In This Issue

From Pastor Sam
Worship Schedule
COVID Vaccine Help
Women's Ministry
Giving Tree
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 

February 2022
News and Events
Greetings Dear People of Bethlehem,
I attended a webinar last week and one of the speakers, a pastor by the name of Carrington Moore, spoke about the sabbath, and how we understand rest, in a way that really resonated with me. If you will recall, in Genesis, after God created the heavens and the earth. After the sun, and the moon, and the stars were placed in the sky. After the waters were separated, one from another, and dry land sprang up from the watery deep. After God created vegetation, and all forms of living creatures, including humans, God marked the 7th day as holy, and on that day God rested. Now, while it’s easy to think of this day of rest as an afterthought, an epilogue or postscript, if you will, that is actually not the case at all. Reverend Moore said that, in fact, that sabbath day represented the completion of God’s creation. It was the final chapter, the conclusion. It wasn’t an afterthought, but rather the thing that tied all of it together. 
Rest and the sabbath were clearly important to God, important enough to be included in the commandments that were given to Moses. But we have lost our way when it comes to practicing these things. Rev. Moore said, “We often think about rest as a way to help us be more efficient throughout the week. Rest is not its own, simple entity within itself. [The sabbath is] its own creative day [where] we find purpose and value, completion and wholeness … We can’t really value the sabbath for what it is, because we’re looking at the sabbath as a means to an end to be more productive.”
This spoke to my soul, because I don’t know about you, but I have been feeling pretty weary of late. Actually, I do know about you, because so many of you have told me that you have been feeling the same way. Whether it’s stumbling under the weight of increased workloads. Or feeling the effect of the amplified levels of stress and anxiety that exist in our world right now. Or finding yourself spinning round in circles as you try to stay up to date on the latest procedures and protocols. Add onto that all the other stressors that have absolutely nothing to do with COVID and it’s a lot right now. And I think that we all need to hear this word of grace about the true purpose of rest. That rest is not something that you only get to do once you have completed every single thing on your to do list. That rest is not something that is earned. Nor is its only value in relation to the increased productivity that it can facilitate. Rest is sacred and holy and necessary. And what gets defined as “restful” might look very different from one person to another. Whether it’s kayaking or surfing, or sitting on the bluffs watching the ocean, or hiking, or spending time with your friends or family, or sitting in silence, or just taking a nap, it is all holy and it is all beautiful. God knew the stress and strain of constant creation, so even God rested, and implores us to do the same.
Whatever your sabbath looks like, whatever you find to be restful and rejuvenating, I hope that you take time (and if need be, make time) to do a little bit of that this week. And if anyone accuses you of slacking off, just say, “God told me I needed to have a little rest.”
Sabbath well my dear friends,
Pastor Sam
February Sunday Worship Schedule
February 6th — Worship will be live streamed at 9 am. There will be no indoor worship that day. Outdoor worship will be at 10:30 am on the lawn.  
February 13th — Worship will be live streamed at 9 am. There will be no indoor worship that day. Outdoor worship will be at 10:30 am on the lawn.  
February 20th and beyond — We are hopeful that we will be able to worship indoors in these days. Please watch your email for updates or check the banner on the website home page for the most recent worship schedule. 

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.

Women's Ministry
Women's Ministry Meeting - Mark your calendar for Wednesday, February 23rd at 9am. We would like to invite you to participate in a discussion about restructuring the Women's Ministry at Bethlehem to meet the current needs of our congregation. Location of the meeting depends on Covid and will be announced closer to the event.

Giving Tree
Dear Bethlehem, I am so grateful to be part of such a generous group of people.

This year you all donated for the Secret Santa a total of $2,693.00 and for Es Por Los Ninos it was a total of $1,583.00. I was able to buy so much baby and toddler formula as well as give Es Por Los Ninos money to help families in Tijuana and Baja with HIV/AIDS. The mothers cannot breast feed so your donations really are saving the life of a child.

With the Secret Santa funds we helped many families in our area. We donated to a teen shelter in San Diego. We even helped to pay the funeral bill in full for a young married couple whos baby died on day before her due date. I personally know this couple and they would have been the best parents. The mother cried as I gave her the check to pay off her debt to the hospital. They are so, so Grateful!

I would also like to thank the Sewing and Knitting Ladies for all of their tireless efforts in sewing literally thousands of masks, not to mention baby quilts, large quilts and 1,590 pairs of pajamas. My dear friend who has just made the decision to stop all of her cancer treatments and go on Hospice received many warm and loving gifts from Bethlehem. She has received a quilt, masks, knit caps and even clothes from Caitlin and Suzi Westmoreland. Rose Moldenhauer continues to give us guidance as we make plans on my friend’s journey.

Thank you so much for everything you all do to make this a better place!
- Cheryl Monreal

ELCA Advocacy
“Advocacy in Quarantine” is back! - 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. After each meeting, Action Items are posted on the LOPP web page.
Presiding Bishop issues pastoral message on Ukraine
Bishop Elizabeth Eaton states “ I affirm the statement of the Lutheran World Federation's general secretary, the Rev. Dr. Anne Burghardt: "We urge all parties to de-escalate the situation and work for peace and stability. A peaceful solution must be found." Read her full message here.
January 6th Anniversary
In this statement, “Anniversary Beckons Constructive Civic Engagement” from National Director Rev. Amy Reumann, she says, in part “Churches and faith leaders are still regarded as trustworthy sources of information. We have a unique responsibility for and reach into local communities. We need to use this access to push back against misinformation and teach non-violence even as we practice accompaniment by listening and responding to those who experience being cut off and cut out.” A timely reminder about faith in action.
Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA to visit Encinitas
You are invited to come to hear Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network, as he shares his insights on the economic accomplishments and concerns of Jubilee here and around the world.
Jubilee USA Network is an alliance of more than 75 US organizations and 750 faith communities working with 50 global partners. Jubilee USA builds an economy that serves, protects, and promotes the participation of the most vulnerable here and around the world. Jubilee USA wins critical global financial reforms and won more than $130 billion in debt relief to benefit the world’s poorest people.
Eric will be speaking on Thursday, February 24, at 7:00pm at San Dieguito United Methodist Church, 170 Calle Magdalena, Encinitas. Masks will be required. Dessert, coffee, and tea will be served.
Save the Date: 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.

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

Stephen Ministry
I Need a Break! - Pandemics are stressful. Invisible threats, worries about health and loved ones, extra workloads, and constantly changing routines all take their toll on us. And our usual forms of relaxation are now difficult or unavailable. We can’t travel, take a vacation, have a spa day, or go out to dinner the same way we used to. We need to take a break and recharge. How?

Embrace the Small Things. - Instead of lamenting what you cannot do, focus instead on what you can do. Recognize and enjoy the small things in your life: the first sip of coffee in the morning, the smell of flowers in your garden, the warmth of your favorite blanket, the sound of the waves on the beach, the view of a beautiful sunset.

Start a Gratitude Journal. - Focus on the positive. Each day write down three things that you are grateful for, or perhaps three things that made you happy today. Focusing on the positive things in your life can have a big impact on your overall outlook.

If you need extra help to get through this time consider Stephen Ministry. A Stephen Minister will meet with you and listen to you, encourage you through the low points and celebrate with you at the high points. If you would like to know more about how Stephen Ministry works, please contact one of our Stephen Ministry Leaders, Laure Reynolds, Molly Hall, or Suzi Westmoreland.

Stewardship Stream
Because it Bears Repeating... - Bethlehem takes the matters of congregational accountability and transparency seriously, as most easily seen in the information communicated at the Annual Meeting and in the Annual Reports. The excellent 2021 Treasurer's Report, prepared by Melissa Ontiveros, highlights the faithfulness of our community in financially supporting the ministries of our congregation. We want to spotlight a few of the noteworthy stewardship items here.
Our offerings in 2021, of $649,0000, exceeded the budgeted/expected offerings, a number that is based on pledges received and giving history, by $34,000! 2021 offerings also exceeded actual 2020 offerings by $10,000. What is really amazing is that, despite COVID challenges for our members, our 2021 offerings exceeded pre-COVID offerings from 2019 by $40,000, or almost 7%!
Interestingly, based on the Pledge/Estimate Reports that are also provided in the Annual Reports, after peaking in 2020, the number of family units for which we have pledges or estimates, has declined from 107 in 2019 to 99 in 2022. However, there is a significant shift upward into the $5,000 to $10,000 per family unit category that more than compensates for the family giving unit decline, which would suggest that our members have further increased their generosity!
In summary, as the Pastors have said every Sunday, THANK YOU so much for your Bethlehem financial stewardship. It’s been incredible!! We thank you for your generosity, and we look forward to all that we will be able to do as a community in the coming year.
A quick unrelated note: don’t forget that the old GivePlus Mobile app is no longer available after January 31, 2022. If you haven’t already, be sure to download the upgraded Vanco Mobile app.

Learn Americal Sign Language (ASL)
If you have ever wanted to learn American Sign Language (ASL), now is your chance, in a friendly, supportive learning environment. The classes are designed for high school to adult learners.
Bethlehem ASL Classes: 
Most Thursdays from 6 to 7 pm Pacific Time
Our textbook is available on Amazon: "Learn American Sign Language" by James W. Guido
If you're interested in joining us, contact Suzi Westmoreland at 

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.