"Caught in grace, created for service, called into community"
In This Issue

Sunday Mornings... 

  8:30am and 10:00 am


Learning Circles 

(Pre - 6th)

8:30 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 2020

News and Events

From Pastor Sam

Happy New Year Bethlehem!
I'd like to begin by expressing my deep gratitude for all of you, and for the generosity of your Christmas gift this year. I was blown away and am so profoundly blessed to count myself a part of this community. Thank you so much.
If you have been on Facebook, or Twitter, or really any social media platform this week, you have no doubt seen the annual barrage of memes and comics lampooning the practice of New Year's Resolutions. Pictures of gym owners raking in the dough from all of the new memberships that are being purchased, people saying that they've already failed but that 2021 is their year for sure, there are many classics.
If you have chosen to commit yourself to a resolution in this new year, first off let me say congratulations and wish you the best of luck! Change is never easy, but it is possible, so even if you slip up, do not count it all to be forfeit. As a wise person said to me recently, "As long as you are trying, it's not a failure. True failure would be not trying at all."
What you may not know, is that Lutheran theology, specifically sacramental theology regarding baptism, might be able to give you some extra motivation - either to help sustain your resolution efforts, or to recommit yourself after falling off the horse. Lutherans believe that you only need to be baptized once; doesn't matter how old you were, doesn't matter what denomination it was in, God is the one who makes it "efficacious" - makes it stick - so we are a one and done people when it comes to baptism. That being said, Martin Luther was very much of the opinion that we should remember our baptisms as often as possible. That's why we have remembrance of baptism liturgies at the start of many worship services. That's why baptisms are public events done in the presence of the community of faith and not simply in someone's home. That's why you see Pastor Laura and myself make the sign of the cross with water from the font before recessing out of the sanctuary.
And Luther believed that even something as commonplace as washing your face in the morning was the perfect opportunity to remember your baptism. To remember that the call to die to our old sinful selves, and be reborn into to the loving grace and new life offered in Jesus wasn't a one-time event, but rather a daily activity. Each new day marks a new opportunity for us to succeed in ways we failed to yesterday. With every sunrise comes a chance to shed the mantle of our bondage to sin, and instead seek to follow the path that God has laid before us.
So, each morning as you rise, look at yourself in the mirror as you wash your face, and repeat these words to yourself: "I am a beloved child of God. Every day is a chance to live into the change that I know is possible because of my baptism." Feel free to abbreviate or personalize as you see fit. But trust that you are not in this process of self-improvement alone. Not only are all of us works in progress, and thus by definition all in it together, but you have the comfort and assurance that God is walking alongside you. To pick you up when you fall down, to cheer your next milestone, and to support you through all that you encounter.
                                                                                                Pastor Sam

 Annual Congregational Meeting
Bethlehem Lutheran Church Annual Congregational Meeting, Sunday, January 26th, 2020 @ 11:15 AM. (Childcare available during the meeting) . Regular worship services will be at 8:30 am and 10:00 am. Learning Circles will be held at 10:00 am
 Proposed Changes to Bethlehem's Constitution
To all members of Bethlehem Lutheran Church:
At our annual meeting on January 26, 2020, the congregation will be asked to approve changes to Bethlehem's Constitution. The congregation must be notified of the proposed changes at least 30 days in advance of the meeting at which the vote will be taken and be notified of the Congregation Council's recommendation. The Council voted at its November meeting to recommend approval of the changes. A majority vote is required of voting members attending the meeting.
The changes are required to bring our constitution into compliance with language required by the ELCA. No other changes are proposed in our constitution. The only changes being proposed are those made by the ELCA's Churchwide Assembly in August 2019 and are part of mandatory language required to be included in the constitutions of all ELC congregations.
The changes are described in this document.
If you have any questions about the proposed changes or the process itself, contact Bob Michelet at bobmichelet@gmail.com
 New Family Ministry Director
As you know, Chris Matthews resigned as the children's ministry director after 3 faithful years of service to Bethlehem. His original intention was to serve a one year interim position, and we are so grateful for his joyful and faithful leadership in this important ministry. He continues to be a faithful member of the congregation and important part of our music ministry.
Mea Hudson Hall agreed to step into a three month interim position from October 1, 2019 to January 1, 2020, in order to allow Bethlehem to carefully consider the next step in children's ministry. During that time she: organized the fall Learning Circle program and recruited teachers, updated registration materials, inventoried and organized all children's ministry curriculum and supplies, wrote and directed the children's Christmas Program and led two family fellowship events. I wish to thank Mea for her extraordinary skill and commitment to both children's and youth ministry here at Bethlehem. We are very blessed.
At the same time, a group of people with investment and experience in our children's and youth ministry gathered to consider all possible staffing options moving forward. That team included: Mark Weed, Suzi Westmoreland, Sue LaClair, Mea Hudson Hall and Pastor Laura. The recommendation of the committee was to combine children's and youth ministry into one family ministry program. This is a model we have considered for several years. Combining both programs and creating a Director of Family Ministry, allows for continuity in the ministry we provide families here at Bethlehem. One director will now oversee all family ministry, linking children's ministry and youth ministry in new and important ways and providing consistency in the program and its vision moving forward. An added benefit is the creation of a very stable full time staffing position. Frequent changes in part time children's ministry and youth ministry positions are particularly detrimental to the programs.  There are many benefits to a Family Ministry Program and as with anything, limitations as well. The strongest concern was the heavier work load in the summer months and the energy and time necessary to fulfill both roles.
I spoke with Constance Mithelman about the possibility of stepping into the role of Family Ministry Director. She was not only interested, but enthusiastic, invested and excited about the ministry possibilities. She has proven her expertise in youth ministry, is certified in both children and youth ministry and spent her year in the Lutheran Volunteer Core working as a 2nd grade classroom teacher. She has been a consistent presence in VBS here at Bethlehem, working with our 5th and 6th graders, simply because she recognized the value of the time invested with the kids before they enter middle school.  
The recommendation of the committee was brought to the council in November and approved unanimously after careful consideration. The benefits of an overarching program, stable director and consistent ministry and vision, make this an important step forward in Bethlehem's ministry. Thank you for all you do to support the families and youth of this congregation and our new Family Ministry Director.
In Christ,
Pastor Laura
 Family Winterfest
LutherGlen Farm
February 7-9, 2020

You are invited to join Pastor Laura at LutherGlen farm for retreat February 7-9, 2020. All are welcome: families of any size, children, individuals, younger and older adults. LutherGlen is a retreat center, located 2 hours Northeast of Encinitas on the edge of the San Bernardino National Forest, near Oak Glen. It is a working farm with goats and sheep, as well as a welcoming staff and a beautiful retreat center offering gracious hospitality. The theme is "Under Construction: Ephesians 2:10 - We are what God has made us." Please visit their website at: https://lrcchome.com/family-winterfest to register. See you there!


 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: https://sinningboldlywithsam.wordpress.com/"

 2020 Offering Envelopes Delayed

2020 offering envelopes are delayed until late January due to printing issues at the company supplying the envelopes. Temporary offering envelopes are available in the office for those who prefer to use envelopes. Many members and friends of Bethlehem have signed up for direct deposit for their contributions. Offering gifts can be made electronically, either on our website at www.blcenc.org by clicking on the contribute tab, or by using the Give Plus Church mobile app. There are options for one time donations, as well as recurring gifts and special offerings.

 Family Ministry News

Winter Retreats are Coming!

It's time to go to Luther Glen for a weekend to unplug, remember what is important and discover new ways God is at work in us!
High School: February 15-17
Middle School: March 6-8
Cost: $145 (scholarships available)
RSVP to Constance ( cmithelman@blcenc.org) ASAP
Family Winterfest at Luther Glen

The whole family is invited for a weekend getaway to camp!
The kids will have activities planned by LRCC staff and the parents/guardians will be having devotional time with Pastor Laura who was asked to lead the retreat this year!
February 7-9
Cost: Adults (12+) $105
Children (4-11) $95
Toddlers (3 and under) Free
Family Max: $350
RSVP to Constance ( cmithelman@blcenc.org) ASAP
Save the Dates/RSVP

Vacation Bible School 2020 at Bethlehem!
June 29-July 2nd.
Confirmation Camp 2020: July 12-17th
All current 6-7th graders
Cost: $435 (with scholarships available)
High School Summer Service Trip 2020: July 31- August 8th
Current 8th graders - Current Freshmen in college
Cost $450 (with scholarships available)

 Music Ministry

Second Sabbath Leads Worship on Sunday, January 12th 

Our Second Sabbath ensemble will lead worship at both services on Sunday, January 12th. They are dedicating their performance to Norm Keith who passed away a few months ago. Norm loved the music of Second Sabbath, especially the banjo. Norm's birthday happens to be January 12th so we know he will be listening from heaven! 
Choirs First Rehearsals in January

The first rehearsals for each group are as follows: 
Children's Choir and Chimers  - January 12
Good News Singers - January 16
JuBellation Ringers - January 23 

 Adventure Ministry

Adventure Ministry - Saturday, January 11, 2020
Join us for a beach walk to explore the tide pools. Chacha will lead us in a short Tai Chi session. We will end the day by raising a glass to the new year:
Saturday, January 11 
3 pm 
Beach Walk and Tai Chi
Cardiff State Beach Seaside 
(southern-most beach in Cardiff with the large parking lot)
You must pay to park. 

Seaside Beach is a sandy beach in Cardiff State Beach at the border between Solana Beach and the Cardiff-by-the-Sea area of Encinitas, CA. Cardiff State Beach is the long sandy strip along the west side of San Elijo Lagoon a large wetlands and ecological reserve.
5 pm
The Confessional 
(Only serves beer but we can bring in outside food and non-alcholic beverages. There is a pizza place next door.)
2007 San Elijo Avenue, Cardiff-by-the-Sea 
(North side of Seaside Market)  

 Bethlehem Women of the ELCA

Meeting of the Women of Bethlehem
Bethlehem Women of the ELCA will hold their annual meeting on January 29, 2020 at 0900 in the MUB.  The annual meeting will look at all aspects of funds and projects for 2020 as well as an election of officers.  All women of Bethlehem are invited and encouraged to participate.
Women's Christmas Bazaar
Happy New Year.  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.  We will use the money raised to support scholarships to the Women of the ELCA's Triennial Gathering and to other projects to support the women of the greater Bethlehem community.  You truly make a difference to so many with your help.

Eleventh Triennial Gathering of Women of the ELCA
Ring in the New Year by Registering for Gathering 2020
 July 16-19, in Phoenix, Arizona 
Women of Bethlehem - Act Now.............Act Soon
Join over 5,000 women from across the U.S. and the globe for worship, praise, learning, service and  fellowship at the Eleventh Triennial Gathering of Women of the ELCA July 14-16, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona.  Women will explore the triennial's theme "Just Love" through Bible study, keynote presentations, servant events, business meetings and more. 
Scholarships are available from the Women of Bethlehem as  registration is $375, day registration is $200.  Please contact Bobby Allen ( roberta798@aol.com ) for more information from one who has attended this very affirming event in the past.  Maybe rent a van to drive together???  Maybe rent a place together??? Lots of potential as Phoenix is so close.  Think about it.  Act!

 Giving Tree

January Giving Tree
Providing support for Youth Camps and Service Trips.  Please contact Constance Mithelman, cmithelman@blcenc.org for more information.

 Bethlehem Women's Retreat

Save the Date !   The next Bethlehem Women's Retreat is scheduled for May 1 - 3, 2020 at Luther Glen.

 Prayer Shawl Ministry Update for the End of 2019

We have distributed 18 shawls and 6 scarves/hats to graduating hight school seniors.  In addition over 50 hats (primarily the prodigious accomplishment of the Westmoreland family!) have been given to Cheryl Monreal's projects and/or sold at the church bazaar to benefit the Women's ministries at BLC.
We meet casually 3-4 times a year, in-between church services on Sunday mornings.  Our next meeting will be in Feb, date TBD. Novice and experienced knitters welcome.  And of course, please continue to knit at your leisure at home!  

 Choose To Serve (Outreach Ministries)

Upcoming Opportunities to Serve Others

January 8, 15, 22, 29   8:30-11:30am   Scraps and Prayers
January 25   9:00am- 12 noon  Feed the Homeless  (at St. Andrews)

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)

TACO serves meals to the homeless at First Lutheran Church in San Diego on the third Monday of each month.  We're recruiting more volunteers, so if you'd like to join us, please contact Lori Cook at 760-207-0432.  Car pooling is available.  As the weather begins to cool, donations of sweatshirts, sweatpants, blankets and sleeping bags are much appreciated.  Donations can be left in the box marked TACO in the narthex or contact Lori.

Prayer Shawl Ministry
In 2019 we distributed 18 shawls and 6 scarves/hats to graduating hight school seniors. In addition over 50 hats (primarily the prodigious accomplishment of the Westmoreland family!) have been given to Cheryl Monreal's projects and/or sold at the church bazaar to benefit the Women's ministries at BLC. 

If you know anyone who would benefit from receiving a prayer shawl (if he/she is going through a particularly difficult or joyful time), please contact janet.mastrogany@gmail.com,  Please continue to create at home at your own pace - & if you are interested in learning how, we will pair you with an experienced knitter/crocheter! We meet every other month 9-11 at church (before or after your favorite service) for a casual drop in opportunity to knit/crochet and visit together.   

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 

CRC (Community Resource Center)

Did you know:
Last year, 138 homeless individuals obtained permanent housing through CRC's case management and housing assistance?
Over 500 households visit CRC monthly to receive healthy food, nutrition resources, benefits assistance and education?
Last year, 150 people found safety in CRC's domestic violence shelter, receiving help and counseling to get back on their feet?
CRC works to end hunger, homelessness and domestic violence in North County San Diego. As a provider of integrative services, CRC's programs include a domestic violence emergency shelter, hotline and prevention/education outreach; a Therapeutic Children's Center; professional counseling; legal advocacy; food and nutrition distribution center; homelessness prevention; and rental and housing assistance. All of CRC's programs are designed to assist participants to successfully navigate their paths of safety, stability & self-sufficiency. CRC relies on our community support. Click here to see the many ways in which you can help CRC to help those in need!

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

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 Laure Reynolds or Molly Hall.

 Stephen Ministry- Spiritual Gifts

Lenten Course for Personal and Spiritual Growth   Join us this March as we offer Discovering God's Vision for your Life: You and your Spiritual Gifts. During this eight hour class you will find clues to your spiritual gifts using the Haugk Spiritual Gifts Inventory and other activities then we will explore ways to further develop and use your gifts. The class will run from 11:00 to 1:00 on the first four Sundays in March. Registration will begin in mid-January. A registration fee of $20 will cover the cost of books and materials. For more information contact Laure Reynolds at 760-271-3359 or laurereyn@roadrunner.com.
 ELCA Advocacy 
Save the Date - Lutheran Lobby Day May 20, 2020
Join other Lutherans from around the state at the Capitol in Sacramento. The day will include information and training to prepare you meet with your legislators to advocate for faith-based issues.
The Lutheran Office of Public Policy-California has set four legislative priorities for 2020. They are:
  • Deep Childhood Poverty
  • Homelessness and Housing Insecurity
  • Immigration
  • Food and Farming Policy. 
We will be coordinating a group from Bethlehem to attend Lobby Day. If you would like to receive additional information about attending (as it becomes available), please email Karin Kloehn at blcadvocacy@gmail.com and ask to be added to Bethlehem's Advocacy Team Email Group. You can read about Lobby Day 2019 here. (Please note that all arrangements will be at your personal expense.)
Reminder: Presidential Primary Election Date - March 3, 2020
Check your voter registration status here. Additional voter and election information can be found at sdvote.com
ELCA Advocacy December Update: U.N. and State Edition
Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton's Statement - December 30, 2019
Bishop Eaton responds to anti-Semitic incidents in New York.
Follow us!
Bishop Elizabeth Eaton: Facebook, Twitter
For information or questions about Bethlehem's Advocacy Team, contact Karin Kloehn at blcadvocacy@gmail.com.
 Interfaith Rotational Shelter 2020
Hey Bethlehem! ��
 Ready to Make a Difference?! 
It's that time again for BLC to host the homeless! 
Please bring your friends and Join us on March 1-14 for" Bethlehem's InterFaith Rotational Shelter 2020!    
 For those newly interested, we have partnered with the Interfaith Rotational Shelter Network (IFSN) for the past 10 years. IFSN is a collaborative effort through local congregations, social service agencies and local government entities to provide shelter, services and resources to homeless San Diegans throughout the region. BLC is part of the North County Coastal Section and the shelter is coordinated at BLC by Blair Lindberg and Diane Langager.

This year BLC will be hosting the shelter in the Multi-Use Room starting Sunday, March 1st  through March 15th. We will be taking the first week, Sunday thru Saturday, March 1-7, providing all of the volunteer efforts for meals, laundry night, overnight hosts, etc.

Seaside Community Church partners with us and will cover the second week.

Church volunteers set up temporary housing in the Multi-Use Room (MUR) and dining area in the Family Center (FC) the Saturday before, February 29. The guests arrive daily at 5:30 pm at the MUR. They eat dinner nightly in the Family Center at 6:30 pm, then retire back to the MUR for the night. The guests leave early in the morning (by 7:30 am) to go to work, seek employment, or go to school (...yes, we house families too!). Guests are not allowed to stay in the shelter during the day.

There are a variety of ways you can volunteer to help with the shelter.

Here is a short list:
Set up/ Take-down ~ Prepare & Serve Dinners ~ Donate Food ~ Greeter ~ Overnight Hosts ~ Laundry ~ Transportation ~ Cash Donations

Interested in learning more or to sign up to volunteer, Go Online to:
1. www.signupgenius.com
2. register first to join Sign Up Genius (Only requires your email address and No they won't send you extra emails)
3. Search "Bethlehem Lutheran Church IFS 2020"

If you are already registered? You should receive an invitation by email.

If Online is Not for You?
Text or call Blair Lindberg at 858-663-5681 (leave a message) and she'll be happy to help sign you up!

And a BIG THANKS goes out to all those volunteers who make this important ministry happen! �� �� ��
 We couldn't help our friends make their way back on their own without you! 
Blair and Diane

 Sunday Ride Ministry

Sunday Ride Ministry is a program we are starting at Bethlehem to lend a hand and a ride to church services for those in our church in need. If you can occasionally give a ride please sign up in the church entrance or contact  Rose Moldenhauer  rosemoldy@cox.net.

 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:  https://community.elca.org/elca-email-subscriptions

 Feed the Homeless Program

Bethlehem has volunteered to help with "Feed the Homeless Program" at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church on the 4th Saturday of each month from 9:00 am to 12 noon. We are in need of volunteers. If you are able to participate please sign up today outside or contact Naida Malchiodi at naidalouise2@yahoo.com .  

 Bethlehem Cares Fund

Bethlehem Cares Fund: F or 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.

 Church Property News/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.

 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.

Dear  ,


Thank you for registering with our e-mail announcement and update service at www.blcenc.org


Yours in Christ

Bethlehem Lutheran Webmaster