Thursday 28 September 2023

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.