“I found that ICS provided a rich, challenging
and dynamic learning environment.”

ICS Alumnus Profile
Steve van de Hoef, Master of Worldview Studies (2008)

 
At ICS, we are proud that so many of our current and former Junior and Senior Members are making a difference in our communities. We thank you for the support that has made it possible for people like Steve to attend ICS. Steve’s experience is a wonderful example of the contribution that our Alumni are making to the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) and the wider public community after graduation.
 
Steve is currently employed by the CRC’s Canadian Ministries office as Justice and Reconciliation Mobilizer. His role is to encourage and empower CRC congregations and members to understand and respond to God’s call to justice and reconciliation. Much of Steve’s work focuses on Indigenous justice and the need for reconciled relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada.
 
We asked Steve to share with us why he chose to attend ICS and how it has impacted his life and work.

 

“I was attracted to ICS because I wanted to study within the reformed tradition in which I had been raised. It provided an opportunity to engage with the intellectual and spiritual aspects of this tradition at a Masters level. The Master of Worldview Studies (MWS) program was a significant draw. The program provided an ideal way for me to interact strongly with the intellectual aspects of the reformational tradition.
 
Beyond the coursework, I found that ICS’s approach to education – Junior Members from a variety of programs (MWS, MA, PhD) participating in a seminar together, interacting in depth with Senior Members in a collegial atmosphere – provided excellent exchanges and a lively learning environment. Conversations frequently spilled outside of the classroom, into coffee breaks, lunch or trips on the subway. I found that ICS provided a rich, challenging and dynamic learning environment.
 
My involvement with ICS continues to this day. In my current role with the CRC, I am collaborating with Ron Kuipers and Allyson Carr from the Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethics (CPRSE) at ICS. This project arose from conversations at the Social Justice and Human Rights Conference that the CPRSE co-hosted in April 2012. Our goal is to conduct a community-based research project that will investigate how Christian Reformed people understand, and to what extent they are engaged in, social justice as an integral aspect of their Christian faith, vocation and discipleship. The project will also seek to identify barriers to further engagement in justice and to identify pathways and strategies for mobilizing CRC people to engage in justice-related activities.
 
In many ways, the project lives out the desire for constructive dialogue and mutually beneficial partnerships between academics and practitioners. This is an exciting project because of its subject matter, and also because of its collaborative scope: it has been jointly developed by several CRC offices and agencies in collaboration with the CPRSE and the Centre for Community Based Research in Kitchener. The project’s action-oriented approach means that its structure and activities will themselves achieve justice mobilization outcomes, even as they produce valuable knowledge about CRC members’ and congregations’ understanding of social justice and how they live it out as an integral aspect of their Christian calling.
 
It is valuable for the CRC to benefit from the depth of insight, analysis and expertise that the ICS has to offer and I am pleased to be working with the ICS in a way that will directly impact CRC congregations. On a personal note, I am pleased to have this opportunity to work with a former professor (Ron Kuipers) and to work together with the CPRSE in a way that benefits both the CRC and the ICS.
 
It’s hard to quantify ICS’s impact on my life. My time at ICS was a significant period of development for me personally and academically. This was due in no small part to the community at ICS and the critical engagement with academics and culture that it teaches and practices. ICS helped me to develop a keen critical and analytical perspective and instilled in me the importance of intellectual fairness and honesty in critique.”