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

March 2017

News and Events

From Pastor Laura

Dear people of Bethlehem,


Metanoia is the Greek word for this season of introspection and contemplation.  It means repentance.  It means literally, to turn around.  I have always understood metanoia to mean our substantial effort to turn away from our sin and turn and head in the other direction.  But recently, I am wondering if it is not the reverse.  Perhaps it is not what we turn away from, but what we turn toward that requires our greatest energy.  Who is God asking us to be?  Where do you feel the pull of the Spirit?  Where are you being led in this season?  As you journey through this Lenten season, may God meet you on the path, pull you in his direction and lead you in his grace.


Some upcoming events at Bethlehem.  On Sunday March 26, we will celebrate Jonathan Garman and his 14 years of outstanding ministry to this congregation.   Please join us for thanksgiving, and stories and a meal.  All are invited.  Jonathan's exceptional ministry and personal faith have shaped this youth ministry for 14 years, have changed students lives and have touched us all. We look forward to the opportunity to offer our thanks and to wish him Godspeed. 


The interview team for the new youth director position has been busy.  First interviews are completed and we will be conducting second interviews in the coming week.  We have some excellent, talented candidates to interview.  If you are involved in our youth ministry program, mark your calendars for Saturday, April 1st, from 4:30 - 6:00pm. We have an opportunity for the students and parents to meet the top candidate.  This will be the final step in our interview process.  This event is designed for students, parents, adult leaders and those involved in our youth ministry, but anyone is welcome to attend.  My thanks to Natalie Anderson, Dennis Astroth, Cha Cha Pinilla and Blake Stoner-Osborne for serving on the search committee.  There have been an equal number of members from St. Andrews and our work together has been a blessing.  We are very excited for this new chapter in BLCYM.


As usual, there is much going on at Bethlehem.  Please join us Wednesday evenings for soup supper, Holden Evening Prayer and education.  We begin at 6 pm in the family center for soup and end with Holden and some mutual conversation and education in the sanctuary.  Laure Reynolds is teaching a spiritual gifts class on Sundays during Lent, and as always there are opportunities for meditation, yoga and Tai Chi throughout the week.  If you are in need of time apart during Lent for yourself; to renew, refresh and hear God's voice in your life, Bethlehem is the place to be. 

It is time to turn around and walk toward an Easter sunrise.  Where is God calling us now? 


A blessed Lenten journey to you all. 


In His Service,
Pastor Laura

From Mary Shaima, Diaconal Associate

Pastor Laura and I were talking the other day about the shift in seasons.  This year, because of the tremendous amount of rain we've received, the shift into spring is likely to be most obvious in the desert.  The desert will blossom like we haven't seen in a couple of decades, if not longer.

Of course, I'm the weird one who LIKES winter!  That's because I'm a skier - the more snow, the better.  There's something so invigorating about standing outside and breathing in cold, crisp air.  It's like an air duct cleaning for your lungs.  The reward for me in that cold, other than the great exercise, is "sparkle snow" - fresh snow that's light and low in moisture, so when it is touched by the sun it sparkles like diamonds on a field of white velvet.

But even as the snow still heavily coats our Western mountains, the seeds are springing to life in the desert and all around us.  This so beautifully reflects our Lenten journey.

On our own road to Jerusalem, we take time in Lent every Wednesday evening to gather for supper and sing Holden Evening Prayer, and spend some time in learning.  Luther was a great proponent of education.  This year we are considering what it means to be a Lutheran in our world; specifically, "What Would Luther Do Today?"  We're enjoying some video from travel writer Rick Steves (a Lutheran!) and our presiding bishop, Elizabeth Eaton as we consider how we engage publicly as Lutheran Christians in the world.

As we step each day closer to spring and to Holy Week, I invite you to look for subtle changes in the church entryway décor.  It's a visual way for us to mark the time as we, like the seeds that are sprouting, break through the hard earth's crust in life and reach our hands towards the sun.  Where else might you see signs of God's renewing love this Lent?

What a privilege and blessing it is to walk this road with you.
Mary Shaima, Diaconal Associate

Children's Ministry

Upcoming Events and News

Easter Egg Hunt: This years Easter Egg hunt will be held on Saturday April 8th @ 10 AM. Come join us for wonderful morning of family fun!
Vacation Bible School: This years VBS will be the adventure of a lifetime! Bring your child to the ancient city of Rome! Traveling back into Bible times - without setting foot outside our community. Each day, your children can become part of history as they see, hear, touch, and even taste what it was like to live in Rome during Bible times! You'll explore authentic Marketplace shops, visit the
Apostle Paul (who's under house arrest), sneak to the cave where the Underground Church meets, take part in games, dance to lively Bible songs, and sample tasty tidbits as you discover more about the early church. These experiences make God's Word come alive with new meaning for all who participate! So mark these dates on your calendars: June 26 - 30. The adventure starts at 9 AM and will end at 12 noon each day. Registration forms and more info can be found on our website at or click on the links below:

Click here to view and print the VBS Registration form

Click here to pay the VBS registration fee using your credit card
on our Online Giving page - just enter your total registration fee
in the SPECIAL block and note 2017 VBS REGISTRATION in the
memo line.

Volunteers needed: VBS is a great opportunity to share God's
love with the children of our community! A successful VBS
program requires the gift of the time and talents of many.
Prayerfully consider joining in on the fun! Let us know about your
commitment to help out, click here to download and fill out the
Volunteer Registration Form.

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.

Save The Date!  The next Bethlehem Women's Retreat will be held on September 15 - 17, 2017 at Luther Glen.  Put it on your calendars!

Stephen Ministry

Did You Know?  The Stephen Ministry program at Bethlehem is part of a larger organization founded in St Louis.  More than 12,000 congregations throughout the world are enrolled in Stephen Ministry.  Since 1975 over 65,000 people have been trained as Stephen Leaders who have, in turn, trained more than 600,000 congregation members to be Stephen Ministers.  These Stephen Ministers have provided distinctively Christian care to more than one -and-a-half million people in one-to-one caring relationships and have used their caregiving skills to touch the lives of millions more in other ways.

If you have a friend or family member in another area who could benefit from a Stephen Minister we can often make a referral to a Stephen Ministry congregation near them.  If you would like to know more about Stephen Ministry please contact one of our Stephen Leaders, Molly Hall or Laure Reynolds.

 Dot's Garden

Evening in the Garden - Friday, April 21st, 2017 (from 6:00-8:00 pm) Join us as we celebrate Dot's Garden. This year is a fundraiser to benefit renovations and playground improvements for the Early Childhood Center. Tickets will be $25.00 per person or $40.00 a couple. You can sample wines from wonderful wineries and taste craft beer, while munching on a selection of gourmet food delights, all amid the ambiance of our wonderful Dot's Garden. Corey Leal, will perform acoustic guitar.

 Giving Tree

The March Giving Tree is for COLLEGE CARE PACKAGES - It's time to celebrate our youth and remember them in our prayers and actions as they pursue their education at college.  During the month of March, please consider giving a monetary donation so we can purchase snacks, supplies and postage to make the day a bit brighter for about 30 college students. The care packages will ship in early April. Thank you for your contributions and please contact Skye Svenningsen if you have questions -
310-916-6256 or

 Celebrating Jonathan Garman

Sunday, March 26, 2017 at 11:30am (following the 10:30 service)

Please join us for a family BBQ to celebrate and thank Jonathan for his 14 years of service as BLC's Youth Director. We will provide burgers and hot dogs. Please bring a salad or dessert to share.

We are collecting photos from Jonathan's youth activities and summer trips over the years. If you have photos to share, please contact Karin Kloehn at or 760.753.7161

We are also asking for letters, cards, and emails from Jonathan's former students, their parents and everyone else who would like to express their appreciation for his service. Please spread the word to anyone you know who might wish to participate. These can be emailed to Karin or mailed to her at 516 Lynwood Drive, Encinitas, CA 92024


MEET AND GREET for the new Youth Director Position: On Saturday April 1, 2017 from 4:30 - 6 pm, the final candidate for the youth ministry position will be at Bethlehem to meet youth and parents as well as the council.  This will be the final step in our hiring process.  If you are involved in the youth ministry or are interested in attending, please come.

Youth Summer Trip is scheduled for July 15 - 21.  Pick up a flyer with additional information in the entry.

 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  ,


Thank you for registering with our e-mail announcement and update service at


Yours in Christ

Bethlehem Lutheran Webmaster