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 

Contact Us


Rev. Laura Ziehl 
Senior Pastor 
Ext 2

Pastor Sam Nelson
Associate Pastor
Constance Mithelman
Youth Director
Ext 12
Judy Foland
Office Administrator
Ext 1
Chris Matthews
Director of Children's Ministry
Ext 15
Quick Links

April 2018

News and Events

 From Pastor Laura

Dear people of Bethlehem,
Blessed time of resurrection; for that is always where we live as the people of God. Every step on our journey is a step after the empty tomb. We know no world that does not include a risen Lord. In the tumult of this life, we have the promise that redemption is possible. In the fear of this life, we have the certainty that Christ is present. We hear Jesus words, "Fear not. Come and touch the marks of the nails." Thomas doubted. He could not allow himself either hope or belief, until he touched Jesus himself. The same was true for Mary at the tomb and for the other disciples gathered in the upper room. Thomas was no different than anyone else, he was just the last one to the party. We are the same. We all doubt. We all need the hand of Jesus to make faith possible. At one of the appearances of Jesus after the resurrection, the disciples are dumbfounded to see the Lord. The Greek text says, "They worshiped and they doubted." The translators thought that must have been a mistake, so they rewrote it to say, "They worshiped; but some doubted." (Matt 28:17)
It was no mistake. We worship and we doubt. Faith and doubt are not antithetical to each other, rather it is doubt that makes faith possible. Fear and hope, despair and confidence, doubt and faith -- they all part of this life. The scripture that says, "they worshiped and the doubted" is the great commission. Jesus said to the faithful doubters, "You go therefore and make disciples of all nations." Jesus entrusted the doubters, you and me, with the responsibility to proclaim the Good News to the world.
There is a beloved song in the church, "Hallelujah We Sing Your Praises". It comes from Africa. The chorus says, "Now he sends us all out. Strong in faith, free of doubt." I love the song, but I have always been uncomfortable with that verse. As the people of faith we are not free of doubt. We have questions. We have legitimate fears. We struggle to make sense of this broken world. A strong faith does not eliminate our legitimate questions, nor our concerns. The last time we sang this song in church, I finally understood it. I watched a member of the congregation who was setting off on a new and unknown journey sing that song with joyous courage.   Certainly she had her doubts and her fears, but neither dimmed her confident in her risen Lord. She was confident, that like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, he would meet her in the journey. Confident that she would find redemption and be found in resurrection joy. Faith is our confidence in the goodness of God, even in our doubt and fear. Faith is the certainty that God keeps God's promises and that the tomb stands empty this day.
Please join us on Sunday April 8, at 2 pm as we install Pastor Sam and celebrate his ministry among us. Maundy Thursday was his first sermon with us and his first sermon as an ordained pastor. The power went out that night and the lights came back on in the middle of his sermon -- just as he hit the gospel. I told him afterwards, we need no further confirmation that God has blessed his call and ministry. God is so entertaining sometimes. :)
May you be blessed along your journey of doubt and faith. May you live in the certainly of a risen Lord and the promise of resurrection, meant for us all.
Peace be the journey,
Pastor Laura                                

 Children's Ministry

Upcoming Events and News
First Communion Classes Wednesday, April 18th and 22nd: These classes are for young people in the first grade and older. Parent participation is required. Classes will be held on  Wednesday, April 18th and Wednesday, April 25th @ 6pm. First Communion will be at the 9am service Sunday, April 29th. If you would like your child to participate contact:  Chris Matthews at
VBS First Week of July: Bethlehem Lutheran Church is pleased to announce this year's VBS  "Shipwrecked" to be held the first week of July 2018. Join us on July 2-3 and 5-6 for an exciting adventure! The adventure starts at 9am and will end at 12 noon each day. At Shipwrecked  VBS, kids discover how Jesus rescues us through life's storms. Shipwrecked is filled with incredible Bible-learning experiences kids see, hear, touch, and even taste! Sciency-fun  gizmos, team-building games, cool Bible songs, and tasty treats are just a few of the standout activities that help faith flow into real life. (Since everything is hands-on, kids might get a little messy. Be sure to send them in play clothes and safe shoes.) Plus, we'll help kids discover how to see evidence of God in everyday life-something we call God Sightings. Get ready to hear that phrase a lot! Registration forms for campers and volunteers will be available at , or in the church office.
Be A Children's Ministry Volunteer: If you are looking for a fun and rewarding way to serve at  Bethlehem, please consider donating your time and talents to our Children's Ministries. None of our programs and activities would be possible, without the amazing help and support of this congregation. Be a part of the fun in 2018! If you would like to know how you can be of service contact: Chris Matthews at  
Chris Matthews
Director of Children's Ministries
Bethlehem Lutheran Church

 Youth Ministry

Current 6th & 7th graders, get ready to go to Confirmation Camp!   We'll be heading to Luther Glen  July 15-20th . The cost for the week is $430 and scholarships are available.  We'll also be doing fundraising to bring down the cost for everyone!  Please RSVP to Constance at

The dates for this year's Summer Service Trip are July 28 - August 4. We will be heading to Northern California to help with fire relief. All youth currently in 8th grade and above (college students welcome!) are eligible to go! $100 initial deposits are being accepted now. The total cost per youth will be $350 with scholarships available.  Please email Constance at

 Bethlehem Women of the ELCA

Bethlehem Women of the ELCA:
Mission Action and Giving Tree Schedule 2018

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        ELCA World Hunger Appeal // St. Andrew's Food Pantry
                     Cheryl Monreal
February      T.A.C.O.
                     Lori Cook
March           College Care Packages
                     Skye Svenningsen
April             Mother's Day Thankoffering - Es Por Los Ninos                
                     BWELCA - Cheryl Monreal
May             Center for Global Awareness
                     Dianne Nichols & Gail Winterbourne
June             Student Health Care Project Clinics
                     JoAnn Daughtery
July 1st - 8th   Vacation Bible School
                     Chris Matthews
July 9th -        Bethlehem Serves
August 19th   Mike Notrica                  
August 20th-   Pajama Project Appeal
September     Belinda Simonini
October 1st -   Lutheran World Relief Ingathering: Quilts & Blankets
midOctober    Scraps and Prayers Quilting Group
midOctober -   Secret Santa
November       Cheryl Monreal
December       Community Resource Center
                        Karin Kloehn        
Ongoing:       TACO (soup kitchen)

 Giving Tree

Baby Formula is Life!   The April Giving Tree's purpose is to help change the lives of the youngest in Baja, California.  The Bethlehem Women of the ELCA are asking you to bring in baby formula or donate cash to purchase baby formula to support those living and discriminated against with HIV/AIDS in Baja, California.  Please put baby formula donations in the bin under the Giving Tree.  Rather write a check or donate cash?  Please put cash/check donations in the Giving Tree donation box which is on the wall to the left of the Giving Tree.  Make your check out to Bethlehem Lutheran Church with April Giving Tree in the memo line.   For any questions or further information, contact Cheryl Monreal at (760) 942-1482.

 Stephen Ministry

Does the Joy of Easter Seem Far Away... For those who have suffered a loss or are going through a difficult time, Easter can be a time of painful loneliness and emptiness. If you are smiling on the outside but full of pain on the inside, and the joy of Easter seems far away, help is available. Our Stephen Ministers are ready to provide confidential, one-to-one Christian care.   They will listen, care, encourage, and pray with and for you. Stephen Ministers have been specially trained to meet your emotional and spiritual needs; male Stephen Ministers are always matched with men, and female Stephen Ministers are matched with women. If you or someone you know is hurting, find out more about Stephen Ministry by talking with one of our Stephen Leaders: Molly Hall or Laure Reynolds. Our Stephen Ministers are there to care!  

A new Stephen Ministry Training Class will start on May 7. In addition to offering this class to new Stephen Ministers, we are opening up the class to anyone in the congregation who would like to improve the listening and caring skills that you use in your own life- either in your personal life or in the ministries you are part of within the church or community. The class will meet on Monday evenings from 7:00 and 9:00pm. The cost of the class is $50 which covers the cost of books. If you are interested in taking the class please contact Molly Hall or Laure Reynolds soon so that we may order materials.

 Endowment Fund

Each  month,  Bethlehem's  Mission  Endowment  Fund Committee shares some thoughts and suggestions about planned giving. This month's topic is "Give Unto Caesar What is Caesar's."
Another tax season has come and (for most) gone. Did you give more to Caesar than you wanted to? Jesus says in Mark 12:17, "Give unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's". Fortunately, our Caesar today is more generous and allows us to give more to God. In fact, our Caesar rewards us for giving to God and other charities by way of tax deductions. Moreover, we can actually give to God what would normally go to Caesar through creative tax planning, especially when it comes to estate planning. For further information on how this is done, contact one of our congregation's gift planners: Greg Shepherd at 909-910-6823 or ; or Lisa Higginbotham at 773-380-2477 or

 St. Andrews Food Pantry

St. Andrews food pantry needs our help. Every Thursday morning a team meets at Gelsons market in Carlsbad to pick up food and transport it back to the food pantry. If you can devote one Thursday a month to this project your help would be appreciated. If interested please contact Bob Moran at St. Andrews at 760-487-1630 or

 TACO (Third Avenue Charitable Organization)

Help Serve at TACO

We will be going to help serve at TACO on Monday, April 16.  Anyone interested should contact Lori Cook at 760 207-0432 by April 9.

TACO Needs for April

TACO has 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 packs of men's crew socks (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 ponchos, 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 ponchos 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  

 Music Ministry

Bethlehem Talent Show- June 4th-4 p.m.
Have you got talent?  Here's your chance to be part of Bethlehem's Talent Show on June 4th @ 4 p.m. This years annual Spring Music concert will combine the Choirs of Bethlehem with other talented individuals in our congregation. Your hidden talents of juggling, magic,  piano playing, dance--you name it---  can take the spotlight as part of our concert. All ages are welcome to participate. Please contact Mona Goetsch at for more information or stop me at church!
 Bethlehem Advocacy Team
Advocacy - Connecting Faith and Public Life

Members of Bethlehem were some of the thousands of Lutherans across the country who joined in the March For Our Lives on March 24. Participation in the March was supported by the ELCA Council of Bishops, in their Statement in Solidarity with Our Children and Youth
The Bethlehem Advocacy Team helped to organize groups to carpool downtown to the March, and other members of Bethlehem joined in the local Encinitas March. All found it inspiring to hear local students speak passionately about the need for more restrictive gun laws, the need to listen to Black Lives Matter, and about the importance of voting. 
BLC Advocacy will continue to advocate for and monitor gun regulation legislation, including banning assault weapons and requiring universal background checks. For more information about BLC Advocacy, contact
For more information on ELCA Advocacy, visit  
 Spring Tea

 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.

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Yours in Christ

Bethlehem Lutheran Webmaster