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 na├»ve 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.