Friday 1 October 2021

Prayer Letter: October 2021

Friday, October 1:

During the month of October, the CPRSE team approaches the final stages of planning of the colloquium “Philosophy Otherwise: Relearning the Philosophical Craft,” which will take place during the month of November via Zoom. This event will be a space to continue ICS’s ongoing reflection on systemic racism and its bearings on the scholarly tradition on which our institution stands. Please pray for the planning committee, as well for our guest presenters, as they put the pieces together for this important discussion for our community.

Monday, October 4 - Friday, October 8:

We want to give thanks for our first Academic Council meeting on September 20th which ended with a brief start-of-the-year check-in. The Senior Members are all looking forward to the semester and are excited about the courses they are teaching this year. Returning Junior Members are happy to get back into the groove, and are enthusiastic about staying connected with the community. New Junior Members felt very welcomed by everyone during Orientation Week, and said that the events that took place felt different from other universities in a positive way. We give thanks for this inspiring start to the new school year.

Bob Sweetman is starting to work with two more new students, Chris (MA) and Traver (PhD) who will be the last new students he takes on as he moves into retirement. These students have already been working with Bob as they took classes with him last academic year trying out ICS and its offerings since they were available online. Their experience was obviously positive enough to convince them to come back for more, indeed, to commit to take on a program of study at ICS. In the meanwhile, he continues to serve others as supervisor to five students: Grace (MA) and Julia, Eric, Samir, and Meg (PhD). Bob hopes to have helped each to either finish or be at the thesis writing stage by the time he retires fully. Please pray for Bob that he will have the energy and acuity to help each achieve their goals and enter into their future calling. Pray too for Bob as he starts the learning process on what he can expect of himself in retirement.

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 focus on introducing our new students this year. Pray particularly for our editors, Danielle and Héctor, as they ensure that all goes smoothly and timelines are met.

Please pray for the Recruitment Committee as they meet every Wednesday under the direction of Brenna, our new Recruitment Coordinator as they plan for the strategic recruitment for our quickly-approaching winter semester. Pray too for Brenna and the team as they begin thinking long-term about promotional strategies for our courses and programs in the 2022-23 academic year.

On the afternoon of October 9th, Héctor Acero Ferrer and Andrew Tebbutt will be participating on behalf of the CPRSE in the Society for Ricoeur Studies’ virtual conference. Together with Dr. Robert Vosloo (University of Stellenbosch), they will lead a panel titled Divine Incognitos: Paul Ricoeur on Forgiveness and Religion from the Intimate to the Public Sphere. This panel will take cues especially from Ricoeur’s understanding of the religious or theological dimension of forgiveness, in order to explore the various settings in which the “small acts of consideration” of forgiveness are possible, and what the restorative potential of forgiveness entails to individuals in such settings. Please pray for Héctor, Andrew, and Dr. Vosloo as they prepare for their panel, and that it might lead to fruitful discussions among the conference participants.

Monday, October 11 (Thanksgiving) - Friday, October 15:

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 yet another 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.

As we start our next cycle of recruitment for the winter term and next academic year, please pray for all of the faculty and staff involved in our recruitment efforts, as well as the students who are considering taking our courses or becoming a part of the ICS community. Pray especially that we will be able to reach those students who are struggling with their faith, and might particularly benefit from coming here to wrestle with those questions in a supportive community.

Monday, October 18 - Friday, October 22:

The Academic Council will receive the 2020-2021 Reflective Practice Reports of Senior Members in its meeting on October 18, and will evaluate and celebrate each individually in their meetings throughout this academic year. These conversations will constitute the annual performance review of each Senior Member. Please pray for Gideon Strauss, our Academic Dean, as he leads these important discussions, and that each faculty member will be uplifted and encouraged.

Please pray for Bob and Rosanne Sweetman as for the immediate future they have the pleasure and challenge of having their daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren ages four and two living with them. They have not seen them since the pandemic began as they live in Tanzania. Their daughter is using this opportunity to receive the Pfizer mRNA vaccine, whereas their son-in-law has already been vaccinated in Tanzania. Their grandchildren are full of beans, creative, and very active; so we ask for energy for Bob and Rosanne as they enjoy the wonder and joy of being opa and oma and all that entails to their young grandchildren.

On October 19, ICS/CPRSE will welcome Dr. Jonathan Chaplin for an afternoon presentation and discussion of his most recent book, Faith in Democracy: Framing a Politics of Deep Diversity. Junior Member Abbigail Hofstede and CPRSE’s Postdoctoral Research Associate Andrew Tebbutt will help us steer this conversation, which will be open to the public via Zoom. If you’re interested in joining us for this event, please email so we can send you the Zoom details once they’re set up. Please also pray that this event can serve as a space for fruitful exchange around some of the political issues most pressing in our communities today.

Monday, October 25 - Friday, October 29:

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 this week that God would graciously encourage and refresh them in their educational vocations 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, 2021. We have continued to see positive financial developments this past year and we give thanks for God’s care for us.

Please uphold the Board of Trustees in their oversight of the vision and mission of ICS, especially as they plan for the virtual Board meeting at the end of November, and the AGM, again via Zoom, around the same time. 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.