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

December 2017

News and Events

From Pastor Laura

Dear Advent people,
Expectation and hope is the central state of the people of God. Expectation of God's gift of grace and the press of the Spirit in each new day. Hope in the promise of God's light in every corner of this world. We are always an advent people. And as the people of Bethlehem Lutheran, we live always in the knowledge of God's gentle grace, born in a manger and born in us each day. A Christmas letter will soon be arriving in the mail for you all and so I wanted to take this time to update you on the latest expectation moment at Bethlehem, the pastoral associate position.
The call committee is doing careful and excellent work. All candidates have been through a first interview by phone and a second interview in person. That work is now complete. The call committee meets this Sunday to carefully consider the candidates before us. I thank this wonderful committee for their faithful work. If the committee discerns that we have found a good fit for Bethlehem, it is our hope to bring a name to the December council meeting for recommendation to the congregation for vote. The final step will be a congregational vote on the recommended candidate at a called meeting of the congregation. Before the vote, the candidate will be invited to Bethlehem for a meet and greet, so that you all will have a chance to meet him/her in anticipation of the vote. The date for that meet and greet will likely be in early January. Please continue to pray for the committee and their work for the gift of the Holy Spirit and for the candidates as they discern God's call in their lives.
This is an exciting time at Bethlehem as we look forward to new gifts and and a new voice to add to this ministry we share. All candidates currently in the process are first call. Meaning they are recent seminary graduates. They come with new energy, education and gifts and I cannot imagine a better congregation to raise up a new pastor than Bethlehem. This is a wonderful congregation and you have so much to offer them, and they us. A personal irony, my first call was in a congregation named Bethlehem Lutheran. I am forever grateful for their willingness to call me and the wonderful ministry partnership that followed. I am forever shaped by their grace.
Please check Mary's article for the calendar of events in this very full season. There are many opportunities for service and worship and fun and grace together as we prepare once again to welcome the child in the manger.
Blessed time of hope and expectation to you all.
Pastor Laura

 From Mary Shaima, Diaconal Associate

Dear Bethlehem,
In this season that is so hectic and busy all around us, God invites us to be different.
God invites us to journey to the manger, where we find the power of God rendered in a vulnerable and needy baby.  It upends our understandings of power and strength, recasting them in the holy dichotomy of strength in weakness.
We all make this journey in our own ways, but when we make time to travel part of the way with one another it lightens the load and gives us hope for tomorrow.  At Bethlehem we have several opportunities to walk together in this holy season:
  • The Advent Concert on Sunday, December 3rd at 4 pm - music of the season for all ages
  • Christmas Caroling on Sunday, December 10th at 4:30 pm with potluck to follow
  • Comfort at Christmas service on Wednesday December 13th at 7 pm for anyone who finds themselves standing outside the season in any way
  • Festive Advent services on December 17th with Children's Christmas Program at 9 am and special presentation of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" at 8 and 10:30 am
And of course, Christmas Eve services at 10 am, 4:30 pm, 7 pm, and 9 pm.  Christmas Day services will be at 9:30 am across the street at St. Andrew's.
Join us also on Sunday December 31st at 10 am for worship that will transition us to the new year - followed by brunch at Ki's in Cardiff!
These are just a few opportunities - there are more on the website calendar including ways to help our community.  
May you be blessed with traveling mercies on the way to see the Christ Child.

Mary Shaima, Diaconal Associate

 Advent and Christmas Schedule

Christmas Bazaar Sunday, December 3 from 8:30AM until noon in the Family Center.
Christmas Concert Sunday, December 3 at 4PM in the Sanctuary.


Christmas Caroling Sunday, December 10 at 4:30PM. Meet in the Family Center for caroling and a potluck supper.


Comfort at Christmas Service Wednesday, December 13 at 7PM in the Sanctuary.


Children's Christmas Program  Sunday, December 17 at 9AM. Regualr worship services at 8AM and 10:30AM.


Christmas Eve Sunday, December 24. Worship services at 10AM, 4:30PM, 7PM, and 9PM.


Worship Service Sunday, December 31. One worship service at 10AM.

 Children's Ministry

Upcoming Events and News
Learning Circles Christmas Program: This years Christmas Program will be on December 17th during the 9am service. This year we will include all of the children involved in Learning Circles, the Children's Choir, and the World Music Ensemble. Join us for this celebration of the birth of our Savior!
Christmas Program Rehearsal: There will be one important rehearsal on December 16th at 11am. Those who would like to participate in this years program are asked to join us for this important rehearsal. Costumes will be assigned and we will get a chance to run through important details for our performance on the 17th. All other practice will occur during Learning Circles on December 3 and December 10.
Chris Matthews
Director of Children's Ministries
Bethlehem Lutheran Church

 Bethlehem Women of the ELCA

Women's Christmas Bazaar  - Sunday, December 3rd from 8:30 - noon in the Family Center.  Bring your Christmas shopping list.  What will be available - handcrafted items, baked goods, jam and jellies, Scholastic Books and pre-ordered SERRV products to mention a few items.  We will also offer BeadforLife jewelry including bracelets, necklaces, and other items.  This is the last year we will be able to sell BeadforLife items at the bazaar. 
Crafters and Cooks  Please consider contributing your beautiful handcrafts, delicious preserves and baked goods or any special skill you may have to sell at the Christmas Bazaar on December 3rd.  Please deliver baked goods or craft items to the Family Center on Saturday, Dec. 2nd between 10:00 a.m. - noon or on Sunday, Dec. 3rd  before 9:00.  For information  or to make alternative arrangements, please contact Kim Oswald,  or 760 634-2995.  Proceeds will benefit the ministries of the Bethlehem Women of the ELCA.  Thank you for your support.
Looking Ahead
Bethlehem Women of the ELCA  - The annual meeting of the BWELCA is Wednesday, January 31st at 9:00AM in the multi-use building.  All women of Bethlehem are invited to participate.

 Stephen Ministry

New Stephen Ministry Training Class

We will be offering a new Stephen Minister Training Class in January.  In addition to offering this class to new Stephen Ministers, this year 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 take place on Monday evenings from 7:00 to 9:00 pm in the Multi-Use Room beginning on January 22 and continuing to June.  The cost of the class is $50 which covers the cost of books.  If you are interested please contact one of our Stephen Leaders: Molly Hall or Laure Reynolds.
Can You Become a Stephen Minister?
Have you ever wondered whether you could be a Stephen Minister?  Please consider these steps. 
  • The first step is to pray.  Prayer is one way we learn what ministry God is calling us to do.  As you pray, ask God whether Stephen Ministry is the right ministry for you.  
  • Look at what spiritual gifts God has blessed you with. Stephen Ministers need to be loving, patient, non-judgmental, confidential, prayerful, and encouraging.  They need to be good listeners. Five spiritual gifts valuable to Stephen Ministers are Faith, Mercy, Teaching, Encouragement, and Knowing.
  • Next, assess your current responsibilities.  Stephen Ministry is a big commitment.  If you are stretched too thin already, now is probably not a good time to become a Stephen Minister. 
  • Consider your life circumstances- is now the time?  For instance, if you are in the middle of a grief process, it is probably better for you to receive care at this point in your life than to become a caregiver.

If you are truly interested, speak to a Stephen Minister who can answer your questions and share their own experiences. Then speak to one of our Stephen Leaders: Molly Hall or Laure Reynolds.

 Endowment Fund

Each month, Bethlehem's Mission Endowment Fund Committee shares some thoughts and suggestions about planned giving from Greg Shepherd, the Pacifica Synod's gift-planning resource. This month's topic is "Three Types of Gifts".
Just as the three wise men visiting the manager of baby Jesus left three kinds of gifts to honor Him, we to can leave three kinds of gifts. The three kings left gold, frankincense, and myrrh. We, in thanks to God for all His blessings to us in our lifetime, may choose to leave gifts of our tithes, our offerings, and our legacy.
Tithes are those gifts we give regularly to sustain the work of our church in God's kingdom. Offerings are special gifts to support the ministries for which we have a passion. Legacy gifts are those gifts we leave behind to our loved ones and to our church out of joyful thanks for all that He has provided. Legacy gifts often require wise planning. To plan your legacy gift, contact our gift planner, Greg Shepherd at or 909-910-6823.

 Interfaith Homeless Shelter

Bethlehem Lutheran Church Interfaith Shelter 2017
We are pleased to announce that will be hosting the Interfaith Shelter at Bethlehem again this year. We partner with the Interfaith Shelter Network which is a collaborative effort by local congregations, human services agencies and government entities to provide shelter, services and resources to homeless San Diegans throughout the region. The shelter will be coordinated by Blair Lindberg and Diane Langager.
Bethlehem will host the shelter for two weeks starting December 3 - 10, with Seaside Community Church providing all of the volunteer efforts and food for the second week (December 10 - 17).
Church volunteers set up temporary housing and dining facilities in the Multi-use Room and Family Center. We host up to 12 people. Our guests arrive daily at 5:30 pm. They eat dinner in the Family Center at 6:30 pm and then retire to the Multi-use Room for the night. Guests leave early in the morning and are not allowed to stay in the shelter during the day. There are a variety of ways in which you can volunteer to help with the shelter:
Breakfast * Lunch * Dinner * Overnight Host * Laundry * Set-up * Transportation * Take-down * Cash Donations
For more information and to sign up to volunteer* go to:
Or feel free to contact Blair or Diane directly at:
Blair Lindberg ; 858/663-5681
Diane Langager ; 760/271-2072
* For those of you who volunteered last year, you should have already received an invite from signup genius via email. If your email has changed or you have not received an invite - please contact Blair.

 Giving Tree

Bethlehem continues its support of Community Resource Center in December with donations to Carol's House, CRC's 24-bed emergency shelter for women and children fleeing domestic violence. Carol's House offers residents a safe, temporary home while they receive comprehensive social services to facilitate their transition to safer and healthier lives. Services include a legal advocacy, counseling for adults and children, life skills training, parenting classes, and financial education. Please select an ornament from the Giving Tree to donate needed items. Monetary donations are also helpful. Checks may be made payable to the Community Resource Center and placed in the lock box near the Giving Tree. For additional information contact: or or the Domestic Violence Hotline (877) 633-1112

 CRC Holiday Baskets

Volunteers needed for CRC's Holiday Baskets Program!   Each year, Holiday Baskets provides a dignified and free "shopping experience" for families in need.  This year 1,500 households will be served and lots of volunteers are needed to make this happen.  We are currently organizing a group from Bethlehem to volunteer together on Saturday afternoon, Dec 16 from 1-4.   Please join us!   To sign up, or learn more about other volunteer opportunities with Holiday Baskets, contact Sheri Burtt at .


TACO needs our help!   Since the weather has turner cooler, our TACO guests are in need of warmer clothing and blankets.   Blankets should be single size and easy to roll up and carry during the day.   Clothing suggestions are flannel shirts, sweatshirts, preferably with hoods, scarves, gloves, thermal underwear, warm sox, men's underwear (various sizes, boxers & briefs), gently used bras and toiletries. Thanks to all of you for caring about those less fortunate!  God's blessings to all.   Lori Cook,  760 207-0432.

 Music Ministry

Bethlehem's Choirs will perform "Carols Alive!"  our annual Christmas concert on Sunday, December 3rd at 4PM.  Please come and hear how traditional carols are used in new and unique musical settings. The concert will include music by the Good News Singers, Children's Choir, JuBellation Ringers, Childrens Chimers, World Music Ensemble and various soloists and small groups. A free will offering will be taken to support the music department of Bethlehem.

 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  ,


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Yours in Christ

Bethlehem Lutheran Webmaster