Alumni of the Year


Major Greg Costen - 2013

M.Div 1990

Major Greg Costen earned his Master of Divinity from Providence Theological Seminary (then Winnipeg Theological Seminary) in 1990.  He served for thirteen years as a small town pastor in central Alberta with the Evangelical Free Church of Canada.  During these years he served the Evangelical Free Church on the Ministerial Standing Committee and as chair of the Pastoral Couples Renewal Committee.  Major Costen also served the missions department by briefly instructing internationally at the Free Church seminary in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine.

Major Costen enrolled as a chaplain in the Canadian Forces (CF) in 2003.  He currently serves in the rank of Major as the senior chaplain at Canadian Forces Base Edmonton.  Major Costen leads a team of 10 chaplains in Edmonton, Wainwright and Suffield as they do the on-the-ground work of meeting the spiritual needs of CF members.  Prior to his promotion from Captain to Major in 2011, he served in Ottawa, at CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick, and in the United Kingdom.  He also trained in Clinical Pastoral Education with the American Navy in Virginia.  Greg and his wife Mary have three grown daughters: Amy, Ashley, and Ainsley.

Irma Janzen - 2012

M.A. 1978

Irma Janzen was the first woman to graduate from Providence Theological Seminary. Since her graduation in 1978 with an Master of Arts in Christian Education, Irma has taught Christian Education at Winkler Bible Institute, done chaplaincy training, worked with the Mental Health and Disabilities Program of the Mennonite Central Committee (1994 to 2006), and served as a part-time pastor at the Fort Garry Evangelical Mennonite Church in Winnipeg (1996 to Present), serving two extended interim periods as lead pastor. When she retired from the MCC she spent six months teaching English in China.

Irma has devoted her career to the service of the Church through service to people. In doing so, she has pursued many avenues of ministry. Beginning with the Christian Education formation she received from the Seminary, Irma branched out into pastoral care-giving, international student ministries, and teaching English. One of Irma’s lasting legacies is her tireless but gentle quest to help the Church become a place of refuge and redemption for people suffering from mental illness. She has done this professionally with MCC Canada and also through her church.

Irma has also shown considerable leadership in the development of ministries for international students through the Ft. Garry Church. Among her initiatives was the development of an Introduction to Christianity adult education elective that allows class members with limited language skills to begin to explore the Bible, the Church, and the Gospel. She also took up teaching conversational English to international families at Uni-Village in south Winnipeg. When changes in management of the residence made those English classes impossible, Irma moved the classes to the church, guaranteeing that the ministry of language teaching could continue.

As Irma reflects on her time at Providence she notes, “while I did my studies in Christian Education, my best memory, my most valuable experiences, were the courses in Old Testament. They opened up the treasures of the Old Testament for me. I already had a background in education so those courses were not as novel or exciting as the open door to the Old Testament. A lot of credit for that would go to Garry Smith!”


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