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

August 2018

News and Events

 From Pastor Laura

Dear people of Bethlehem,
Greetings from Sonoma County. I am here with thirty four students and nine leaders to work on a Habitat for Humanity building project and assist the Santa Rosa community in fire recovery. The students are dumbfounding the Habitat people by getting done twice as much work as expected. Yesterday they prepared a foundation. Today they put up the walls on a new home to house a family after the fires. The students say they are so happy to help in this kind of need. We are sleeping at Cross and Crown Lutheran, where I served for 6 years before coming to Bethlehem.
I have been struck, again and again on this trip, by the power and grace of community. First, students of two separate churches working together for the good of people they will never meet. Then members of Cross and Crown who stopped by to thank them saying, "As a resident of Sonoma County, thank you for all that you are doing." And my personal joy at seeing people I have not seen in 10 years, while at the same time surrounded by students from Bethlehem whom I have known and loved those 10 years. And those in Santa Rosa whom we are helping, but whose names and faces we will never know. It is a bit overwhelming, I must admit, and full of joy and the certainty that community is built, not of common walls, but of common story and shared tears and mercy and grace.

Community is finally, one thing. That we are bound together by the God who loves us all.
The theme for the trip this week is "Rising from the Ashes" as we help rebuild in Santa Rosa after devastating fires that have left thousands of people homeless. But it has come to have another meaning as well. Here at Cross and Crown, a 5 year old girl named Dahlila has been fighting for her life at Stanford Medical Center. I have know her mother Kahlia for years. The word as we arrived was that they were going to remove Dahlila from the machines that were keeping her alive and let her go. We all cried and prayed. Now 72 hours later, she is healing so well, that they may be able to take her off those machines by Friday and allow her to breath on her own. Rising from the ashes has come to mean so much.   The work we are doing, but also new life and hope for a little girl.
Perhaps that is community at its best: Rising from the ashes and holding on to each other in mercy, grace and love. Knowing our fragility and claiming the strength that we find together. At Bethlehem, we are newly blessed to welcome Iglesia de Cristo Minesterio, a small worshipping community, to use our family center on Saturday evenings. Their leader Donaciano has been gracious and kind and I am delighted that we are able to invite another community of faith to join us. Donaciano is a contractor and noticed, as he was putting away chairs, that we need some dry wall repair. He asked my permission to repair it for us. I told him we would happily reimburse him for the work. He said, "No, this is our gift to you!" What grace upon grace. Bethlehem Serves is coming up on Sunday August 19th. Come and join us as we help many in our community that morning. We will work in a school garden, and at the humane society, and all over Encinitas. Come to church at 9 am and we will go out into our community together. Also, we will be hosting an event for Ocean Knoll parents on August 28th. All are welcome. The Ocean Knoll community thanks you for all the food you have provided for their English language learning students this summer.
The connections never cease. The grace abounds. How thoughtful of God to gather us all in his wide embrace. To hold disparate communities in the same love and to connect us to each other. So that in each other's faces, we might see the grace of God.
God bless you, and all the communities in which you travel. May you find grace wherever you go.
In gratitude,
Pastor Laura

 Bethlehem Serves Day

Bethlehem Serves Day!  Come and help serve our community working alongside fellow church members.  Reserve the date, August 19th.  Arrive at 9:00am for a short service, then off to your project.  Come back at noon for a potluck: hamburgers and hot dogs.  Bring a fruit salad or other side dish or dessert for 8-10 people.  Project sign-up tables are set up every Sunday.  If you have any questions about it email Mike Notrica @ or see him at church.

NEW Quilt Tying Service Project for Bethlehem Serves.  Each week during the year Scraps and Prayers Ministry members tie quilts which are distributed through Lutheran World Relief, as Prayer Quilts for members of the congregation, baby quilts to Gently Hugged, Es Por Los Ninos and Military Outreach Ministries at Camp Pendleton and so much more.  On August 19th YOU can join in tying quilts which will go to Lutheran World Relief for world wide distribution.  AND IT'S EASY - IF YOU CAN TIE YOUR SHOES, YOU CAN TIE A QUILTNo Sewing - Just Tying.  It's for all in the congregation from elementary children to the eldest who can stand and tie.  We also hope to have the children help us "lay out" quilt squares for baby quilts.  Please join us in the Multi-Use Building (with air conditioning) for a morning of socializing and helping to make the world a better place - one quilt at a time.

School Bag Filling Project for Bethlehem Serves.  One of the projects offered is buying and filling school bags.  We have backpacks which we fill with supplies such as paper, pencils, rulers, crayons, sharpeners, etc.  We make approximately 350 bags.  100 of them go to Lutheran World Relief for world-wide distribution, 100 go to Central City Lutheran Mission in San Bernardino and 150 to Es Por Los Ninos.  These school bags are often the only items the kids will receive for the entire school year.  One thing that makes this project different from several of the others is that it needs supplies to make it successful.  Each bag costs approximately $3.25 for the supplies alone which equals $1,137.50. We get a small amount from Thrivent and Walmart sometimes donates a bit.  St. Andrews is also proposing to raise funds this year to help fill 50 school bags.  The rest needs to come from you, the congregation.  Mike Notrica has set up an innovative method for getting donations to help with the Bethlehem Serves Projects - a board with a hundred colorful envelopes with numbers on them.  I encourage you to take an envelope, put a donation equal to the number written on the outside (or larger!) and put the envelope in the donation box on the wall next to the Giving Tree.  And thank you in advance.  The wonderful things we accomplish here could not happen without the support of the congregation

 Children's Ministry

Upcoming Events and News
Family Fun Night / VBS Reunion: Mark your calendars. On Friday, September 14th @ 6:00 PM we are planning a special family night of fun! Open to all! We would especially like to invite our Learning Center Families, and those who attended our Shipwrecked VBS this past July. This will be a "kick-off" for our 2018-2019 Learning Circles Program! If you would like to volunteer to help
with planning and running this event, please contact Chris Matthews at
Learning Circles: Our summer program continues, children ages 4-12 will meet in the multiuse building during the 9:00 AM service. The nursery will be available for children under the age of four. Our regular Learning Circles Program will begin on September 16th.
Learning Circles Volunteers: September is fast approaching. This is the perfect time to prayerfully consider becoming a volunteer teacher in our Sunday school program. Your time and talents can be used to make a huge difference in the lives of our children at Bethlehem. We pray for at least 15 teachers to cover our Learning Circle classes this fall. There will be 5 groups, nursery, pre-k - kindergarten, 1st - 2nd, 3rd - 4th, and 5th - 6th. If you would like to volunteer please contact Chris Matthews at
Chris Matthews
Director of Children's Ministries
Bethlehem Lutheran Church

 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
mid-October        Scraps and Prayers Quilting Group
mid-October -    Secret Santa
November            Cheryl Monreal
December          Creches from Around the World
                          Various church members         
Ongoing:            TACO (soup kitchen)

 Giving Tree

Giving Tree- Bethlehem Serves (thru 8/19)

Bethlehem Serves Donations Needed!   The "Envelope Board" is an easy way to help support our day of service.  Just take an envelope and return it with that amount of money - for example, take Envelope #20 and return it with $20.00.  This helps us purchase supplies for the various projects. The response so far to the August Giving Tree has been great. The congregation has donated over $1,200 to date.  Our goal is to reach $3,000 each year and you can donate all the way up to August 19th, the day of the project.  The donations go towards funding the creation of 300 School Bag Kits, T.A.C.O. toiletry kits, some supplies for the garden projects and disbursed throughout the other projects for any supplies needed.  Thank you all for your generosity!
BETHLEHEM SERVES DONATIONS NEEDED - FIRST RESPONDERS CARE BASKETS:   We are collecting items for the care baskets we make during Bethlehem Serves for first responders.  We can use: granola bars - protein bars - dried fruits - small packages of nuts - cookies - crackers & cheese - fresh "portable" fruit like apples - and grocery store gift cards of $10 or more.  We are also asking for homemade pies to add a personal touch - those are VERY popular!  Please bring donations to the Giving Tree basket in the entry way (bring pies on the Bethlehem Serves day, August 20th).  Thank you for your support!
TACO Donations for Bethlehem Serves:   travel sizes of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body lotion, sunscreen, and deodorant are needed for the toiletries bags.  We have purchased the toothbrushes and toothpaste in small kits.  Collect them on your travels or pick up a few next time you're at Target.  THANK YOU!

Giving Tree- Pajama Project (8/20 thru 9/30)

The Pajama Project will be shopping soon! There will be wonderful PJ's displayed on the Giving Tree later this month.  We have been busy sewing up all of the flannel that you helped us purchase last year and have nearly used all 4000 yards of it!  Will you help with a donation so that we can shop again when the price is the best of the year?!  The organizations and individuals that we give these "Made with Love for You" PJ's to have come to count on them for the Christmas that they provide to children much in need and they appreciate them so much!

Please make checks payable to Bethlehem Lutheran Church with "Pajama Project" noted in the memo line or donate on-line through Bethlehem noting your gift as specific to the PJ Project.  Thank you for your continued support of this wonderful project in it's 22nd Year at Bethlehem!
Belinda Simonini
Pajama Project Coordinator

 Choose To Serve (Outreach Ministries)

Upcoming Opportunities to Serve Others

August 1    8:30-11:30 am     Scraps and Prayers
August 3    9-11 am              Sage Garden Project
August 8    8:30-11:30 am     Scraps and Prayers
August 10  9-11 am              Sage Garden Project
August 15  8:30-11:30 am     Scraps and Prayers
August 17  9:00-11:00 am    Sage Garden Project
August 19  9-12 am              Bethlehem Serves
August 20  3:30- 5:30 pm      TACO
August 22  8:30-11:30 am     Scraps and Prayers
August 25  9-2 pm                Pajama Project
August 29  8:30-11:30 am     Scraps and Prayers

Scraps and Prayers

This group sews quilts, and assembles school bag and fabric kits for people in need.  We meet each Wednesday morning from 8:30-11:30am in the Multi-Use Room.  We need your help cutting, sewing and tying quilts.  No experience necessary!  Come along for an hour or the whole morning; we'd love to share our scraps and prayers with you.  For more information, contact Kim Oswald at or Laure Reynolds at

Sage Garden Project

The Sage Garden Project is a program that brings gardens, cooking classes, and nutritional science - as well as opportunities for physical activity and exercise - to targeted elementary schools. The goal of the program is to reduce the incidence of diabetes. Because the disease is developing at an epidemic rate in the Hispanic/Latino population, schools with a large percentage of these students are targeted for participation.
We support 25 elementary schools throughout California from Chico to Bario Logan. Our pilot program is located at Ocean Knoll elementary, one block from Bethlehem Lutheran Church. During the school year the students at Ocean Knoll regularly attend classes in the garden and nutritional science lab. All our little gardeners have gone on summer break and we need help with garden maintenance. The garden will be open to community volunteers every Friday from 9:00-11:00am through 8/17/18. The large blue gate on Melba Road where Evergreen Drive meets Melba Road will be open. At the end of our shift we will split up any produce we have harvested. Questions? Call or text Karen Saake at 760-815-4912 or email

TACO (Third Avenue Charitable Organization)

We will be going to help serve at TACO on Monday, August 20th. Anyone interested should contact Lori Cook at 760 207-0432 by August 13th. Please see the note of thanks below from TACO's Volunteer Coordinator Brad Young.

With Comic-Con a memory, and the dog days of summer upon us, I wanted to take a moment to express TACO's thanks for all your support. Donations this year are at record levels, and our shoe drive gave out over 100 pairs! However, there is always more to be done, and the hot weather brings new challenges to our guests. If you are so inclined, TACO could use donations of hats, sunscreen, socks, and t-shirts to help those on the streets cope with the myriad of summer challenges they face. One major challenge I have noticed are severe sunburns on many of our guests due to a lack of shelter/covering. In addition, the lack of "safe spaces" to go during the day, leaves many of our guests vulnerable to dehydration, sun stroke, and exhaustion. This was particularly evident during Comic-Con as police cracked down on the homeless, in order to present San Diego's "best face". One guest summed it up by stating "we are basically herded around Downtown all day".
Because of this, your donations truly do matter, and all of us are extremely grateful to the congregation at Bethlehem Lutheran. Blessings to you all, and have a wonderful safe summer.
Brad Young

Pajama Project
Making hundreds of pajamas for kids in need, Pajama Project is truly a work of the larger community. People from Bethlehem and from all over the community come regularly throughout the year to create these wonderful pajamas.  If you can spare time to come join us, we'd love to see you! Come for a little while or spend the whole day. Any time you can share with us is truly appreciated. We will serve lunch for volunteers during the  noon  hour.  If you'd like to help in another way, we are always looking for someone to provide lunch for our hard working volunteers by bringing in food or donating money which we'll use to pick up something local. No matter the size, all donations are a great benefit.  If you like to sew, or know someone who does, we have kits available to take home and construct.

A reminder of future Work Days scheduled on Saturdays from 9:00 to 2:00:
August 25th
September 29th

For more information, please contact Belinda Simonini at

Prayer Shawl Ministry

We are in need of knitters and crocheters to create shawls for our Prayer Shawl Ministry, as we are very low in supply.  Shawls are given, as available, to those who are in need of comfort and solace, as well as in celebration and joy. You may create these at home at your convenience, and/or please join us at Bethlehem Serves day on August 19th. Patterns are available at  
Here is a quote from their website: "Shawls...made for centuries universal and embracing, symbolic of an inclusive, unconditionally loving, God.  They wrap, enfold, comfort, cover, give solace, mother, hug, shelter and beautify. Those who have received these shawls have been uplifted and affirmed, as if given wings to fly above their troubles."  
Contact Janet Mastrogany 619 980-8671 

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

CRC (Community Resource Center)

Back-to-school shopping?   Visit one of CRC's three resale stores for some great bargains while helping raise funds for people in our community recovering from domestic violence, hunger and homelessness.  Don't miss the customer appreciation sale August 13 - 17, and if you are cleaning out your closets, consider donating your gently used items to CRC.  For resale store locations, visit

You can also check out the Encinitas CRC resale store location on August 19th for Bethlehem Serves day. The store is in need of some tidying up: dusting, sweeping, mopping, etc. Please consider joining our work crew! For more info, contact Sheri Burtt at

 Stephen Ministry

Stephen Ministry
When You Need Someone to Listen...

Stephen Ministers do a great job of walking alongside people going through tough times-times of grief, illness, separation, divorce, or loneliness. During these times, people often feel very alone. They may have no one to talk to who will really listen. Stephen Ministers give them a listening ear-someone who they can talk to about things they wouldn't discuss with anyone else. Someone who will be there for them, week after week. They know, "This person has my back. They're looking after me and helping me through."
Could you or someone you know benefit from a Stephen Minister? For more information please contact Pr. Laura or one of our Stephen Leaders; Molly Hall, or Laure Reynolds.

 Music Ministry

August Music Happenings 
August 12 - Hymn Sing Sunday 
Favorite hymns from our ELW hymnal will be sung as part of our services. We are looking for a few people interested in sharing stories about their favorite hymns that day. Please contact our pastors or Mona Goetsch at if you are willing. 
Other hymns will be selected during the service. 
August 19 -  Bethlehem Serves Sunday 
Handchimes Sing-a-long with Senior Citizens.
Learn to play handchimes and then sing  and play old time favorite songs for the residents at the Olivenhain Senior Home . 
 Bethlehem Advocacy Team
Advocacy - Connecting Faith and Public Life

Workshop on the Draft Statement on Women and Justice - August 30th at 6:30pm

This Draft Statement is an invitation to everyone in the ELCA to join in conversation to discern what this church should teach about contemporary issues related to sexism and patriarchy in our society. Workshop participants will draft a group response to send to the ELCA Task Force, which is working on the final draft of the statement.
ELCA Social Statements are teaching and policy documents that assist members in forming judgments and in guiding action on social issues. They also set policy for this church, guide advocacy efforts, and support its public voice. Social Statements are developed through an extensive process of deliberation involving the whole church and must be adopted by a two-thirds vote of an ELCA churchwide assembly.
We are hoping to have a diverse group - in both age and gender - at our workshop. Please come, we need your voice! And we'll have cookies! Please download and read the Statement prior to the Workshop: For more information, email Karin Kloehn at 
ELCA joins 144 Faith Organizations to call on Congress to defend the Johnson Amendment

In letters sent to Chairman Pete Sessions and Ranking Member of the House Rules Committee Representative James McGovern, they asked for their support for amendments in the Appropriation bill that protect the Johnson Amendment.
The Johnson Amendment protects the integrity of 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations, including houses of worship, by ensuring they do not endorse or oppose candidates. Weakening current law would allow politicians and others seeking political power to pressure churches for endorsements, dividing congregations, and opening them up to the flow of secret money. Americans do not want our charitable nonprofits, houses of worship, and foundations to be torn apart by partisan campaign politics. We must keep this valuable safeguard that protects our houses of worship, our charitable and philanthropic organizations, and our political process. Read the letter here.

New ELCA Podcast "Three Sides"

Three Sides is a new monthly podcast featuring stories from the ELCA. Typically, it is said there are two sides to every story. But often a middle or third side of the story is revealed, providing another perspective to consider. As a church that believes God is calling us into the world - together, Three Sides will present diverse voices from across the ELCA. Listen as we share unique stories from the many expressions of this church. Visit the Three Sides page to listen or subscribe.
Read more about ELCA Advocacy
Sign up to receive updates
For more information about Bethlehem's Advocacy Team, email Karin Kloehn at
 Acolyte Training
If your child is in 2nd through 6th grade and they are interested in serving as an  acolyte , please plan to attend the BLC Acolyte Training Session scheduled for Sunday, September 23rd immediately following the 10:30 service in the Sanctuary. Hope to see you there! If you have additional questions, please contact Kim Hogelucht, BLC's  Acolyte  Coordinator, at  or call 858-349-6831.

 Endowment Fund
Each  month,  Bethlehem's  Mission  Endowment  Fund Committee shares some thoughts and suggestions about planned giving. This month's topic is:

Top 10 Reasons to Update Your Estate Plan
1.      New Children, Grandchildren or Other Heirs
2.      Move from a Different State
3.      Sale or Purchase of a Major Asset
4.      Reaching Age 70 ½
5.      Your Selected Beneficiary is Deceased
6.      Divorce or Remarriage
7.      Substantial Change in Value
8.      Adding a Major Property to a Living Trust
9.      Selected Executor or Trustee Not Available
10.    Passage of Time
To receive a "Will and Trust Workbook" or for assistance in reviewing your legacy plan, contact one of our free gift planning consultants: Lisa Higginbotham, ELCA Regional Gift Planner at 805-910-5048, or Greg Shepherd at 909-910-6823.

 Church Property Maintenance Requests

Notice something on our church campus that needs fixing? Concerned about lighting, air conditioning/heating, water, etc.? We have a property manager who can take care of your concerns. Please call or leave a message with the church office (760-753-1026) or email and someone will get back to you.

 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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