Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! I pray this finds you well in these summer days. I am ending my call in Chicago, preparing for Churchwide Assembly, and Robby and I prepare to move to Atlanta in two weeks. There are a lot of transitions in these days. I wanted to take this opportunity to inform you about a few of these transitions that affect the synod staff.
After much prayer and discernment, I have called Pastor Michael Jannett, Pastor Karen Boda, and Pastor Jill Henning to serve as Assistants to the Bishop. All three will begin their calls on September 1st. Below in this e-mail, you can find more information about them. In the next few weeks, I will also be announcing the new Assistant to the Bishop and Director for Evangelical Mission. Pastor Everett Flanigan, Administrative Dean for the Lutheran Theological Center in Atlanta and Assistant to the Bishop, Mr. Hilton Austin, Director of Advocacy, and the office administrative staff: Ms. Holly Liersch, Deacon Jeanette Burgess, and Ms. Carolyn Davis will be continuing their work and faithful service. All of these persons will be installed with me on October 5th at 2:00 pm at the Cathedral of St. Philip, Atlanta, GA.
It is with thankful hearts that we bid farewell to Pastor Ben Moravitz, who will end his call as Assistant to the Bishop and Pastor Dale Sillik, who will end his contract as Interim Assistant to the Bishop, both on August 31st. With the same sentiments, we say goodbye to Directors for Evangelical Mission, Mr. Wayne Fell and Pastor John Mocko, who will end their calls on September 13th; Mr. Jordan Slappey, Hunger Fellow, who will be attending seminary; and Ms. Melissa Fuller Sims, Interim Administrative Liaison for Candidacy, who will complete her contract work at the end of September. Dr. Sandra Gustavson will retire from her role as Fiscal Advisor but will continue to do contract work for the synod as needed. These faithful servants have served the synod well, and we are stronger and better for them.
We also continue to pray for Bishop H. Julian Gordy, Pastor Morgan Gordy, and their family in this time of transition for them and offer our continued gratitude for his twelve years of excellent leadership and ministry.
In the midst of all of this transition, change, and discernment, this prayer has been my guide these past weeks, and I pray it will be yours too: “O God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
I look forward to journeying with you, together, in faith.
+Bishop-Elect Kevin Strickland
The Reverend Karen Boda,
Assistant to the Bishop for Congregational Life
The Assistant to the Bishop for Congregational Life will have oversight of the mobility process and Global Mission relationships. She will work with the Director of Evangelical Mission in the areas of stewardship and justice ministries.
Since 2016, Pastor Karen Boda has served at Faith, Clay, AL, just north of Birmingham. In addition to the pastor of the congregation, she serves as chaplain and board member for the preschool and is also active with ecumenical partners in community worship and feeding programs. She is a synod dean and member of the Synod Compensation, Personnel, and Discipline Committees. She also represents the synod in the Region 9 Women in Ministry Core Team and previously served two terms on synod council.
Pastor Boda graduated from Candler School of Theology at Emory University and did her Lutheran year through the Atlanta Lutheran Formation Experience (ALFE) and affiliation with Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (LTSS). She interned at St. Luke, Atlanta, GA. She and her family were long-time members at Resurrection, Marietta, GA. She is a second-career pastor, having previously been a director in customer support at Hewlett Packard and a partner in a small management consulting firm. Pastor Boda and her husband, Alan, have three adult children, Brian, Katherine, and Allison, and a sweet pup named Rosie. All of the Bodas attended Furman University, Greenville, SC and their blood runs purple.
The Reverend Jill Henning
Assistant to the Bishop for Leadership and Administration
The Assistant to the Bishop for Leadership and Administration will have oversight of the candidacy process, synod assembly, leadership convocation, and will assist with the mobility process in Georgia. She will also develop leadership opportunities throughout the synod.
Pastor Jill Jeffries Henning received her BS in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 1991 and her MDiv at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in 1995. She served Trinity, Lilburn, GA, as co-pastor from 1995 until 2016, when she went on leave from call to undergo treatment for cancer. Beginning July 2018, she volunteered as the Interim Liaison for Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Southeastern Synod.
Throughout her time in the Southeastern Synod, Pastor Henning served on a number of task forces and committees including a variety of roles at Affirm and as the Dean of the Magi Conference. She supported Bishop H. Julian Gordy as the Coordinator of the Deans, 2013 - 2019. She has been a voting member of the ELCA Churchwide Assembly and was the Volunteer Coordinator and Hospitality Chair for the 2016 ELCA Rostered Ministers Gathering. She is married to Pastor Matt Henning, Community of Grace, Grayson, GA. Together they have two daughters, Sarah, a recent graduate of the University of Georgia who will be serving as a Young Adult in Global Mission in Mexico next year and Ashleigh who is a rising Junior at Grayson High School and a part of the SESLYO board.
The Reverend Michael Jannett,
Assistant to the Bishop for Formation and Communication
The Assistant to the Bishop for Formation and Communication will have oversight of youth, young adult, and campus ministries in our synod. He will oversee the communications of the synod and create opportunities for congregations to enhance and implement technology as an effective ministry tool. As needed, he will work with other assistants in the areas of candidacy and mobility.
Much of Pastor Jannett's faith formation occurred in the ELCA Southeastern Synod, where he was a member of All Saints, Lilburn, GA, for his middle school, high school, and college years. During his college years, he was active in the campus ministry of Georgia Tech and even served on the board for one year. Prior to his entrance into candidacy, he was the youth director at All Saints for one year. In 2007, he earned an MDiv from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Columbia, SC, and was ordained at Rock of Ages, Stone Mountain, GA, on June 30.
Pastor Jannett’s first call (2007-2011) was to serve as pastor of St. James, Greeneville, TN, where he embraced his identity as a parish pastor with a kind, caring rural congregation. Beginning in 2011, he served Advent, Murfreesboro, TN, helping the congregation connect to God, to one another, and to the wider community. Pastor Jannett has held leadership roles in synod and regional youth ministry, in events like Affirm, Teens Encounter Christ (TEC), Happening, All-State Youth Gatherings, and ELCA Youth Gatherings. He also enjoys bringing his Georgia Tech Computer Science degree to bear on modern-day ministry opportunities and integrating new technologies into congregational life to help spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Pastor Jannett is the husband of Kelly Jannett, and they are parents to three wonderful children: Dylan, Ansley, and Shea. With a deep passion to help make disciples of Jesus Christ, Pastor Jannett looks forward to meeting you and serving alongside you in the mutual ministry to come.