An Intimate Portrait Of...A Dedicated ServantWritten by Paul F. Nolting, printed in the September, 1986, Lutheran Spokesman
Roland A. Gurgel-born of a teacher and his wife; born to teach and preach! That's it.
But that's not all of it. His impress lives on. Without donning a robe of camel's hair and a leather girdle he could make the prophets come back to life. He could proclaim their ancient but timeless messages to students at their desks and parishioners in the pew.
For so many history has been made dull and boring by dates, battle, dynasties, impersonal personages. But Prof. Gurgel had a way of breathing life into the mummies of Ancient Egypt and into the citizens of the various nations and tribes that marched back and forth across that little land of Palestine where God's chosen people lived and waited for the Coming One.
In Classroom and Pulpit
He was involved and he got his students involved. Enthusiasm bred enthusiasm. No one can remember a day when Prof. Gurgel stepped into the classroom unprepared. Students didn't attempt to get him off the subject. It was always "Avante" (forward!) with gusto. Any distraction evaporated with but a look in the direction of the potential offender.
In pulpit it was rapid fire, brief and to the point. The "Amen" came as you were still trying to catch your breath while waiting for more. The message was scriptural, Christ-centered, but down to earth. A quarter of a century later one lady still remembers an exhortation to her congregation that had become sluggish in stewardship. Leaning over the pulpit, Pasotor Gurgel exclaimed: "f Jesus Christ came to town, you fellows don't give enough to buy him a beer and a hamburger."
In the Home
Discipline there was, both in the classroom and home! The undersigned has spent many an hour in the Gurgel home. One of the boys gave up his bed; another plate was set at the table- during the days the Coordinating Council met. Rigorous discipline in the home was tempered by quiet love and understanding that came from Lois, his devoted wife. Behind every successful man the Lord places a woman. In her quiet, uncomplaining way Lois held the household together, and provided the necessary ingredients for a truly Christian home that resounded with the chatter and clatter of nine children. All of them have served, or are serving, their Lord in the teaching and preaching ministry. They have presented their parents with 39 grandchildren.
Dedicated to the Gospel of his Lord Jesus, he marched into the fray of the church militant, counting all things loss for the truth of the Gospel. He has retired, but his memory remains as students reminisce of the ILC days and parishioners think back to their former pastor.
We thank the Lord of the gift given us in the teaching and preaching ministry of Pastor and Professor Roland A. Gurgel. May his remaining years be filled with pleasant memories and hopefully still more fruitful work in the Vineyard of his Lord.