"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

January 2019

News and Events

 From Pastor Sam

New Year's Blessings Bethlehem,
I would like to start this Newsletter article with a sincere and heartfelt thank you. I was absolutely blown away by the generosity of your Christmas gift. Thank you all so much. I would also like to thank you all for a truly wonderful Christmas season. Our worship services were packed; filled not only with people, but with joy and love and laughter. It was such a blessing to be a part of.
New Year's is always an odd time. A time where we stand upon a threshold, simultaneously looking forward and looking back. Looking forward can be full of hope for a new year, a new chance to actually stick to our resolutions this time, excitement for what the new year will hold. Or it can be full of worry, or even dread for what lies ahead. Similarly, looking back can fill us with great happiness and satisfaction about how the last year panned out. Or it could be full of regret and sorrow over what all we have experienced, and the things or people we had to say goodbye to. And there you are, on New Year's Eve with all of those things flooding your mind all at once.
My mom recently posted a cartoon on Facebook. I'm not sure what animal the characters were supposed to be, but the first says, "Why so optimistic about 2019? What do you think it will bring? Everything seems so messed up." To this comment the second character says, "I think it will bring flowers." The first responds by saying, "Oh yeah? Why do you think that?" To which the second replies, "Because I am planting flowers." Now I don't know if the artist of this cartoon is familiar with Martin Luther, but it does remind me of a quote of his - "Even if I knew that tomorrow the world the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree."
In Jesus' birth as a tiny, fragile, infant we learn that God enters our world in mysterious and surprising ways. In the fact that Jesus was fully human and fully divine we have assurance that God is with us in all that we experience, the good and the bad, because through Jesus, God has truly experienced all that it means to be human. And in Jesus' death and resurrection we know that sin and death, loss and sorrow, these things will not have the final word. God will always have the last say, and God's word is always one of a better vision for tomorrow.
We may not be able to control all of what happens to us in the next year. And none of us truly know what tomorrow will bring. But each one of us is given the gift of today, and the choice of what kind of seeds we choose to plant. We have the ability to plant seeds of love, justice, care, and compassion today, and trust in God to make the rest happen - to turn those seeds into beautiful flowers of hope and promise.
So, my hope for you and this coming year is that it be filled with flowers; the flowers of God's work in your lives.
Pastor Sam
Theology on Tap
"It is better to think of church in the ale-house than to think of the ale-house in church."
- Martin Luther
Bethlehem is starting a new adult education opportunity. The class will meet periodically for 4 or 5 weeks at a time. While relating to each other thematically, each class is meant to be self-contained, which means you don't need to worry if you can't come to all of the sessions.
We will be meeting on January 16 th , 23 rd , 30 th and February 13 th from 7 to 8:30 to discuss the nature of God. We will tackle questions like, "Does God have a gender?" and "Is God all powerful?"
We will be meeting at Swami's Café and Bar on Encinitas Blvd next to the Trader Joe's - 1506 Encinitas Blvd, Encinitas, CA 92024.
We hope you can join us!

 Children's Ministry

Upcoming Events and News
Happy New Year!: Thank you, to all who have contributed your time, talents and
love, to the children of this congregation throughout 2018. Your support is greatly appreciated!
Learning Circles: Learning Circles will resume on Sunday Jan. 6 @ 9 AM.
Annual Meeting of the Congregation January 20: There will be Learning Circles as usual at  the 9 AM service. Daycare will be provided for those who would like to attend this important  meeting of the congregation.
Mardi Gras / Carnival Tuesday March 5: Last year's event was a great evening of family fun!  We had a great time, including music from a "Live" Dixieland band in the family center, a mini  parade to the sanctuary, followed by "hands on" experience playing Brazilian Carnival Music. If  you would like to volunteer to help make this years Mardi Gras / Carnival a success, please  contact me, Chris Matthews at: childrensministry@blcenc.org .
Easter Egg Hunt April 18 @ 10 AM: Join us for this fun annual family event!
"Roar" VBS July 1-3, and 5th: This year's "Roar" VBS will be the "Mane event" of the summer!  This epic African adventure engages the whole herd. At Roar, kids will explore God's goodness  and celebrate a ferocious faith that powers them through this wild life.
Thanks again to all of you! We look forward to another great year in 2019!
Chris Matthews
Director of Children's Ministries
Bethlehem Lutheran Church

 Music Ministry

Choirs Begin Again!

The new year begins and so do the choir practices! Here is the schedule for new beginnings:
Children's Choir - January 13  10:00- 10:30 a.m. - Family Center

Children's Chimers - January 13 10:30-11:00 a.m. - Family Center 

JuBellation Ringers - January 24 6:00-7:15 p.m. - Family Center

Good News Singers - January 24 7:22- 8:30 p.m. - Sanctuary 

Second Sabbath - Leading Worship on January 27 - practice that week, e-mail mstenoien@aol.com for time. 

World Music Ensemble - Leading worship on February 17 - practice on February 16th. 1 p.m. 

 Bethlehem Women of the ELCA

Annual Meeting 
of the Bethlehem Women of the ELCA

All women are invited to the annual meeting which will be held  Wednesday, January 30, in the Multi-Use building at 9AM.  We are electing our officers for 2019, determining our budget, the organization which we will support for our Mother's Day Thanksoffering and more.  For more information, contact Kim Oswald at rdoswald@aol.com or (760) 634-2995.

 Giving Tree

January Giving Tree

ELCA World Hunger // Saint Andrew's Episcopal Church Community Food Pantry Appeal.  Accepting food donations during January to assist Saint Andrew's Community Food Pantry.  Requested items - canned items: vegetables, fruits, tuna, spaghetti sauce, beans, and peanut butter AND dry items: rice (1 lb bag), spaghetti, instant rice, cereal, macaroni & cheese, instant soup/top ramen and dry milk packages.  Please pick up a shopping list at the Giving Tree and return to the basket under the Giving Tree. For additional information, please contact Kim Oswald or Cheryl Monreal. 

 Women's Retreat

2019 Bethlehem Women's Retreat

God's Light Shines through Our Story
Sign-up for next month's Women's Retreat
begin this Sunday, January 6th 
The 2019 Bethlehem Women's Retreat will be held at the Luther Glen Conference Center in Yucaipa, CA on  February 1 - 3, 2019 .  Join us for a weekend of faith, fellowship, and fun!
We have a choice of two housing options available this year at two different prices. The conference center sleeps 40 persons and features comfortable rooms which each sleep 2 to 4 people. Each room has an attached bath. The cost for the conference center will be $180 per person for the weekend and includes bedding and towels. If you don't mind more rustic conditions and a short walk we also have available the cabins at Camp Yolijwa which have bunk beds and shared bathrooms at a price of $140. Bring your own bedding and towels for the cabins. The cost for all participants includes meals Saturday breakfast through Sunday breakfast. For more information contact Laure Reynolds or Rose Moldenhauer.  Visit the Luther Glen website at http://www.lrcchome.com/about/luther_glen.php.
Sign up for the conference center rooms will be first come first serve based on when we receive your money. We will accept cash, check, or credit card. The last day to sign up will be Sunday January 20.
Full and partial scholarships will be available. Would you like to sponsor a scholarship?

 Choose To Serve (Outreach Ministries)

Upcoming Opportunities to Serve Others

January 2, 9, 16, 23, 30   8:30-11:30am   Scraps and Prayers
January 21   3:30-5:30pm   TACO        
January 26   9:00-2:00pm   Pajama Project

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)

Socks & underwear are always needed for our friends at TACO, especially as the weather turns cooler this fall. They need men's white athletic tube socks and men's briefs in all sizes. There will be a large black plastic tub labeled TACO in the Narthex for your donations. Let's see if we can fill that tub to overflowing!!   Thank you so much!!

Alternates for Serving at TACO- We also need a few people who would be willing to be "on call" to come help serve the meal the 3rd Monday of the Month if we are short of people. We have to be there by 3:15 and are done serving at 5:30. I generally have room for a couple of people in my car and we do have a good time! If you are interested and/or have any questions, please call me, Lori Cook, at 760 207-0432.   Thank you so much!

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.

Work days are regularly scheduled for the last Saturday of each month from 9:00 am-2:00 pm.

For more information, please contact Belinda Simonini at  belindasimonini@gmail.com .
Prayer Shawl Ministry

Prayer Shawl knitting group will meet again in January. If anyone world like to contribute items to sell at Women's Christmas Bazaar, Suzi Westmoreland will be collecting these. (suggested items include hats, scarves, potholders).  Please contact her at suziwestmoreland@hotmail.com

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. 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 

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  bobpatmoran@cox.net

CRC (Community Resource Center)

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of CRC's Holiday Baskets through volunteerism or donations. On Dec 15, we had an enthusiastic group of 24 volunteers from Bethlehem distributing food boxes, turkeys or chickens, fresh produce and more to local families in need. We also experienced the gratitude of those families as we watched them leave with shopping carts full of toys, warm outerwear, blankets, books, and sometimes bikes! To learn more about CRC's mission to end domestic violence, hunger and homelessness in our community, visit crcncc.org.

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

Stephen Ministry

Post-Holiday Blahs?

The kids have left and the house is too quiet again... 

The season is finished and I have nothing more to look forward to...

I saw the family at Christmas and it opened old wounds...

I made it through the holidays and I can no longer avoid going to the doctor- but I'm afraid...

January is a difficult time for many as the days are shorter, the nights are colder, and the hustle and bustle of Christmas is behind us. While December is a happy time of preparation and rejoicing, January can be a letdown as we dwell on feelings brought forward during the holidays and face the reality of our current lives.

If you are having a hard time making it through this post-holiday season, a Stephen Minister can help support you and listen to you as you work through these difficulties. For more information please contact Pr. Laura or one of our Stephen Leaders, Molly Hall or Laure Reynolds.

 ELCA Advocacy 
ELCA Advocacy Update

As Lutherans, we join in celebrating the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the  Universal Declaration of Human Rights   (UDHR). We celebrate because we identify with its universal principles of justice and equality. And we celebrate because we were represented at its drafting. Learn more here.
" As a church, we serve society when we 'hold power accountable, advocate justice, stand with those who are poor and vulnerable, provide sanctuary, and meets human need' (ELCA social statement: " For Peace in God's World "). We stand firmly against inflicting harm in all communities by cutting funds for programs that serve vulnerable people or defunding programs that better the conditions that force people to flee their home countries. We stand for a budget that honors the image of God in each person."
"People of faith across the country should continue to urge members of Congress to approve a moral budget that reflects our values and advances the common good."

Learn what Pacifica Synod AMMPARO (Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation, and Opportunities) members are doing to support organizations that are assisting people at our local border. 

For information or questions about Bethlehem's Advocacy Team, contact Karin Kloehn at blcadvocacy@gmail.com
 Interfaith Rotational Shelter
Interfaith Shelter Network Update - Housing the Homeless at BLC 

With the Season of Advent having arrived, has anyone else missed getting ready for hosting our homeless friends which BLC has done the previous 2 years at this time? For those who haven't yet heard, our turn at hosting has been delayed this year to late in the Lenten Season.  So mark your calendars to join us in volunteering fun - making and sharing a meal, staying overnight, donating items, and helping out our homeless friends - this coming March 31-April 14, 2019.  More announcements for sign ups in the New Year!  Many Blessings to All for your generosity in giving throughout the year. Merry Christmas!   Blair Lindberg and Diane Langager, Co-Coordinators of IFSN at BLC

Learn American Sign Language (ASL)

Another opportunity to learn American Sign Language (ASL)!

The Westmoreland family will be offering ASL classes again in 2019:

Thursdays for nine weeks starting January 10 through March 7, 2019, in the Multi-Use Building. 

Introductory class from 5:30 to 6:30 pm

Intermediate class from 6:30 to 7:30 pm

Cost: $20 includes the book. $5 if you already have the book.

To sign up contact Suzi Westmoreland at 760-505-3365 or suziwestmoreland@hotmail.com

 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 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.

 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, 
https://www.thrivent.com/thriventchoice/program/dollars_details/index.html   or contact your Thrivent congregational advocate, Dennis Astroth at 858-354-3566, or dennis.astroth@gmail.com.

 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.

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