"Caught in grace, created for service, called into community"
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Rev. Laura Ziehl 
Senior Pastor 
Ext 2
Pastor Sam Nelson
Associate Pastor
Constance Mithelman
Youth Director
Ext 12
Judy Foland
Office Administrator
Ext 1  
Quick Links

August 2020

News and Events
From Pastor Sam
Greetings Dear People of Bethlehem,
I'm not quite sure how it is already August. 2020 has simultaneously been the longest, and fastest year that I can remember. I've also found that it has brought a wide range of experiences that have been, at times, difficult to reconcile with each other. Great joy as well as grief. Loss as well as hope. The difficulty of change and the promise it contains as well. If you are feeling a confusing mix of emotions right now, if you are not sure if you are supposed to be putting on a brave face, making the most of things, and looking on the bright side, or if you should be creating space and time for grief and lament in your life, know that you are not alone. And know that you can turn to God with all of these conflicting and confusing feelings. Lifting up prayers of thanksgiving and gratitude, mingled with angry shouts, or sorrowful cries. God is big enough to receive them all, in whatever order they might spill out of your heart. And know that your community here at Bethlehem will continue to support you however possible.
It's hard to believe that been almost four and a half months since we were last gathered together physically with one another. During that span, our building may have been closed, but we never ceased to be the church, and we never stopped being one in community with each other. And we are so excited to be gathering once again for in-person worship services starting this Sunday! Please know that a great deal of planning and preparation have gone into this decision to reopen, and we intend to do so in the safest way possible. We ask your grace, patience, and forgiveness as we learn into this new way of being in community with one another.
As we return to in-person gatherings, we will be changing how we offer our digital worship. Over the next few weeks, we will transition from prerecording our services on Fridays, to live streaming them on Sunday mornings. One benefit of live streaming is that there will be new ways to interact, in real time, with the other people who are watching the service. Additionally, once the live stream broadcast has ended, a recording of that service becomes available almost immediately. That being said, we are not quite there yet. So, for the next few weeks, until we can get that system up and running, our plan is to record the worship service in the sanctuary on Sunday morning, and have the upload to you by Monday morning. We know that this will throw many of your schedules off, during a time when it's already hard to know what day of the week it is, and for that we apologize. Please bear with us for just a few weeks, and be on the lookout for more information about how the live streaming will work!

As you can imagine, there are a number of new procedures that need to be followed as we gather for worship on the grass. Below this letter, in the next section, are two documents. The first is the full, official Bethlehem Lutheran Church Covid-19 Protocol that outlines all of the new policies that we have created. It was written looking at state and federal protocols and guidelines, as well as those put out by the Pacifica Synod and the ELCA. In addition to that document, there is a one-page handout that is intended to orient and prepare you for what to expect when you come for in person worship. Clicking on those links will download them as PDFs. We encourage you to check them both out!
In this time of great change and uncertainty, I want to say thank you. Thank you for being such a wonderful, supportive, and caring community. Bethlehem is truly blessed with some extraordinary people. Paul said that it is the same spirit that blesses us with a multitude of gifts, and I am so grateful for the ways that you use those gifts for the betterment of the world. And whether I see you soon in person, or you continue to engage virtually, may God's blessing be upon you this and every day.
          Pastor Sam

 BLC Protocols 

Please click the links below to download the full "BLC Covid-19 Protocol" and the "What to Expect" handout.

 Music Ministry 

The New Music Reality During COVID-19 at Bethlehem
Many churches are at a standstill trying to keep the music going in their congregations.  With the research showing that the airborne aerosols spread through singing may cause the covid infection to occur, group singing has been banned.  So how are church music ministers trying to maintain a choral program in their congregations?  Here at Bethlehem we have found the "new reality" of music making.
The Good News Singers have participated in regularly scheduled "Sip and Sing" Thursday night choir rehearsals for the last few months. These rehearsals brought them together for camaraderie  and singing. Due to the zoom format, singers were unable to sing together simultaneously.  However, there was value in singing our favorite hymns phrase by phrase individually and recording them for our worship services.  The Good News Singers have created over a dozen Zoom hymn videos.
After a few months in this format, singers had a strong desire to create a "virtual choir" piece.  On June 15th, guide tracks were given to the singers who were asked to record themselves singing their own voice part and then send it to be edited by July 1st.   Those videos were edited by  Carolin Meinhardt the first week of July. Twenty-four singers' videos were submitted and then all were sent to Ron Hegg who formatted the layout and mixed all videos into the four part choral arrangement of "The Lord Bless You and Keep You".  
Here is the youtube link of their performance:
Virtual Choirs give all who have the desire to sing or play as an ensemble the opportunity to participate.  The biggest one I've seen was created by Eric Whitacre who created the Virtual Choir piece called "Sing Gently" with 17,572 participants from 129 countries!  Laura Thibault and I participated in this piece.  If you can find either of us in the video please contact me!   Here is the youtube link of the performance:  
The Virtual Bethlehem Talent Show - Since we have such a talented community at Bethlehem, it seemed obvious to generate a format for that talent.  Bethlehem members were contacted in late June to submit a short video of their talent by July 18th.  The variety of talent was outstanding!  Videos of music, dance, cooking and comedy from all ages poured in and formed the hour-long show that became the First Virtual Bethlehem Talent Show. Thanks again to Carolin who was the video editor. Here is the youtube link of the talent show:
I am looking forward to making more virtual performances with the various ensembles at Bethlehem!

 Volunteer Opportunity
Volunteers are being requested to help with the St. Andrews Food Program. As you can imagine the demand for services has increased exponentially recently. Bethlehem and St. Andrews work very closely together and we have always supported their food bank. Please read through the information below and consider if you might be interested in this ministry.
Volunteer Request
Are you looking for a volunteer opportunity that's close to home and serves our local community? St. Andrew's Food Pantry is in need of a few helpful people to serve in the following ways:
  1. Pick up unused bags of food items from La Costa Glen residential living and drop off at St. Andrew's on Wednesday mornings at 10:00. Time required is about an hour. Large car, SUV or van is helpful. Could be shared with other weekly helpers.
  2. Shopper at the San Diego Food Bank in Mira Mesa, once a month on Wednesdays from 10:00-12:00. Select and haul food from warehouse to St. Andrew's. Muscles and large SUV or van a must.
  3. Helper to go with the Shopper to the Food Bank warehouse. Muscles please.
If interested or for more info, please contact Chase Fields at chasecfields@gmail.com or 619-993-7029. Thanks for whatever you can do.
 ELCA Advocacy 
Advocacy Tools for Loving Your Neighbor - A Webinar titled: "Advocacy Tools for Loving Your Neighbor" was recently presented jointly by the ELCA and Episcopal Church. You can watch it here . The webinar highlights our shared passion for loving our neighbor, and features inspirational remarks by church leaders and advocacy professionals. It also includes many resources for continued engagement; here are a few:
November 3, 2020 - Presidential Election
It is fewer than 100 days until the election. Voting is our greatest right and responsibility in a democracy.
Advocacy in Quarantine - Every Wednesday at 12:00pm
The Lutheran Office of Public Policy-California hosts a Zoom meeting each Wednesday at 12:00pm to provide an update on current legislative action and advocacy work. The meetings are 25 minutes long, and end with one or two suggested Action Items that will take you no more than 5 minutes to accomplish. I hope you can find 30 minutes a week to stay informed and join the vital work of advocacy. More info LOPP-CA.
ELCA Advocacy Updates
Save the Date! Lutheran Lobby Day - Wednesday, May 19, 2021
The 2020 Virtual Lutheran Lobby gathered over 80 people online for an update on current legislative initiatives at both the state and national levels. We received a message encouragement from Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton for the faithful work of advocacy, and we made plans for Lobby Day 2021 - next year in Sacramento!
Take the 2020 Census
The ELCA is a Census Partner, encouraging an accurate count, because it impacts a more just resource distribution and representation in the political process. For your neighbor and yourself - fill out your Census and encourage everyone in your community to be counted!
Follow us!
Bishop Elizabeth Eaton: Facebook, Twitter
Bishop Andy Taylor: Facebook
For information or questions about Bethlehem's Advocacy Team, contact Karin Kloehn at blcadvocacy@gmail.com.

 Bethlehem Women of the ELCA

  The Eleventh Triennial Gathering of Women of the ELCA has been rescheduled to July 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona.  Watch for more information as we receive it.

 Bethlehem Women's Retreat

Bethlehem Women's Retreat- rescheduled again! The next Bethlehem Women's Retreat will be held on May 14 - 16, 2021 at Luther Glen.  Please save the date.  We look forward to seeing you then.  

 Giving Tree

Mission Action and Giving Tree Schedule 2020 - 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.

  • July 16 to August 16 - Bethlehem Serves (Beth Nelson) - Cancelled COVID19
  • August 17 thru September - Pajama Project Appeal (Belinda Simonini) - Cancelled COVID19
  • September  to October 15 - Lutheran World Relief Ingathering:  Quilts & Blankets (Scraps and Prayers Quilting Group - uncertain at this time)
  • October 16 thru November - Secret Santa (Cheryl Monreal)
  • December - TBD

 Stephen Ministry

Are you tired of COVID? Bored of being in your house? Disappointed that you are not able to go on vacation? Tired of juggling work, the house and the kids and dreading the start of school? Do you just want this whole COVID thing to end and get back to being "normal"?
Instead of focusing on your own problems, one way to help yourself is to focus on helping someone else. However, our options in that direction are now limited by our need for social distancing. Since we often cannot safely visit in person, reach out electronically by phone or video conferencing. Call a friend who lives alone. Spend time talking with an elderly person in a senior living home who has been deprived of in-person visits for months. Call an overworked young parent or a disappointed teenager. Set up a video conference with those relatives you won't get to visit this summer. Ask them how they are doing, and LISTEN!
If you find that you need someone to listen to YOU, please consider contacting Stephen Ministry. Bethlehem has thirteen Stephen ministers, gifted lay people who have been trained to listen to and support you when you need a caring friend. They would be honored to share time with you.
To learn more about Stephen Ministry please contact Pr Laura, Pr Sam, or one of our Stephen Leaders: Molly Hall, Laure Reynolds, or Suzi Westmoreland.

 Stewardship Educational Opportunity 

Looking to Deepen Your Understanding of Stewardship? Please join Stewardship Kaleidoscope this Fall for three consecutive Tuesday's: September 22, September 29, and October 6 at 8:30am. Each week you will hear theological, practical, and actionable perspectives and following the presentation we will have time in a live Q&A to share and learn further.
  • September 22nd hear from Eric Barreto of Princeton Theological Seminary on the Acts of the Apostles in the 21st century - imagination, vision, and creativity in responding to our call
  • September 29th we will learn with consultant Bonnie Ives Marden about the ways in which faith shapes our financial health, and get practical tools for church financial management
  • October 6th Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow will provide perspectives on engaging congregations across generations, cultures, and ethnicity to imagine building the church for forward thinking funding and functioning.
Go to Stewardship Kaleidoscope to register.  Contact Mark Stauffer if you have questions.

 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 chachapinillap@gmail.com.  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.

 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: https://sinningboldlywithsam.wordpress.com/"

 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:  https://community.elca.org/elca-email-subscriptions

 Bethlehem Cares Fund

Bethlehem Cares Fund: F or 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 smile.amazon.com website. See the website for more details.

Dear  ,


Thank you for registering with our e-mail announcement and update service at www.blcenc.org


Yours in Christ

Bethlehem Lutheran Webmaster