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

May 2017

News and Events

From Pastor Laura

Dear people of Bethlehem,

At youth group, I asked the high schoolers to define grace.  Erin said,  "Grace, is knowing that everyone in the sanctuary, no matter who they are, or what they have done, or who they hope to be, -- everyone is completely equal and God loves us all."  That may be one of the best definitions of grace I have ever heard, because it defines grace, not as between God and the individual, but as a blessing in the community.

During Holy Week, and in the weeks after, I have found myself so grateful for this community.  In the baptism of young Sawyer at the Vigil, and the joy of resurrection and puppies on Easter Sunday.  In the love and grace of two funerals that followed Easter, that reminded all of us gathered, of the rich love and promises of God and the hope we claim together in the risen Lord.  We cannot do this journey apart from one another.   We cannot know this grace, except as we know it together.

This month we welcome Constance Mithelman as the Director of Youth Ministry.  She has met with both the middle school and high school youth this week and will be in worship at all three services on Sunday.  She is looking forward to meeting you all.  Please take a moment to greet her and welcome her to this gracious community.   A reminder that summer mission trip dates are July 15-21.  If you have not yet signed up and paid your deposit, this is the last month to do so.  Confirmation camp will be August 20-22. 

Vacation Bible School is coming up June 26-30 and our theme this year is Ancient Rome.  The market place will be open and we will hear from Paul during his imprisonment.  There are registration forms in the narthex for both learners and volunteers.  All are welcome. 

Construction for the Family Center renewal begins July 1 and will continue through the summer.  Preschool reserve funds will pay for the project with a small contribution from the congregation.  We look forward to much needed improvements to the space for our preschoolers and for the congregation as well. 

This Sunday the Blood Mobile will be at Bethlehem.  What a wonderful opportunity to give the gift of life.  We do this in partnership with St. Andrews.  On May 21, the youth will be sponsoring a car wash to raise funds for the summer trip.  The cost has increased this year.  If you are able to scholarship one of our young people, at any level, your gift would be much appreciated.  That same afternoon, on May 21, will be the first annual Bethlehem Lutheran Golf Tournament.  Please join us for fun and fellowship. 

The next step in staffing at Bethlehem, now that the youth director is in place, will be to hire the associate pastoral position.  Mary Shaima has been able to fill this position in a temporary capacity, while she waited for assignment after her seminary graduation.  What a blessing for her and for Bethlehem!  Mary has been assigned to the Pacifica Synod.  In the coming months we will be interviewing to extend a call to permanently fill this position.  Mary will very likely be one of several people interviewing for the position.  Working with Mary, has been and continues to be a rare gift.  She has blessed us with preaching, teaching and creative energy and grace.  Thank you Mary for all that you do.

Thank you, for all that you do.  In your work, in your families and in your participation in the life of this congregation.  Together we extend God's compassion and grace to the world.  As Erin reminds us, grace can never be done in isolation, but only in the company of one another and in the company of God.  Thank you for this gift we share.

In Christ,
Pastor Laura

From Mary Shaima, Diaconal Associate


Christ is risen! Alleluia!


Just a couple of weeks ago we shouted these words at the Easter Vigil, which topped off a deeply moving Holy Week. Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday - the journey of those days seems so - well, inevitable. "That'll leave a mark," as the sarcastic saying goes.
But then on Saturday evening, we gathered one of the biggest crowds of the week for the Easter Vigil. The new fire - marshmallow roasting - bubbles - a bagpiper to honor our guests from Wales - stories and songs - more stories, more songs - and finally our shouts of "Christ is risen! Alleluia!"
That WILL leave a mark, indeed. Our Holy Week journeys the past several years have left an indelible mark on so many of us. This year, Maundy Thursday was the one that left a mark for me. As a candidate for deacon, the story of Jesus washing the disciples' feet and telling them what it means to be a servant leader are at the center of my call to ministry. The towel and basin for washing are the primary symbols of the Ministry of Word and Service, whose members are called deacons.
We decided to give handwashing a try this year. Footwashing is a beautiful symbol, but can be time-consuming and can be a difficult barrier for some folks to cross. So we took a leap of faith and tried handwashing - reclaiming the action from Pilate's dismissive one back to a gift of love and service.
It was incredibly moving.
Virtually everyone present came to the handwashing stations. As I poured water over your hands and said a blessing, I thought about the work your hands have done, and continue to do, to make the love of Christ known in our world. The work of caregiving - of building - of quilting - of working on garden projects at Ocean Knoll - and so many other things, too numerous to name.
The ELCA slogan "God's work. Our hands." was never so tangible to me as it was that evening. Thank you for being a part of it, and thank you to our Stephen Ministers and CLU students for helping to make it happen.
May brings us a host of new opportunities to make a difference in our world through Bethlehem; you can read about them below. I invite you to find new ways to let your hands be the instruments of God's work, in a world that is eagerly waiting.
Christ is risen indeed!
Mary Shaima, Diaconal Associate

Children's Ministry

Upcoming Events and News

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.

Collecting Items for VBS: If your have any of the following items that you could loan us for VBS your help would be greatly appreciated. We could use things like: Baskets, burlap sacks, colorful pieces of fabric, terra-cotta pottery, rugs, and blankets. Please keep your eyes and ears open for potential Bible-times decorations.

Chris Matthews
Director of Children's Ministries
Bethlehem Lutheran Church

Bethlehem Women of the ELCA

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

When Someone Asks Us to Pray
James 5:16   Pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.
Occasionally we are called upon to pray for other people, but often this request makes us uncomfortable. A major reason people are reluctant to pray with others is their uncertainty as to how to go about it. They are unsure about why they should pray with others, when to pray, how to pray, what to pray about, and even where to pray.
When another person requests a prayer you might be tempted to immediately fold your hands and begin praying. But remember that prayer should meet the other person's needs. One process which some find helpful is building a prayer. As you build a prayer, you discover the needs of the individual by asking open-ended questions, enabling the person to express his or her real concerns. A good start might be something like: "I would be glad to pray with you. Before I do, I'd like you to share with me what you're thinking about and what your needs are at this time." As they share their concerns, you have information you can use in building a prayer that meets their needs.
If this type of extemporaneous prayer still makes you nervous, you can always choose a prayer from a prayer book, from the front of the hymnal Evangelical Lutheran Worship, the book of Psalms, or the Lord's Prayer. As you pray, both you and the person for whom you pray will find strength and assurance, knowing that your concerns are left in the hands of God, who is love.
Adapted from Christian Caregiving, a Way of Life, by Kenneth C. Haugk
                If you are interested in knowing more about Stephen Ministry, please contact one of our Stephen Leaders, Laure Reynolds or Molly Hall, or one of our Stephen Ministers, Frank Belock, Kathleen Dabbs, Mea Hall, Dan Halvorson, Scott Havenor, Marla Keith, Beth Nelson, Annmarie Robbins, or Suzi Westmoreland.

 Giving Tree

Give the gift of life!   The month of May's Giving Tree will be hosted by The Center for Global Awareness.  Each year, CGA highlights the need for access to clean water in so many areas of the world through the support of Lutheran World Relief.  In May, we encourage each of you to give a donation that provides health for those suffering from disaster.  Contaminated water is a very real threat to these victims.  Give Emergency Water, like a powerful water filtration system ($150) that delivers immediate, potable water to those in need.   For $600 we as a congregation can give a Family Water System, and provide access to clean water for drinking, hygiene, and the opportunity for girls to receive an education.  Please donate!


Empty Bowls for TACO - Saturday, May 13th, from 11 am - 1 pm at La Jolla United Methodist Church. Fight Hunger, Find Beauty - Empty Bowls is an international project to fight hunger. Click here for more information.

 Dinner Groups Forming

Something old something new! Do you want to get to know more people at Bethlehem? "Dinner Groups" will be starting in the fall! Bethlehem has done this before but it's been a long time! All are welcome - singles, couples, families with children, people of all ages. If you are interested, please email Lori Wolf: It will be fun!

 Golf Fundraiser

Bethlehem Lutheran Church
SCRR Fundraiser

1st Annual Golf Tournament

Sunday, May 21st
1:30PM Lunch (grill item, chips and drink)
2:00PM Start time

$60pp ~ Best Ball Play

Lomas Santa Fe Executive Golf Course
1580 Sun Valley Road
Solana Beach, CA  92075

Prizes for:
Longest Drive ~ Closet to the Pin

Sign-up deadline - May 13th

Sign-up Contacts:
Roger Lakey - - 760-525-8345
Joanne Manzi - - 760-814-8125

 Upcoming Events

  • Blood Drive Sunday, May 7:  The San Diego Blood Bank has their bus in our parking lot today from 8:00 am - 1:00 pm. Bethlehem is joining with St. Andrew's Episcopal Church for this event.
  • Car Wash Fundraiser for the Youth Summer Trip is set for Sunday, May 21st from 9 am - 12 noon. Stop by before or after worship and encourage your friends and neighbors to come as well!  It will be set up in the parking lot near Dot's Garden.  Suggested donation is $10/car.
  • Come find out about a new opportunity to show hospitality to international students coming to UCSD.  Bethlehem Lutheran Church is a place of welcome, on our campus, in our community and in the world. Our greatest joy is to extend a genuine welcome to all who come.  We will be joining up with the Solana Beach Host Family Program, which has been partnering with UCSD since 2004 offering hospitality and friendship to incoming international students and scholars. Volunteer families open their homes and extend a hand in friendship to students during those important first several days that are often confusing and sometimes overwhelming. There will be an informational session, and opportunity to sign up to become a host family, on May 21 at 10:00 am, between the 9 and 10:30 services.  Contact Carole Orness,, if you have any questions.
  • New Member Sunday - May 28th  - Anyone interested in joining BLC please contact the church office at 760-753-1026, ext. 1 or  There will be an orientation meeting Thursday, May 18th at 6:00 pm in the Multi Use Center.  All are welcome to become a part of our church family. Please call with any questions or if childcare is needed for the evening. 


 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