Winnipeg, Man.—University campuses can be lonely places for students. At the University of Manitoba students find a sense of belonging and pastoral care at the Menno Office.
The Menno Office is a campus ministry supported by the Inter-Mennonite Chaplaincy Association (IMCA), a partnership of Mennonite Church Manitoba, Evangelical Mennonite Mission Conference and Evangelical Mennonite Conference.
“We are a small community among thousands,” says Environmental Sciences student, Karannina Schonwetter of Winnipeg. “It helps me realize how applicable faith is for university students. We can grow in faith, even though it is not a faith-based university.”
Schonwetter was among 19 musical entertainers who displayed wide-ranging musical talent at a coffeehouse that took place September 29 at Fort Garry Mennonite Fellowship. The coffeehouse raised funds to support the chaplaincy and created awareness of services provided by chaplain Mark von Kampen.
Menno Office activities include informal drop-in opportunities, personal and spiritual guidance, a weekly discussion forum called Menno Talk, joint lunches and worship services with students from other chaplain ministries, and interaction with other faith groups.
“Conversations are rich when students from different academic programs engage in discussions,” says von Kampen. “I am amazed at how students care about each other. We learn together as we live our faith in community.”
Each church conference appoints representatives to serve on the IMCA board and provides financial support. “Working together like this says something about our unity in Christ,” says von Kampen.
This ministry gives Mennonite churches an opportunity to partner with a secular university and provide tangible support to Canadian and International students, says IMCA chair Scott Kroeker. “The Menno Office is literally right at the heart of the campus where everyone goes — we’re in the middle of the action.”
Photos by Gladys Terichow
Photo Below: Doug Walker, Robert Andreas Lobel and Cary Doerksen perform at a fundraising event for the IMCA.
Features: IMCA board member Len Loewen, Morrow Gospel Church Pastor Jacob Friesen and IMCA Chaplain Mark von Kampen at the IMCA fundraising coffee house.