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

January 2018

News and Events

From Pastor Laura

Dear members and friends of Bethlehem,
Blessed Epiphany.  Epiphany means very literally, to shine upon.  It means to reveal, to make manifest that which is unseen.  When someone says they have had "an epiphany", they mean they are seeing something clearly for the first time, a new idea cast from what once was.  This is our epiphany -- a brilliant star in the sky, shining upon an amazing revelation.  God would choose to join us.  Now that is perhaps the greatest epiphany!  So that the world might believe, that we might believe, that God infinitely cares and heals and blesses and touches the world with his own hand and with his grace.  And that hand, that grace, extends to us.  Like Einstein's many epiphanies, it is the kind of truth that changes everything that comes after it.  In this new year, in 2018, we live once again into that truth. 
There is much to look forward to in coming year at Bethlehem.  Much is being made new.  We are calling a new associate pastor!  After almost two years of waiting for the timing to be right in many areas, the call committee has interviewed and chosen an amazing pastor.  That pastor's name has been forwarded to the council.  The council has unanimously approved forwarding this pastor to the congregation for vote.  On Sunday, January 21st at the annual meeting of the congregation you will have chance to cast your vote on whether or not to call this person as your new pastor.  The candidate will be with us for a Meet and Greet on Friday, January 19th from 6-8 pm.  You certainly can't vote on a pastor you have never met.  Please come to meet this person, shake hands, share appetizers and hear from them.  Informal conversation will begin at 6 pm, with a formal presentation at 7 pm.  We look forward to the new voice, new leadership and new vision that await us in the coming year.      
Please also mark your calendars for Wednesday, January 17th at 6:30 pm.  St. Andrews and Bethlehem are hosting an evening of interfaith dialogue and conversation in partnership with Hands of Peace.  We will begin with a Middle Eastern dinner together in the Family Center, followed by a panel discussion with: Rabbi Frank from Temple Solel, Sheik Fayaz Nawabi and Rev. Dr. Daren Erisman.  There will be time for your questions as well.  An introduction to Hands of Peace will follow.  Hands of Peace is an organization that brings Palestinian and Jewish youth together, for the sake of forging peace in Israel.  The young people meet here in Carlsbad each July, with a contingent of local youth from North County.  It is exciting work and there will be information available about hosting a student in July if you wish.  For more information on Hands of Peace, visit their website at
On Sunday, January 28th, there will be two events at Bethlehem.  Pastor Greg Shepherd will be with us hosting, with the mission endowment committee, a legacy giving informational event for anyone wanting information about including Bethlehem Lutheran or any charitable organization in your gift planning.  Greg comes with decades of experience in this area and will be available to assist you in any way.  Many of you have already included Bethlehem in your estate planning and I want to thank you, on behalf of a grateful congregation for giving a legacy gift that will last forever. 
On that same Sunday, we want to make an opportunity available to you called "Choose to Serve."  That morning information on non-profit organizations throughout North County will be available at tables in the eco-narthex.  We all have a strong desire and capacity to serve, but it is often difficult to find the organizations that need our help.  We are planning to bring those organizations to you.  Please stop by the tables as you decide where you will choose to serve in 2018. 
Finally, Mary Shaima will formally end her pastoral service to Bethlehem on Sunday, February 11th, though we hope she always considers Bethlehem her home.  Mary has served this congregation exceptionally and faithfully for decades as a worship leader, and for the past 18 months as the diaconal associate.  There are not words enough to sum up the gifts she has given to Bethlehem in her decades of service, but I can begin by saying that Bethlehem has some of the finest worship I have ever witnessed.  In the past 18 months, Mary has faithfully preached, taught and served the congregation as diaconal leader.  I want to personally thank her for her wisdom, her grace, her voice and her love for the people of Bethlehem.  We have been blessed.  We wish her Godspeed as she moves into the future God is preparing for her.  We will take time to thank her as a congregation with a reception in her honor following the 10:30 AM service on Sunday, February 11th.  Please plan to attend. 
You may have been at Bethlehem for decades or you may be just beginning your faith journey here.  It matters not.  In this new year and these new days of epiphany, we will be blessed together with moments of service and opportunities to serve our neighbor.  We will be blessed to come together in joys and sorrows as we proclaim Christ in our midst and in the midst of the world.  What a gift to be the church in this time. 
God be with you all and blessed New Year,
Pastor Laura 

 From Mary Shaima, Diaconal Associate

Christus mansionem benedicat.

Christ bless this house.

This is the house-blessing for Epiphany - an ancient tradition whereby you inscribe on the door frame above your front door, the year and the three initials C-M-B.  It looks like this:

2 0 C M B 18

The other twist to the blessing is that the initials are not only those of the blessing phrase, but those of the three Magi, according to legend: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar.

It's a yearly reminder that we are on a journey, traveling in good company.  However, the difference is that Christ travels WITH us - we are not traveling TOWARDS Christ.  The story of the Magi reminds us that this journey is one that leads us down paths whose ending we cannot see, but for which we dwell in hope.

I read an article recently that talked about the difference between optimism and hope.  The author's distinction was that hope is something that is grounded in a belief of something greater than oneself.  In other words - we're not in this alone.  Optimism, while helpful, is more abstract.  Optimism tends to ignore the difficulties of life, while hope acknowledges them as a part of life.

I'm in the middle of moving right now.  I've had the great days, when I had lots of amazing help from many of you - but I've also had the not-so-great days, where I felt like I would be begging for just a few more days with a dumpster.

But like most journeys, it's been filled with both kinds of days and lots of learning.  And it has also been filled with an abundance of blessing, mainly from the good people of Bethlehem.

And so tonight, when my cats and I spend our first night in our new place, we will begin by inscribing "2 0 C M B 1 8" on the door frame.  Christ bless this house.

As you know, my time with you is coming to an end soon.  My last Sunday at Bethlehem will be February 11th, Transfiguration Sunday.  We will pray and celebrate together as we both look down the road to new chapters in the journey.  I'll then be taking some time to look for a call, as well as rest and work on a book based on my diaconal project.

I pray that 2018 will be a year filled with great hope for us all.  Happy New Year, and may Christ bless the house that is Bethlehem.

In Christ,
Mary Shaima, Diaconal Associate  

 Annual Congregational Meeting

Bethlehem Lutheran Church Annual Congregational Meeting

Sunday, January 21st, 2018 - 10:00 AM. 
  Childcare available during the meeting.

There will be two worship services, one at 8:00 am and one at 9:00 am.
There will not be a 10:30 am service.
Learning Circles will be held at 9:00 am.

 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 2017. Your support is greatly appreciated!  Special thanks to all of you who participated in this year's Christmas program. All of the children did a wonderful job, telling the story of the birth of our Savior. Thank you to Suzi and  Caitlyn Westmoreland for teaching the children sign language to Joy to the World. Thanks to all who helped with costumes and organizing the children. I would also like to thank Mona  Goetsch, Judy Collier, Pastor Laura, and the entire World Music Ensemble for their contribution to our performance.

Learning Circles. Learning Circles will resume on Sunday Jan. 7 at 9 am.

Mardi Gras / Carnival Tuesday February 13. 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 year's Mardi Gras / Carnival a success, please contact me, Chris Matthews at:

Thanks again to all of you! We look forward to another great year in 2018!

Chris Matthews
Director of Children's Ministries
Bethlehem Lutheran Church

 Youth Ministry

Middle School and High School Winter Retreats

Mark your calendars for the Middle School and High School Winter Retreats at LRCC where the youth will discover what it means to be ENGAGED in their lives as disciples of Christ.

High School: February 17-19
Middle School: March 9-11

Cost: $139

We will need drivers as well.  Please RSVP to Constance at .

Summer Service Trip

Summer Service Trip dates have been released!
Saturday, July 28-Saturday, August 4

Interested in chaperoning?  Email Constance at

 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 31, in the Multi-Use building at 9AM.  We are electing our officers for 2018, reviewing our budget, reviewing the organization which we will support for our Mother's Day Thanksoffering, and more.  For more information, contact Kim Oswald at  or (760) 634-2995.
2017 Women's Christmas Bazaar.  Thank you to all who shopped and contributed their time and talents to our annual Christmas Bazaar.  It was a wonderfully successful morning for all of us.

Choose to Serve Sunday. Thanks to the huge success of our Bethlehem Serves events, we would like to highlight all of the opportunities to serve our community year round.  If you volunteer at a charity which needs more volunteers and would like to host a table at our upcoming  Choose to Serve Sunday , we would love to hear from you! The event will be held on Sunday, January 28th, between services.  Please contact Rose Moldenhauer ( , 760-633-1009) or, after January 9th, Dana Roberts ( , 760-822-4765) for details.  

Mission Action and Giving Tree Schedule for 2018

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.
January             ELCA World Hunger Appeal // St. Andrew's Food Pantry
                           Kim Oswald and Cheryl Monreal
February           TACO
                         Lori Cook
March                College Care Packages
                           Skye Svenningsen
April                  Mother's Day Thankoffering  -                     
May                   Center for Global Awareness
                         Dianne Nichols & Gail Winterbourne 
June                 (TBD)
                        JoAnn Daughtery
July 1st -           ELCA World Hunger Appeal // St. Andrew's Food Pantry
mid July            Kim Oswald
mid July -         Bethlehem Serves
August 19th     Mike Notrica                  
August 20th-   Pajama Project Appeal
September       Belinda Simonini
October 1st -    Lutheran World Relief Ingathering:  Quilts & Blankets
mid October     Scraps and Prayers Quilting Group
mid October  -  Secret Santa
November        Cheryl Monreal
December        Community Resource Center
                        Karin Kloehn          
Ongoing:          TACO (soup kitchen)
Lori Cook

 Stephen Ministry

New Stephen Ministry Training Class

We are delaying the start of our new Stephen Ministry training class. We have not yet set a new start date but we expect the class to start within the next two months. In addition to offering this class to new Stephen Ministers, 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 cost of the class will be $50 which covers the cost of books. If you are interested in knowing more about the class please contact Pastor Laura or one of our Stephen Leaders, Molly Hall or Laure Reynolds.

"I Can't Be a Stephen Minister......"
You may have heard about Stephen Ministry, realized that you have the gifts and the desire necessary to become a Stephen Minister, but you still aren't sure. We often hear the following responses:

".....I'm not qualified!"
To be a Stephen Minister you need to be a caring person who is willing to learn, grow, and serve. You must be willing to maintain confidentiality. You need to make a commitment to training, ministry, and supervision. If you meet these qualifications, our Stephen Leaders will equip you with the rest of what you need: training, support, encouragement, care, and prayers. They will help you succeed.
".....I don't know what to say!"
Stephen Ministry training is thorough and practical. It includes listening; dealing with feelings; maintaining assertiveness, confidentiality, and boundaries; beginning and ending caring relationships; and caring for people who are grieving, dying, aging, divorcing, and experiencing other life crises. The goal of training is to prepare Stephen Ministers for whatever they might encounter when working with care receivers. Through reading, lecture, and skill practice you will learn what you need to know to succeed as a Stephen Minister
"....I have problems in my own life!"
Some problems are so big that you need to address your own needs and wait until later to become a Stephen Minister. After you have worked through your own problems, however, you will find that your own experience is valuable preparation for helping someone else through their tough times. A Stephen Minister's job is to walk beside another person as that person works through his or her struggles. The Stephen Minister brings stability, prayer, and Christ's love to the care receiver's situation.
If you have questions about Stephen Ministry or the upcoming class please contact one of our Stephen Leaders: Molly Hall or Laure Reynolds.

 Endowment Fund

Mark your calendars for Sunday, January 28 at noon for the "Willing Witnessing Workshop" ,  sponsored by Bethlehem's Mission Endowment Fund Committee. Our legacy consultant, Greg Shepherd, and ELCA Foundation Gift Planner, Lisa Higginbotham, will cover the importance of reviewing your wills and trusts or establishing one, and how new tax laws may impact your estate.  Learn how you can bear witness to your faith through your will, and get details about important strategies such as "wealth replacement" and "give it twice trusts" for preserving assets for your heirs. The workshop will include lunch. Please RSVP to the church office, or sign up outside church on January 7 or 14.  

 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 baskets under the Giving Tree. For additional information, please contact Kim Oswald at  or (760) 634 2995.

 TACO (Third Avenue Charitable Organization)

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

New Year - Music Ensembles Begin Again!

The Choirs of Bethlehem will begin rehearsals again for 2018.  Here are the starting dates and times for each group.
JuBellation Ringers - First rehearsal January 4 @ 6 p.m. in the Family Center
Childrens Choir - January 14 @ 10 a.m. in the Family Center
Childrens Chimers - January 14 @10:30 a.m. in the Family Center Kitchen
Good News Singers - January 18 @ 7:22 p.m. in the Sanctuary
Second Sabbath - January 22 @ 6 p.m. - Band ; 7 p.m. - Vocalists; January 27- 1:00 p.m. Full group - Sanctuary
Carol Sing - January 7 @ 5:00- 6:00 p.m.
Do you love singing Christmas carols? Please join Mona and Judy on Sunday, January 7th @ 5 p.m. as they lead us in singing your favorites carols and we light the candles once more.  We ask you to bring your left over Christmas cookies and treats for a short gathering in the conference room after the sing-a-long. Finally, any people who can stay and help take down the Christmas tree afterward would be greatly appreciated!

 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.

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Yours in Christ

Bethlehem Lutheran Webmaster