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Lutheran Bishop from Germany visits Salzburger Society
Bishop Axel Piper
Local Lutheran pastors met with a visiting bishop from Germany. Pictured from left: Pastor Wilma Garing of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Garden City; Pastor Jill Henning, assistant to the bishop; Sabine Piper; Bishop Kevin Strickland; Bishop Axel Piper; Pastor Christoph Burger, and Pastor Rick Johnson. (Submitted photo)

By Pastor Rick Johnson

Special to the Effingham Herald


On April 17, the congregation of Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Georgia Salzburger Society and museum welcomed friends from the German companion synod in the Augsburg and Swabia District of the EKDB (Evangelical Church in Bavaria).

Bishop Axel Piper, his wife Sabine, and Pastor Christoph Burger visited Nashville, Atlanta, Savannah, and specifically asked for time to see the Salzburger Museum and historical Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ebenezer.  

Christoph Burger, Kevin Strickland, and Axel Piper
Pastor Christoph Burger with Bishops Kevin Strickland and Axel Piper at the Jerusalem Church amphitheater on the Savannah River. (Submitted photo)
Bishop Kevin Strickland of the Southeastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and Pastor Jill Henning, assistant to the bishop, accompanied the Pipers and Pastor Burger on their trip and tour. Members of the Georgia Salzburger society and local Lutheran pastors joined in meeting and lunch in the Jerusalem social hall.  

Bishops Piper and Strickland renewed the formal agreement between the Church District of Augsburg and Swabia and the Southeastern Synod for another 10 years at an event in Savannah. Bishop Strickland spoke of “welcoming and meeting family… distant cousins” during the gathering at Jerusalem. Bishop Piper also spoke of the shared family of faith and the origins of the original Salzburger settlement and Jerusalem Lutheran Church dating back to 1734.

“When family gathers, there is understanding,” Bishop Piper said.