Friday 1 April 2022

Art, Hope, and Healing

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation:
everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

—2 Corinthians 5:17

Over the past decade, a small, hopeful thing has been happening in Toronto. Local artists have been busy transforming small pieces of civic infrastructure, specifically those gunmetal grey utility boxes, into wonderfully playful and insightful works of art. I am delighted whenever I discover a new one, as this buzzing city becomes incrementally more livable each time an artist I don’t know communicates something to me about the way she sees and experiences the familiar places and spaces we both call home.

Yet public art is not always sweetness and light. Last year, in our Interdisciplinary Seminar, we had the good fortune to discuss former ICS Senior Member Adrienne Dengerink Chaplin’s book Art, Conflict, and Remembering: The Murals of the Bogside Artists. In this catalogue, Dengerink Chaplin chronicles the story behind the creation of twelve large murals of “commemorative public art” in the city of Derry, which tell a candid yet ultimately healing story about the time of “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland. As Dengerink Chaplin explains, “the murals…provide a safe space and talking point to deal with the past. They facilitate the kind of open-ended conversations that are essential for the proper processing of complex and confused traumatic memories” (Art, Conflict, and Remembering, 17). In Derry, artistic work that courageously portrays a community’s wounds simultaneously provides the occasion to examine, address, and even heal those wounds.

Easter is a good time I think to reflect on the role human artistic creation can play in helping us work through and even heal trauma. For the connection we perceive between art and healing is no accident, but rather reflects the fact that God is both our creator and redeemer, a maker and a healer, an artist and a physician—simultaneously. As Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17, quoted above, Jesus Messiah’s sacrificial act of redemption is itself a new creation. If we are in Christ, then we are a new creation as well—called to create anew, to imagine God’s kingdom of shalom where justice and peace embrace, to exemplify for each other what that kingdom looks like, and to do all we can to make it a reality today.

Shalom, my friends! May the peace of Christ be with you and with our world.

Ron Kuipers

Prayer Letter: April 2022

Friday, April 1:

The application deadline for MA-EL (Fall entry) and MWS-ART is today, April 1st. Please pray particularly for those students who may be wrestling with their decision to make their application that they might have discernment and clarity of mind.

Please pray this week and next that additional new students will register for our upcoming MA-EL courses being offered over the spring and summer. The following courses will begin during the last week in April: Lead From Where You Are, Cultivating Learning Communities of Grace, Biblical Foundations. Please also pray for Gideon Strauss and Edith van der Boom as they prepare their materials and for inspiration and creativity in their leadership of the classes.

Monday, April 4 - Friday, April 8:

On Monday, April 4, 1:30-3:30pm, ICS/CPRSE will host a virtual event with Dr. Adrienne Dengerink Chaplin, celebrating the recent publication of her book: The Philosophy of Susanne Langer: Embodied Meaning in Logic, Art and Feeling. Adrienne will join us for a presentation on her book, with responses from Dr. Rebekah Smick (ICS Senior Member in Philosophy of Arts and Culture) and Danielle Yett, and a question and answer periodall of which will be open to the public. Please pray for Adrienne, Rebekah, and Danielle as they offer their time and talent to our community through this event.

Please pray for our Perspective production team this month as they work hard to finish the editing of the articles and compiling the content for the spring issue. Pray for our team as they give leadership to the process, ensure that all runs according to the timeline to meet our printing deadline, and prepare all the data for the mailing.

We have recently purchased a new donor database, DonorPerfect, and are in the process of transferring the data from our old database to the new one. This is a time-consuming and exacting process so we ask for prayer this month for our advancement team as they work together with the data transfer specialists to ensure a smooth and accurate transition to DonorPerfect.

Please pray this month for the instructors and students in our Spring-Summer 2022 courses, Biblical Foundations (Mark Standish), Cultivating Learning Communities of Grace (Edith van der Boom), and Lead from Where You Are (Gideon Strauss). These courses start in April and finish in August, and are presented through a mix of asynchronous online learning and synchronous online video sessions. And each of these courses still has room for additional students.

Monday, April 11 - Friday, April 15:

As Thursday the 14th is the last day of classes, we ask for your prayers this week for the faculty and students as they finish up their class time and move onto finishing their course assignments. We ask for prayers particularly for those students who wish to convocate in June that they would have clarity and inspiration for finishing their assignments before April 22nd. We also ask for prayers for our Registrar, Elizabet Aras, as she coordinates the academic administrative details that are necessary at this time of the year.

Please pray for the administrative staff of ICS who are hard at work preparing for a busy schedule of events after the end of this term, including a Senate meeting, a Board meeting, and the first in-person convocation in two years. We are excited to have these celebrations and events to look forward too, Lord willing, and pray for clarity of mind as we navigate the many details involved in planning. 

Normally there would be a Spring retreat event at this time to celebrate the culmination of the academic year, but this year the plans are for a ‘Spring Connect’ event to be held sometime next week. Again, we ask for prayer for Elizabet as she puts the final touches on this event, and for the faculty, staff and students who will attend that this might be an uplifting experience for all.

Please join us in giving thanks for the rich and meaningful interactions that have taken place in our MA/PhD and MA-EL courses with students over this past term. It has been an especially taxing year for many of our Junior Members, and we commend them for their fortitude. Please pray for students who are finishing up their coursework so that they may have the energy and creativity needed to apply what they have learned throughout their courses to their final projects.

The ICS Board met virtually last month. Among the items on their agenda, the Board reappointed Pamela Beattie (University of Louisville) and Henry Luttikhuizen each to their second term on the ICS Senate. We are grateful to Pam and Henry for their willingness to serve on the Senate, and we pray in gratitude for their continued contributions to the life of ICS in these roles. 

Monday, April 18 - Friday, April 22:

The Leadership Team, and especially Harley Dekker as he pulls all the materials together, will be working hard on the coming year’s budget. Please pray for them in their deliberations, that they might be granted insight, wisdom, and hope as they make stewardship decisions for the 2022-2023 budget year in the midst of this still unpredictable financial environment.

On Tuesday, April 19th at 3:00pm EDT, Andrew Tebbutt, Postdoctoral Research Associate at ICS’s Centre for Philosophy, Religion, and Social Ethics, will present the talk, “Sharing Singularity: Hegel on the Language of Forgiveness.” This event will be an opportunity for our community to learn more about the scholarly work that Andrew has undertaken over the past two years, as well as an occasion to celebrate his appointment as Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Trinity Christian College. Please pray in thanksgiving for Andrew’s contribution to the life of ICS, and for God’s rich blessings for him as he starts a new stage in his academic career.

Monday, April 25 - Friday, April 29:

We ask for prayer for our Registrar, Elizabet Aras, as she makes the detailed plans involved in hosting Convocation this year on June 3rd. ICS has not hosted any formal in-person events in two and a half years, and it's an overwhelming task to arrange a COVID-safe event, especially when we can't guarantee that the government won't revert to any social gathering restrictions again. This year, we will be celebrating 11-13 program graduands, as well as Barbara Carvill's honorary degree.

We recently learned that our landlords at Knox College have agreed to sell their buildings and property at 59 St. George (where ICS is currently located) to the University of Toronto. Until more information becomes available, it is not certain what this sale means for ICS. Please pray for wisdom and discernment as ICS's Leadership Team explores the impact that this development will have on ICS, for God's providence as we adjust to this fluid situation and explore the options available to us (including remaining in our current location), and for our faculty, staff, and students to experience minimal disruption as we move through this time of uncertainty.

April 19: Research Associate Lecture with Andrew Tebbutt

On Tuesday, April 19th at 3:00pm EDT, Dr. Andrew Tebbutt, Postdoctoral Research Associate at ICS’s Centre for Philosophy, Religion, and Social Ethics, will present the talk, “Sharing Singularity: Hegel on the Language of Forgiveness.” This event will be an opportunity for our community to learn more about the scholarly work that Andrew has undertaken over the past two years, as well as an occasion to celebrate his appointment as Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Trinity Christian College. 

Below you will find some more details about the presentation and Andrew's bio. To RSVP and receive the Zoom details, please email We hope to see you then!

Presentation Abstract:

Matters of conscience are often described as involving an ultimate commitment or call to action, one that transcends the universal requirements of law and engages our singularity as individuals, and thus speaks to us in the privacy of our inward lives, which we convey to others only derivatively and secondarily. Although it takes seriously the experience of an “inner voice” of conscientious commitment, Hegel’s account of conscience in the Phenomenology of Spirit presents a challenge to the privacy criterion, showing how the other features of conscience—ultimacy and singularity—imply an understanding of conscience as inherently communicative. My presentation traces this description of conscience as it appears in Hegel’s text, and attends specifically to the unique gestures of confession and forgiveness that Hegel associates with the communication of conscience. I explore what has been called Hegel’s “sacramental” understanding of confession and forgiveness, and outline a significant implication for the understanding of religious language. Although Hegel’s analysis enables an interpretation of forgiveness as a distinctly theological form of speech, it demonstrates the impossibility (logically speaking) of claiming to possess the terms of forgiveness within any one particular theological or religious idiom.

Andrew’s Bio:

Andrew Tebbutt is Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Centre for Philosophy, Religion, and Social Ethics at the Institute for Christian Studies. Drawing on phenomenology and German idealism, Andrew’s research explores the significance of ethical and religious community for the cultivation of personal identity and the development of political responsibility, and applies this work to current discussions about the legitimacy of religious contributions to public discourse, interreligious dialogue, and the nature of secularity. He is currently developing a book project on the efficacy of forgiveness as a model for interreligious dialogue, based on his doctoral research on the intersection of forgiveness and religion in G. W. F. Hegel’s philosophy. Andrew also teaches and researches in the areas of German idealism, phenomenology, and existentialism more generally, in particular through figures such as Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Nietzsche, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Hannah Arendt, and Paul Ricoeur.

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Research Associate Lecture with Dr. Andrew Tebbutt
Tuesday, April 19th 2022, 3:00pm - 4:30pm EDT

Please email for Zoom Meeting details