Pastoral Message from Bishop Strickland

Regarding Mission Support



Here is an excerpt from his letter...

As people of faith, we hold a truly unique perspective on life.  God’s economy—an abundance that is more than we could ever earn.  A responsibility that is larger and more energizing than we could have ever imagined.  A message the world hungers.  A generosity that changes lives and strengthens lifelines.

I give thanks to the many of you who have and continue to respond with glad and generous hearts. I am fully aware that these times we live in are trying, and many have been affected financially because of this pandemic. As a synod, we count on the generosity of your mission support to proclaim the gospel message of God’s grace in word and deed.

We continue to run well behind the pledged mission support. This is not a trend that will allow us to continue to function at the level we are, doing the things we have been called to do to support you, or plan effectively for the future into which God has called us. I encourage you to please let us know if you are having financial difficulty as a congregation and if you are behind or need to change your pledged mission support. I also encourage you if you have not given and can, please do so.

Your generosity continues to change lives, and I remain grateful for each of you. I look forward to hearing from you and know that my prayers continue to surround you, uphold you, and abide with you in this time.

In Christ,



News From Around the Synod

Welcome to our NEW Synod Council Members!!!

On Sunday, June 6, 2020, the Synod Council gathered to elect new Synod Council members to serve terms for June 2020-June 2022.

Click HERE to see who has been elected and who is continuing their terms.


Synod Grants $49,800 to 19 Congregations!

In response to the great need in our synod during this pandemic, $49,800 has already been distributed to 19 of our congregations in all four of our states. These funds have come from our Synod’s Strategic Initiative Fund plus grants from generous donors across the ELCA. We give God thanks for those who continue to support the work of the church and continue to spread God’s message of hope and love in the midst of this crisis.

Click HERE to learn about which congregations were awarded funds and what ministry they are continuing with these funds.


Partners in Celebration - Atlanta Teluga Mission

The Partners in Celebration Program provides an intentional way for interested individuals and Southeastern Synod congregations to support new church starts and redevelopment efforts through targeted financial contributions.

Our highlighted ministry for July – September 2020 is the Atlanta Telugu Mission located at Christ the King Lutheran Church, Peachtree Corners, Georgia. This ministry to first-generation Telugu speaking immigrants from southeast India is a Synod Authorized Worshipping Community. The first Telugu Worship Service was held in September 2012.

CLICK HERE to read more about the Atlanta Teluga Mission


Dial-In Sermons AVAILABLE in both English & Spanish

Ever since in-person worship services were restricted (due to COVID-19), our synod staff has been providing weekly sermons to allow your pastor a time of respite, or simply to expand the voices that your congregation hears.

We provide a weekly sermon that you can access through our web page HERE.  These are available in English AND Spanish!

Also, you can download the PDF version of the sermon, and the video (in English, in .mp4 format).   These downloads are typically available by Friday at noon.

You can also DIAL-IN to hear the current week's sermon, as well as the previous 3 weeks!    You can access these sermons by dialing: 



The Rev. Virginia Aebischer Elected Bishop of South Carolina Synod

The Rev. Virginia Aebischer was elected July 25 to serve a six-year term as bishop of the South Carolina Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

Click HERE to read more.


Recent Racial Justice webinars

In July 2020, we held two very helpful webinars to advance our pursuit of racial justice.   We watched Just Mercy and had a panel discussion on prison reform and racial tensions in the South.    We also hosted in interview with Bishop Kevin Strickland and the Rev. Rob Lee IV (a descendant of Gen. Robert E. Lee).   

To see the replays of these webinars and to see links to resources regarding racial justice and more, please visit our synod's Diversity and Justice web page.


COVID -19 Risk Assessment tool from Georgia Tech

As this global pandemic continues it is difficult to know what is safe to do in your geographical area.  Georgia Institute of Technology has developed an interactive map (FOUND HERE) that allows you to put your zip code in to see your percentage of risk of contracting COVID-19 based on the number of people in attendance.

The Southeastern Synod COVID-19 Taskforce invites you to check out the risks in your area and reminds you to continue to wear your face covering when you leave your home and are in public. Remember to physically distance of at least 6 feet from others, and to wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer.  You should also clean frequently used areas and stay home if either yourself or someone you have been in contact with is having symptoms.  We all can do our part to mitigate the risks of this disease.

CLICK HERE to check out this interactive map.


Creation Justice Ministries Celebrates Passage of Great American Outdoors Act

Rev. Clifford Bahlinger (St. Luke, Memphis, TN), a former Park Ranger with the National Park Service and an advocate for Creation Justice, expressed his thanks (in this Creation Justice Ministries article): "The Great American Outdoors Act" is a major victory for our parks. Fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund creates a fixed funding source as we go forward."

Click HERE to read the rest of the news article regarding this recent legislation.


For Our Leaders

Council Leaders Webinar (Round 4)

Monday, August 3, 7pm EDT / 6pm CDT

With numbers on the rise in all four states, we realize that we are all still struggling to navigate a path forward.  We hope to work together to provide guidance for you in these unprecedented times.  Our synod staff will share what resources are already in place and wish to hear from you about what is most needed in your contexts.  We thank you for joining in this ministry we do together.


POSTPONED - Region 9 Rostered Women's Gathering

The Region 9 Rostered Women's Gathering scheduled for November 2020 has been postponed until Fall 2021 due to the virus and concerns for the health and well being of our pastors and deacons.


My Pocket Preacher - A New Web and App for Ministry

Here is a note from Pastor Mary Anderson, the creator of this website and app:   

For the past two years, I’ve been creating an on-line ministry platform called MyPocketPreacher. It’s for everybody, but I created it mostly for those who are not engaged in a brick-and-mortar congregation. In our rapidly changing community some have dropped out of our congregations, some stand on the edge with a vague spirituality, some are very skeptical, and some have no place to take their prayer concerns, theological ponderings, or questions about the Bible. I created this platform for them as I continue to learn more from them.

Click HERE to read more.


Health & Wellness

Webinar - Help with Burnout and Fatigue (for rostered ministers)

Tuesday, August 18, 11am EDT / 10am CDT

Are you a rostered minister experiencing compassion fatigue, burnout, or secondary trauma?   Do you know a rostered minister experiencing these - or similar - issues?   The Southeastern Synod Mental Health Task Force is here to help.


Webinar - Trauma-Informed Care (for rostered ministers)

Tuesday, August 25, 11am EDT / 10am CDT

Trauma-informed care is the open-mindedness and compassion that all people deserve, because anyone can have a history that impacts their encounter with a rostered minister who wishes to give care.   Come and learn from medical professionals how we can approach care in the most healthy way possible.


Southeastern Synod Unveils NEW Mental Health Website!

In response to the 2019 Synod Assembly resolution regarding much-needed work in the Mental Health arena, the synod's Mental Health Task Force is proud to share this new website resource for you.

Many are unsure of which resources to trust.   We are here to help with that process.  Check out this website for mental health resources in our four states of GA, AL, MS, and TN.

NOTE:  This will take you a different web page, even though it is linked from our website's Ministries tab.


Blog Post:  "Good To Know"

from Connie Pearson, RN, MN

For several months I have resisted writing about Covid-19 because the facts presented on this organism seem to be changing on a daily basis. What is not changing is our need to understand what the organism really is, how it works and how we can protect ourselves and others as the pandemic continues to spread and infect thousands across the world.

Click HERE to read what is "Good to Know" in preventing the spread of COVID-19.


Children, Youth & Young Adult

ELCA Youth Gathering POSTPONED from 2021 to 2022

The new dates for the next ELCA Youth Gathering are now July 24-28, 2022, with the additional MYLE and tAble events being held July 21-24, 2022.

Click here to learn more about the updates and updated timelines for the ELCA Youth Gathering in 2022.


"Light the Fire" - NovusWay Day of Giving - July 29th

Announcement from NovusWay:

As part of the Light the Fire Appeal for Summer Camp 2021, we are hosting a Day of Giving on Wednesday, July 29th 2020. We will be live at the top of every hour from each of our social media pages on Facebook and YouTube.  (These links are for Lutheridge, but you can go to your favorite camp's social media.)

Goals for the day is 500 gifts! (250 Recurring Gifts and 250 "Above and Beyond" Gifts)

Click HERE to learn more and to see how you can give.


Rostered Leaders Transitions
  • Calls Accepted:
    • Rev. Amy Figg - Senior Pastor, St. John's, Knoxville, TN (formerly Associate Pastor, St. John's, Knoxville)
    • Rev. Randy Jones - Pastor, First United, Kennesaw, GA (formerly in term call)
    • Rev. Mary Amrstrong-Reiner - 2-year Term Call, St. John's, Griffin, GA (formerly Interim Pastor)
    • Mr. Jason Davis - Associate Pastor, St. Mark's, Huntsville, TN
  • Transfers:
    • Rev. Gerry Rickel - Retired, from Southeastern Ohio Synod
    • Rev. David Bradford - Retired, from Delaware-Maryland Synod
  • Bishop Elections:
    • Rev. Craig Schweitzer - Western North Dakota Synod
    • Rev. Virginia Aebischer - South Carolina Synod


Prayers and Concerns



Upcoming Events


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Blessing for Teachers and Students

God our creator,

you surround us with the marvels of this world
and give us the ability to explore the mysteries of creation.
You fill the earth with the Spirit of wisdom
and inspire us to search for the truth.
You have sent us prophets and teachers
as witnesses to your love for us.
You have come among us in Jesus Christ
to teach us your saving truth by word and example.

Help us to enjoy our learning together
and enable us to take delight in exploration.
Give us patience in our studies
and strength to meet new challenges.
We make this prayer in the name of Jesus,
who is the way, the truth, and the life,
now and forever.




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St. John's Lutheran Church
Physical Address:
1410 N Ponce de Leon Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30307


Mailing Address:
P. O. Box 400
Decatur, GA 30031


As always, please feel free to visit our website for more information:




For questions or concerns regarding our regular or special enews, please contact: Rev. Michael Jannett - Assistant to the Bishop for Formation and Communication


The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Southeastern Synod,
c/o St. John's Lutheran Church, 1410 Ponce de Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307