Thursday 7 December 2023

Prayer Letter: December 2023

Monday, December 4 - Friday, December 8:

Dr. Samson Makhado was recently admitted to the hospital and is scheduled for spinal surgery in the coming days. Dr. Makhado received an MWS degree from ICS in 1994 and an honourary doctorate from ICS in 2012, and he is known to many around the world for his extensive work in Christian education and with the Association of Christian Schools International, particularly in South Africa. Please join us in praying for a successful surgery and speedy recovery for Dr. Makhado.

Irene Suk, the wife of former ICS President John Suk, was recently diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. In the face of this extremely difficult news, the family asks for the supportive thoughts and prayers of the ICS community. Please join us in praying for peace and comfort for Irene and the Suk family as Irene undergoes an operation and first round of treatments in the near future.

On December 7, we will be hosting an online Open House for our MA and PhD programs. This will be a prime opportunity for potential students to “visit” ICS and hear firsthand from Junior and Senior Members about what an ICS education entails. This event will take place 6:00-7:30pm ET 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

Monday, December 11 - Friday, December 15:

ICS Board Chair Marci Frederick has been diagnosed with lymphoma. While the lymphoma is treatable, the treatment will likely be aggressive. Please join us in praying with Marci: that she might be able to complete all the precursor testing and procedures so that the chemotherapy can begin this Monday, that all involved will be carried by the Spirit of God and the love of Christ, that Marci and her family and colleagues will know calmness of spirit, and that Christ will be made known through all of this.

Our next ICS Philosophy on Tap event will take place on Wednesday, December 13 at 8pm ET. This event will take place online and will feature ICS Senior Member Nik Ansell discussing the topic: "Philosophical Realism and Ripley's 'Believe It or Not' Versus the Resurrection." Everyone is welcome, especially undergraduate students—no philosophy background required. Email to RSVP and get the Zoom info, and pray with us for a lively time of discussion among attendees!

This is the final week of fall classes before the Christmas break and courses in the winter 2024 term are scheduled to start the week of January 8. Please pray for our Senior Members and instructors as they teach their final sessions and as they prepare for their teaching next term. Pray also for our Junior Members and students as they work to finish up readings and other assignments and as they turn their attention toward their term papers and projects. Please also pray along with us that the holiday break will enable everyone to rest and recharge, and bring all of us back energized for the new year and all it may bring.

Monday, December 18 - Friday, December 22:

The ICS offices will be closed during the Christmas holidays from December 23 to January 1. Please pray for the ICS staff, Senior Members, Junior Members, and loved ones as we celebrate this joyous season. We pray for health and safety for all those planning to travel near and far over the holidays, and we pray that this may be a time of rest and reflection for the whole ICS community. 

Starting in October, the work of ICS’s CPRSE has been enriched with the contributions of Junior Members Julia Henderson and Todd Dias in their capacity of Research Assistants. Julia and Todd have focused their energy on the Centre’s blog and podcast, both of which will be relaunched in early 2024. Please join us as we pray in thanksgiving for Julia and Todd’s contributions to the public outreach of our institution.

Please pray with us in gratitude for the work of the Academic Council this past semester. The members of the council have spent the past few months reviewing academic policies and hearing reports on the work of the Library and Academic Office for presentation to the Senate at their winter meeting. The Academic Council in particular will continue to host Reflective Practice Reports from our Senior Members in the new year. Please pray for each of the members of the Academic Council as they continue their work into the new year, that they will have wisdom and clarity of thinking, and for Edith van der Boom as she chairs the council in their academic programming and policy deliberations.

This calendar year has been a time of fruitful partnerships for ICS’s CPRSE. Between January and May, our team collaborated with the Canadian Interfaith Conversation and Martin Luther University College in putting together the SSHRC-funded conference, “Our Whole Society: Finding Common Ground in a Time of Polarization.” Between June and October, we worked closely with the Society for Ricoeur Studies as ICS hosted SRS’s 17th Annual Conference,  “Ricoeur in Practice.” We pray in thanksgiving for these partnerships as well as for all the people who made them possible. 

Monday, December 25 - Friday, December 29:

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

Our Advent Appeal is under way! ICS supporters should have received the appeal package in the mail (if not, it should arrive soon), and we hope you enjoy reading the latest issue of Perspective that accompanies the appeal! You can also find a digital copy of the Advent Letter from President Ron Kuipers, including a link to donate to ICS, on our website. We are especially grateful during this time of year for the ways God continues to provide for us and for your faithful support of ICS and our educational mission—thank you!

Please pray for members of the ICS Senate as they prepare for their meeting in January 2024. Our Senate consists of two Junior Member representatives (June Moon and Julia Henderson), two Senior Member representatives (Nik Ansell and Neal DeRoo), President Ron Kuipers, the Academic Dean Gideon Strauss, and eight external Senators (Janel Kragt Bakker, Memphis Theological Seminary; Pamela Beattie, University of Louisville; Beth Green, Tyndale University & Seminary; Joshua Harris, The King’s University; Henry Luttikhuizen; Margie Patrick,The King’s University; Janet Wesselius, Augustana Faculty, University of Alberta). There is a vacancy for an external Senator, for which your prayers would also be appreciated. Please also pray for the Chair of Senate and Chancellor of ICS, Pamela Beattie, and the Vice Chair, Beth Green, in their leadership of the Senate.

As 2023 draws to a close, we give thanks for another fruitful year of work at ICS and for all our supporters, friends, and colleagues who made this work possible through their prayers, financial gifts, and service. We also pray for God's blessings upon our staff, Senior Members, and Junior Members as we pursue wisdom together, in the classroom and beyond, throughout this next year. We look forward to another year of work and study together!

Embodying Love

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved,
clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

—Colossians 3:12

During Advent, as we contemplate the profound mystery of God coming to dwell among us in human form, my thoughts turn in gratitude to all those people in my life who have embodied Christ’s compassion for me, and whose living example has profoundly shaped my own stumbling efforts to walk our Messiah’s path of grace and love.

Hendrik Hart, who left us to return to the God of love in March 2021, was one such person. Henk not only nurtured my intellectual gifts, but also showed me true friendship by dressing my spiritual wounds, sensing my struggle to stay connected to God’s love in Christ while I was at the same time harbouring profound doubts about my conservative Calvinist upbringing.

Sometimes Henk would address this situation with humour. In those early days, he once jokingly introduced me to people at an ICS event with the words, “This is Ron Kuipers. ICS is the last stop on his way out of the tradition.” In the early 1990s, when he said those words, he might even have been right. Yet thanks to the loving and faithful witness of my ICS professors and the larger ICS community, I never in fact boarded that final train.

Yet no one more than Henk illustrated for me through both his actions and his words the profound and mysterious truth that God is love. Importantly, he did so without skirting the dark realities of pain, suffering, and death. During his life, Henk had to say farewell to his wife, Anita, as well as his daughter, Esther. While grieving their loss, he was nevertheless able to remain grateful for the love they brought into his life. This experience inspired him to write the poem “Love/Love II,” in which he writes, “I experienced Love / dawning forcefully / at the dark edge of the abyss / in their last journey.”

Henk’s expression of surprise at feeling the profound Presence of Love while he was bidding farewell to those whom he loved most eventually builds to a crescendo in a verse that, to my ear, evokes a deep Advent truth:

The birth of Love in our life, 
foretaste of eternity:
this inexpressible joy will be ours

Henk’s life embodied the truth that because God dearly loves us, we may clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience—even in our darkest hour.

So, in the spirit of the Advent season, I wish you all the profound Presence of Love, of Immanuel, and hope that you experience this Love every time the candles we light for one another, both literally and figuratively, pierce the surrounding darkness.

Shalom, friends!
Ron Kuipers

Monday 4 December 2023

New Essay on Foucault and Adorno

Senior Member Emeritus Lambert Zuidervaart has published a chapter titled “Adorno, Foucault, and Feminist Theory: The Politics of Truth” in the volume Feminism and the Early Frankfurt School edited by Christine Payne and Jeremiah Morelock (Brill 2024), pp. 133-161. 

Zuidervaart first summarizes Michel Foucault’s genealogical account of disciplinary power and state biopower. Then he contrasts Foucault’s account with Theodor Adorno’s negative dialectical critique of domination and compares their understandings of how truth and power interrelate. From this comparison two challenges of relevance to feminist critical theory emerge. One is to articulate the normative implications of how truth and power interrelate. The other is to envision genuine prospects for the transformation of society as a whole. 

Lambert’s full chapter is available online. The publisher Brill will publish a hardcover version of the book in 2024.

New Book on Neo-Calvinism and the Arts

InterVarsity Press has just published a new book on Neo-Calvinism and the arts entitled: The Artistic Sphere: The Arts in Neo-Calvinist Perspective, edited by Roger D. Henderson and Marleen Hengelaar-Rookmaaker. 

The volume features many contributors from the ICS community and beyond, reflecting on the thought of John Calvin, Abraham Kuyper, Herman Dooyeweerd, Hans Rookmaaker, and others in the tradition as they pertain to artistic practice. In particular how the Reformed tradition, in the publisher's words, "has consistently demonstrated not just a willingness but a desire to engage with all manner of cultural and artistic expressions."

The book contains chapters from Calvin Seerveld on "The Meaning of the Crucifixion: Grünewald and Perugino," from Nicholas Wolterstorff on "The Social Protest Meaning of the Graphic Art of Käthe Kollwitz," from Adrienne Dengerink Chaplin on Calvin and the arts and "Chris Ofili: Contemporary Art and the Return of Religion," from Lambert Zuidervaart on "Redemptive Art Criticism," and many more. Check out the book for yourself today.

Saturday 11 November 2023

Prayer Letter: November 2023

Monday, November 6 - Friday, November 10:

On November 7, longtime ICS supporter Arie Van Eek passed away after complications from a fall. Please join us in prayers of gratitude for the gift of Arie’s life, and in prayers of compassion for Arie’s family as they mourn his loss and await reunion in resurrection hope. A family visitation is taking place on Sunday, November 12, 2023 from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. A memorial service will take place the following day Monday, November 13, at 11 a.m. Find out more here.

November 11 is Remembrance Day. On this day we lift up all those who have suffered and sacrificed in the Great War, and in the many wars that have happened since and that rage today. Please join us in prayers for peace in the hopeful words of the prophet Isaiah: “[The nations] shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD!” (Isaiah 2:4-5).

We would value your prayers this week as we work with our printer on the final steps to get the 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 13 - Friday, November 17:

Junior Member Julia Henderson is defending her MA thesis this week. Julia has been working closely with Senior Member Emeritus Bob Sweetman and will be defending a thesis titled DeCreation: The Unity of Action and Contemplation in Simone Weil. We pray for Julia as she prepares for her defense over the next few days, that she will have peace of mind in her final preparations and throughout her defense. We also pray for the thesis committee that they might have a fruitful discussion with Julia on her chosen topic. 

Over the next couple of weeks, we will invite new and potential students to join us for a host of Open Classes in each of our courses taking place this semester. This is a wonderful opportunity for potential future students to get a firsthand taste of what ICS classes are like and to imagine themselves as an ICS Junior Member. You can see Open Class dates here. If you’d like to find out more, email Please share the news of these Open Classes with any students in your life and keep these classes in your prayers, that they might be well-attended.

On Friday, November 17, the Board of Trustees will meet online. Please pray for grace and wisdom for our Chair, Marci Frederick, and all our Board members as they deliberate together on various matters pertaining to the stewardship of ICS’s calling and resources. Please also give thanks with us for those outgoing Board Members who have given generously of their time and talents during their terms of service: Lynnette Postuma and Hans Speelman.

Monday, November 20- Friday, November 24:

As we quickly move into the end of the fall term, we would ask you to please pray for our Senior Members and faculty as they teach in the final few 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 amid the demands that can be felt as we move towards the end of the semester and as 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 our recruitment crew as they work with the faculty to promote the upcoming winter term courses. We ask for wisdom and creativity as we try to get the word out to potential students about our many exciting courses.

On Thanksgiving Day in the US, 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 has carried us through the pandemic and keeps us going—so thank you!

Monday, November 27 - Thursday, November 30:

November 28 is Giving Tuesday! As we approach the Christmas season and the end of another year peeks around the corner, we grow more and more grateful for the faithful giving of ICS supporters this year and throughout the years. Every gift to ICS makes a huge impact in enabling the education we can offer our students. This Giving Tuesday, please consider 1) sending an additional gift to ICS to further your vital support of our programming, 2) sharing with someone new about what ICS does and why they might want to support that work too, and 3) continuing to pray for our Junior Members, Senior Members, and staff in our day-to-day efforts to allow the gospel's message of renewal to shape our pursuit of wisdom.

On Thursday, November 30, we will be hosting an online Info Night for anyone interested in joining ART in Orvieto 2024 this coming July. If you’d like to join this Info Night, you can email for details. Please also share news of this Info Night widely with anyone you know who may be interested in this kind of expeditionary learning opportunity! And join us in praying that we gather as wonderful a group of students for this year’s ART in Orvieto as we have in years past.

Saturday, December 2 at 2pm ET, our Annual General Meeting is taking place online. Please pray for Marci Frederick as she gives leadership to the meeting, for all those who will present reports, and for the time participants will be able to spend together talking about our hopes for ICS. 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.

Yearning for the Messiah

And again, Isaiah says,
“The Root of Jesse will spring up,
one who will arise to rule over the nations;
in him the Gentiles will hope.” 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

—Romans 15:12-13 (New International Version)

I have been thinking a lot about hope lately, not just for myself, but especially for the millions of people across the world who suffer under the iron heel of a world at war. How are they supposed to hold onto hope? Where do the survivors of such violence find the resilience to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives and rebuild? For they so often do precisely that, and that is a mysterious and wondrous thing.

When I first read Wendell Berry’s The Unsettling of America, I was struck by a particular section in which he describes a supportive relationship between the very different emotions of joy and grief. He contrasts these related emotions to the equally reinforcing pair of pride and despair (pp.103-8). Pride involves the arrogance of assuming we can destroy what we did not create, a destruction we tolerate in the name of progress. Such pride includes a naïve optimism that underestimates the brokenness, danger, and difficulty in which we are mired, not to mention our human finitude in the face of all we do not control, and simply expects things to get better without thinking too much about how or why. When such expectations are dashed, as they all too often are, pride quickly transforms into its converse, an utter despair completely devoid of any hope.

Joy and grief work differently. Together, these mark the boundaries of what Berry calls “the human estate.” When we accept the gift of our lives within these bounds, then in those all-too-frequent moments of darkness that dash our joy and conspire against our hope, we will respond with grief rather than despair. Unlike despair, grief carves a difficult path that enables us to work through our loss so that we can live to hope another day. That is what it means to hope against hope.

Of course, what I have said about holding on to hope through the work of grief is easier said than done. Indeed, against so much evidence to the contrary, scripture asks us nevertheless to trust that God is at work healing, restoring, and renewing the world. But is that really so hard a thing to believe, after all? For we see God’s redemptive work wherever we witness the possibility of redemption being made real, whenever a cup of cold water is offered to someone who thirsts. However rare and fleeting such moments may be, their very existence bears witness to the fact that any and every moment is one in which the healing love that suffuses creation might break through.

And so, we yearn for “that day” when such possibility becomes fully actual, when our redeeming God will be all, in all. Until then, we live and act in hope, gaining the joy and peace that fills us when we let go and trust in our Maker and Redeemer’s shalom way.

Shalom, friends!

Ron Kuipers

Recent Cal Seerveld Publications

Over the last year, ICS Senior Member Emeritus Calvin Seerveld has published a few pieces on various topics that are worth your attention. If you haven't already had a chance to read these, please take a moment to check them out for yourselves:

Save the Date: Online AGM on December 2

This year's Annual General Meeting for ICS Members will be held on the afternoon of Saturday, December 2nd. The meeting will take place online so that ICS supporters can join from anywhere in the world to hear the latest on what's happening at ICS.

Voting materials, an agenda, and details for how to join the meeting are being sent out via mail and email to ICS Members, so keep an eye on your inboxes and save the date in your calendars. 

If you haven't renewed your ICS membership for 2024, visit or email to arrange your donation. 

If you have any questions about voting in the AGM or how to join, please email 

ART in Orvieto 2024 Info Night

We're thrilled to announce ART in Orvieto 2024! 

ART in Orvieto is an advanced summer studies program at the intersection of art, religion, and theology located in Orvieto, Italy, a magnificent hill town 90 minutes north of Rome. This program offers grad students, practicing artists, and teachers a unique opportunity to explore ecumenical Christian understandings of the arts in a seminar with Senior Member Rebekah Smick and a studio residency with artist David Holt

Do you feel the need for a chance to focus on a current artistic project in community with like-minded artists? Are you thrilled at the possibility of immersing yourself in historic architecture and artworks in their original contexts? Want to learn more about the program requirements? Curious about available financial aid? 

Learn more at, or email to join us for an online Info Night on November 30th at 6pm ET!

And please share news of this Info Night with anyone you know who may be interested in this kind of expeditionary learning opportunity!

Winter 2024 Courses

Upcoming Winter 2024 courses at ICS have now been posted on the ICS website. There are many exciting topics being covered next term, and we invite you to take a look at what's on offer, share the news with friends and family, and consider joining a course yourself! 

All of our courses remain available for online participation from anywhere in the world and can be taken for graduate credit or as an auditor for personal 

  • Aristotle, Aquinas, and the Scholastic Approach to the History of Philosophy
    with Bob Sweetman
  • God in Flesh and Blood: Revolutions in Christology
    with Nik Ansell
  • How to Finance a Vision: Setting Direction and Managing Change within Financial Limitations
    with Gideon Strauss
  • Issues in Phenomenology: Spirituality
    with Neal DeRoo
  • Meaning/Being/Knowing: The Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Implications of a Christian Ontology
    with Nik Ansell
  • Philosophical Inquiry and the Practices of Everyday Life: An Interdisciplinary Seminar on Philosophizing in a Time of Crisis
    with Gideon Strauss and Neal DeRoo
  • Transformative Teaching: The Role of a Christian Educator
    with Edith van der Boom
  • What Were the Women Up To? Elizabeth Anscombe, Philippa Foot, Mary Midgley, and Iris Murdoch
    with Michael Buttrey

Visit to find out more about any of these courses, including information on how to register.

Thursday 28 September 2023

Breaking Down the Wall

For he is our peace;
in his flesh he has made both groups into one 
and has broken down the dividing wall,
that is, the hostility between us.

—Ephesians 2:14

Throughout his letters, the apostle Paul is deeply concerned with unity. Jesus Messiah is our peace, he tells the church in Ephesus, and in Jesus Messiah we are—somehow—all one. But what does it mean for us to be one in Jesus Messiah?

One way to answer this question is to emphasize sameness. In Jesus Messiah, our differences no longer define us, for through his redemptive suffering and victory over death we are all made equal. While I think there is some truth in interpreting what Paul means by unity in this way, I remain convinced that the gospel’s deeper message is one that affirms rather than denies basic human difference.

1 Corinthians 12 offers a wonderful example of such an affirmation of difference. The chapter opens describing the variety of spiritual gifts with which God has blessed humankind. Next comes Paul’s insistence that the one body of Christ has “many members” (see vss. 12, 14). All these members contribute—through their difference—to the unity of the body of Christ. “If all were a single member,” Paul asks, “where would the body be?” (vs. 19). There would be no body at all, Paul insists, if all the parts were the same.

If, as we have just seen, Paul does not understand the basic fact of human difference to be problematic (to the contrary!), why does he remain so concerned with unity? Paul’s image of “the dividing wall” in Ephesians 2 tells us that his concern may not be to reduce difference to sameness, but rather to get us to see how in Jesus Messiah we might imagine and hope for an end to division and hostility—unity understood as solidarity rather than as uniformity. The unity of Jesus Messiah is peace, and that is the spirit through which we must approach our differences.

Scripture recognizes and affirms that we are given to each other in our uniqueness and difference, that our differences are the very gifts through which we might bless one another. From that basis, we are called to the unity that Jesus Messiah’s suffering love has revealed to us—to use our heads, hearts, and hands to imagine and realize all the different ways we belong to each other in and through our differences and, through that work and play of belonging, care for each other as well as the world we hold in common.

That we live in a broken world hardly needs emphasizing, and sometimes it is hard to see God’s redeeming hand at work healing, restoring, and transforming all the suffering we find in the world today. It takes no small faith to trust and participate in God’s work of renewal, but with the gift of such faith we can encounter difference without fear, confident that we will be able to find signs of God’s original blessing in everything we meet, in everything God made.

At ICS, we like to say that “the Gospel’s message of renewal shapes our pursuit of wisdom.” I can think of no better way to start a new school year than by reminding ourselves of everything these words might demand of us. It is not always easy or comfortable to approach difference and unfamiliarity in the Spirit of Jesus Messiah. It is a task that requires enormous patience and humility, calling for deep listening on our part before rushing to judgment—in a word: wisdom. Thank you for helping us be a school that strives to approach difference in this way—without fear, and confident that God’s healing path will present itself to us as we do so!

Shalom, my friends,

Ron Kuipers

Prayer Letter: September-October 2023

Monday, September 25 - Friday, September 29:

A new school year is off to a running start at ICS! During the week of September 4, Senior Members, new and returning Junior Members, and staff returned from the travels and activities of summer to gather as an academic community for Orientation Week. Classes started during the week of September 11, with a number of exciting courses on offer this term. Please keep these courses as well as their instructors and participants in your prayers throughout this fall term: 

  • A Cosmic Theopoetics of/for Love (Jim Olthuis)
  • Biblical Foundations (Nik Ansell)
  • Critical Theory and Religion (Ron Kuipers)
  • Cultivating Learning Communities of Belonging (Edith van der Boom)
  • Facing the Darkness (Nik Ansell)
  • Reconsidering Kant’s Aesthetics (Rebekah Smick)
  • Religion, Life, and Society (Neal DeRoo)
  • The Craft of Reflective Practice (Gideon Strauss)

Over the summer, we said goodbye to Librarian Peter Gorman and Registrar Elizabet Aras as they moved on to new job opportunities. We are extremely grateful for the contributions they made to the ICS community and we pray that things may go well for them in their future endeavours. In August, we also welcomed Anita Siraki as our new Librarian and Parker Cotton as our new Registrar. We are excited to welcome both of them to the ICS community and we pray they may experience encouragement and support as they settle into their new roles. 

On Friday, September 29th, the Sanctuary community in Toronto is hosting the book launch of the 15th anniversary edition of Beyond Homelessness: Christian Faith in a Culture of Displacement by Steven Bouma-Prediger and Brian Walsh. Please pray for a joyful event and for the renewed impact of this book among faith communities and those trying to address the social and economic challenges of homelessness.

Monday, October 2 - Friday, October 6:

October 2 is the first Academic Council meeting of the year. At this meeting, our Senior Members, Junior Members, and academic staff will meet to set the agenda for their regular meetings through the year. Please pray for everyone involved in this important deliberative body at ICS as they discern ways we can best pursue our educational goals and mission together as an academic community.

As we look ahead and 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—and consider recommending ICS to any potential students in your life! Pray especially for Recruitment Coordinator Brenna Wehrle as she leads us in these efforts to connect with students who might thrive at ICS. 

On October 12-14, the meeting of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy will convene in Toronto. This is a large conference of philosophers from all over the world and is an exciting opportunity for our Junior and Senior Members to connect with peers in their field. Our newest Senior Member Neal DeRoo will be presenting at this conference, discussing themes from his 2022 book: The Political Logic of Experience: Expression in Phenomenology (Fordham University Press). Please pray with us that Neal and the other conference participants may experience productive and encouraging conversation during this time.

Monday, October 9 - Friday, October 13:

During this week of Canadian Thanksgiving, we want to join together and give thanks for the many answers to prayer this year. We continue to be blessed by our ICS community through your faithful support, active involvement, and expressions of encouragement. We are beyond grateful for the presence of each of our Junior and Senior Members and the unique contributions they make to the ICS community, and we give thanks for all of the ICS staff and the ways in which they faithfully serve the educational mission of ICS.

On October 12-14, ICS’s Centre for Philosophy, Religion, and Social Ethics will host the Society for Ricoeur Studies, for its 17th annual conference on the theme "Ricoeur in Practice." Over the past few months the teams of the Centre and the Society have been working collaboratively in putting together what promises to be a wonderful event. Please pray that these days of conference become a fruitful space for intellectual reflection, exchange of ideas, and collaborative scholarship for all those involved.

During October 2-15, EduDeo's Global Education Summit is taking place in Hamilton, ON. The goal of this conference is to provide “a place for EduDeo’s international partners to fellowship together, learn from one another, train together, and gain a more steadfast understanding of what it means to be an educator in God's world.” On October 12, MA-EL Director Edith van der Boom and Academic Dean Gideon Strauss will be participating in the events by contributing to a panel discussion on institutional leadership in Christian education in the majority world. Please keep Edith and Gideon, as well as the other summit participants and presenters, in your prayers as they engage with one another during this event.

Monday, October 16 - Friday, October 20:

On Monday, October 16 at 2:00pm, the Centre for Philosophy, Religion, and Social Ethics will host ICS’s Fall Term Scripture, Faith, and Scholarship Symposium. This edition of the symposium will feature ICS Senior Member Neal DeRoo, who will lead our community in a conversation about “The Heart of Philosophy/Philosophy of the Heart.” Please consider joining this event in person or online and pray in thanksgiving for Neal, as he offers his time and talents to our community through this program.

October 16 is also the first Educational Policy Committee meeting of the year at ICS. This is a key committee in connecting our on-the-ground academic policies with our overall educational vision. Please keep the Senior and Junior Members involved in your prayers as they dedicate their time to these important efforts. 

On October 19, the ICS Academic Integrity & Citation Management Workshop will take place. This event provides an opportunity for our new and returning Junior Members in particular to discuss best practices in conducting research and in appropriately crediting the work of others. Please pray for those ICS staff planning this workshop and for those who will attend that everyone might benefit from this work done together.

Monday, October 23 - Friday, October 27:

It’s Reading Week at ICS! Please pray for our Junior and Senior Members during this week that they might make the most of this opportunity to give more focused attention to the various projects on which they’re working. Please pray for our Junior Members and students that they might have the creative energy and space to complete their writing and class assignments. Pray, too, for the faculty, that God would graciously encourage and refresh them in their educational vocations at ICS.

The next issue of Perspective is in the works! In this issue, you’ll be able to read some reflections from Senior Members Ron Kuipers and Neal DeRoo, as well as some introductions to our newest Junior Members as they consider how ICS might equip people on their lifelong journeys of learning. Please join us in thanksgiving for each of these contributors, and please pray for the editors, designers, and printers as they finalize this issue over the coming weeks.

The 2023 Edvance Annual Gathering is taking place on October 26-27 at Redeemer University in Hamilton, ON on the theme of “Flourishing Students, Beautiful Work.” This event features numerous keynotes, workshops, breakout sessions, and networking opportunities for Ontario Christian educators. ICS is a sponsor of this year’s gathering, and will be represented on-site by MA-EL Director Edith van der Boom, Academic Dean Gideon Strauss, and Senior Member Neal DeRoo who will all also be leading workshops at the conference. Edith is presenting on “Decolonizing Assessment: Using the Story of Residential Schooling to Rethink Learning and Assessment,” Gideon is presenting on “Call and Path: Next Steps in Vocational Wayfinding,” and Neal is presenting on “From Worldview to Love: Re-thinking the Task of Christian Education.” Please pray for Edith, Gideon, and Neal as they prepare to attend this gathering, and for all the participants to be encouraged in their callings as educators. 

Monday, October 30 - Tuesday, October 31:

Please hold the Board of Trustees in your prayers as they oversee the vision and mission of ICS, especially as they plan for their next major Board meeting coming up in mid-November and attend to the details of the upcoming Annual General Meeting on December 2. If you haven’t already renewed your ICS Membership for 2024, now would be a great time to do so, in order to be able to join us at the AGM! Please also pray for strength and wisdom for each Trustee as they continue to provide support and leadership in the working out of God’s call to ICS now and into the future.

Please also pray for the Advancement and Finance teams as they work to organize financial reports and send out the necessary materials for this year’s Advent Appeal. Pray especially for Harley Dekker as he works with the auditors in the coming weeks to finalize the annual audit of our financial records for the fiscal year which ended on June 30, 2023. We continue to be extremely grateful for the sustaining generosity of our support community and we give thanks for God’s enduring care for us and the work we do.

Two New Volumes from Senior Member Neal DeRoo

Senior Member Neal DeRoo recently co-edited two new volumes on the philosophy of gratitude and of liturgy. Click on the titles below to read more about each volume and find out how to get a copy of your own. 

Philosophies of Liturgy: Explorations of Embodied Religious Practice

Edited by J. Aaron Simmons, Bruce Ellis Benson, Neal DeRoo. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2023. 

Neal also authored chapter 9, titled: “Material Spirituality and the Expressive Nature of Liturgy.”

Edited by Joshua Lee Harris, Kirk Lougheed, Neal DeRoo. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2023.

This volume also features chapters by ICS alums Joshua Lee Harris and Ethan Vanderleek.

ICS Hosting Society for Ricouer Studies Annual Conference: October 12-14

The Institute for Christian Studies is hosting the 2023 Society for Ricoeur Studies Conference taking place online and in person at Regis College (100 Wellesley Street West) at the Toronto School of Theology. 

The theme of this year's conference is: Ricoeur in Practice, and the keynote speakers are Stephanie Arel (Fordham University) and Scott Davidson (West Virginia University). Dr. Arel will speak on "Ricoeur and Hope: Living after Rupture," and Dr. Davidson will speak on "What Makes ChatGPT Think? Ricoeur and Generative AI." 

You can view the full conference program here or by visiting

ICS President Ronald A. Kuipers will open the conference and moderate a session, Associate Director of the CPRSE Héctor Acero Ferrer will be moderating one of the panels and will present a paper titled "'Our-self as Another?' Understanding the Development of Narrative Identity in Ecclesial Base Communities through the Lens of Paul Ricoeur," and ICS alumnus Andrew Tebbutt will be presenting a paper titled "Who is the Subject of Recognition? Ricoeur’s Institutional Hermeneutics." 

Register to Attend Online or In Person

  • USD$80 for faculty
  • USD$50 for students
  • USD$25 for non-grad student ONLINE 

ICS Staff Changes

Over the summer, we said goodbye to Librarian Peter Gorman and Academic Registrar Elizabet Aras. Peter took a job at the Canadian Music Centre, and Elizabet has moved on to a job in Manitoba. We want to give our heartfelt thanks to both Peter and Elizabet for their faithful service to the educational mission of ICS during their tenures, and we wish them all the best in their new endeavours. 

We would also like to welcome two new hires to the ICS team: Parker Cotton as the Academic Registrar and Anita Siraki as the Librarian.

Parker started in this position on August 28. He is a PhD student at Wycliffe College, Toronto, working on the French philosopher and advocate of religious toleration, Pierre Bayle (1647-1706). Parker is also a contributing editor of the blog of the Journal of the History of Ideas. He volunteers in his home town of Bradford West Gwillimbury as a member of the town's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee.

Anita started with ICS on August 21. She comes to ICS with a Master of Information degree from the University of Toronto and work experience that includes York University (Toronto), the Library of Parliament (Ottawa), and the Faculty of Information library at the University of Toronto. Anita is multilingual, fluent in both English and French. Anita completed a practicum project at the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies at Victoria University in the University of Toronto called “Print Culture in France During the Ancien Régime” (2017), which looked at how the French monarchy and government exercised control over the print culture of France in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Additionally, Anita has published academic papers related to media properties including “Lovecraft Country” (2020), discussing issues of race, and has also presented at conferences including the Ann Radcliffe Conference, Fear 2000 (Sheffield Hallam University), as well as others. 

We are so excited to welcome Anita and Parker to ICS and look forward to the contributions they will make to the community in these vital roles!

Oct 16: Scripture, Faith, and Scholarship Symposium with Neal DeRoo

Our newest Senior Member Dr. Neal DeRoo will be leading our next Scripture, Faith, and Scholarship symposium on Monday, October 16 at 2pm ET at Knox College, hosted by the Centre for Philosophy, Religion, and Social Ethics. Dr. DeRoo will present on the topic: The Heart of Philosophy/Philosophy of the Heart. This event will take place both in person and online.

Monday, October 16, 2pm ET

Classroom 3, Knox College, 59 St. George Street, Toronto
Online via Zoom

How can the biblical notion of the heart inform our understanding of philosophy, and how can philosophy help us think through all the implications of the biblical notion of the heart? That is the two-fold question to be pursued in this talk. It will lay out a vision of humanity as heart-ed beings, image bearers who cannot help but express something else in everything they do. It will then pick up the theme of spirituality to talk about what is expressed through human actions, exploring what spirits are being expressed in our common life together and how philosophy can be a tool to help creation better express the spirit of God. 

If you would like to join this event via Zoom, please email to receive the link. 

Tuesday 26 September 2023

Jim Olthuis Book Reviewed by Brian Walsh

On September 25, Brian Walsh published a book review of ICS Senior Member Emeritus Jim Olthuis' book Dancing in the Wild Spaces of Love in the Christian Courier. Here is a brief excerpt from Brian's review: 

What does it mean if we rethink our theology, our Christian practice, and indeed, the very cosmos, from the perspective of love? What happens to doctrines like God’s omnipotence (all powerful), immutability (never changing), omniscience (all knowing), and sovereignty (in total control), if we begin with love? What happens to Christian ethics if the touchstone isn’t absolute law, but a dynamic relationship forged in love? How does such an understanding that all things are generated, sustained and directed to love change our view of the very nature of things?

Read the rest of the review for yourself in the Christian Courier or on their website at

Saturday 23 September 2023

Sep. 29 Book Launch: 15th Anniversary Edition of Beyond Homelessness

On Friday, September 29th, the Sanctuary community in Toronto will be hosting the book launch of the 15th anniversary edition of Beyond Homelessness: Christian Faith in a Culture of Displacement by Steven Bouma-Prediger and Brian Walsh.

There will be live music, refreshments provided, and a book-signing and short presentation by co-author Brian Walsh. 
Books will be available on site for purchase! 

Friday, September 29

25 Charles Street E.
Toronto, ON

Want to hear more about the book? 
Brian was a recent guest on an episode of Alan Graham's podcast Gospel Con Carne. Have a listen to the conversation here or wherever you get your podcasts:

Tuesday 6 June 2023

God’s Gathering

…for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. 
Thus says the Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, 
I will gather others to them besides those already gathered.

—Isaiah 56:7b-8

I have never really stopped to ponder the days immediately after our Messiah’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. When I read Matthew 21 or Mark 11, however, I am struck by the fact that in these passages Jesus appears to be in quite the mood. The first thing that sets him off is all the buying and selling going on in the temple, and he summarily proceeds to overturn the tables of these exploiters and schlock merchants, driving them out as he does so. The next day, feeling hungry, he curses a barren fig tree. Mark 11 makes a point of letting us know that the disciples heard Jesus’s curse, as if they were already walking on eggshells.

As I meditate over these stories, I also become struck by the way our Messiah’s imagination is charged with a vision of God’s kingdom of shalom. In this light, his anger and frustration seem to stem from the distance he experiences between that vision and his present reality. When he is driving the merchants from the temple, for example, he quotes the passage from the prophet Isaiah, above, chastising the merchants for instead transforming God’s all-welcoming home into a “den of robbers” (vs. 17).

Last month, ICS invited Yale theologian Miroslav Volf to speak to audiences at Martin Luther University in Waterloo and at the Toronto School of Theology. Volf’s talks focused on distilling the message of his most recent book (co-authored with Ryan McAnally-Linz) The Home of God: A Brief Story of Everything. In this book, Volf offers the stimulating suggestion that God’s redemptive work is a kind of homemaking. God is at work in creation to make the world a home for God, a home in which all of redeemed humanity belongs and will be gathered. Our love for God, Volf suggests, is therefore intimately related to the God’s love for the world:

Since God is the ultimate good, humans ought to love God above all things and for God’s own sake. But to love God is to love the world that God loves—and to love it…with the love with which God loves it and which God is. If this idea appears startlingly ‘worldly’, that’s because the holy and transcendent God is surprisingly worldly—desiring to make a home and be at home in the beloved creation. (7)

From these words, I return to Matthew 21 and Mark 11 and see our Messiah’s consternation and impatience in a new light. Matthew 21 ends with Jesus’s suggestion that the Kingdom of God will be given to “a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom” (vs. 43). These are the people that Isaiah tells us our Maker and Redeemer is gathering, including especially all those people who have been cast out of all of history’s oppressive kingdoms, empires that fail to make a home for God precisely because they fail to make a home for these outcasts.

As we enter summer, friends, let us ponder God’s good creation that sustains and nurtures us, and imagine what part we might play in God’s homemaking. Let’s imagine that place and gather there. I’ll meet you by the fig tree laden with good fruit.

Shalom, and again I say shalom!
Ron Kuipers

Prayer Letter: Summer 2023

Monday, June 5 - Friday, June 9:

Please join us in prayers of gratitude for a series of well-attended events on May 26th. Convocation and our public celebration of Bob Sweetman’s retirement went off without a hitch and were truly times of celebration and connection. We would like to thank each of the panelists and speakers at these events, our Board and Senate members for travelling into town and spending time deliberating the stewardship of ICS at their respective meetings, all of the attendees both online and in person for showing up for Bob and our graduates, and Bob and his family for allowing him to be celebrated by our community! 

We lift up each of our 2023 graduates in prayer as they close this chapter of their respective journeys and look to the next. This year we celebrated the hard work and successful project completion of Ahamd Banki (MWS-ART), Nancy Schwarz (MWS), Justin Cook (MA), Sara Flokstra (MA-EL), and Colin Hoving (MA-EL). We give thanks for the time each of these Junior Members spent in study with us and we wish them well in the next stage of their professional and personal lives. Congratulations!

On May 25th, Senior Member Emeritus Jim Olthuis fell and broke his hip. Jim has already had successful surgery to fix the break and is currently on an extended stay in Bridgepoint Hospital (1 Bridgepoint Dr., Toronto) for steady rehabilitation. Please join us in prayers of gratitude for Jim’s medical care and for his wife Arvilla’s sustained support, and join us in prayer for a full and speedy recovery of Jim’s mobility. Jim remains in good spirits and is eager for visitors. If you’d like to arrange a visit, you can message Jim or Arvilla on Facebook, email Jim directly at, or let Danielle know if you’d like to reach out via phone or text and need his number. 

Monday, June 12 - Friday, June 16:

On June 12th, Dean Dettloff’s online Spring-Summer 2023 course starts: The Soul of Soulless Conditions: Marxists on Christianity, Christians on Marxism. Please pray that Dean and the course participants will have enriching discussions on this timely topic during the weeks they spend together. Registration for this course remains open until June 9th, so email Academic Registrar Elizabet Aras if you’d like to join!

During our May festivities, the Centre for Philosophy, Religion, and Social Ethics announced the next forthcoming volume in our Currents in Reformational Thought book series! The next title in the series is a festschrift in honour of Bob Sweetman’s retirement called Gestures of Grace: Essays in Honour of Bob Sweetman, edited by Joshua Lee Harris and Héctor A. Acero Ferrer. The book is currently in the final stages of publication and is not quite available for purchase, but will be very soon, so keep an eye out! And join us in giving thanks for the gift of Bob’s scholarship, the hard work of Joshua and Héctor in compiling the volume, and for each of the contributors for their thoughtful reflections.

We are delighted to announce that, after our recent search, we’ve found ourselves a new librarian! Ilana Hernandez officially joined the ICS community on June 1st. Ilana completed both her Bachelor of Arts and her Master of Information degrees at the University of Toronto. Her experience includes work as a reference librarian at York University and as a research assistant for the Princeton Geniza Project. Her most recent publication is “Research Guides Beyond Canadian Law: A Question of Justice,” in the Canadian Law Library Review. We give thanks that Ilana has stepped into this position and we pray that she might feel welcomed into the ICS community as she gets her bearings in this new role.

Monday, June 19 - Friday, June 23:

June 20-23, the 6th meeting of the global Fonds Ricoeur summer workshop will take place in Paris, France. ICS PhD candidate and CPRSE Associate Director Héctor Acero Ferrer will be presenting a paper at this conference on Thursday, June 22nd titled: “Our-self as Another?” Understanding the Development of Narrative Identity in Ecclesial Base Communities through the Lens of Paul Ricoeur. We are delighted that Héctor has this chance to present and discuss his ongoing research with such a widespread and active academic community, and we ask you to pray with us that this might be an inspiring networking and research opportunity for him.

Earlier this year, the Critical Faith team had a chance to interview the Executive Director of Shalem Mental Health Network, Jennifer Bowen. Our episode with Jennifer is now available for your listening pleasure on your podcast app of choice. We’re grateful for the time Héctor and Jennifer spent in conversation about the shared history and institutional connections between ICS and Shalem, as well as on the topic of how to navigate difficult conversations. And as Shalem celebrates their 60th anniversary as an organization this month, we congratulate them on this milestone and pray for many more years of service in the community!

Monday, June 26 - Friday, June 30:

June 30 is the deadline for late applications to start an ICS program of study in the fall. We pray for those applicants whose materials we’ve already received, that they might be granted wisdom and clarity as they arrange any other necessary details to start their studies in the fall. And we pray for any would-be applicants still in the process of deciding or finding their way to ICS, that they might be able to see what ICS has to offer them in their studies and their journeys.

June 30 also marks the end of our fiscal year. We’ve been so grateful for the financial support we’ve received from each of our donors over this past year. Your giving is absolutely vital to the work that we do and the blessings that we have to offer the students that walk through our doors. Thank you for your generosity! We also thank God for the dedicated work of our Advancement and Finance departments in seeking out and stewarding these gifts and keeping ICS running day to day.

Another of our online Spring-Summer 2023 courses starts on July 4: State, Society, and Religion in Hegel’s Philosophy with Andrew Tebbutt. The last day to register for this course is June 30, so email Academic Registrar Elizabet Aras if you’d like to learn how to join! As the time approaches, please also pray with us that the course will go well for all involved and that participants will have inspiring conversations together.


New Senior Member Neal DeRoo starts July 1st! Neal has been a longstanding member of the ICS community and we look forward to welcoming him into this new role over the coming months. Neal will be teaching online ICS classes starting this September, the first being: Religion, Life, and Society: Reformational Philosophy. If you’d like to join this course for audit or credit and hear more about Neal’s take on Reformational philosophy, or if you’d like to find out what else Neal will be teaching this year, you can email our Registrar at

Please pray for all the participants in this year’s ART in Orvieto program from July 9th-29th. Many of these artists, writers, teachers, and students are feeling the need for time spent in intentional creative community, and we pray that these three weeks might give them the inspiration and support that they need. Please also pray for Rebekah Smick, David Holt, and John Terpstra as they lead seminars and workshops and foster community among these students. We also ask that you keep ICS staff in your prayers as we start to prepare for ART in Orvieto 2024! If you or someone you know spent this year wishing you could participate in this program, it’s not too early to start thinking about applying to next year’s program!


As the summer continues, we ask for prayers for all the ICS staff, Senior Members, and Junior Members—that everyone might find chances to relax and enjoy God’s creation during these weeks, catch up on planning and other projects, and really dig into reading, writing, and other research projects. We are grateful for the gifts and insights that each member of our community brings, and we pray that this seasonal change of pace may be a blessing to everyone.

Fall 2023 courses are now listed on the ICS website. We have an exciting array of topics being covered by all of our Senior Members this semester, and all of these courses are available for online participation. More details will be made available over the summer, but you can check the full course list out now to see if anything catches your eye at

Wednesday 10 May 2023

Christ the Gate

I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

–John 10:9-10

When I hear the word ‘gatekeeper’, I tend to think of someone in a privileged, oftentimes undeserved position who from that perch may prevent deserving people from accessing certain goods to which they would otherwise be entitled. Indeed, the Cambridge Dictionary defines gatekeeping as “the activity of trying to control who gets particular resources, power, or opportunities, and who does not.”

Does Jesus Messiah claim to be this kind of power broker in John 10? I don’t hear his message that way. Jesus tells his audience that “the one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep,” and then proceeds in verse 3 to claim that “the gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice.” One might naturally conclude from this verse that Jesus does in fact claim the gatekeeper’s role, granting entry to the shepherd while barring the “thief and bandit” mentioned in verse 1.

Yet Jesus does not claim to be the gatekeeper in John 10, but rather the gate itself. That is a crucial difference. Moreover, the passage opens by telling us that the thief avoids the gate entirely, and instead “climbs in by another way” (vs. 1). It seems, then, that the gatekeeper’s job is rather easy, because only shepherds approach the gate, almost as if they are the only ones who know it is there or can recognize it for the peculiar entrance it in fact is. There is not much the gatekeeper can do, at any rate, to prevent the thief from breaking in at a different spot.

So, what of the gate itself, the gate that Jesus claims to be? What does this gate open onto? In verse 7, Jesus tells us that this gate, the gate he himself is, is for the sheep: “Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.” Do we not spy true freedom here in this wonderful idea of “coming in and going out” to find pasture? While the thief only comes “to steal and kill and destroy,” Christ the gate opens instead onto the abundant life of the nurturing field (vs. 10).

How often do we pass by this gate without noticing it, I wonder, in the expectation of instead coming across a grand entrance to some great “gated community,” one designed as much to keep people out as to hem them in? Can such a checkpoint really be Christ the gate? What if instead this grand entrance is where the thief once broke in, and thus leads to the opposite of the abundant life Jesus promises?

Verse 8 tells us that the sheep can perceive and ignore the seductive messaging of all life’s thieves and bandits. The abundant life Jesus promises does not lie along that way. How do we know? Well, do the thieves and bandits lay down their lives for the sheep they hope to attract and control? Does trusting their promises lead to abundant life? We need to ask ourselves some tough questions here and as we do, strive to embrace the love that does in fact lay down its life for others (vs. 11, 15).


For the first time on this well-trodden path, I stop and notice the wind-worn, overgrown garden gate off to the side, where it swings freely on its aged hinges. With the slightest squeak, it beckons me to cross its threshold.

Shalom, friends!

Ron Kuipers

Prayer Letter: May 2023

Monday, May 1 - Friday, May 5:

The month of May is always a time full of activity, and this year is no exception. We got off to a busy start this month with Junior Members wrapping up research and writing projects, Senior Members turning to grading and preparing for their own summer research and writing plans, and staff attending to the mailings, meetings, and event preparations that come along with the end of the school year. Please join us in giving thanks for another year full of rich learning opportunities, and in prayer that everyone may continue to find wellsprings of energy for their various tasks.

On Saturday, May 6th, we had the opportunity to celebrate the labor of love that is Jim Olthuis’ latest book: Dancing in the Wild Spaces of Love: A Theopoetics of Gift and Call, Risk and Promise. There was a rich web of relationships on display at this event, in those who contributed as panelists (Drs. John Caputo, Ruthanne Crapo-Kim, Dean Dettloff, Jeffrey Dudiak, and Brian Walsh) and those who attended online and in person. We are thankful for the gift of everyone’s presence at and contributions to this event. Please also join us in giving thanks for the gift of Jim’s scholarship, of which this publication is the latest example.

Monday, May 8 - Friday, May 12:

On May 7-9, the CPRSE participated in the Our Whole Society Conference in Waterloo, ON. First, join us in prayers of thanksgiving for the successful grant application the CPRSE submitted to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) for the purposes of this conference! Second, please also join us in giving thanks for Ron Kuipers and Héctor Acero Ferrer’s efforts over the course of these three days as they helped facilitate panels, cohosted discussions, and participated with colleagues at other institutions in challenging discussions about polarization.

We are so grateful to have had the chance to host the theologian Miroslav Volf on Tuesday, May 9th, along with our colleagues at Regis College at the Toronto School of Theology. Professor Volf graciously shared some of his insights into what it means to think of the world as the home of God, and the implications of that image for our own practices of home-making and hospitality in the world. We would like to thank Professor Volf for spending some time with our communities, and to thank everyone who attended this event in person and online and participated in the conversation.

On Thursday, May 11, Senior Member Bob Sweetman is presenting a talk at the Kuyper Conference taking place at Redeemer University in Ancaster, ON. This year’s conference theme is Kuyper and Kintsugi: Public Theology for Repair, Reconciliation, and Restoration, and the title of Bob’s paper is “Public Friendship, Modern ‘Ingratitude’, and the Promise of a Beautiful Joining.” Pray with us that Bob’s presentation, as well as the other conference presentations and events, will foster rich and edifying discussions among conference participants. 

Monday, May 15 - Friday, May 19:

Please pray this month for the instructors and students in our online Spring-Summer 2023 courses as they prepare for their time of study together. Two of these courses have already started, but others start in June and July: The Soul of Soulless Conditions (Dean Dettloff), and State, Society, and Religion in Hegel’s Philosophy (Andrew Tebbutt). There’s still time to apply to these two courses, so email Elizabet Aras at if you’d like to learn how to join! As the time approaches, please also pray with us for fruitful discussions among course participants during the time they spend together.

ART in Orvieto 2023 will also begin July 9th, and in the meantime program participants and ICS staff alike continue to prepare for their travels and 3 weeks of study in Orvieto, Italy. Please pray for these participants as they finalize their plans over the next few weeks, as well as for program Director Rebekah Smick and workshop leaders David Holt and John Terpstra as they fine-tune their teaching plans and prepare to foster a community of artists, writers, teachers, and students eager to explore the intersection of their creative and faith practices amid the rich artistic history of Orvieto.

Monday, May 22 - Friday, May 26:

This is an eventful week at ICS as we host our annual Senate and Board meetings, a public panel discussion, and this year’s Convocation celebration. Please keep in your prayers this week the ICS Board, Senate, staff, Senior Members, and Junior Members as many travel into Toronto and prepare for meetings and festivities alike:

  • Thursday, May 25: The ICS Senate meets today to discuss academic strategy, course planning, and other matters related to learning at ICS. Please pray for Academic Dean Gideon Strauss, Senate Chair Pamela Beattie, and Academic Registrar Elizabet Aras as they lead and prepare various aspects of this meeting as well as facilitate conversation among the Senate. Please pray as well for each of our Senators as they graciously give of their time and expertise toward stewarding the academic programming of ICS.

  • Friday, May 26th: Much of today will be spent celebrating the gifts and legacy of our dear colleague and mentor Bob Sweetman on the occasion of his retirement. At 2-4pm in the afternoon at Regis College, we will be hosting a public panel on the impact of Bob’s work on the idea and practices of Christian scholarship. Please pray for the panelists, attendees, and Bob himself, that everyone may enjoy a time of rich discussion. Note: this is a hybrid event and open to the public, so please email if you’d like to attend in person or online.

  • Friday, May 26th: In the evening, starting around 6:30pm, we will be hosting the annual Convocation of this year’s graduands: Ahmad Banki (MWS), Colin Hoving (MA-EL), Sara Flokstra (MA-EL), Justin Cook (MA), and Nancy Schwarz (MWS). The ceremony will feature the conferral of degrees on these Junior Members, as well as the investiture of Pamela Beattie as ICS Chancellor, and an address by Bob Sweetman. A reception will follow. Please pray that all the details of this event might come together quickly and smoothly and that it will be a joyful celebration for all. Note: this event will be in person and also livestreamed on Youtube. You can find out more here.

  • Saturday, May 27th: Today, the Board of Trustees will meet to discuss matters of financial and strategic governance at ICS at their annual meeting. Many trustees will be travelling into town for this meeting, so we pray for safety in their travels. Please also pray for President Ron Kuipers and Board Chair Marci Frederick as they lead discussions among the Board, Harley Dekker and the Finance Committee as they do the detailed work of preparing budgets, reports, and projections; as well as for each of our Trustees, that their deliberations may be guided by wisdom and discernment. We are grateful for the time and energy that each of our Board members gives in service of ICS.

Monday, May 29 - Wednesday, May 31:

On Monday, May 29, ICS Junior Member Jimmy Ronald will be attending the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Philosophical Association (May 29-June 1, York University, Toronto). Dr. Joshua Harris, ICS alum and current professor at The King’s University in Edmonton, and Jimmy co-wrote a paper titled "A Way of Seeing Ways of Being: Building a Case for Ontological Pluralism," and it has been accepted to be presented at the conference. Please pray for safe travels and encouraging conversations for Jimmy as he comes to Toronto to present this paper.

Please join us in prayer as we near the end of our fiscal year, that we might receive a strong response to our annual spring appeal.
 If you haven’t yet responded to the appeal, don’t forget to! The mailing includes a copy of the latest issue of Perspective featuring reflections of gratitude from students and colleagues of Bob Sweetman (now also available online). The issue presents example after example of the kind of care-filled and Gospel-guided education that makes ICS what it is. We continue to be grateful every day for Bob's presence in our community as well as for our supporters’ faithful giving and the ways you help us spread the word about the gift of an ICS education. Thank you!