January 2022

Dear church,
Happy New Year and greetings in this season of Epiphany that we enter. We hear from the prophet Isaiah, “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you.” (Isaiah 60:1-2)
Hard to see and feel the light that has arisen and shone among us these days. It seems like the darkness covering the earth is more felt and experienced. Especially, when the pandemic continues to wreak havoc among us and challenge our day-to-day lives. It feels as if it won’t go away and we are all exhausted. What now are we to do? What now are we to say?
Bishop Anne Edison-Albright recently wrote some helpful words and I ask you heed these:
“You have likely noticed a difference. More people have Covid. While numbers have been high, very high and critically high in our synod for months, the Omicron surge has made a noticeable difference. We’ve heard hopeful predictions that things may be better in 4-6 weeks, but that also these next 4-6 weeks are going to be very hard on our already overburdened hospitals, schools, and other systems that keep us healthy and safe.  
“For the next 4-6 weeks, you and your congregation can make a difference by committing to your safest possible practices. For some congregations, that may mean going online, or finding ways to move parts of your ministry online for 4-6 weeks. For congregations in areas where online gathering is not possible, masks, distancing, good ventilation and other layered mitigation is more important than ever for those who gather in-person.”

The synod staff and I will also make changes as needed to our travel and plans related to synod, region, and churchwide events over the next 4-6 weeks as we mitigate the risk of Covid and the Omicron surge. We ask that you do the same. We make these mitigations and changes as we continue to love our neighbors. We ask that you do the same.
For more information about our synod Covid guidance, ecumenical worship guidance, and CDC guidance, please see our synod page at:
I know you are tired, exhausted, and just plain done with this virus. I am too! But we continue to proclaim the God we know in Jesus and in doing so, we know that the light shines in the darkens and the darkness does not overcome it. Not the darkness of Covid or any of its variants. Thank you for the continued care, love, and fervent faithfulness you continue to show your neighbor. You are being Christ light! Continue to love your neighbor and help us all fight this pandemic.
Know that your work in the Lord is not in vain. May the prayer of Epiphany guide you in your days and nights: Let us pray. “Almighty and ever-living God, you revealed the incarnation of your Son by the brilliant shining of a star. Shine the light of your justice always in our hearts and over all lands.   Accept our lives as the treasure we offer in your praise and for your service, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.”

May it be so! Amen.

+ The Reverend Kevin L. Strickland, Bishop


p.s. Please CLICK HERE if you would like a PDF copy of this letter.


ELCA-Southeastern Synod

Physical Address and address for UPS and FedEx
c/o St. John's Lutheran Church
1410 Ponce de Leon Avenue NE
Atlanta, GA, 30307

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

Phone: 404-589-1977
Fax: 404-521-1980