Interim Director Concludes Service

We thank Professor Erin Meissner (pictured) for her three semesters of service as interim director of instrumental music while Professor Miles Wurster pursued his graduate studies.

Here’s an excerpt of Professor Meissner’s departure letter:

“Within the rehearsal setting, concert performances, and interactions with one another, I witnessed firsthand the transformative power of music—as an edifying aesthetic expression and unifying force, certainly, but more significantly as a vehicle for the expression and profession of sincere faith.

At several points during the course of my three semesters at MLC I have remarked to my students about the privilege of teaching in an environment where all students share the same faith. We can speak it, sing it, play it, and pray our faith corporately. It is an awesome and profound blessing. . . .

I marvel at the young men and women the Lord is raising up to serve his people and at the talented and dedicated faculty and staff called to teach, direct, guide, and support them. I shall forever consider it a blessing to have served among you.”

CashCourse at MLC

In order to provide important financial information to students on campus, MLC has partnered with CashCourse – a non-profit organization that provides financial education courses. Students have different topics to complete online each year, and the application of these resources helps them make better financial decisions. Last year over 300 students – in small groups or individual consultation – were served with important financial information through the work of MLC’s Financial Literacy Coordinator, JoElyn Krohn.

Each year CashCourse tracks the schools that utilize these resources. Once again, MLC has made the national top 10 list for web engagement and has also been granted the 2018 Reimbursement Program to help promote the CashCourse resources. This spring the financial literacy program will offer monthly drawings to encourage students to increase their financial literacy.

For more information on MLC’s ranking through CashCourse, visit their website.

Books for Africa

Anchor, MLC’s student led, service organization, will host a book drive January 22 through February 10, 2017 to help kids in Africa receive proper reading materials. While at home over Christmas break, please consider bringing some of your lightly used books back to campus for this wonderful cause.

A few of Books for Africa’s guidelines are below:

“We send textbooks, other reference books, and leisure reading (paperback and hardcover novels, picture books, etc.) that are less than 15 years old and in great condition (no “dog ears,” compromised bindings, etc.). Picture/reading books for primary aged children are greatly desired. School supplies (like pens, paper, rulers, etc.) are also desired.

We do not send Spanish or any other foreign language books. As we are interested in sending books that are culturally relevant to an African learner, please do not donate books about American History/ Government/holidays/culture/self-help. We no longer ship academic journals, used encyclopedia sets or National Geographic magazines.”

Archives Going into Hibernation Status

We owe a debt of gratitude to Lois Bode DMLC ’67, Kelly Diersen DMLC ’95, and the volunteers who have done so much to help preserve and present the history of our blessed school. Many of the historical articles featured in InFocus magazine through the years were made possible due to our Archives team.

Lois Bode freely gave many hours each week as our volunteer archivist for several years. In 2016, Kelly Diersen was hired by the MLC Alumni Association as a temporary archives project manager. Kelly’s temporary funding will come to a close December 15.

With the loss of these two key leaders and no funding available, the MLC Archives will go into a hibernation status as of December 15. To prevent loss or damage to items currently in the Archives, access will be prohibited. New items will still be welcomed and safely stored, but they will not be processed or researched. It is our goal that at some point in the future, an archivist will be hired to revive our efforts.

To learn more, visit


Professor Paul Koelpin WLS ’90 and Professors Emeriti Daniel Deutschlander WLS ’68 and Arnold Koelpin WLS ’58 were featured in the Luther documentary, A Return to Grace: Luther’s Life and Legacy. Paul Koelpin (pictured) also appeared in Martin Luther: The Idea that Changed the World.

As Reformation historians, the professors offered context and commentary on this world-altering movement and its lasting effects. Both films were made by Boettcher + Trinklein Inc, the Emmy Award-winning production company of WELS members Steve Boettcher and Mike Trinklein. The Idea that Changed the World was featured on PBS in September. It’s available on Netflix and on DVD from PBS. A Return to Grace played in churches and select cinemas. It is available on DVD from Northwestern Publishing House.

Luther’s Christmas Pageant

Adapted by Professor Emeritus Arnold Koelpin

“Luther on Christmas Eve” was painted by Bernhard Plockhurst in 1887.

Martin Luther liked to celebrate Christmas with the freshness and spontaneity of a child. He composed the Christmas hymn “From Heaven Above to Earth I Come” to be enacted as a family Christmas pageant. Published in 1535, it may well have been written for the previous Christmas, when his son Hans was 8 and his daughter Lenchen was 5.

Imagine: Near the Christmas tree stood a cradle. Most likely Luther himself, with his fine tenor voice, took the part of the angel and sang stanzas 1-2, where the angel announced: “From heaven above to earth I come to bear good news to every home.” Perhaps his wife, Katie, continued the angel’s announcement in stanzas 3-4, and then together, in stanza 5, they invited the children to come to the cradle.

The Luther children, like shepherds, were probably waiting not far from the cradle: John (Hans), Elizabeth, Magdalena (Lenchen), Martin, Paul, and Margaret. “Look now, you children, at the sign” was their cue. They took up the song at stanza 6: “How glad we’ll be that it is so! With all the shepherds let us go.”

We can imagine them approaching the cradle, individually or together, as they sang each of the subsequent stanzas, marveling at the Christ-child and inviting him into their hearts. And finally, the entire family joined in the closing doxology of stanza 15: “Glory to God in highest heaven!”

You can reenact this inclusive and intimate family Christmas pageant in your home, whether you have just a few people or a large group. Find the pageant, with hymn stanzas and the easy-to-use instructions, at

Note: *Elizabeth died in infancy, but we have included her in the pageant nonetheless.

Let the Children Come!

Dr. David Wendler Wins Outstanding Service Award

Dr. David Wendler, Professor Emeritus DMLC ’70, received an Outstanding Service Award from the University Council of Jamaica, the accreditation agency for that country. He has worked many years both as a member of the Education Standards Committee, which sets accreditation standards for their colleges and universities, and as an assessor of the quality of the institutions. He received the award at the 30th Anniversary Awards Luncheon in Kingston, Jamaica, in October.

This feature was originally published in the MLC InFocus, Spring 2018 issue.

Trinity Christian Early Childhood Centre – St. Lucia

A Servant Teaches How To Serve

At Trinity Christian Early Childhood Centre-St. Lucia, director and teacher Evodia Cassius-Noel ’16 is a servant of the Word and of her young students. And she makes sure her students are learning to serve others as well. The church and school are in an area of the island that is considered problematic, she says. “Before enrolling in our school, many of the students had not been exposed to books, physical activity, or simple things like shopping in the supermarket or interacting with people beyond their families.”

Donors pay 50-75% of the students’ tuition, allowing them to attend this Christian centre that introduces them to the world—and also to the Word. “Students are learning how much God loves them,” Evodia says.

And then their teacher leads them to share that love in their community. “We do random acts of love—small service projects for the public. To date we have given candy canes and the Christmas message to the staff of the special education unit on our island, donated money to the children’s orphanage, and served tea and coffee to people in the Bisee community on their way to work.”

The preschool is small, with 16 students aged 2-5, but the impact they are making on their community is large. People are noticing, and enrollment is on the rise.

Evodia is grateful. Originally from St. Lucia herself, she gave up a few seasons of St. Lucia sun for Minnesota snow so she could earn her early childhood education degree from MLC and then come back home and make a difference. That’s the kind of servant she is.

Adapted from CLS e-News, a publication of WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools (September 6, 2017).