When Christian Reformed churches in eastern Canada launched a new campus ministry at the University of Ottawa in Ontario, office space for the new chaplain was hard to come by. So Rev. Sid Ypma ended up renting an office off campus.
But as Ypma began to build contacts with the university’s community life services department, he discovered that an office was available for the shared use of part-time chaplains within the department itself.
Marc Duval, director of community life services at the University of Ottawa, readily handed Ypma a key to the part-time chaplaincy room located in his own office suite. Before long, he learned that only three other clergy were using the space on a very occasional basis.
After talking with the Roman Catholic priest, Orthodox priest, and the Baptist minister who occasionally use the space, Ypma posted their time allocation on the office door. Since then, he has occupied the space for much of the remaining time, meanwhile building relationships with university staff and students who frequent this campus hub.
As the only full-time chaplain currently on campus, Ypma has been working with others in the department to integrate chaplaincy services into university life. Meanwhile, he works with students, faculty, and staff members who are wrestling with faith issues.
“In typical Reformed fashion, we are trying to help students see how faith integrates into each of their areas of study,” Ypma explained.