In This Issue

From the Pastors
Worship Schedule
COVID Vaccine Help
Music Ministry
ELCA Advocacy
Stephen Ministry
Stewardship Stream
Engagement Opportunity
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 

January 2022
News and Events
Dear people of Bethlehem,
Dear people of light and life and hope in new day. Together with Pastor Sam, I cannot thank you enough for your kind and generous Christmas gift. I was overwhelmed. You warmed my heart and renewed my joy, as you regularly do. Your support and care mean so much to me. Not only in this present generosity, but throughout the last two years. These have been challenging times, joyous times and creative times. In the midst of it all, I have never felt alone — thanks to you. You have come: bearing your faith and your hope and your honest grief. You have come to sing and to pray, and to stand as close to one another as social distancing will allow. This pastor thanks you. You have been light to me. You have been an anchor in the storm and light in the darkness and you have laughed with me when I needed it the most. 
On behalf of Emily and Linnaea, I thank you as well. I have had the privilege of raising my daughters in your midst. Now grown, they are formed in your grace. Emily is on internship in Chicago and has said to me again and again, “Bethlehem raised me to be the pastor that I am.”  
In a recent letter to all of you she said, “As I was lighting the candles on Sunday, it struck me. I have been training for this moment my whole life. Bethlehem has been preparing me for this day. I didn’t know it at the time, but God knew. God knew that Bethlehem would be the place that would equip me for my vocation, my call to proclaim the Gospel.” What a blessing, as a congregation, to raise up a new pastor in God’s church. Thank you, from a mother’s heart. 
This I have learned: a community of faith is more than a list of scheduled events and worship services. We are the body of Christ gathered around the manger and standing in the shadow of the cross. We are bound to one another by a faith that draws us together — that we might claim hope in every day. And that hope has proven to be so resilient. I always quote an ancient prayer on Christmas Eve as we pass light to one another, “Light is not diminished even when it is divided and borrowed.” Hope is the same. Rather than diminished, it doubles as we journey together and gather in grace. It doubles as we bring light to one another and to the world in which we live. Thank you for the hope you bring to my life, and the light you shine on the path.
God bless you all, and your dear families, in the year that lies ahead. May you be held in grace and lifted in joy. May God’s grace and love surround you. I look forward to the journey we will share
In gratitude,
Pastor Laura    

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Happy New Year Dear People of Bethlehem,
As we look forward to 2022, and all that the new year will bring, I first want to say thank you for all the ways that you have blessed my life over the past year. Your Christmas gift for myself and Pastor Laura was so incredibly generous. It was truly staggering, and I am so humbled and thankful for the blessing that this community has been to me. I feel truly honored to serve this wonderful congregation.  
I also wanted to say thank you again for the fabulous wedding reception that BLC hosted back in November, and for all of the ways that you have surrounded both myself, and Alissa, with your grace and love. We are so excited to be starting this next chapter of our lives together in the midst of this awesome Bethlehem family.
And finally, I would like to thank you for your commitment to Bethlehem. For the flexibility, innovation, and dedication you have shown to help our church thrive in the midst of some very difficult times. The past two years have not been easy, but we have continued to weather every storm united by faith and love, and for that I am incredibly thankful.
I hope that you and your loved ones all had a blessed Christmas, a Happy New Year, and I am so looking forward to all that the future has to hold for us!
Pastor Sam

January Worship Schedule
January 2nd — One indoor worship service at 10 am

January 9th — 9 am indoor worship; 10:30 am outdoor worship
January 16th — One outdoor service at 9 am; outdoor annual meeting immediately to follow

January 23rd — 9 am indoor worship; 10:30 am outdoor worship
January 30th — 9 am indoor worship; 10:30 am outdoor worship

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.
Music Ministry
Epiphany Eve Carol Sing, January 9 @ 5 pm. Would you like to sing your favorite Christmas carol one more time? Now is your chance! Come to the carol sing led by Mona and Judy in Bethlehem's sanctuary on Sunday night, January 9 @ 5 pm. All attendees will be singing with masks and will be seated socially distanced. We will light the candles once more as we end the gathering with Silent Night  in German and English. Due to COVID restrictions, we will not be having coffee and cookies this year.  However, those who would like to stay and help take down the Christmas tree and other decorations are welcome. The event should last about 40 minutes. 
Choir Rehearsals Begin Again! Start the New Year with a New Year's Resolution! Join one of our many choirs - one for every age! Here is a schedule of first rehearsals: 
  • Children's Choir - First Regular Rehearsal - January 16 @ 10 am - Family Center (meets weekly)
  • Children's Chimers - First Rehearsal - January 16 after the last service (meets weekly) 
  • JuBellation Ringers - First Rehearsal - January 20 @ 6 pm - Family Center (every Thursday evening) 
  • Good News Singers - First Rehearsal - January 20 at 7:22 pm (First Rehearsal will be a re-recording of Christmas Songs; meets weekly) 
  • Second Sabbath - Contact Marilyn Stenoien or Mona Goetsch for Rehearsal Schedule - Next Performance - January 30
Thank you, Bethlehem Musicians! I would like to thank all the directors, singers, bell players, chime players, pianists, guitar and bass players, drummer, percussionist, oboe, trumpets and trombone players, who shared their musical talents during our Christmas season!  Bethlehem has been gifted with all this talent coming from our congregation!  Through music, you have created special Christmas memories for many . Thank you!! 
ELCA Advocacy
ELCA Advocacy Monthly Updates
“Advocacy in Quarantine” is on hiatus until after the State legislature reconvenes in January 2022.

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
Happy New Year! Stephen Ministry wishes you a year of good health physical health, mental health, emotional health, and spiritual health. Remember that Stephen Ministry is here to support you in your quest for better wellbeing. If you would like to know more about how Stephen Ministry works and how a Stephen Minister can help you or a loved one please contact Pr Sam, Pr Laura, or one of our Stephen Leaders Suzi Westmoreland, Laure Reynolds, or Molly Hall.

Stewardship Stream
One More New Year’s Resolution! Although we may not do it formally, most all of us think of projects or commitments for the New Year. Well, here’s one more if it’s not already on your list – start (or complete or update) your estate plan!
As the centerpiece of estate planning, your will captures your instructions for how various important matters such as custodial care for children and financial resolution of your assets should be taken care of when you’re no longer around. Other tools such as trusts may fit your circumstances. Careful thought and consideration regarding these matters to ease legal requirements and minimize tax burdens are important. And then communications with family and your executor regarding your interests and passions follow.
Planned giving as a piece of your estate planning can be a very personal and meaningful way to leave that legacy you envision. Among other expressions of gratitude, it can include witnessing to your faith in the resurrection. If you are looking for consultation in exploring options or just getting some feedback on your ideas, consider contacting Lisa Higginbotham, our ELCA Foundation Regional Gift Planner. She can be reached at, or contact either Pastor Laura or Pastor Sam.
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. 
 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.