In This Issue

From Pastor Sam

February Worship Schedule

Women of Welcome

Children's Ministry

Music Ministry

ELCA Advocacy

Housing Forum

Interfaith Shelter


Stephen Ministry

Stewardship Stream

Volunteers Needed

Pastor Ordination

Engagement Opportunities

COVID Vaccine Help

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


Judy Foland

Office Administrator

Ext 1 

Quick Links

Church Calendar

News & Events

Children's Ministry



Pacifica Synod News


Healthy Day Partners


ELCA Global Links

February 2023

News and Events

As you may have recently heard, we just finished cleaning out and organizing the attic in the sanctuary. If you haven’t seen the highlight video of that process yet, make sure to scroll down to the Stewardship Stream article – you’re in for a treat! And as I mentioned at the annual meeting, we have plans to do similar cleaning and organizing across the entire campus over the coming months. All of our houses got Marie Kondo-ed during the pandemic, and now it’s the church’s turn!


I have always loved a good sort and purge, which is a catchy new phrase that I (hopefully) just invented to describe the process of both organizing a space, as well as giving/throwing things away. I just love the feeling of creating order out of chaos. And I especially love how fresh and clean the space feels afterwards. The only problem is, I am also incredibly sentimental, and I express that sentimentality by hanging on to old keepsakes. When I moved to San Diego, I had four storage bins full of Legos, as well as two other bins of random memorabilia. Thanks to a few different purges those have since dwindled – I’m now down to two boxes of Legos, and only one box of nostalgia-related items!


Now, some of you might be wondering, how is it possible for a person to love sorting, organizing, and purging, and also be a sentimental packrat? Aren’t those two personality traits mutually exclusive? On paper, you’d be absolutely right, and I would 100% agree with you that those two things don’t go together. And yet, it must be possible because … well … here I am! The living embodiment of those seemingly contradictory ways of being in the world.


Thankfully, there’s some rock-solid Lutheran theology that helps explain this conundrum – and it is called “Both/And” theology. As opposed to “either/or” theology, “both/and” theology is a way of understanding contradiction and paradox. It’s a way of realizing that the world is far more complex than we realize, and that things that seem to be mutually exclusive do indeed co-exist at the same time. That’s how we can understand that Jesus was both fully human and fully divine, or the fact that we are all simultaneously both saint and sinner, or how the kingdom of God both is present now and is yet to come. And if it can cover those lofty topics, it can most certainly account for my own personal contradictions.


“Both/and” theology is one of my favorite aspects of the Lutheran way of understanding the world. I mean, how boring would it be to go through life always having to pick either/or, this or that, when instead you can say, “Both!” Seriously, though, I think that it is a much more realistic way of understanding the world around us. We live in a world where contradictions and paradoxes are commonplace. A world that is most certainly not black or white, but rather every blessed color under the sun. It’s a world that is filled with nuance and complexity. So thank goodness we have a theology that can stand up to such a wonderful and complicated world!

Your contradictory (at times) sibling in Christ,

Pastor Sam


February Worship Schedule

Sunday Morning Worship:

  • February 5, 12, 19, & 26 - 9 and 10:30 AM

Worship usually takes place in the sanctuary for both services, and there is the option to sit outside in the eco-narthex as well. The livestream usually takes place during the 10:30 AM or as indicated.

Learning Circles take place during the 10:30 AM worship service. We have classes for ages 3 thru 6th grade and nursery services available, too!

Lenten Wednesday Worship:

  • February 22 - Ash Wednesday Service - 7 PM


As we mark the beginning of the season of Lent we will gather for worship that will include imposition of ashes.


  • Beginning March 1, Midweek Lenten Services - 6 to 8 PM


We are excited to announce the return of the Lenten community suppers! For the first time since Covid, we will be gathering on Wednesday evenings, starting at 6 pm, for Holden Evening Prayer, a community meal in the family center, and adult education afterwards. Please join us for any or all of those activities starting on March 1st.

Women of Welcome (WoW)

Paint & Whine - Friday, February 3, 6-8 PM - We invite you to join us in the Multi-Use Building for a fun evening of creativity and sharing. Whether you are an experienced painter or have not painted since kindergarten, this will be fun!

Bring a picture of something you would like to paint, either from a book, a print out, or an image on your phone. Instruction will be shared by all participants; we will all help those who ask for advice.

All supplies provided, including easels and paint brushes.

Bring your own wine & “whine” and a suggested donation of $5 for canvas and paints.

Please signup here so that we may plan the seating arrangement.

Questions? Contact Linda Goldsmith 760-815-3852 or Cynthia Heigold 760-525-3519.

Children's Ministry

Family Game Night

February 24, 5-7 PM

We are excited to announce our first scheduled Family Night of the year. Join us on February 24th for pizza and games the whole family will enjoy. More information will be coming in an e-blast, but make sure to mark your calendars now! We are excited to gather as families to fellowship and get to know each other better.

Our Sunday morning Learning Time continues each week during the 10:30 service. We are excited about our new multi-age classroom curriculum which emphasizes the use of peer buddies across all ages. We are also beginning a monthly music time on Sunday mornings during Learning Circles, which will be led by Mona Goetsch. You won't want to miss this! Here is our Learning Circle schedule and themes for the month of February:

  • Feb. 5 - Salt and Light
  • Feb. 12 - Jesus Teaches about Anger
  • Feb. 19 - The Transfiguration
  • Feb. 26 - Music with Mona

We continue to have a need for more teachers for Learning Circles. If you are interested or would like more information, please contact Jana Hegg at

Music Ministry

February Music Happenings - The choirs are in full swing and preparing for the Lenten/Easter season.  Here is the schedule of performances in February. 

  • February 5 - Good News Singers 
  • February 12 - Children's Choir @ 10:30 am and duet by Sandy Lakey and Dave Ensberg 
  • February 19 - 1st Sunday of Lent- World Music Ensemble
  • February 22 - Ash Wednesday Service @ 7 pm - Good News Singers
  • February 26 - Duet by Skye Svenningsen and Kelly Derouin

Wednesday night Lenten services will start on March 1 beginning at 6 pm.

ELCA Advocacy

“Advocacy in Quarantine” - Our weekly information sessions will resume on Wednesday, February 8 at 12:00pm. “AiQ” is a 30-minute Zoom with Regina Q. Banks, Director of the Lutheran Office of Public Policy – California. Each week Regina will give us an update on state and federal legislative priorities and suggest a quick advocacy activity.


Lutherans in the 118th Congress - Did you know that many Lutherans serve in the U.S. Congress? Read about some of them here. “In service of fair and compassionate government, this church expresses gratitude for its members who serve in dedicated and competent public service and commends more members to consider work in the public domain.” From ELCA Social Message “Government and Civic Engagement in the United States: Discipleship in a Democracy.”

ELCA Advocacy Monthly Update

State Edition

Follow us!

LOPP- CA:  Facebook, Twitter

Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton: Facebook, Twitter

Pacifica Synod: Facebook, Twitter

ELCA Advocacy: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

ELCA: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram


For information or questions about Bethlehem’s Advocacy Team, contact Karin Kloehn at

Affordable Housing Forum

Did you miss the Encinitas Affordable Housing Forum hosted by Faith in Action? You can view a recording of the 1-1/2 hour session, including Q&A below or at the YouTube link:

The forum was moderated by Pastor Laura and included presenters:

Steve Swiecicki, Community HousingWorks

Mirle Rabinowitz Bussell, Ph.D., UCSD Department of Urban Studies and Planning

Bob Kent, Keys4Homes

Hon. Jim Stiven (Ret.), Faith in Action

Interfaith Shelter Network

Interfaith Shelter Network is coming back to in-person housing at congregations this winter. 


Bethlehem Lutheran will be partnering with St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church February 5 - 19  to host the shelter. We are still working out the details about who and where, but stay tuned for more information and ways in which you can help.


Additionally, the Interfaith Shelter Network is starting an Advocate Companion Project to further assist its clients. The program uses trained advocates to partner with the Case Managers/Social Workers to act as companions for individuals/households in the shelter(s). The advocate meets with clients once a week and follows the client from shelter to shelter and ultimately to housing. It is a volunteer position which requires a number of training sessions and a six month minimum commitment. The goal is to provide the maximum amount of support for the client.


If you are interested or want more information about the program please contact: Abby Shrestha, Shelter and Housing Program Manager, Interfaith Shelter Network at 619-702-5339 or

Stephen Ministry

Time for Love - According to retailers, February is a time for hearts, flowers, Valentine’s Day, and love. But for some of us this is a painful time as it reminds us of our aloneness. We grieve for loves lost, for our disillusionment of love, and for love that has not happened the way we expected.

This February, rather than dwelling on your own lack, focus instead on spreading your love and joy to others. Volunteer at a food bank. Bring cookies to a neighbor. Call a friend you have not spoken to in a while. Smile and greet everyone in the check-out line. Read a story to a child. Sharing our love is a sure way to remember our blessings and elevate our mood!

If your need is greater, consider talking with a Stephen Minister. A Stephen Minister is a lay person, a Christian friend who is trained to listen and support people who are going through a difficult time in their lives. If you would like to know more about how Stephen Ministry may help you or someone you know, please speak with Pr. Laura, Pr. Sam, or one of our Stephen Leaders, Suzi Westmoreland, Molly Hall, or Laure Reynolds.

Stewardship Stream

Stewardship is a wonderfully rich and complex term. Usually when we hear it, it’s in reference to monetary resources, and that is an incredibly important aspect of the word. How we steward our finances matters. The ways that we use our money, and the places and people it goes to, all of that speaks to our values as human beings. 


With that being said, money is only one of the wonderful resources that God has entrusted to our care. There is much that we are called to be responsible stewards of – our environment, our relationships, our time, our skills, our passions, our very presence in the world. All of these areas of life offer us the opportunity to be a blessing just as we ourselves have been blessed.


Recently, as small group helped to clean out and organize the attic space located in the sanctuary building. It was a process that required an incredible amount of time, labor, and planning. The attic was emptied entirely. All of its contents were sorted and reorganized. New subflooring was installed, along with storage racks and hooks. And then all of the saved items were carefully placed back up into that space. Some of the items not returned to attic were placed out in the narthex for folks to take, and many people gave those old items a brand-new home. Check out the video below to see the entire process! And to all who were involved in this project, thank you for your stewardship!

Bethlehem Lutheran Attic Clean-Out

Volunteers Needed for Sat. Breakfast at St. Andrews

Volunteers Needed! Saturday Breakfast at St. Andrews - Our mission to feed the hungry a hot breakfast each Saturday is starting back up again, and the kitchen at St. Andrew’s is now open for business. Bethlehem will be preparing breakfast on the 4th Saturday of each month. We need 6 volunteers to crack and scramble 6 doz. eggs, cook 60 hash browns, 13 lbs. of bacon, make 80 pancakes and serve up plates with a smile! Click below to volunteer!

Sign up to Volunteer

Pastor Casey Kloehn Dunsworth Ordination

Former Bethlehem pastors gather at the Service of Installation for Pastor Casey Kloehn Dunsworth at San Marcos Lutheran Church on January 22 Left to right: Patti Harman, Bishop Dave Nagler, Pastor Casey, Pastor Bill Harman, Pastor Laura, Pastor Sam, and Pastor Gene Holtz.

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

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.

 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.
Bethlehem Lutheran Church