After two years of online learning during the pandemic, Andrew Enns is finally experiencing in-person learning on the University of Manitoba campus.
Enns, a third-year student in the agriculture program, is now making new friends and reconnecting with former friends and acquaintances at the Menno Office.
The Menno Office, a U of M campus ministry supported by the Inter-Mennonite Chaplaincy Association (IMCA), is a place where students find peer support, guidance and pastoral care in a welcoming Christian atmosphere.
“What I really like is the community life. It is a community I feel part of,” Enns said at IMCA’s annual general meeting on Nov. 23.
Pre-COVID, the Menno Office and other campus ministries operated out of a space on the lower level of the University Centre. During the pandemic restrictions, Chaplain Mark von Kampen connected with Enns and other students virtually through the E-Menno Office and other online platforms. One of the structured activities that continued during the health restrictions was “Menno Talk,” a weekly faith-based discussion addressing everyday topics of interests and concerns to the students.
When in-person classes resumed this spring, the Menno Office and other campus ministries set up their offices in Room 524 of the University Centre, which has a large window and is more spacious than the room previously assigned to the Menno Office on the lower level of the University Centre.
“I love the space—it is a very open space, a welcoming space,” said Enns.
In his report at the AGM meeting, von Kampen said the Menno Office draws local students as well as those from as far away as Asia, Africa and Latin America.
“It is with great joy and gratitude that we are once again gathering in person,” said von Kampen. “As was the case before the restrictions, much of what takes place in the office is unstructured. Even during the unstructured times, faith-based conversations or singing happen spontaneously in the office.”
IMCA is supported by the Menno Office alumni, individuals, church congregations and three Mennonite church conferences: EMMC, EMC and Mennonite Church Manitoba.