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  • Writer's pictureGladys Terichow

Menno Office Celebrates Chaplain’s 20th Anniversary

Winnipeg, MB —The past 20 years Chaplain Mark von Kampen has walked alongside students on the University of Manitoba campus and supported them as they grow in their faith and find a sense of belonging among friends and mentors.


His 20 years of service as the chaplain of Menno Office were celebrated at the ministry’s second annual Valentine theme Coffee House and Charcuterie in mid-February at the Morrow Gospel Church in Winnipeg, Manitoba.


The fun variety of performances by past and present students spanned a wide range that included a Capella hymns, worship songs, jazz standards, classic rock, singalong staples, and thoughtful original poetry.

The music, along with the food, decorations and warm and receptive response of the audience, reflect the richly gifted and affirming spirit of students and the Menno Office community, says Allison Janzen, a former U of M student now serving as the chair of the Menno Office board.


“When I was a student, Menno Office was, for me, a place where I could build friendships and connections in a space I felt was welcoming in an otherwise large and intimidating environment,” she says. “The friendly faces and discussions helped me to find belonging, and Mark was and is a big part in that—he facilitates an inclusive, open space where students can come and take a breath outside of the rest of campus.”



Menno Office, a ministry of the Inter-Mennonite Chaplaincy Association (IMCA), provides students with a place to eat their lunch, study, connect with friends, play instruments, chat with the chaplain and participate in Menno Talk, a more focused time for discussion, reflection and worship.


Chaplain von Kampen says he loves seeing how God leads new students from Winnipeg, rural Manitoba, across the country and around the world, to Menno Office, a warm and welcoming space on the fifth floor of the University Centre, Room 524.


“Highlights for me this year, and other years, are watching friendships develop and deepen among students and having meaningful conversations with students about faith and life,” he says.


During the 2023 fall term, Menno Talk focused on listening to songs of faith and discussing the songs. Students also explored various Mennonite confessions of faith and looked for common ground and connection with everyday life. This term students are studying the parables of Jesus.


“I am inspired and challenged by the questions and insights of the students as we study the parables, reflect on Jesus' command to love our enemies and consider what this might mean in our time so characterized by polarization and conflict,” says von Kampen.


The Menno Office ministry is supported by the Evangelical Mennonite Mission Conference and Mennonite Church Manitoba along with prayer support and financial gifts from congregations and individuals who care deeply about providing spiritual and tangible support to students.


To become an active partner and to learn more visit www.mennooffice.ca.

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