"Caught in grace, created for service, called into community"
In This Issue

Sunday Mornings... 

  8:30am and 10:00 am


Learning Circles 

(Pre - 6th)

8:30 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

December 2019

News and Events

From Pastor Laura

Dear Advent People,
May light reach you. The light of Christ's coming. The light of hope in a dark night sky, the light we pass one to another. I recently saw the Mr. Rogers movie, "It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood". I left the theatre reminded again, that kindness and compassion are indeed a most significant force of transformation in the world. I left musing on God's decision to change the world by placing a newborn child in a manger. A decision to change the world, not by force or strength, but by one who came bringing healing in his hands. A decision irrefutably as naive as Mr. Rogers way of living appeared to be, and yet by this, a world can be altered.     
Such a decision is not without risk or ridicule, largely because it seems too gentle, too simplistic for such a complex and weary world. It may be, but I know of no greater force among us. Nathan Pyle is a favorite cartoonist of mine. I think he states the risk of love well.
Christmas has dawned among us once again. As pastor, I am blessed with a unique perspective during the Christmas Eve worship services. I have the opportunity to stand before you as you pass light one to another in the darkness, at the singing of Silent Night. I watch the light spread. I watch light illumine the faces of grandparents who have seen seasons of gratitude as well as loss. I watch the light passed to young children, faces aglow with innocence and hope and the joy of Santa. I watch as the youngest among us, pass the light to those with tears in their eyes, and I see healing pass with the light. I watch as my own children, now adults, carry the strength and story of a new generation.
We are bidden this Advent to pass light, one to another; to friend and stranger alike. It is always a risk. But as I watch you do it every Christmas Eve, I see the room lighten. I see the light stretch to the doors. Such is the nature of Christmas. A God who would risk sending his son into this world, that we might know healing, hope and light. What a privilege is ours to be bearers of that light to the world. It is always worth the risk.
Thank you, O Advent people, for the many ways you bear light to the world. May the holy light of this season find you blessed and offer you the peace of this season. O people of Bethlehem, we are a church named after a miraculous night, when love touched the earth and entered the world. May that powerful love and hope enter you this day.
Blessed Advent and Merry Christmas,
Pastor Laura
 Proposed Changes to Bethlehem's Constitution
To all members of Bethlehem Lutheran Church:
At our annual meeting on January 26, 2020, the congregation will be asked to approve changes to Bethlehem's Constitution. The congregation must be notified of the proposed changes at least 30 days in advance of the meeting at which the vote will be taken and be notified of the Congregation Council's recommendation. The Council voted at its November meeting to recommend approval of the changes. A majority vote is required of voting members attending the meeting.
The changes are required to bring our constitution into compliance with language required by the ELCA. No other changes are proposed in our constitution. The only changes being proposed are those made by the ELCA's Churchwide Assembly in August 2019 and are part of mandatory language required to be included in the constitutions of all ELC congregations.
The changes are described in this document.
If you have any questions about the proposed changes or the process itself, contact Bob Michelet at bobmichelet@gmail.com
 Fall Financial Stewardship Update
The Council is pleased to report a wonderful response to this fall's stewardship conversation. Based on pledges received, we're projecting a 2020 giving increase vs. the 2019 budget of 8.4%! This is within the 8% to 10% range that we had targeted to fund our library, landscaping and livelihood priorities. Thank you for your mission support and we'll share more information at the Annual Meeting.
 Year-End Giving Opportunity
Historically, financial contributions for Bethlehem spike upward around the holidays.  If you are considering a special gift, or if you are contemplating fulfilling your 2020 pledge in 2019, consider doing so through a gift of stock, mutual funds, or ETFs that have appreciated on the strength of the stock market.  In addition to supporting the church, you avoid capital gains that you would otherwise have to pay on the appreciation.  (Be sure to check details with your tax advisor.)  Contact Judy Foland, church administrator, to learn how this can be done.

 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/"

 Thank You for the Gift of Warm PJ's This Season

The Pajama Project has distributed almost 1500 pairs of PJ's and pajama pants to agencies who will be distributing them this holiday season. Here are some pictures of the children receiving their Christmas with Cheryl Monreal's help at Es Por Los Nino's.


 Annual Christmas Concert

The choirs of Bethlehem will present their annual Christmas Concert on Sunday, December 8th @ 4 p.m.  This year's concert is called " Rejoice! The Baby is Born!" Come hear the Good News Singers, JuBellation Ringers, Children's Choir, Children's Chimers and World Music Ensemble perform traditional carols in new and exciting arrangements.  A free will offering will be taken for the music department. 

 Bethlehem Women of the ELCA

Women's Christmas Bazaar
Our annual Women's Christmas Bazaar will be held Sunday, December 8th from 9:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. in the Family Center.  Bring your Christmas shopping list.  What will be available - handcrafted items, baked goods, jam and jellies, Scholastic Books, pre-ordered SERRV products, a gingerbread house (tickets available at the entrance to the Family Center) and our beautiful Opportunity Drawing Quilt to mention a few items.  Come join us before or after your church service
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 8th.  Please deliver baked goods or craft items to the Family Center on Saturday, Dec. 7th between 10:00 a.m. - noon or on Sunday, Dec. 8th before 9:00.  For information  or to make alternative arrangements, please contact Kim Oswald, rdoswald@aol.com or 760 634-2995.  Proceeds will benefit the ministries of the Bethlehem Women of the ELCA.  Thank you for your support.
    Opportunity Quilt Drawing
Scraps and Prayers is offering an opportunity drawing for a beautiful San Diego themed quilt designed by a member of Scraps and Prayers.   The suggested donation is $5 for each ticket or five for $20.   Tickets will be available and the drawing will be held at the Christmas Bazaar on December 8th. Proceeds will benefit the ministries of the Bethlehem Women of the ELCA.  

Meeting of the Women of Bethlehem
Bethlehem Women of the ELCA will hold their annual meeting at the end of January 2020.  The annual meeting will look at all aspects of funds and projects for 2020 as well as an election of officers.  More information will be available in January on exact date, time and place.  All women of Bethlehem are invited to participate.

 Women's Christmas Bazaar- International Market

The Center for Global Awareness is again hosting its 9th International Market at the ELCA Women's Christmas Bazaar on Sunday, December 8. Items are from the Lutheran World Relief SERRV catalogue and CGA donates all proceeds to Lutheran World Relief water projects. The SERRV catalogue will be available the middle of October and the entire catalogue is available online, www.serrv.org. Please include in your order: your name, item name, catalog #, the number of those items you wish to order and price of each item. You will pick up and pay for your orders at the bazaar on Sunday, December 8th. In order to ensure that your items are available for pickup at the Bazaar, orders need to be returned to Dianne Nichols (diannenichols86@gmail.com) or ChaCha Appel (appel13@cox.net) or you can also leave your order in the SERRV envelope on the table inside the church narthex by the conference room by November17.

 Bethlehem Women of the ELCA- Giving Tree 

Bethlehem Women of the ELCA:
Mission Action and Giving Tree Schedule 2019

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.

ELCA World Hunger Appeal // St. Andrew's Food Pantry
Cheryl Monreal

Lori Cook

College Care Packages
Skye Svenningsen

Celebration of Lent

29:Eleven Maternity Home

Center for Global Awareness
Dianne Nichols & Gail Winterbourne

July 1st-8th
Vacation Bible School
Chris Matthews

July 9th-Aug 18th
Bethlehem Serves
Beth Nelson

Aug 19th-Sep 22nd
Pajama Project
Belinda Simonini

Sep 23rd-Oct 12th
Lutheran World Relief Ingathering: Quilts & Blankets
Scraps and Prayers Quilting Group

Oct 13th-November
Secret Santa
Cheryl Monreal

Bethlehem Community Library
Constance Mithelman

T.A.C.O. (soup kitchen)

 Youth Ministry

The high school youth group is working to continue their support of the asylum seekers that are being asked to wait in Juarez until their trial dates, which can be up to 9 months away.  They have nothing but what they were able to carry.  One of the biggest needs in the shelters is underwear.  Both Bethlehem and St. Andrew's are collecting new/packaged underwear the entire month of October.  When shopping, please purchase any children's sizes and adult size smalls.  You can put them in the laundry basket in the entryway.  Thank you!

 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

 Sunday Ride Ministry

Sunday Ride Ministry is a program we are starting at Bethlehem to lend a hand and a ride to church services for those in our church in need. If you can occasionally give a ride please sign up in the church entrance or contact  Rose Moldenhauer  rosemoldy@cox.net.

 Bethlehem Women's Retreat

Save the Date !   The next Bethlehem Women's Retreat is scheduled for May 1 - 3, 2020 at Luther Glen.

 Choose To Serve (Outreach Ministries)

Upcoming Opportunities to Serve Others

December 4, 11, 18   8:30-11:30am   Scraps and Prayers
December 28   9:00am- 12 noon  Feed the Homeless  (at St. Andrews)

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 rdoswald@aol.com or Laure Reynolds at laurereyn@roadrunner.com.

TACO (Third Avenue Charitable Organization)

TACO serves meals to the homeless at First Lutheran Church in San Diego on the third Monday of each month.  We're recruiting more volunteers, so if you'd like to join us, please contact Lori Cook at 760-207-0432.  Car pooling is available.  As the weather begins to cool, donations of sweatshirts, sweatpants, blankets and sleeping bags are much appreciated.  Donations can be left in the box marked TACO in the narthex or contact Lori.

Prayer Shawl Ministry
Five new beautiful shawls were added to our inventory. We have already distributed three shawls this year. If you know anyone who would benefit from receiving a prayer shawl (if he/she is going through a particularly difficult or joyful time), please contact janet.mastrogany@gmail.com,  Please continue to create at home at your own pace - & if you are interested in learning how, we will pair you with an experienced knitter/crocheter! We meet every other month 9-11 at church (before or after your favorite service) for a casual drop in opportunity to knit/crochet and visit together.   

Patterns are available at  www.shawlministry.com 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   janet.mastrogany@gmail.com 

CRC (Community Resource Center)

Did you know:
Last year, 138 homeless individuals obtained permanent housing through CRC's case management and housing assistance?
Over 500 households visit CRC monthly to receive healthy food, nutrition resources, benefits assistance and education?
Last year, 150 people found safety in CRC's domestic violence shelter, receiving help and counseling to get back on their feet?
CRC works to end hunger, homelessness and domestic violence in North County San Diego. As a provider of integrative services, CRC's programs include a domestic violence emergency shelter, hotline and prevention/education outreach; a Therapeutic Children's Center; professional counseling; legal advocacy; food and nutrition distribution center; homelessness prevention; and rental and housing assistance. All of CRC's programs are designed to assist participants to successfully navigate their paths of safety, stability & self-sufficiency. CRC relies on our community support. Click here to see the many ways in which you can help CRC to help those in need!

Contact: Sheri Burtt at sherissb@gmail.com.

Es Por Los Ninos
Es Por Los Ninos is a binational non-profit organization helping children, women and adolescents infected with the AIDS virus in Baja California Mexico.  Lacking financial resources and education, this vulnerable population is struggling to survive.  For 20 years, the members of Bethlehem have supported Es Por Los Ninos, by donating clothing, supplies and money, including gifts from our Secret Santa program and school bags assembled during Bethlehem Serves.  Donations are welcome at anytime; please call Cheryl Monreal for more information.
Contact:  Cheryl Monreal   760-942-1482

 Stephen Ministry

Holiday Stress?
When you find the busy pace of holiday preparations starting to take their toll, take a few moments to relax and release the stress.
Go outside. Take a walk. Breathe fresh air.

Turn off your devices.

Look at the stars.

Smell the roses, or the Christmas tree, or the gingerbread...

Look out the window, or at a treasured photo, relax your eyes.

Play with your pet.

Soak in the tub.

Eat your favorite food.

Take time for prayer or quiet contemplation.

Find joy and pleasure in the present and forget the To Do list for a moment.
Breathe deeply and let go of stress.

 ELCA Advocacy 
Save the Date - Lutheran Lobby Day May 20, 2020
Join other Lutherans from around the state at the Capitol in Sacramento. The day will include information and training to prepare you meet with your legislators to advocate for faith-based issues. More information to follow. Contact Karin Kloehn if you have questions. You can read about Lobby Day 2019 here.
The Lutheran Office of Public Policy-California has set four legislative priorities for 2020. They are: Deep Childhood Poverty, Homelessness and Housing Insecurity, Immigration, and Food and Farming Policy. You can read about the work of LOPP-CA here.
ELCA Advocacy Updates for November
United Nations and State Edition and Advocacy Connections from the Washington, DC Lutheran
Office of Public Policy.
The ELCA is " very disturbed by the November 18 announcement by Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo that the Administration unwisely is changing current U.S. policy by stating that the "establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law."
Jublilee Year-End Report
Read about all the great work of Jubilee USA in this year-end report.
Presidential Primary Election - March 3, 2020
This election will be here before we know it! Be sure your voter registration up to date. Check here.
Follow us!
Bishop Elizabeth Eaton: Facebook, Twitter
For information or questions about Bethlehem's Advocacy Team, contact Karin Kloehn at blcadvocacy@gmail.com.

 Feed the Homeless Program

Bethlehem has volunteered to help with "Feed the Homeless Program" at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church on the 4th Saturday of each month from 9:00 am to 12 noon. We are in need of volunteers. If you are able to participate please sign up today outside or contact Naida Malchiodi at naidalouise2@yahoo.com .  

 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.

 Church Property News/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 property@blcenc.org 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 Newsletter Archive  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 sbreding@cox.net.


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.

 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 Stewardship 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  ,


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


Yours in Christ

Bethlehem Lutheran Webmaster