Bethlehem Lutheran Church

                                   and Early Childhood Center

"Caught in grace, created for service, called into community"
In This Issue

Sunday Mornings... 

Worship Services   8:00am, 9:00am, and 10:30 am


Learning Circles 

(Pre - 6th)

9:00 am


(7th - 12th)

10:30 am


Contact Us


Rev. Laura Ziehl 
Senior Pastor 
Ext 2
Jonathan Garman
Youth Director
Judy Foland
Office Administrator
Ext 1
Chris Matthews
Director of Children's Ministry

Quick Links

February 2017

News and Events

From Pastor Laura

Dear people of Bethlehem,
Thank you for the voices you lay in the world. Thank you for being the people of God in witness to grace and hope. Jesus words to his disciples began with blessing. "Blessed are you . . ." Blessed in times of sorrow and mercy and in the work of peace. May you be blessed this day in all that you do. In the work of your hands and the hope of your heart. May the God who created you, bless your creative work. May the son who died and rose for you, accompany you and raise you up.   May the Spirit's breath in you give you renewed hope and joy in this day.
The high school summer trip is planned and we are excited. We will be joining with St. Andrews in a combined mission trip for the first time. The dates of the trip are July 15-22, 2017. This is a change from the scheduled dates for the past few years, so please mark your calendars and pass the word along. The date change was necessary to coordinate this year's trip. I am sorry for any inconvenience this causes. We will be working with an organization called Praying Pelican. Praying Pelican will be coordinating the work sites, the church that will house the students and providing the food. We will be responsible for small groups, worship and the remainder of the trip. St. Andrews is very excited to be joining with us. I have heard the same from the students on both sides. Marisa Smith, the interim youth director for St. Andrews, is coordinating the trip. There will be a meeting in the sanctuary for all high school students and parents on Sunday February 19th at 11:30 am.   An update for you on the youth director hiring process. The interview team has begun its work. The team consisted of members from both congregations, including 2 youth members. The job description has been widely disseminated in both church bodies. We have received multiple applications and will begin interviewing after February 10th, with the goal of having someone in place by April 1, 2017.
Our annual meeting was held Jan. 22nd. The congregation passed bylaws for the endowment committee and you will be hearing more from them about the opportunities available to you. The constitutional changes passed easily and we are now an all inclusive church and will be recognized as a Reconciled in Christ congregation. This means that we will continue, in a new way, to be who we have always been: a place of intentional welcome for all. Thank you to all who came to the annual meeting and added your voices.
Mary Shaima is beginning a class on American Lutheranism in February. A wonderful opportunity to come and learn more of our Lutheran heritage. It is an interesting story. We will be beginning a Spiritual Gifts class during lent. If you are interested in exploring, in a new way, the gifts God has given you and how you might use those gifts in God's world, please contact Laure Reynolds.
If there is a ministry you would like to begin, if their is an idea you would like to share, please let me know. Each day is a new opportunity to live in God's grace. Each day is new opportunity to live out that grace in God's world. We are church together.
God's blessings,
Pastor Laura

From Mary Shaima, Diaconal Associate

In this season of Epiphany, our Sunday lessons are imbued with images of light, and we see in the sanctuary the color of green: green for growth in God.


With the recent rains (thanks be to God!) we are also seeing green all around us. Where I live in Fallbrook, areas that used to look like scorched earth are now carpeted in young green growth. The plants around my house that had withdrawn into themselves are reaching their branch tips towards the sun, refreshed and hydrated by the rain. You can almost hear them deeply breathing in the moist air.
Of course, we are still almost two months away from spring. And as a skier, I wait with baited breath for winter - the more snow in the mountains, the better! Our church year, however, doesn't wait for the vernal equinox to get us into growth mode - starting just after Epiphany, we center our life together around growth and discovery.
Each week our lessons teach us something more about what is involved in following Jesus. "Ancient words, ever true," as the song says, "changing me, and changing you." Last week I heard the Beatitudes again for the zillionth time, but I heard them with new ears in a new time. That's one of the great gifts of our three-year lectionary - the ancient words are newly experienced, over and over again.
I've also had lots of folks ask about more learning opportunities - so in this growth season, we're offering a short course on three Wednesdays on "American Lutheranism, or How Many Lutherans Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb?"
Starting on February 8th, we'll gather for a potluck dinner at 6 PM, and then move to table talk at about 6:45 PM. We'll take a general overview of how Lutherans came to North America, how Lutherans have adapted and changed since that arrival, and what it will mean to live into the 21st century in North America as Lutherans. I hope you can join us! Youth group members & parents, feel free to join us too before your time together.
On a personal note, I was approved for the Ministry of Word and Service in the ELCA on January 12th, and I will be assigned to a region and synod in late February. My future is still unsure, but I have been SO grateful to be able to stay on at BLC on a contract basis. We continue together in discernment as to what God would have us do. Your prayers for the Spirit's moving (and pushing!) are appreciated.
Happy growing!
Mary Shaima, Diaconal Associate

Children's Ministry

Upcoming Events And News
Mardi Gras: This year we are having a new event at Bethlehem! Mardi Gras! It will be held on Tuesday Feb 28th (Fat or Shrove Tuesday) from 6-7PM. This event is for all ages. All are welcome. Join us for an evening of Dixieland and Brazilian carnival music. We will be passing out instruments for all to play. No previous musical experience needed. This should be a lot of fun! Join us at 6PM in the Family Center. We will be having a picnic style dinner. Bring your own meal, and maybe a little something to share with a friend. Entertainment will be provided during the meal. Then we will parade into the Sanctuary for a fun Brazilian Carnival experience.

Chris Matthews
Director of Children's Ministries
Bethlehem Lutheran Church

Bethlehem Women of the ELCA

Women of Bethlehem...It's time to do something for yourself.  
From July 13-16, join other women of faith at the Tenth Triennial Gathering in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Spend time with women of bold faith and courage and listen to inspiring speakers and be uplifted at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  Sound interesting?  Of course it does!  Come join real women talking about our faith. About our doubts and challenges. About joy and what inspires us. We'll experience simple conversations between friends-old and new-that will develop into a movement sweeping the church, inspired and infused with the Holy Spirit. Contact Kim Oswald ( for more information.  Scholarships are available.

January Giving Tree - thank you to all who picked up a list and/or bag and brought items back for Saint Andrew's Episcopal Church Community Food Pantry during January.  St. Andrew's is so appreciative of all that we do to support their food bank and this January we collected more food items for them than we have in many years.  Thank you to all for your contributions.  And a bit of a reminder - you can always drop off food items for St. Andrew's.  We may not always have a dedicated basket but if you put St. Andrew's on the bag or box or whatever you bring - it will be taken there.
The Annual Meeting of the Bethlehem Women of the ELCA was held on Wednesday, January 25, 2017.  The following were elected as our officers for 2017:  President - Kim Oswald, Vice-President - Linda DuBois, Secretary - Lynne Miller, Treasurer - Dana Roberts.   Thank you to all who participated in a lively discussion of our direction in 2017.


Mission Action and Giving Tree Schedule 2017
All through the year, the Giving Tree, at the entrance of the church, gives opportunities to help people.  There are different projects, with different leaders, but the same heart. 

January - Cheryl Monreal/Kim Oswald
*ELCA World Hunger Appeal // Andrew's Episcopal Church Community Food Pantry

February - Lori Cook 
*T.A.C.O. (Third Avenue Charitable Organization)

March - Skye Svenningsen
*College Care Packages

April - Bethlehem Women of the ELCA  - Dana Roberts
*Mother's Day Thankoffering - Just in Time for Foster Youth

May - Dianne Nichols and Gail Winterbourne 
*Center for Global Awareness & Bethlehem Advocacy Group

June - Kim Oswald
*Stand Down for Veterans

July - Cheryl Monreal/Kim Oswald
*ELCA World Hunger Appeal // Andrew's Episcopal Church Community Food Pantry

August 1st through August 20th - Mike Notrica
*Bethlehem Serves

August 21st through September 30th - Belinda Simonini
*Pajama Project Appeal

Ocober 1st through mid-October -  Scraps and Prayers Quilting Group
*Lutheran World Relief Ingathering:  Quilts & Blankets

mid-October through November - Cheryl Monreal
*Secret Santa

December - Karin Kloehn
*Community Resource Center

Stephen Ministry

Stephen Ministers: The After People
People often ask, "What exactly is a Stephen Minister?" One way to put it is that Stephen Ministers are the After People.
Stephen Ministers are there:
...after the phone call you hoped you'd never get.
...after the divorce papers are served and the bottom falls out of your life.
...after the funeral, when everyone has left and the emotions you've held at bay come crashing in on you.
...after the doctor says, "I'm sorry. But there's nothing more we can do."
...after the nursing home director says, "Welcome to your new home."
...after the last child honks the horn, waves, and drives away-and the house suddenly seems empty.
...after the gavel goes down, the handcuffs go on, and your loved one is led away.
...after the baby arrives, demanding more of you than you ever dreamed possible.
...after you find a pink slip with your final paycheck.
...after your family and friends have heard your story one too many times. But you still need to talk it out.
Stephen Ministers are the "After People." They are ready to come alongside you-or your friends, neighbors, coworkers, or relatives-and provide comfort and support for as long after as needed. If you would like to know more about having a Stephen Minister please contact Pr. Laura or one of our Stephen Leaders, Molly Hall or Laure Reynolds.

 Spiritual Gifts

What are your Spiritual Gifts?
The Holy Spirit has given each of us unique gifts to carry out God's work in the world.   What are your spiritual gifts? Why are you unique? What is your place in the world?
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord (1 Corinthians 12: 4-5)
During lent Stephen Ministry is offering the eight hour class Discovering God's Vision for your Life: You and your Spiritual Gifts to help participants discover and explore their spiritual gifts. We will utilize the Haugk Spiritual Gifts Inventory developed by the founder of the Stephen Series, Dr. Kenneth C. Haugk.  The class is designed to help you grow in your relationship with God. It will help you discover more about your Christian identity-who God has created you to be and to learn more about the spiritual gifts God has given to each of us.
The class will run from 12:00 to 2:15 on Sundays March 5, 12, 19, and 26. You may register after services from January 29 through February 19. A registration fee of $20 will cover the cost of books and materials. For more information contact Laure Reynolds at 760-271-3359 or  

 Giving Tree

February's Giving Tree will be for TACO
Please check the Giving Tree in the Narthex for suggestions of things that TACO needs for the over 200 people that come there for meals, hygiene items (must be new & unopened), disposable razors clothing of all kinds, shoes, 6 paks of men's crew sox (women prefer them because they're warmer) and anything WARM, like coats, jackets, sweaters, sweatshirts (preferably w/a hood), sweat pants, thermal tops & pants, scarves, hats & gloves. Large size is good. Plastic rain panchos, blankets & sleeping bags are always needed & always in short supply. Many of our guests are literally living on the street and have to find ways to keep warm through long, cold, damp winter nights near the ocean in San Diego. Plastic rain panchos can be purchased for $5-8. Thank you all so much for being the caring & loving congregation that you are!   Call w/questions or comments:  Lori Cook: 760 207-0432

As you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me.    Matthew 25:40

 Handbell Choir

Do you miss playing in a musical group? Were you in band, orchestra or a garage band in school and wish you could have the camaraderie of making music with your peers again? It's not too late! If you can count, you can play handbells. The JuBellation Ringers is a fun group of amateur musicians who enjoy making music together. We're looking for a few more ringers to join us - one of them could be you. Contact Kim Froke, for more information.

 Newsletter Now Available on Our Website

Have you missed one of our monthly e-newsletters? Have you wished you could open up that newsletter again to get that bit of information you were looking for? Well, now you can. On our home page,, there are links available to view current and past newsletters.

 Need Help?

Join us in meeting the needs of our north county community. The new Resource Book in the church office has resources that can help those in need. Be equipped to help those who may be experiencing hard times. If you know of a helpful resource or are having difficulties finding the help you need, please contact Sarah Breding at


We have also put the resource listings on our website. Click here to check out the many resources available to assist you. 


Bethlehem is now participating in the AmazonSmile program. This is a great way to easily benefit our congregation when you are shopping online. Bethlehem will receive 0.5% of the price of eligible online purchases automatically when you use the website. See the website for more details.

 Thrivent Financial

Choice Dollars
The Thrivent Choice® program lets eligible members recommend where some of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans' charitable outreach funds go by directing Choice Dollars®. Bethlehem Lutheran is an eligible recipient of these funds.
For more information click on the link below.
or contact your Thrivent congregational advocate, Dennis Astroth, at 858-354-3566, or

 Online Giving

Online Giving, a Green Path to Stewardship


We are always looking for ways to make giving more convenient and environmentally friendly. With today's online financial tools, it has never been easier to set up and track regular giving, special offerings and donations to specific areas. Just follow the easy steps provided with our new online service and you will be surprised at how easy it is to be a regular giver at whatever level seems right. We have expanded on the services provided by the same Minnesota-based online service that has managed our electronic giving for a number of years. They serve thousands of churches, and the service is secure, maintaining privacy. 


How to get started...
You may access the online service by clicking on the link on Bethlehem's web page Once you are on the site, you may use your checking account, or your debit or credit card information. If your cards are on a mileage program, you can gain frequent-flier miles while helping support the ministries of Bethlehem.

Dear  ,


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Yours in Christ

Bethlehem Lutheran Webmaster