior Members are currently at various stages of thesis research and writing. Among these, we ask for prayers especially for the following of Senior Member Nik Ansell's advisees: Dong Wook, who is working on Derrida's "Religion without Religion" theme in conversation with Mark's Gospel; June, who is probing the philosophical implications of "liminality"; and Fred, who is tracing out the implications of René Girard's thinking for how we might understand the "necessity" of Jesus' death. Please pray for these Junior Members' continued inspiration, energy, and encouragement as they work on these exciting projects!

Please pray this month and next for the Educational Policy Committee and the Academic Council as they will be reviewing course proposals and policy proposals for presentation to the Senate at their winter meeting. Please pray for each of the members of these two committees, that they will have wisdom and clarity of thinking as they review these important documents, and for our Academic Dean, Gideon Strauss, as he leads the faculty in their academic programming and policy deliberations.

Monday, November 15 - Friday, November 19:

On Monday, November 15th, ICS/CPRSE will host the second session of our 2021 Colloquium, Philosophy Otherwise: Relearning the Philosophical Craft, this time under the leadership of Ntando Mlambo. Ntando is a lecturer at the University of the Free State in South Africa. In her work, Ntando explores how the emerging praxis of spatial justice can further the ecumenical church’s quest for a prophetic voice and actions in South African land reform. We pray for Ntando, for the colloquium planning committee, and for the ICS community, as we come together to reflect on the ways in which systemic racism subsists within Christian communities and to seek life-giving alternatives in our theological and philosophical praxis.

Currently, Senior Member Nik Ansell is under contract to write an essay on "Nature and Grace" for the T & T Clark "Companion to the Doctrine of Creation" volume. This is a wonderful opportunity to bring some reformational resources to the attention of scholars working in this area. But the deadline is now a pressing one, and Nik's contribution needs to be finished by the end of 2021. So we ask for prayers for Nik's concentration as he continues this work, and we pray that he may receive the blessings of time and stamina as he brings this project to completion.

We would value your prayers this week as we work with our printer on the final steps to get this latest issue of Perspective mailed out to our ICS community. We’re grateful for the expertise of our designer and printer, and pray that the many pieces of this process will come together in a smooth and timely manner.

Monday, November 22 - Friday, November 26:

During this week of the US Thanksgiving holiday, we want to share our prayers of gratitude for each and every one of our supporters in Canada, the US, and across the world. Your continued financial, prayerful, professional, and personal support of the day-to-day educational mission of ICS keeps us going. So thank you!

On Friday, November 26th, the Board of Trustees will meet virtually. 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 still unpredictable times. Pray also for ease of use of the virtual meeting technology so that the deliberations go smoothly with little or no disruption.

Our Annual General Meeting will take place virtually on Saturday, November 27th. Please pray for John Joosse as he gives leadership to the meeting and for all those who will participate in the presenting of reports. We’re grateful for this yearly rhythm which affords the opportunity to attend to what we’ve accomplished, and the goals to which we aspire institutionally. We also give thanks for this chance to gather with the broader ICS community to reflect together on our educational calling and hopes.

Monday, November 29 - Tuesday, November 30:

As we quickly move into the end of the fall term, we would ask you to please pray for our Senior Members (and adjunct and sessional faculty) as they teach in the final three weeks of classes, and as they prepare for their teaching in the quickly-approaching winter term. We also want to express our deep gratitude for the new students who have come to ICS this academic year, as well as all the returning ones. Our students keep us alive in all kinds of ways. So we pray that they may stay in touch with their infectious enthusiasm amidst the demands that can be felt as we move towards the end of the semester and they work to finish up readings and other assignments and as they start to prepare their term papers and projects.

We would also ask you to pray for Brenna, our Recruitment Coordinator, and the rest of the team as they continue to promote the upcoming winter term courses. We ask for wisdom and creativity as they experiment with different ways to communicate to a wider and diverse audience about our learning opportunities, and we pray that these efforts will bring many students who would benefit from the ICS learning environment through our “doors.”