Southeastern Synod ELCA

Bishop Kevin Strickland Announces New DEM's / Assistants to the Bishop

September 19, 2019

Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I am pleased to announce the calls of the Rev. Patricia (Patti) Axel and Ms. Melissa Fuller Sims to the Southeastern Synod staff, to serve as the two new Assistants to the Bishop and Directors for Evangelical Mission (DEM). Ms. Fuller Sims, currently serving as the Interim Administrative Liaison for Candidacy, will transition to this new role on October 1. As Pr. Axel currently serves Nativity, Bethlehem, GA, her transition will be a phased process from October 1 through 9. Both DEMs will be installed with the rest of the staff at the Cathedral of St. Philip, Saturday, October 5, 2:00 p.m., as a part of my installation as bishop.
 
I shared with you in July a prayer that has been my guide during this transition; a prayer which I pray will continue to 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."

Praise God!

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Bishop 

The Reverend Patricia (Patti) Axel,
Assistant to the Bishop and Director for Evangelical Mission

Pastor Patti Axel has served Nativity Lutheran Church first as a Mission Developer Apprentice while finishing seminary and then as Mission Developer when she was ordained in July 2008. Nativity was organized in 2013 and she has been the called Pastor since then. She has served on the Evangelism Task Force, the Board of Lutheran Campus Ministry, the Personal Committee and most recently the Mission Outreach and Redevelopment Committee (MORC).

A graduate of Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Pastor Axel and took classes the first three years through the Lutheran Center at ITC. She interned at St. James Lutheran Church in Norcross. She and her family were long time members at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Atlanta which became Living Grace, Tucker when they merged with St. Michael's, Chamblee. She served on the Transition Team for the merger of those two churches and was active in Evangelism while on Council at St. Matthew. 

Pastor Axel is a second career pastor who previously worked for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston and was a Nurse Manager in the NICU. She and her husband Jeff have two adult children, Lauren and Ryan, and three adorable grandchildren.

With a  passion for Evangelism, Pastor Axel looks forward to working out in the Mission Field with you!


Ms. Melissa Fuller Sims, 
Assistant to the Bishop and Director for Evangelical Mission

 

Ms. Melissa Fuller Sims has served on the Southeastern Synod staff since July 2018 as the Interim Administrative Liaison for Candidacy. For the ten years prior, she served as a member of the Candidacy Committee. Her support of the synod includes serving on the synod council for one year representing the Trinity Conference; chairing the Kessler Scholarship committee; serving as a volunteer for the ELCA Youth Gathering and several synod assemblies. Currently, she serves as a member of the Umoyo Steering Committee and the Advisory Board for Trinity Lutheran Seminary at Capital University.
 
As a 15-year employee, Ms. Fuller Sims retired from McKesson Corporation as Director of Quality Assurance, where she led a team of managers and a staff of 50 contributors in the development of clinical applications. She received her education at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, FL and DeVry Institute in Decatur, GA. She is a member of Lutheran Church of the Atonement, Atlanta, GA, where she has held various roles including president, vice president, and treasurer.

Melissa is the proud mom of an adult daughter, Charlisa, who resides in Decatur, GA.