Sarah Kenny | Features Editor
The students, staff and faculty that traffic through the Chaplain’s office are greeted by the smiling and accommodating Marilyn Brenner, who has overseen the front desk of the office since her arrival in 1996.
“The ethos of the office has always been very cordial and warm,” Brenner said.
Though Brenner knew that Chappy K would someday retire, the announcement was still sobering.
Coming to Wheaton was an act of providence for Brenner. She had been let go from her job at World Relief due to budget cuts, and was intrigued by the Chaplain’s office position. During her job interview, Chappy K was “very articulate and easy to talk with — the way he described the job made me sure that it was a good fit,” she said. And when the decision had been made, Chappy K called Brenner personally to give her the good news.
According to Brenner, the best part of working with Chappy K is his warmness towards his staff. He invites ideas and values feedback from those who work with him. In his interactions, he is even-keeled and gives a lot of grace, never speaking poorly of others or criticizing them. Her favorite office moments were the times when Chaplain Kellough would minister to the staff. He opens staff meetings with prayer, and “his prayer life has gotten richer over the years.”
She particularly appreciates how he has ministered to the campus community in times of crisis and loss. “It’s not an easy position, but the Lord has been very faithful.” Even within the office, Chappy K was extremely understanding when family issues came up: “When my father passed, he called me in CA to express his condolences,” Brenner said.
Another moment that sticks out in her mind is the impromptu chapel called on 9/11. She remembered that the call to worship that Chappy K chose, Psalm 46, was very fitting as “a way of saying that we have a refuge in God when no one was sure what was safe.”
Though she’s seen many chapels over the years, one of her favorites was when Phil Keaggy played. It was encouraging, especially at the end of winter. Her other favorite was the last chapel of Chuck Swindoll’s series on discipline in which he talked about the discipline of failure and encouraged the campus to be transparent and honest in that area.
“I’m praying that the Lord will bless (Chaplain Kellough),” Brenner concluded. “It was providential the way he was brought here and the way he has been used. God has fitted him for the position.”