Tuesday 30 November 2021

Prayer Letter: December 2021

Wednesday, December 1- Friday, December 3:

Please take the opportunity this week to give thanks for our Board of Trustees as they continue to serve in their oversight of the mission and vision of ICS. At the Annual General meeting on Saturday, November 27th, we welcomed four new board members: Sandra Tang, Kevin Huinink, Dan Beerens, and Mario Matos. Please especially pray for these new members of the Board that they will find joy and blessing as they begin their term of service. Pray also for wisdom for John Joosse as Chair, and for Diane Stronks as Vice Chair in their leadership roles. We give thanks for each trustee and their faithful service to, and support of, ICS.

On December 1st, ICS will be hosting a virtual Open House for all students interested in our MA and PhD programs. The Open House will be held from 6:00-7:30 pm EST and is designed to introduce students to these programs and to answer questions about studying at ICS. Please pray that God will establish the work of our hands as we reach out to potential students that there will be interest in joining ICS in one of these programs. If you are interested, or know someone who is, please email Brenna at recruitment-coordinator@icscanada.edu.

Jason Mills (University of St. Michael’s College) recently defended his thesis entitled In Vitro Education: Examining the Virtual Culture of Online Pastoral Education, with ICS emeritus Doug Blomberg as his supervisor. This past month, Jason’s thesis was awarded the Governor General’s Gold Medal Academic Award through USMC’s Faculty of Theology. We would like to share prayers of gratitude and celebration for Jason’s hard work and his laudable achievement.

Monday, December 6 - Friday, December 10:

We want to pray for continued stamina and enthusiasm for our Senior and Junior Members as they finish out the semester and prepare to start their new courses in January. We pray for Gideon Strauss that he might have rhythm and creative energy in his administrative role as Academic Dean, and for strength and inspiration for all our Senior Members and faculty who are teaching in the winter semester.

On December 8th from 3-5 pm EST the course, The Radical Theopoetics of John D. Caputo, with Dr. Jim Olthuis will be visited by Dr. John D. Caputo himself! His online class session will be open to those interested in joining the discussion. Please RSVP in order to attend by emailing Brenna at: recruitment-coordinator@icscanada.edu. We pray that this will be an interesting and inspiring opportunity for the students in the class and those who join them.

On December 8-11, most of our Senior Members will be participating in the annual Reformational Philosophy Conference organized by the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VUA). The theme of this year’s conference is “Philosophy in the Reformed Tradition 2021: Celebrating the Heritage, Facing the Challenges, and Embracing the Future.” On Thursday, December 9, President Ronald A. Kuipers will be chairing a panel on the topic: “Bridging the Theology-Reformational Philosophy Gap” along with panelists: Nik Ansell (ICS), Jeremy Ive, Gayle Doornbos (Dordt), and Jamie Smith (Calvin). That same day, Bob Sweetman is also participating on a panel about teaching Reformational Philosophy to the next generation alongside Maarten Verkerk, Lisa Lansang, Guilhermo Cavalho, and Michael Wagenman. Edith van der Boom will also be co-chairing breakout interest sessions on the topic of education. The conference also features book presentations by many Reformational authors, including Jonathan Chaplin on his latest monograph. ICS is one of the conference's sponsoring institutions, and the entire conference is online and free to register. Please pray with us for the involvement of each of these Senior Members in their respective presentations, that those and the conversations that come from them may provide far-reaching blessings to all involved. You can also find out more and join the conference here: https://www.reformationalphilosophy.org/rpc2021/.

Please continue to pray this month 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 Senior Members in their academic programming and policy deliberations.

Monday, December 13 - Friday, December 17:

Monday, December 13 marks the end of our in-house colloquium, Philosophy Otherwise: Relearning the Philosophical Craft. This space to reflect on systemic oppression in the context of our disciplines of study and institutional tradition was only possible through the leadership of the CPRSE planning committee, consisting of Héctor Acero Ferrer, Abbi Hofstede, Danielle Yett, and Andrew Tebbutt. We are thankful for the conversations we’ve been able to have together as an academic community so far. Please pray for Héctor, Abbi, Danielle, and Andrew as they lead the closing session of this capacity-building event.

During this calendar year, the CPRSE team has had the support of ICS alumnus Andrew Tebbutt as our Postdoctoral Research Associate. Andrew has contributed generously to the life of our scholarly community, providing leadership for a number of publications and public outreach initiatives. Please pray for Andrew as he continues his work with the CPRSE during this winter term.

Thursday, December 16th, is the final day of classes for the fall semester at ICS and the 2022 winter semester is scheduled to begin on January 2nd. Please pray for our students in these last days of the fall semester that they will be able to complete their study requirements in good time. Please also pray along with us that the two-week holiday break will enable all of us to rest and recharge, and bring all of us back energized for the new year and all it brings.

On Friday, December 17th, we will share in a time of fun and fellowship at our annual Christmas Party -- again this year held virtually. We ask for prayer for Elizabet Aras, our Registrar, as she makes plans for our time together. It isn’t always easy to creatively design a party such as this virtually but last year we held the party remotely and it was a great success. Pray too that it might be a wonderful evening of giving thanks for and celebrating the gifts we have in one another in this blessed community of learning at ICS.

Rebekah Smick would greatly appreciate your prayers as she carries out her work at ICS. The many months of the pandemic have inhibited her work on ICS’s Art in Orvieto summer study program in Orvieto, Italy, which is an important component of our new Master of Worldview Studies in Art, Religion, and Theology. But she has found that she has been able to focus more on some of her writing projects during the pandemic. She would be very grateful for your prayers as she brings some of these projects to completion. She would also appreciate your prayers in her ongoing work with her students who now come to us from across the globe because of our general shift to online teaching during the pandemic.

Monday, December 20 - Friday, December 24:

During the year 2021, ICS/CPRSE invited a series of scholars, practitioners, and community leaders to provide leadership to multiple events and publications aimed at better understanding our complicity in systems of oppression as an institution of higher education. We are extremely grateful to everyone who, in the midst of very busy schedules, took the time to share their expertise, experiences, and wisdom with us. Please pray in thanksgiving for the generosity of Nadine Bowers Du Toit, Kristin Kobes Du Mez, Kevin Huinink, Jonathan Hamilton-Diabo, Cheri DiNovo, Matau Setshase, María Acosta, Ntando Mlambo, Lori-Anne Dolloff, and Elisabeth Paquette; whose contributions to the life of our community have been invaluable.

As we look forward to next week when we celebrate Christmas by the giving and receiving of gifts, we thank God for our committed and faithful friends for their gifts of encouragement and faithful support in prayer and financial gifts. We pray for each one of you that you will receive the amazing gifts of love, joy, and peace this Christmas season and be filled with hope with what God will do in the new year.

Please pray for Rebekah Smick and Thomas McIntire and their greater family in various locations across Canada and in Britain. They have been thankful for God’s mercies in the birth of a new grandson during the pandemic and for the safe return of his parents from Myanmar to Britain at the beginning of the pandemic in time for his birth. They are hoping that this family might be able to visit them in Toronto at Christmas for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, but are waiting to see if the discovery of the Omicron variant will affect those plans. Please pray for wisdom as they make decisions as a family around the possibility of travelling at this time.

Please pray today for the families of the rest of our staff, Senior Members, and Junior Members as they find ways to celebrate the birth of our Saviour amidst the restraints of the pandemic. Most of our families are spread far and wide and so it won’t be possible for all to be together in person. Pray that despite the separation, families can find joy and inspiration in their virtual get-togethers. As well, we ask for special prayers for those families who may be suffering because of illness or grieving a loss in their family.

May the blessings of love, joy and peace be yours as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour this Christmas week.

Monday, December 27 - Friday, December 31:

As 2021 draws to a close, we give thanks for another fruitful year of work at ICS and for all our supporters and friends who made that work possible through their prayers and financial gifts. We especially give thanks to God for the strength and wisdom he gave us in this second pandemic year to steadfastly pursue our vision. We pray for God's blessing upon our staff, faculty and students as we work out our mission, in the classroom and beyond, throughout this next year.

We sincerely hope that you enjoyed reading our latest issue of Perspective and have been inspired by the students’ testimonies and the articles on ‘burning questions’ at ICS. If you have not yet received this issue in the mail or by email, you can follow this link: perspective.icscanada.edu/latest-issue to read the issue for yourself. If you would like to join in the spirit of giving before the year ends, you can find the letter that accompanied the issue and some additional information about ways to donate here.