MLC Day Is Wednesday, May 4!

Dear Friends,
Join thousands of friends of Martin Luther College across the globe:
pray for our work of service to the world, share messages of
encouragement online, and give to support that work.

What You Can Do:

  • Pray for our students, faculty, and staff, and for our mission of training the next generation of called workers to share the gospel with the world.
  • Share a message of support or gratitude. Record a short video with your message (printable MLC Day signs are available at, and share it on our MLC Day Kudoboards, or post it on Facebook/Instagram using #MLCDAY22.
    Click on our Classroom Activities tab to see more sharing options for classrooms.
  • Give a gift to MLC. Your donation will directly assist MLC students by helping us fund the Congregational Partner Grant Program. A generous donor is matching all donations up to $50,000 to help us reach our $100,000 goal.

Share your prayers, messages, videos and photos here. 

We’ll be posting photos and stories, highlighting special classroom incentives, and updating progress reports on the MLC Facebook and Instagram pages.


Beginning spring 2022, MnDOT will be reconstructing Hwy 14 from New Ulm to Nicollet to improve safety and travel for residents, commuters, and freight. Improvements will include:
  • – Converting the two-lane highway to a four-lane divided highway
  • Bypassing Courtland by realigning Hwy 14 north of the city
  • Constructing new interchanges in Courtland and at Co. Rd. 37 in New Ulm
  • Constructing safer intersections between New Ulm Quartzite Quarries and Minnesota Valley Lutheran High School
Pass through traffic will be detoured to Hwy 15, Hwy 68, and Hwy 169 during construction.

A Message from President Gurgel

Dear Sisters and Brothers of Our Synod-Wide MLC Family,
Aren’t there many times, as we live as sinners in a sinful world, where we find ourselves thinking: “But it shouldn’t be that way!”?
We say that when life situations bring frustration to our hearts or tears to our eyes. We say “But it shouldn’t be that way!” as we bemoan what’s become of God’s perfect creation.
And, when we’re honest, the times we say “But it shouldn’t be that way!” with the greatest regret come when what’s troubling us flows from our own hearts. Then “But it shouldn’t be that way!” becomes the cry of a repentant heart!
But in the wonder of the Christmas gospel, the statement “But it shouldn’t be that way!” becomes not a sad litany of trouble but a joyful chorus of praise!
It begins as Mary is compelled to lay the little One she has delivered to sleep on the hard wood of a feeding trough. As we remember that this One sleeping on that rough wood is not only our brother but also our glorious Creator, it dawns on us: “But it shouldn’t be that way!”
It continues as we watch him for 33 years walk a path that makes him “a man of suffering, and familiar with pain” (Isaiah 53:3). We are led to say again: “But it shouldn’t be that way!’
And then comes the day when the rough, unforgiving wood on which he lies and falls asleep is not a feeding trough but a Roman cross. There our God and brother humbles himself all the way to the point of death under his Father’s judgment. There we exclaim most of all: “But it shouldn’t be that way!”
And in all of that, we are not seeing something sad but something gloriously wonderful! The One who falls asleep on that rough, unforgiving wood completes his Father’s saving plan for all of us and for each of us!
No, none of this was as it should be. Yet all of it was as it must be (Matthew 16:21) for us to be known as forgiven daughters and sons of his eternal kingdom.
As a small gift to assist in your celebration of that wonder of saving grace this Christmas, please enjoy the video below from our Martin Luther College Choir. The anthem And You Will Sleep has a text written by MLC staff member Laurie Gauger-Hested with music composed by her son Philip Biedenbender.
In Him,
Rich Gurgel
President, Martin Luther College

WELS National Choral Fest at MLC

The 2021 WELS National Choral Fest took place November 12-14, 2021 at Martin Luther College under the theme “One Faith, One Hope, One Lord.” Twenty-three WELS Lutheran High Schools from around the nation participated.

You can view the archived livestream of this event below:

Learn more at

Summer 2021 MLC COVID Update

MLC President Rich Gurgel provides an overview and rationale related to the health and safety protocols for the start of our new school year.

Greetings, Knight Nation! Your MLC family is very, very eager to see you on campus!

We have been hearing concerns from some of you for what it may mean on our MLC campus as our country feels the impact of a rise in COVID cases due to the Delta variant. You may even have heard that many colleges and universities, such as the entire University of Minnesota system, will be requiring masks as this fall semester begins.

Allow me to say it very simply! We have not changed our plans at MLC to be an open campus this school year and to leave masking and social distancing protocols behind.

Why the change from last year? Last year we sought to honor our governor’s mandate, protect those most vulnerable in our campus family, as well as respect the welfare and concerns of a host community with a significant senior population. In addition, vaccines had not been approved during the first semester and didn’t become readily available until the end of our second semester.

All of those key factors have changed. There is no governor’s mandate at present in Minnesota, and no indication that one is being planned. Our faculty and staff vaccination rate stands at over 84%. And the vaccination rate for those 65 or older in Brown County is 98%. Many of you, our students, have also been vaccinated, including those with underly health challenges that make them especially vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus. Also consider this: in the state of Minnesota less than 3,500 documented cases of COVID have been reported among more than 3 million vaccinated. That’s a .1% breakthrough rate. Hospitalization from severe cases of COVID 19 among those vaccinated stands at only 1 in 10,000, and the death rate among vaccinated people is less than 2 in 100,000.

All of that has convinced us of this! The good that will be gained by you, our students, as you enjoy as normal of life on campus as possible, far, far outweighs any current risks to our campus family. We say that knowing that we all rest, in the last analysis, in the nail -marked hands of our Savior. We are far more than numbers and statistics to him.

The protocols that will be in place will be very few: the US Department of Transportation has not changed their masking requirement on public transportation (which includes our chartered buses for athletic teams or musical ensembles). Allina Health Care, which staffs our training room, has a mask mandate which will apply to all who enter the training room. There will also be quarantine for unvaccinated students, staff or faculty who are in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID 19. And, finally, just as would with any contagious illness, those who test positive for COVID 19 will be isolation until they have recovered.

Other than that, we thank God that we are anticipating that life on and off campus will resemble a regular school year. I know many of you, in particular, are glad for the return of open dorms! I am most looking forward to seeing our whole campus family all together at one time in Chapel of the Christ as we gather for daily worship! We thank God for these and all such restorations of what it means to be a campus family on this hill! Most importantly, we know how all of this can contribute to your preparation for gospel ministry!

See you soon, Knights!

Austin DeNoyer Named First Team All-America

NEW ULM, Minn. – Martin Luther College senior running back Austin DeNoyer was named First Team All-America by the website on Monday.

DeNoyer finished the abbreviated senior season with 67 carries for 504 yards and eight touchdowns in only four games, helping the Knights to a 3-1 record. DeNoyer went over 100 yards in three of the team’s four games, scored at least one touchdown in each contest, and ran for a season-high 218 yards and three scores in the Knights 44-14 win over Minnesota Morris on April 10.

Despite the shortened season, DeNoyer finished his MLC career with the program record for career rushing yards (2,948) and career yards per game average (117.9). He also tied for second in career rushing touchdowns (33), and ranks third in career rushing attempts (503) and fifth in career yards per carry average (5.86)

This marks the second postseason honor DeNoyer has received from He was previously named All-West Region following the 2018 season in which he broke the MLC single-season record with 1,086 rushing yards on the way to UMAC Most Valuable Offensive Player honors. The following season, DeNoyer smashed his own single-season record and finished with 1,358 rushing yards on the way to helping MLC finish a perfect 8-0 in the UMAC and its second straight conference championship.

DeNoyer is the first MLC player to receive All-America honors from the website, which started giving out the awards in 1999.

Earlier this month, DeNoyer was named Academic All-UMAC for his work in the classroom during the season.

You can see the full press release from the website with all the All-America honorees if you click here.

MLC opens its campus to the public

Friday, May 28, 2021

As the social distancing and occupancy limits for the state of Minnesota ended on May 27 at 11:59 pm, Martin Luther College is currently open to the community. Following are some details regarding services you might be interested in during our summer months. The MLC Planning Committee continues to discuss plans for a normal opening to our 2021-2022 academic year! More details will be published as we confirm state and local protocols.

FITNESS CENTER: MLC students, faculty, staff, and their families, as well as other WELS members, are welcome to use the MLC Fitness Center. For more details regarding hours and access, visit

MLC BOOKSTORE: The MLC Bookstore is open to the public this summer on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. We carry Christian greeting cards, books, piano and organ music, MLC apparel, and much more! We are located on the upper level of the Luther Student Center. Please stop by!

MLC LIBRARY: We once again welcome our community and visitors to the library. The library is open from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. Our library staff look forward to welcoming you back and assisting you with your library needs.

MLC PRINT SERVICES: MLC Print Services, located in the lower level of the Old Main building, welcomes the community back to our shop Monday through Friday, from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. We provide a diverse selection of printing options, from basic copying to large-format printing and bindery. Call 507-233-9140 for more information, or visit

MLC CAFETERIA: As is our normal procedure, the MLC Cafeteria is not serving the public over the summer months since regular classes are not in session. We are looking forward to providing excellent breakfast, lunch, and dinner options when MLC classes start in the fall! Watch for dates and times.

MLC OFFICES: We are open to the public but are temporarily relocated to accommodate a summer rewiring project. Please call 507-354-8221 to make arrangements for your visit.

Thalassa 2021 Winner Announced

The winner of the 2021 Thalassa contest is Cindy Lendt ’09 with her submission, “Hasn’t God Chosen the Poor . . .” Cindy has served in Southeast Asia since September 2019, where she says her work consists of “outreach, doing Bible studies, building relationships, discipleship, etc.”

MLC’s International Services Office is awarding Cindy $1,000, half of which she designated to her Southeast Asia mission. This is the 15th annual Thalassa Prize awarded by MLC.

Hasn’t God Chosen the Poor . . .

Every workday my teammate would bike the 35 minutes to her school and then back home again in the evening, and she started to notice two beggars sitting outside a mall with their large tin cans. This is pretty rare; begging isn’t typically allowed in this city. One day she stopped and talked with them. They wouldn’t say much or go into a restaurant with her, but she ordered takeout and brought it to them. She started cooking larger amounts of food for supper and bringing them home-cooked meals on her way home from school.

That’s when things began to change. They began to talk to her more, and she learned their names: Mr. Zhang and Mr. Fan. She gave them a solar-powered MP3 player with the New Testament in Chinese (the Proclaimer). They loved it! People would be walking by to enter the mall, and there were the two beggars with the New Testament playing loudly for everyone to hear! Some of their friends—a shop owner, a street sweeper, and another person—asked how they could get this MP3 player, so my teammate gave away three more Proclaimers. I’ve been helping with the cooking and delivery, and every time I see them they’re listening to the Bible. Mr. Zhang is blind; I need to put the food container and chopsticks directly into his hands. When I head back for home, they shout out in heavy accents: “gan xie zhu!”—“thank the Lord!”

We’ve known them about four months, and now they’ve asked about going to church. I have no idea how this adventure will continue, but you can guess my prayer: that God would take these physically poor men and make them rich—in him.

Commencement 2021

On Saturday, May 15, 170 students earned degrees marking the completion of their ministerial training at Martin Luther College. This included 32 preseminary Bachelor of Arts degrees, 110 Bachelor of Science in Education degrees (including 18 early childhood education), nine Bachelor of Science degrees, (including one staff ministry degree, six educational studies degrees and two theological studies degrees), two seminary certifications and one staff ministry certification.

In addition, 10 students received their Master of Science in Education degrees, and five students earned their Master of Science in Educational Administration degrees and one received a Master of Arts in Theological Studies.

The Commencement Service in the MLC gymnasium was conducted by presiding minister Rev. James Pope. MLC President Rich Gurgel presented the commencement sermon on the theme, “You Are Servants By and Of Boundless Grace,” and Dr. Jeff Wiechman, vice president for academics, assisted with the distribution of diplomas.

The sermon text chosen by the class, Ephesians 3:7-9, states: “I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.”

Gurgel commended the graduates on their graduation theme. “I am so happy for the verse you chose as your class verse.  The right people are listening to the right message.  Your passage reminds you that the public ministry for which you have all studied, and into which many of you are about to be called, is a great privilege of grace to those who serve in it.”

 Gurgel went on to explain why God would want the graduates to face this reality of ministry.  “He [God] wants you to grasp, as did Paul, the astounding difference between the depth of the sin of your heart and the depth of the grace in the heart of your Savior!  All of which will lead you also to marvel with Paul, as you find yourself called into public ministry, what an astounding gift of grace that is!   Though with Paul we must confess ourselves to be less than least of God’s people.”

That understanding, Gurgel pointed out, will clarify the importance of sharing Paul’s perspective through ministry. “When we recognize that we are servants of the gospel by boundless grace to us, we learn what it means to be servants of boundless grace to others.”

Gurgel assured the graduates, as they apply this grace of God’s word in their classrooms and congregations, “. . . you will know why God has placed you there with them! You who are a servant by boundless grace get to be a servant of boundless grace as you amaze the hearts of those you serve by showring them that where sin abounds, there grace always abounds more.  Such is the boundless nature of the gospel of which you are a servant!

A Message from the President

Dear MLC Family,
Rejoice with us! Our MLC campus is beginning to reopen!
In many ways, this semester has felt like the beginning of a spring thaw after a long winter! For the first time in three challenging semesters, God has permitted us to be only three weeks away from completing an entire semester together on campus!
During this semester, our campus family’s patience with admittedly annoying COVID protocols has enabled us to be one of the only schools in our athletic conference that did not cancel a single game or match because of our responses to the virus. God has seen fit to bless us as we have studied and worshiped, worked and played together here on the hill.
All of that leads to that eagerly anticipated reopening of campus to those beyond our current students, faculty, and staff.
That first step of reopening MLC’s campus will occur during graduation week. Our graduates have already been given the opportunity to reserve places for their invited guests. Those guests will be welcome at our Commencement concerts on Friday, May 14, at 4:00 pm and 7:30 pm, and at our combined Graduation/Call Day service on Saturday, May 15, at 10:00 am. These events will also be livestreamed.
Please also allow us to thank the faculty members who agreed to give up their seats at graduation to create maximum space for our graduates’ guests.
Some have wondered whether we considered the possibility of having our Graduation/Call Day service outside in our football bowl. According to current Minnesota guidelines for large gatherings, however, our socially distanced seating capacity is actually greater in our gymnasium than in our football bowl.
In addition, our streaming capabilities in the gym will provide a far higher quality livestream for our invited guests who will be watching the stream in our chapel and auditorium, as well as for those who will be watching at home all around the synod.
And all this is only a prelude to a fuller reopening of our campus. This summer, God willing, we plan to host several class reunions and sports camps, which will provide us practice runs for this fall!
While only God knows the details of the future, we are expecting a return to regular campus life for the 2021-2022 school year! That will include welcoming back to campus our students’ families, our emeriti, our alumni, and the rest of our extended MLC family. It will be good to see and greet many of you in person—not just virtually!
Please pray for God’s blessings on our graduates! Pray for many students to join us on the hill again this fall! The harvest is still plentiful, and the workers are still few. So keep asking for the Lord of that harvest to bless us with young women and men willing to consider the public gospel ministry!
In Him,
Rich Gurgel