Celebrating Ed's Retirement

Ed gives a sermon during a grebel chapel event

NOTE: If you tried to enter a zoom meeting that didn't exist... try this link instead: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83545086563?pwd=dlIrQ2VWZStQWkRWcXhUeC9jSW1HQT09 

In June of 1999, Ed Janzen began his role as Chaplain at Conrad Grebel University College. Ed came with experience, energy and passion. He came with a desire to serve the college and with the perspective that service needs to be relational from beginning to end. Ed has been a relational chaplain and he has endeared himself to many students over the years as well as faculty and staff. He has served with commitment and integrity and has inspired and influenced many to discover and understand their journey of faith and life.

In his 23rd year of service, Ed will be retiring. We want to celebrate this significant milestone with him and invite you to join us in doing so. Registration is required to attend this virtual event.

Event: A Service of Celebration and Sending, June 23, 2021 @ 4:30.

Holy Week Reflections on Serving at Grebel (Video)

During a weekly virtual chapel service for Grebel residents, staff, and faculty, Ed used teachings from Holy Week to reflect on his time in service at the college. Enjoy a video recording of his reflections.

Ed and Kathy JanzenDonations to honour Ed can be made to the Klaassen Religious Studies Award which was established by Ed and Kathy to honour Walter Klaassen, Grebel’s first chaplain.


Tributes, Messages, and Blessings

"Ed is such a well of wisdom! Conversations with you are always a joy and I learn something every time. Thank you for all the lives you've touched in your time here!"

- Veronica Silvester

"All good wishes for your retirement Ed. We will miss you!"
-Alicia Batten

"Ed, thank you for your presence at Grebel. I've had the privilege of relating to you as a student, Chapel Committee member and colleague. What has been consistent throughout is your warm, easy-going, thoughtful and non-judgmental presence. Thank you for sharing your delight in life with all of us. Wishing you smooth sailing in your retirement."

- Mimi Browne

"Ed- I have so appreciated the mentorship and wisdom you have offered me in my own ministry over the past several years. You have been a beautiful example of discernment, faithfulness, and compassionate care that comes from a spirit grounded in God's love. I will miss working with you and wish you all the best in this new chapter.
In this time of transition, may your soul find rest and delight in the abundance of creation, the care of friends and family and the wonder of God's presence!"   
                                         -Erika Toffelmire                                                      

Photo of UWaterloo chaplains 2016

UWaterloo Chaplains Association 2016 

(photo submitted by Keith Martin) 

Photo of UWaterloo chaplains 2017

UWaterloo Chaplains Association 2017

(photo submitted by Keith Martin)  

Photo of UWaterloo chaplains 2018

UWaterloo Chaplains Association 2018

 (photo submitted by Keith Martin)


"Ed, it was such a pleasure to have you on the Resiliency Working Group. I always appreciated your thoughtfulness, insight and perspective on the topics we discussed. I hope you enjoy a wonderful retirement - you will be missed!"

-Robbyn Hesch

"Wishing you God's presence and blessings on your retirement. Thank you for all the ways that you have contributed to the Grebel community over the past decades. Your work as teacher and scholar have shaped many students, and you have kept the torch of our mission burning bright in College Council and strategic plans. However, I'm most grateful for the impromptu hallway conversations that have ranged from history to theology to student wellness.

Those have provided the type of intellectual stimulation that I had hoped for when entering academia."

-Troy Osborne

Photo of Sam and Ed at the ball game

"One of the joys of working with Ed, in addition to talking about church and national politics, was the annual trip to a Blue Jays game. Hopefully, this can continue next summer. Thanks, Ed, for how you've enriched life at Conrad Grebel!"

-Sam Steiner

"All I can say is thank you for being there for me though it doesn’t even begin to encompass how grateful I am for the help and guidance you’ve provided me with.

Wishing you only the best!"

-Ananya Xavier

"I was at work the morning my Grandpa passed away, all by myself in the library. Ed came in to borrow a book and I managed to keep it together when helping him.  About 30 minutes later, Ruth sent out an email to all staff to let them know of my family's loss.  Ed came right back to the library to console me and give me a hug. It meant so much to me at the time and I will always remember it. Ed is simply one of the kindest and warmest people that I know."                     -Mandy Macfie                                                                         "Wishing you all the best as you move into the next chapter of your life! The way you have touched my life and that of so many others will not soon be forgotten. As chaplain, mentor, advisor, friend, I'm thankful for your role in my life at Grebel and after!"                                               - James Loewen                                           

"Thank you for the kindness and love that you have shown me during my time at Grebel.

All the best,"
- Tim Peters


Ed at Campus Life Fair in SLC September 2016

Ed at Campus Life Fair in SLC September 2016  

 (photo submitted by Keith Martin)

Photo of Ed as a child

Glimpses of early 'sailor' Ed

(photo submitted by Fred Janzen)

Photo of Ed with siblings

Photo of early farmer Ed

(Photo submitted by Fred Janzen)


"Ed came into my life at a critical time.

Without his guidance, wisdom, openness, and warmth, I doubt I would now have the incredible relationship I do with my family. He led me to a place of forgiveness and understanding when I was full of hatred, He kindly and calmly defused my delusions, and opened my eyes to see past the conceptions of God I was raised with. 

Thanks Ed, even though we only knew each other a couple years, I can confidently say you have greatly impacted my life. because of you I want to be kinder, warmer, wiser, in a society that often calls men to be cruel, cold, and ruthlessly intelligent. 

God bless and keep you Ed."

- Henry Stevens

"On the occasion of my friend Ed retirement l would like to offer this quote from the Dal Lama.

'If we lack conviction in the value of compassion then the effect on religion will be quite limited'.

This compassion is what l see in Ed as he travels toward God’s kingdom.

Hopefully Ed we can see another Blue Jays game in the future."

- John Good

"Allow our Lord to use your wisdom, commitment, and abilities to further help people in need.

Wishing you a heartwarming retirement <3 God bless!"

- Ariana 


So many good memories of you during my undergrad - just in how you were central to the community and shaping what it was like. Two memories stick with me for which I am grateful: 1) your encouragement for the student community to discuss "taboo topics" in the years 2015-16 when I was a don - you really appreciated the reflections of the people in those discussion circles, including myself, and that made a strong impression on me, the depth of your care; 2) discussing Mennonites and Mennonite culture with you when I was doing my Masters and then connecting me with your friend so I could learn about her business in Wallenstein - such good chats and an amazing and rich learning experience! Thank you!"

- Miraya Groot


"Ed, I'm not sure if you'd remember this or not, but I asked to meet with you in 2009 to discuss whether or not you thought I could apply to lead the Enlace trip to Guatemala with MCCO. I had been on the trip in 2006 and was deeply shaken in my beliefs, but left wholly (holy?) inspired to work towards justice.  When I saw the posting I was so excited to lead a new group of youth to experience a similarly profound time in Guatemala, but was wrestling with the ethics of applying to lead youth when I had so many agnostic questions of my own. I felt so guilty against the backdrop of my questions at this time. I had grown up in a very Evangelical Missionary context, and felt completely lost amongst my existentialism. But that conversation with you in your office provided me with such encouragement. You were so supportive and reassuring, and I feel it was truly a crucial moment for me. It was because of that conversation that I was able to find the confidence to apply, and to enough semblance of self-compassion to think I could be a good leader. That moment has really stuck with me, because you were able to provide me with exactly the kind of support I never received from my home church and family. I can't help but feel that has shaped my beliefs today, and so I am deeply grateful for your support through so many stages of my life.

Much love,"


"I am sorry to say that I never had the opportunity to meet you, but I have heard such wonderful stories. I hope you have a relaxing, fulfilling and enjoyable retirement" 

- Douglas Clarke 

 "Congratulations on your retirement! I have so much appreciation for your work at Grebel, during my time there and over the course your 2+ decades. I remember somewhat regularly dropping by your office unannounced, you asking how my heart was doing, bursting into tears, and telling you whatever was feeling heavy while you listened empathetically. I feel a bit teary now just thinking about it! Since university, done a variety of work with young people of all ages and am currently a 1st-3rd grade Montessori teacher. Your modeling of compassionate presence, of just holding space for what is, was and is an inspiration to me!
With deep gratitude,"

- Rosabeth 

 "From my Grebel interview to when I moved out, you were an incredible support for me in that building. Thank you for everything, and I wish you the very best in retirement." 

 - Abby Loewen 

"Thank you for all you did as the Chaplain at Grebel! I remember interviewing at Grebel with you, and all your kindness towards the students will surely be remembered. Happy retirement!" 

 -Joycelin Van Caulart   

Photo of Ed and Marlene at their 50th birthday

 "Ed and I were “birthday buddies” during our shared two decades at Grebel. Not every year, but often we coordinated our ‘treats’ for the community, even when we were both loathe to recognize another step up the ladder or down the hill, depending how we felt in a given year! Thank you Ed, for your steady nurture of the Grebel community for over twenty years. Whether organizing Mennonite potlucks in SOC 275, or expressing your thoughts about Max Weber in SOC 101, or quietly inspiring and provoking the student body with your ideas about God’s love for all, you have been foundational to the evolution of the college in recent times. Where else would I have gone when I needed to cry over the decision to euthanize my dog – Ed's office! Feeling gratitude for your gifts and your presence. We still expect ‘platz’ on occasion!" 

- Marlene

 "So glad that Ed picked Conrad Grebel - and CG picked Ed.  I hope the retirement stage is full of goodness and health." 

- Randy Lepp 


"Ed has been an extraordinary mentor and friend throughout my time at Grebel. His Homilies each week were always inspiring and thought provoking especially when we were asked "to take 32 seconds to let it land" and then share the impact it had on us. I shared many deep and meaningful conversations about life and faith with Ed whether it be at the dinner table, during chapel committee meetings or walking back from a class on campus. Ed is a humble, hospitable, kind and generous person who is always there to lend a helping hand or listening ear.
Some of my favourite memories include bible studies, chapel meetings (with snacks of course), fellowship during end of term potlucks at his home, choir rehearsals, and planning chapel samples for camp trillium & taste of Grebel. Ed always is willing to try new ideas and create fun & innovative services that create a lasting impact on the members of the Grebel Community.
Blessings to you Ed on what lies ahead and Congratulations on your retirement! We will all miss your leadership & calming spirit at Grebel."                                       
- Rebekah L

"Ed's impact on my undergraduate degree and experience at Conrad Grebel has been immense. He has an amazing ability to listen, provide words of wisdom, humility, while also being a wonderful leader in the communities he touches. Ed's sense of humor is unmatched and his constant willingness to hear how you are doing made him a wonderful teacher, chaplain, and person to work with. Ed was there for me when I was asking all the hard question's as a young adult, trying to figure out the immense world in front of me and for that, I thank him.
Ed always loved to give cards and share a meal with the individuals who shared on chapel committee. I saved his cards and this is a quote he shared with me,
"There's an old carpenter saying that says, 'Measure twice, cut once'. It means attending with care to the work before you."
You always did that Ed, you always put so much care into the work and community of Grebel and beyond. I am happy to know and wish you all the best in your retirement. Grebel's going to miss you."

- Miriam L

"Ed, thanks for the many years of working with you on chapel music.  The Chapel Choir remains one of the highlights of my work at Grebel, and it's not possible to separate your work, your spirit and convictions from that good memory.  You were and remain a dear colleague. So many times I would pop by the student services area before choir practise, and Pam knows my question: "Is Ed in?"  Still want to do that.  Thanks for that longing."

 - Len Enns

 "Thanks for taking such good care of our kids, Hannah and Caleb." 

- Fred Rekekop   

"Will never forget you reciting the Shape of You lyrics to explain gender norms in Sociology 101 - that lecture was probably the funniest and most intelligent lesson I have attended at university. Good luck with everything!"

-Prachi Dhanky


 "I have a number of memories of going to Chapel part way through a busy or stressful day and Ed, knowing the nature of student life would often start off with a deep breath or simple moment of stillness and centering that was very much needed. Even if he didn't say it, that was implied in his tone and actions as he brought us into worship. Thank you for those moments, Ed. Best wishes as you begin your next adventure of retirement!"

-Maya Morton Ninomiya

"Ed was one of my first professors at Grebel ( Soc101) and his warm yet energetic presence in the classroom was so comforting in light of being in a completely new city. It was like learning from your wise grandfather. Wishing you the very best that life has to offer you Ed. Enjoy retirement, its well deserved. God bless you immensely and keep you under his umbrella. You will be missed."

- Amanda O-N

Photo of video call with hearts made with hands

 Photo submitted by Victoria Lumax

"Your grace and wisdom are so inspirational to me. As I've served on chapel committee, I've seen your incredible heart for the community. Thank you for your years of service to the college and to God. You've genuinely made me a better, more open Christian - and I am forever grateful to you for it. I have enjoyed being under your leadership, a style of leadership that is sincere, fun, and loving. Wishing you the best in your retirement."
-Victoria Lumax

Photo of Patrick Q

"We haven't spoken in some years but I wanted to send my sincerely congratulations on your retirement. On the one hand as someone who looks forward to being able to retire I'm jealous. On the other hand I know this will be a huge loss for Grebel and the student community there.

You were always willing to share your perspectives, have difficult conversations but never without judging and being open to hear and listen.

You created an atmosphere of joy and trust and that is immensely important for students still finding their way in life and academics.

Once again my very best wishes to you, your family and for all the adventures that lie ahead."

- Patrick Quealey

"Wishing you a long, happy, and healthy retirement!  It's been a blessing to work with you as a Grebel colleague. Thank you for your many contributions."

- Ruth Steinman

"Congratulations on your years of faithful service to Grebel and it's students.  Thank you for your personal mentorship and support to me when I was a student.  You were someone that I learned a lot from about life, and love, and I really appreciate the time you gave to me personally amongst all the others you've counselled over the years.

Enjoy this next stage of life, until I run into you again!


- Mike Steinman

Photo of 'detective Ed'
"Ed, as our chaplain, I am still grateful for how you talked easily about hard things, encouraged my (and all of our) gifts, and dove into many wild student schemes (Summer banquet 2000 film noir detective photo for proof). May your retirement be often peaceful, amply adventure-full, and always joyful."

-Alyssa Bender

"Ed - I have so appreciated your sensitive and inclusive way of creating sacred space. As well, your love and care of the students, your thoughtful insights around College Council, and your sense of humour stand out. You will certainly be missed. Wishing for you an absolutely wonderful retirement!"

-Jennifer Ball

"I got the great and unique experience of having Ed lead our Don team for a term. This meant I could rely on creative check-ins, pop corn and mini eggs at least once a week! Ed’s wisdom in leadership was inspiring and helped to ground our whole team. He’s encouraging, and loves to challenge you. Grebel will miss his spunk and leadership!"

- Charlotte Baker


"All the best in retirement Ed!  I'm very grateful to your leadership as chaplain to the student body and your dedication to the chapel program.  You have left a huge impression on many who have walked through the Grebel doors. Hope we can catch up again sometime in the future."

-Jesse Yanti

"Ah - how would I have survived campus ministry without Ed as my colleague?! From helping show me the ropes when I first arrived at Renison (15 years ago), to gently but firmly sharing wisdom at our chaplaincy meetings, and advocating on behalf of faith on campus, Ed has been a friend, a mentor and an inspiration! I have most especially appreciated his ability to stand his ground and insist on a more inclusive circle, acting and speaking out of clear conviction. Thank you."

- Megan Collings-Moore

"I'll miss your ready smile, gentle nature and aura of camaraderie at Grebel. Thanks for your always welcoming spirit. Blessings on your next adventures!"

- Susan Bauman

"Ed,  your caring presence and thoughtful attention to faith formation was evident in and thru the lives of Grebel students.  I have enjoyed learning to know you....someone with Vineland roots.  May the transition into this new life chapter be a smooth one filled with time for rest and renewal."

- Louise Wideman

Photo of Ed camping with Grebel students

Photo submitted by Aaron Neufeld

"Congratulations on the occasion of your retirement!
You have been a mentor, a pastor, a teacher, a role model, and a friend to me. Whether preparing for worship with chapel committee, leading Bible and other book studies, teaching Mennonite Sociology, lending a listening ear when I was going through a difficult time, or paddling a canoe or sailing, you played a significant role in my life-changing time at Grebel, just as for so many years your generosity, humour, and passionate yet gentle spirit have shaped the Grebel community.
Thank you for the years you served the college and the broader church. I wish you God's continued blessing and companionship as you journey on from here.
p.s. thanks to Mike Funk for the photo from our canoe trip in 2012!"

- Aaron Neufeld

"Mensch: “someone to admire and emulate, someone of noble character...The term is used as a high compliment, implying the rarity and rarity of that individual’s qualities.”  I once heard a fellow Grebelite describe you as a mensch, and I can’t improve on that.  
I can add a few comments, though.  
I always dreaded the time of year when Ed would arrive regularly in the Faculty Staff Lounge during morning break with a single, succulent tomato from his home garden and proceed to eat it with obvious enjoyment and much ceremony.  He only ever brought one! I don’t think I was alone in looking on enviously.  However, Ed more than made up for this by occasionally bringing his homemade Platz (sp?) for everyone.  When this happened, word would travel like wildfire through the building and the wise person would drop everything to get to the Lounge before it ran out.  In my dreams, Ed in retirement will begin a home delivery service called “Ed’s ‘Lots o’ Platz’”.
Ed has the genuine heart of a pastor.  I cherish memories of working with him during my years as Chapel Choir Director, and especially on special services like the Christmas banquet Lessons and Carol Service.  But even more than that I am grateful for Ed’s willingness to act as chaplain not just to the students but to everyone at Grebel.  I frequently showed up unannounced at Ed’s door to unburden myself on an issue or question that was troubling me, and if Ed’s heart ever sank within him when I appeared, he never gave any hint of it.  Ed’s listening, supportive and open ministry among us has embodied something essential to what the church, and a church college, should be.      
A long and happy retirement to you and Cathy.
Grateful for your friendship,

-Ken Hull