WINNIPEG—The Inter-Mennonite Chaplaincy Association's Menno Office suffered extensive smoke and water damage after a fire blazed outside the University of Manitoba’s University Centre on March 13. No one was injured in the fire, but the Menno Office will be unavailable for use for at least six months during restoration, with the possibility of being permanently relocated to another building on campus, separating it from its neighbouring chaplaincies. Mark von Kampen, the Mennonite chaplain, reported that the office’s frequently used musical instruments, as well as some books and other items, were saved. However, the furniture and other items are most likely damaged beyond repair from the smoke. Since the Menno Office is not officially part of the university, its contents are not covered by the university’s insurance. This means it will have to find the funds to cover these additional expenses caused by the fire, while a fundraiser planned for this fall simultaneously faces potential disruption in light of the coronavirus pandemic. This the Chaplaincy Association adds to it usual financial challenges, which are due in part to reduced contributions from Mennonite Church Manitoba, its main source of financial support. “I continue to reassure students who express concern about the future of the Menno Office that I’m confident that we’ll get through all this. I like to believe that problems always bring new opportunities,” von Kampen says. The Chaplaincy Association is a joint ministry of the Evangelical Mennonite Conference, Evangelical Mennonite Mission Conference and MC Manitoba.
—By Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe
Mark von Kampen.