In This Issue

From Pastor Sam
April Worship Schedule
Protocol Update
COVID Vaccine Help
Music Ministry
Adventure Ministry
Family Ministry
ELCA Advocacy
Stephen Ministry
Stewardship Stream
Engagement Opportunities
Pastor Sam's Sermon Blog
Global Mission "Global Links"
Bethlehem Cares Fund
Newsletter Archives
Contact Us

Rev. Laura Ziehl 
Senior Pastor 
Ext 2
Pastor Sam Nelson
Associate Pastor
Ext 30
Constance Mithelman
Youth Director
Ext 12
Judy Foland
Office Administrator
Ext 1 
April 2022
News and Events
Springtime Greetings Dear People of Bethlehem,

Like most people, I tend to associate spring with nature – budding flowers, new stems shooting up from previously snow-covered plots (my Midwestern roots still clearly have an influence), and the glorious green of new growth. I recently learned something interesting about plant behavior, specifically about how trees communicate with one another. I wanted to be precise in my retelling of this, so I turned to Google to make sure I got my facts straight. And wouldn’t you know, I heard it on an episode of Ted Lasso, a show I have previously written about in this newsletter. Someday I’ll have to thank the writers of that show for all of the theological fodder they have provided me. But I digress …

The show references the work of Professor Suzanne Simard who studies forestry at the University of British Columbia. Her groundbreaking work (pun semi-intended) has shown that forests operate as social communities. Previously it was thought that it was an "every plant for themself" kind of situation. If you didn’t get enough sunlight, or enough water, or enough nutrients, well, that was just too bad, and you probably weren’t gonna make it. Instead, she has shown that trees actually communicate with each other, and work collaboratively as well. They are linked to neighboring trees through an underground network of fungi that resemble the neural pathways of the brain. They are able to share resources with one another, warn each other about danger (forest fires, pest infestations, etc.), and even help nurture young seedlings. In short, they can do everything that a human community should do.

Now, I say "should" because sadly, that’s not always how human communities operate. Oftentimes our society lauds values like “look out for number one,” and “only the strong survive.” Some people try to justify that model saying it’s just a law of nature. But with these trees we see a different law of nature. A law that promotes cooperation, collaboration, and mutual care as the highest priorities. These are lessons that we hear from Jesus each and every Sunday, and especially as we move into the sacred time of Holy Week. A time when we will be given a new commandment to love our neighbors as Jesus has loved us. A time when Jesus will do his best to prepare his followers to carry on his work once he’s gone – work that will take a community to achieve. A community of believers, united both by common mission and the power of the Holy Spirit, that will become Christ’s body here on earth. So as new life is springing up all around us, look to the trees, look to nature, and learn from its ways. For there is wisdom to be found in the earth, in this wonderful creation that God has blessed us with.

Root down to rise up,
Pastor Sam
April Worship and Holy Week Schedule
Sunday Morning Worship:

  • April 3, 10, 24
  • 9 am - Indoor Worship and Livestream
  • 10:30 am - Outdoor Worship

Wednesday Evening Lenten Service:

  • April 6
  • 6 pm - Holden Evening Prayer Indoor Service and Livestream, Followed by Adult Education

Holy Week Schedule:

  • April 14, 6 pm - Maundy Thursday
  • April 15, 6 pm - Good Friday
  • April 16, 3 pm - Easter Vigil (outdoor)
  • April 17 - Easter Sunday
  • 8 am - indoor
  • 9:30 and 11 am - outdoor
Update on Worship Protocols
Thank you for your patience and grace as we have done our best over the past two years to figure out how to navigate and operate in the world during these challenging times. As you are no doubt aware, mask mandates are being lifted across the country. The Bethlehem Protocol Team has been paying close attention to applicable mandates, protocols, and local case numbers and has made the following decisions.

Masks will be required for all indoor activities on our campus through Easter Sunday. Due to the increase of worshipers that Lent and Holy Week usually bring, the committee felt it prudent to maintain our current level of safety for the time being. After Easter we will move to a policy of masks being strongly recommended. Currently there are no mask requirements for our outdoor worship environment.

Both Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services will be held inside the sanctuary at 6 PM. We are aware that not everyone is comfortable returning to indoor worship, so we will be livestreaming the services and also providing outdoor seating in the eco-narthex. The Easter Vigil will take place entirely outside on the lawn starting at 3 PM. And on Easter Sunday we will have three different worship opportunities: 8 AM (indoor and livestreamed), 9:30 & 11 AM (outside on the lawn).

Regardless of how you choose to worship with us during this sacred season, we give thanks for your participation in this community. And together we will witness to God’s never-ending promise that sin and death are no match for the powers of love and life, and that God truly is always making all things new.

COVID Vaccine Help
If you need help navigating the Covid-19 vaccine sign up process, we are here to help. Our Stephen Ministry/Parish Nurse team can assist with:

  • Finding out your eligibility to receive a vaccine.
  • Helping you find a vaccination site and make an appointment.
  • Assisting with transportation to the site.

Please call the church office, (760) 753-1026, and we will get you the help you need.

Music Ministry
The Lenten Lunch - April 3rd worship will be led by SECOND SABBATH live at both services. After the late service, come to the Lenten Luncheon and hear special music provided by our Second Sabbath ensemble. Music will be both sacred and secular for the event. 
"Arise! Arise! Let the Music Ring!" - Many choirs of Bethlehem are preparing for Palm Sunday, Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday. Special videos are being made by the Good News Singers for the livestream services for those special days. In addition, the Good News Singers and Children's choir will be "live" for the outdoor services. Come hear the tympani, trumpets and chimes as we celebrate these two special church Sundays.  Services are at 9 and 10:30 on April 10th and 8, 9:39 and 11:00 a.m. on Easter Sunday. Our special Easter Vigil service will begin at 3 p.m. on April 16th The World Music Ensemble and Children's Choir will lead worship for this fun outdoor celebration. 

Adventure Ministry
It's time for an adventure on the water! Bring your kayak or SUP or rent one and join us on Saturday, April 23, 2022 at 9:30 am at Oceanside Harbor.

Meet at Boat Rentals of America, which is near the lighthouse. You can bring your own watercraft or rent from them. If you are renting, be sure to make your reservation early and rent for two hours.

IMPORTANT! If you are bringing your own board or kayak, be sure you have life jackets for all on board. You don't have to wear them but must have them on the vessel. If you are renting, Boat Rentals provides life jackets. 

We will also rent a "party boat" (21' Duffy) that holds twelve people. Darrel will be our captain. 
If you're interested in riding in the party boat or want more information, please contact Eileen Lajimodiere or me.

Hope to see you in April!

Family Ministry
Save the Date! - Join us for the return of in-person VBS this summer! It's going to be MONUMENTAL! June 27-June 30th. For registration, click here! Interested in volunteering? Fill out the Volunteer Registration Form and Constance will be in touch!

Confirmation Camp - Do you have a current 6th or 7th grader? Sign up for Confirmation Camp with Constance! July 10-15th at Luther Glen!

High School Summer Service Trip - Current 8th graders through Freshmen in College - Join us for a trip to the Navajo Reservation in Rock Point, AZ! July 30-August 6th. I will be coming up with a contingency plan, as the Navajo Nation has their own COVID guidelines and restrictions we will honor. RSVP to Constance!

ELCA Advocacy
LOPP Action Items - LOPP is currently monitoring four bills in the California Legislature. Write to your representatives to ask them to support these important bills! Learn more at by attending this week’s Advocacy in Quarantine (see link below).

  • SB 364 School Meals for All - removes the stigma of who qualifies for meal assistance and who doesn’t, and it ensures ALL children eat well at school. Healthy food and nutrition play an essential part in student success. SB 641 CalFresh for College Students - Before the pandemic, 44% of college students in California faced food insecurity, and the percentage was even higher at community colleges. Food insecurity on college campuses leads too many students to drop out of college.
  • SB 464 Food4All - Immigrants in California contribute to our economy and society but are among our most vulnerable and hungry people. The Bible is very clear on how we are to welcome the stranger.
  • AB 2589 Earned Income Tax Credit - in addition to providing one-time payments, AB 2589 will raise the minimum tax credit to $255 per eligible tax filer and provide much-needed income to vulnerable people. Low-income families who file taxes need tax breaks more than wealthy corporations do.
“Advocacy in Quarantine” - Every Wednesday at noon. You can join this weekly Zoom meeting to hear an update on current legislative priorities from Regina Q. Banks, Director of the Lutheran Office of Public Policy- California. These quick 30-minutes sessions include a specific action you can take in support of our efforts to end child poverty, fight for water justice, and support equitable reform of housing, hunger, and immigration policies.
April 3 - St. Andrew's Neighborhood Center Reception - St. Andrew’s invites the community to join them for a cookie, tea, and coffee reception on Sunday, April 3 at 11:00a.m. or 1:00p.m. on their campus across the street from Bethlehem. They will share about their hopes for their new Neighborhood Center to expand services to people experiencing homelessness. They want to hear any questions, thoughts, or feelings the community may have. All opinions and perspectives welcome. No need to RSVP. Questions? Contact the Rev. Hannah Wilder:
Bethlehem to partner with St. Andrew’s Faith in Action Ministry - Bethlehem has the exciting opportunity to join with St. Andrew’s Faith in Action ministry in some very powerful advocacy work in our local community. We have invited members of St. Andrew’s to share with us about their efforts in the areas of affordable housing and expanded mental health and supportive services. Please join us for this introductory Zoom meeting on Monday, April 25 at 6:00pm to learn how we can support and be involved in this important work. Please RSVP to and we’ll send you the meeting link. You can read more about St. Andrew’s Faith in Action ministry here.
Statement from the ELCA for the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination - “The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, in recognition of the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, reaffirms its commitment to combat racism and white supremacy.” Read the full statement here.
Registration Now Open: Ecumenical Advocacy Days, April 25-27, 2022 (Virtual) - “Fierce Urgency: Advancing Civil and Human Rights”. EAD 2022 calls us into solidarity to restore, protect, and expand voting rights in the United States and to realize human rights around the world. As people of faith, we know each person to be created in God’s image, imbued with dignity and having a voice that demands to be heard, heeded, and treated justly. We arise in unity, holding up a mirror to leaders of nations, putting injustice on display and tearing down the veil of oppression that obscures the beautiful, God-born light shining from within us all.
Ecumenical Advocacy Days is a movement of the ecumenical Christian community, and its recognized partners and allies, grounded in biblical witness and our shared traditions of justice, peace and the integrity of creation. Our goal, through worship, theological reflection and opportunities for learning and witness, is to strengthen our Christian voice and to mobilize for advocacy on a wide variety of U.S. domestic and international policy issues.
ELCA Advocacy Monthly Updates

Follow us!
Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton: Facebook, Twitter
Pacifica Synod Bishop Andy Taylor: Facebook
For information or questions about Bethlehem’s Advocacy Team, contact Karin Kloehn at

Ukraine Support
I want to offer a sincere Thank You for all your donations to the House of Ukraine. Along with my local community we donated the entire back of an empty van loaded full plus more! In the past few weeks the request for donations have changed to mainly military and specific medical supplies. Since these are a little outside our everyday experience, we have decided to turn to direct monetary donations only.

I have it on good authority that the Lutheran Disaster Response is affiliated with the ELCA. It is a well-organized, ready to go, local people support all over Europe providing immediate manpower and supplies for all sorts of needs. Our donations there will be in right in the areas of need by our own Christian brothers and sisters! You can find out more at the following link: Lutheran Disaster Response

I know your donations and prayers for peace in Ukraine are making a difference!

God Bless You,
Blair Lindberg (858-663-5681 for questions or assistance with link)
Stephen Ministry
I Finally Went to the Doctor and…..    After two years of avoiding dangerous places like doctor’s offices and hospitals, many are finding that physical symptoms have compelled them to quit stalling and finally visit the doctor. Unfortunately, for some of us those visits are now resulting in unwelcome diagnoses. If you or your loved one are currently struggling with new or worsening health issues, please reach out to our pastors or to our Parish Nurse or Stephen Ministry teams. We can pray with you, help you through the confusion, and support you through your journey. For more information please contact Pr. Laura, Pr. Sam, Parish Nurse Rose Moldenhauer, or Stephen Ministry Leaders Molly Hall, Laure Reynolds, or Suzi Westmoreland.

Stewardship Stream
St. Paul peaks of two motivations for giving ourselves, our time, and our possessions to God’s work.  In 2 Corinthians 8:9, he appeals to the model and example of Jesus and asks us to give as Jesus did. In 2 Corinthians 9:8, he reminds us that God promises to richly supply all that is needed for us to continue to give.

The model of Jesus and the promise of God’s provision motivate us to be generous.
Our generosity honors God, the source of all generosity. Our generosity makes God’s purposes known. By God’s power, our generosity provides the announcement of the Good News of Salvation and the deeds of mercy, the actions of love, which serve the needs of people everywhere.

Our generosity draws us closer to God, the Giver of all good gifts. Generous deeds shape our lives and our understandings. Through generosity we begin to know more deeply and more broadly the graciousness of God. Generosity does not change God’s behavior toward us, but it changes our behavior toward God.

Source: ELCA/Lenten Devotional; Stewardship Principles.
Opportunities to Engage
Qigong/Tai chi -The weekly Qigong/Tai chi practices at our church is available by Zoom. You are able to join online from your computer on Wednesdays at 6 pm. Also, Chacha is having a Friday at 9 am practice by Zoom. These practices are moving meditation practices that focus on relaxation, breath, and visualization while carrying out gentle movements. Everyone is welcome, no previous experience is necessary. If you are interested in joining please e-mail Chacha at Please let her know which of the practices or if you would like to be invited to both practices. She will send an e-mail invitation with the zoom link. 

Scraps and Prayers - This ministry sews quilts for people in need of comfort and care. We meet each Wednesday morning from 9am-11am in the Multi-Use Room. We need your help sewing and tying quilts. No experience necessary! Stop by for an hour or stay for the whole morning; we'd love to share our scraps and prayers with you. For more information, contact Bobby Allen at or Laure Reynolds at

 Pastor Sam's Sermon Blog
Did you miss one of Pastor Sam's sermons? Want to double check if he actually said what you think he did? Accidentally fall asleep and want to go back and read the section you missed? Check out all of Pastor Sam's sermons on his blog at:
Global Mission "Global Links" E-Newsletter
Rooted and built in Jesus! This is the core of our work as the ELCA walks with more than 80 companion churches in other countries to participate in God's reconciling mission through proclamation and service. Participating in these relationships, ELCA members see how people's lives are touched by the gospel, how their lives are transformed and renewed, and how their communities live in hope. If you would like to receive the ELCA Global Mission e-newsletter "Global Links", please click on the following link to subscribe:

Bethlehem Cares Fund
Bethlehem Cares Fund: For members of Bethlehem, we have a fund to assist you with temporary financial needs such as medical, home, family or personal needs.Contact Pastor Laura, Pastor Sam, Rose Moldenhauer or Molly Hall. If you are able to contribute to the fund please mark your gift to BLC with the notation Bethlehem Cares.

Newsletters 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 Newsletter Archive page there are links available to view current and past newsletters.

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.