Tuesday 4 January 2022

Prayer Letter: January 2022

Tuesday, January 4 - Friday, January 7:

We offer prayers of thanksgiving for Junior Member Theoren Tolsma’s successful MA defense, which took place virtually on January 3rd! Under the mentorship of Jim Olthuis and Ron Kuipers and with the participation of external examiner John Caputo, Theoren wrote and defended a thesis entitled: “Attuning: Heidegger and Anxiety, Irigaray and Love.” We celebrate with Theoren the culmination of all of his research and hard work, and we pray that God will bless him as he enters the next stage of his work and studies.

We ask for your prayers this week for our Senior Members Ron Kuipers, Bob Sweetman, Gideon Strauss, Edith van der Boom, and Nik Ansell as they make final preparations for the classes they will teach this semester. Pray too for Postdoctoral Research Associate Andrew Tebbutt as he prepares to teach his course on cultural politics in colonial Canada.

Please pray for our Registrar, Elizabet Aras as she flies back to Toronto from Sweden this week after spending the past six weeks with her family. Pray for safe and smooth travels and for a sense of peace amidst pandemic worries.

We ask for your prayers for those students who are still considering what courses to take in the winter semester. For many it means juggling other work and life priorities, so we ask for wisdom as they make their decisions. Pray too for our returning students as they prepare for taking their slotted courses online. For everything you need to know about all of our winter semester courses, including how to register (and yes, there is still time!) go to www.icscanada.edu/winter-courses.

Monday, January 10 - Friday, January 14:

Please pray for our Junior Members as they once again resume classes this week. As in the fall, all our courses will be online, so we want to pray for teachers and the students alike, that the courses will go smoothly on the technical side. We pray also for their encouragement and insightful engagement in their studies, and for their health, wellbeing, and strength of spirit amid ongoing pandemic isolation. We ask especially for prayers on behalf of our MA-EL students as they must constantly adapt, in their own teaching and school administration, in response to ever-changing restrictions and public health measures.

Please pray today and tomorrow for those students who have yet to make a decision about registering for the courses they wish to take in this semester. The last day to register is Wednesday, January 12th, so pray that they will be able to make the necessary arrangements before then.

We would like to pray specifically for each of our teachers this week as they have their first class in the winter semester. A number of the courses on offer touch on topics of immediate relevance, so we pray for insight and creativity in their preparation and presentation.

On Monday, starting at 6:00pm, Andrew Tebbutt’s course Recognition or Refusal? Cultural Politics in a Colonial Canada begins. Pray for Andrew as he leads the students in exploring the philosophical underpinnings of the idea of recognition, alongside its application within Canadian political theory, and then assessing the adequacy of a liberal politics of recognition for addressing Indigenous-settler relationships in Canada.

On Tuesday, starting at 2:00pm, Bob Sweetman will be teaching about the fundamentals and contemporary relevance of Reformational philosophy in his course: Religion, Life, and Society. Please pray for Bob and the students that this will be a time of inspirational learning in this foundational course.

On Wednesday, starting at 2:00pm, Nik Ansell will begin teaching his course: Birthpangs of the New Creation: Judgment unto Salvation in the Book of Revelation. Pray for Nik and the students as they pay special attention to the way in which Old Testament echoes, together with the book’s own symbolic coherence and narrative logic, can open up new avenues of exegesis and theological reflection.

On Thursday, starting at 10:00am, Ron Kuipers will lead the first session of this year’s Interdisciplinary Seminar: Colonization, Racial Identity, and What it Means to be Human. Pray that the session will be thought-provoking for all the participants as they listen to the wisdom from the writings of different cultural groups the European colonizers sought to silence.

Also on Thursday, starting at 2:00pm, Bob Sweetman will begin his course: Individuality in the Franciscan Thought of John Duns Scotus & William of Ockham. Pray for Bob and the students as they examine together the doctrine of individuality developed by these two Franciscan thinkers and the configuration of their thoughts as one or another form of metaphysical “individualism.”

Pray also for the two MA-EL blended learning courses which will begin this week:
  • Deeper Learning: From Wonder to Inquiry to Practice with Edith van der Boom, and

  • How to Govern a School: Board Governance, Decision-Making & Community Engagement with Gideon Strauss.

Monday, January 17 - Friday, January 21:

We praise God for a second successful application to a grant foundation for the purposes of upgrading our classroom in order to provide a hybrid learning platform so we can welcome both in-person and remote students to our classes when we can once again gather together. This is a very exciting opportunity and we ask that you would pray along with us for wisdom and insight in how to steward this grant in the most effective way.

During the month of January, the CPRSE team will be finalizing the publication of the fourth volume of the Currents in Reformational Thought series: Dancing in the Wild Spaces of Love: A Theopoetics of Gift and Call, Risk and Promise, by Senior Member Emeritus, Jim Olthuis. This volume is a continuation of the series’ intent to celebrate the work of the most recent generations of Reformational scholars. Please pray for Jim, as well as the editing and production team, as they bring this project to completion.

Please pray this week for the Chair and ICS Chancellor, Dr. Aron Reppmann, as he leads the discussions at the ICS Senate meeting (via Zoom) on Saturday. Please also pray for Gideon Strauss, our Academic Dean, and all the external and internal Senators as they consider the issues on the agenda. Pray too for Senior Members Nik Ansell and Rebekah Smick as they share reflections on their teaching practices with the Senate, and for Elizabet Aras that all will go smoothly technologically and the meeting will be as fruitful as possible.

Monday, January 24 - Friday, January 28:

Please pray this week for our Junior Members who still have outstanding work to be submitted from their fall courses. The deadline for submission is on Friday of this week, so we ask for clarity and creativity as they complete their various assignments, and for dexterity as they balance the work of this semester and last.

Senior Member Bob Sweetman published an article titled "Reading Ancient and Medieval Philosophers after Vollenhoven" in the latest volume of Philosophia Reformata (86.2). The article is a study of D. H. Th. Vollenhoven’s type-focused historiography of philosophy and its development with respect to pre-Socratic philosophy. The piece is available to read online (with a journal subscription), but should also now be available in print. We give thanks for Bob’s continued compelling contributions to Reformational scholarship and dialogue!

Monday, January 31:

As our 2021 Advent campaign draws to a close, we want to take this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude to all our donors for your faithful support over the past year. We were continually renewed by God’s presence in our lives and our work through your generous gifts of prayer and financial support during this second year of the pandemic. We have been truly blessed to have a support community such as you, and we look forward in hope to another year with you by our sides!

Thank you for partnering with us in our mission and standing with us in all our endeavours!