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

June 2017

News and Events

From Pastor Laura

Dear people of Bethlehem,
Did you know there is such a thing as goat yoga? Several people have pointed it out to me on the Internet, because of my obvious affection for goats. Constance and I were discussing goat yoga the other day and joking that Bethlehem needs a goat mascot. Our new mission statement could be "Bethlehem Lutheran: We welcome the sheep AND the goats." I am joking of course, but it is still a good way to be church. No matter who you are or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome at Bethlehem.
This Sunday, June 4 is Pentecost. It marks the day of the breath of the Holy Spirit laid in the church. It reminds us that we are a living instrument of grace. Peter spoke on Pentecost to a large crowd of many peoples and languages. "Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia . . " Peter stood at the center of it all and boldly proclaimed the one in whom he lived and moved and had his being. We are blessed to do the same. In word and deed, at Bethlehem, we bear witness to the love and grace of God. We bear witness to the healing and hope of Christ.
Last Sunday night Bethlehem hosted a Ramadan dinner, as part of the San Deiguito Interfaith Ministerial Association (SDIMA). One hundred people of all faith background came to Bethlehem, to break the fast with our Muslim brothers and sisters. It was an evening of exceptional grace. We shared with each other our rich faith traditions, and exceptional food and baklava. The evening stood in such stark contrast to the prevailing understanding of the relationship between Muslim and Christian people.   By 11 o'clock at night, as the evening was ending, our Muslim brothers and sisters were helping Bethlehem people put tables and chairs away, as we laughed and joked with each other. It was an image of the world for which we all yearn.
If you are around Bethlehem regularly, thank you for this kind of ministry, that you make possible. Together we proclaim Christ's love in word and deed. If you have not been to church in awhile, we hope to see you soon.
Here are some of the things going on at Bethlehem these days:
  • The May Giving Tree provided funds for sustainable water systems in Africa
  • In April we assisted foster youth in finding their way into adult life.

  • A car wash raised $700.00 to assist our young people in their summer mission trip in the Bay Area.

  • We rekindled the golf tournament tradition at Bethlehem with a day of fellowship and fundraising.

  • Constance completed her first month as the new youth director at Bethlehem and is doing great.

  • We supported TACO's Empty Bowls project to further their ministry to hungry people.

  • We are preparing to host over 100 children in our community for a wonderful week of VBS.

  • Our Stephen ministers are providing an educational evening on end of life issues.

  • We welcomed 17 new members into the life of the congregation.

  • We have 3 baptisms scheduled in the next 4 weeks, for a total of 6 in 7 weeks.

  • We have had 7 funerals since the beginning of Lent and provided care and hope to 7 grieving families.
We are a busy congregation and we are blessed. Today I give thanks for you and for the wind of the Holy Spirit blowing in our midst.
Blessed Pentecost,
Pastor Laura

From Mary Shaima, Diaconal Associate

Dear travelers on the journey,
As I write this, I am sitting in the morning "May gray" and thinking about the wonderful time we had last night, May 28th, hosting our Muslim brothers and sisters for an iftar meal, a community celebration of breaking the Ramadan fast.
As you may know, Ramadan is the holy month in Islam when followers fast through the daylight hours, and then break the fast with a big meal. Ideally, it is a meal to be shared in community. SDIMA - our interfaith group here in the San Dieguito area - sponsored the event and we threw wide the doors.
We heard different languages spoken, we had people of many faiths gathered around tables in the Family Center, and we shared a fantastic dinner. (Bonus: there was baklava!)
As we shared, we were reminded that our faiths share a common command - to love the neighbor - and a common mission - to strive for peace and justice in all the earth. And we committed to find more ways to break bread together, not only in fellowship but in service.
This coming Sunday is Pentecost, considered the birthday of the church. We will hear many languages in worship. And it is my prayer that we will be reminded that God crosses over any boundaries we humans might make, and comes to us all in love and grace.
The Sundays after Pentecost move us into a time of growth in faith - symbolized by green and characterized by the lessons each week. We are also starting work on our Bethlehem Serves day, which will be August 20th. One area of growth I am interested in helping you pursue: where else are the places in our community that could use some helping hands on that day? Do you volunteer somewhere that needs something done? Or do you have an idea about a service project that we haven't done yet? Last year we added care baskets for our sheriff's substation and for the firehouse just down the street (we'll expand to other firehouses this year). Is there a hiking trail that needs help? Maybe someone who needs help with some weeding or sprucing up? I encourage you to be another set of eyes and ears for us, and let us know what needs doing.
One final reminder: wear red this coming Sunday! Red is the color of the Spirit, reminding us that the Spirit moves through us like wildfire to urge us into God's light.
Blessings and peace,
Mary Shaima

Children's Ministry

Upcoming Events and News

VBS Volunteers: VBS is fast approaching please be sure to get your volunteer forms in ASAP. We could still use more help! Especially on the weekend prior to VBS June 24 and 25. With a short window to set up, all help would be greatly appreciated. Please note: There will be two important training meetings for volunteers on June 10th at 10 AM and June 20th at 6:30 PM. It is critical that all volunteers attend at least one of these meetings.

VBS Donations: Rome needs you!
This years VBS takes place in 1st century Rome! To be successful in re-creating ancient Rome for the children, we have need of the following items:
  • Laundry Baskets
  • Cotton Balls, Tennis Balls
  • Nerf Balls, and Weighted Workout Balls
  • Imitation Flowers or Berries
  • White King Size Sheets
  • Burlap Sacks
  • Jump Ropes
  • Hula Hoops
  • Rulers
  • Heavy Sheets of Cardboard
  • (Like Refrigerator Boxes)
  • Paper Grocery Sacks (about 50)
  • News Paper
  • Plastic wading Pools
  • Bed Sheets
  • Buckets
  • Roman Guard Costumes
  • A Heavy Chain (about 10 ft. in Length)
  • 10 pound bags of Flour
  • Dried Flowers and Herbs
  • Slip and Slides
  • Bags of Grain
  • Wooden Cloths Pins
  • Wooden Mallets
  • Rosemary and Thyme
  • Large Bowls
  • Colorful Fabrics
  • Rugs
  • Large Blankets
  • Terra Cotta Pottery
  • Appropriate Statues
  • 2 foot lengths of 8" wide cardboard tubes
  • Rock Salt
Your help is greatly appreciated. If you have any questions contact Chris Matthews at 760-809-1632 or

Vacation Bible School: This years VBS will be the adventure of a lifetime! Bring your child to the ancient city of Rome! Traveling back into Bible times - without setting foot outside our community. Each day, your children can become part of history as they see, hear, touch, and even taste what it was like to live in Rome during Bible times! You'll explore authentic Marketplace shops, visit the
Apostle Paul (who's under house arrest), sneak to the cave where the Underground Church meets, take part in games, dance to lively Bible songs, and sample tasty tidbits as you discover more about the early church. These experiences make God's Word come alive with new meaning for all who participate! So mark these dates on your calendars: June 26 - 30. The adventure starts at 9 AM and will end at 12 noon each day. Registration forms and more info can be found on our website at or click on the links below:

Click here to view and print the VBS Registration form

Click here to pay the VBS registration fee using your credit card
on our Online Giving page - just enter your total registration fee
in the SPECIAL block and note 2017 VBS REGISTRATION in the
memo line.

Chris Matthews
Director of Children's Ministries
Bethlehem Lutheran Church

Youth Ministry

Greetings all!
As I finish my first month here at Bethlehem, I wanted to mention how honored I am to be here. It has been such a pleasure getting to know each of you and I cannot thank you enough for making me feel so welcome in this new and uncharted position. I continue to work on names and 'who-belongs-with-who' and pray you will have some patience in the process. Thank you for welcoming me with open arms!
Thank you for letting us wash your car!
With your help, the youth were able to raise about $700 for the Summer Trip to the Bay Area at the car wash on Sunday, May 21! Thank you to all who participated and/or donated in any way!
Youth Calendar of Events:
June 4: "Noisy Offering" for Summer Trip
  • 11:30am Confirmation Camp Parent and Youth Meeting ($185 payment due today)
  • 5:30pm Summer Trip Parent & Youth Pizza Night at St. Andrew's (Additional $100 payment due today by check at BLC or through the Praying Pelicans website)
June 7:
  • 7-8:30pm High School Youth Group
June 11:
  • 10-10:25am Joint Youth (7th-12th grades) worship time at St. Andrew's

June 14:

  • 7-8:30pm High School Youth Group - Study session for finals, dinner will be provided.
June 18:
  • 10-10:25am Joint youth worship time at BLC
  • 10:30am Senior Recognition
June 21:
  • Summer Trip Youth outing with St. Andrew's Youth (watch your email for more info)
June 25:
  • 10-10:25am Joint Youth (7th-12th grades) worship time at St. Andrew's

Bethlehem Women of the ELCA

Save The Date!  The next Bethlehem Women's Retreat will be held on September 15 - 17, 2017 at Luther Glen.  Put it on your calendars!

Stephen Ministry

Guest Speaker on End of Life Planning: Stephen Ministry welcomes Marycarol Reeder who will be leading a discussion on this important topic in the sanctuary on Monday, June 5 th at 7 pm. Marycarol is the Operation Supervisor at Scripps Hospital Encinitas and a Family Nurse Practitioner at UCSD. Her presentation will cover advanced directives and explain POLST, including criteria for when both should be established as part of estate life planning. She will also provide suggestions for how to address this most difficult conversation with a loved one. Please join us.
If you are interested in knowing more about Stephen Ministry, please contact one of our Stephen Leaders, Laure Reynolds or Molly Hall, or one of our Stephen Ministers, Frank Belock, Kathleen Dabbs, Mea Hall, Dan Halvorson, Scott Havenor, Marla Keith, Beth Nelson, Annmarie Robbins, or Suzi Westmoreland.

Endowment Fund

Mission Endowment Fund News
At the annual meeting last January, you approved a set of bylaws that describe the purpose and functioning of Bethlehem's Mission Endowment Fund. Since that time, the five-member committee overseeing the fund has been at work on plans to raise the profile of planned giving among the members of Bethlehem. Already, several members have informed the committee that they have included Bethlehem in their estate planning. Thanks be to God for their commitment and vision!
To help raise awareness of planned giving, we are fortune to have Greg Shepherd as our consultant and process leader over the next year. Greg is the Pacifica Synod's Advancement Consultant and the development director for Lutheran Retreats, Camps and Conferences. Greg's faith walk and extensive work in the church began when he first attended Camp Yolijwa (now Luther Glen) when he was 13 years old. He was deeply influenced by the camp staff, especially by his counselor, first-year pastor Bill Harman.
Since then, Greg has served as a synodical youth leader, camp counselor, church youth director and (from 1981-88) director of Camp Yolijwa. Following his work in the building of the Luther Glen Retreat Center, Greg entered the financial services industry with Lutheran Brotherhood (now Thrivent Financial) for a period of 22 years. Greg then became ELCA Foundation Regional Gift Planner for nine years, working with over 60 congregational endowment committees.
Greg's work with our congregation, individuals and families, is a free service provided by the Pacifica Synod.  If you are interested in meeting with Greg to discuss your estate legacy plans, you may contact him at: 909-910-6823 or
Greg will be contributing a note on planned-giving topics to the monthly BLC newsletter, and will lead a seminar on planned giving on Sunday, January 28, 2018.
You also can contact any of the members of the Mission Endowment Fund committee:

Sandy Lakey - or 760-310-8345
Michele Lund -
Ted Lange - or 760-753-1568
Bob Michelet - or 858-964-5144
Dave Porcelli -

 Giving Tree

June's Giving Tree will help support our youth as they attend their summer mission trip in July. Check the Giving Tree and the church bulletin for more information as to how you can help.


TACO NEEDS:   TACO is very short on toiletries of any kind, sox & underwear.  Basic toiletry items are toothbrushes & toothpaste, body wash, shampoo, conditioner & lotion.   We found some great little Ziploc packages with a toothbrush, cover & toothpaste.  I'll have a sample to show you, so come see me at church!  It's perfect for anyone living on the streets. They need both women's & men's underwear, both boxers & briefs.  Let's do all we can to get them resupplied!  Warm clothing of any kind is always needed:  sweatshirts, esp hoodies, sweatpants, jackets, thermal underwear, etc.  Way too many of the homeless are sleeping outside on the cold ground or sidewalk and need any kind of blankets or covers you may have.   These things do not need to be brand new as long as they're clean. We don't help serve again until June 19 but I'll be happy to drive donations to San Diego sooner to get them into the hands of those who so desperately need them!   Thank you so much for always caring for our less fortunate neighbors! Any questions?  Call Lori Cook at 760 207-0432

 Dinner Groups Forming

Something old something new! Do you want to get to know more people at Bethlehem? "Dinner Groups" will be starting in the fall! Bethlehem has done this before but it's been a long time! All are welcome - singles, couples, families with children, people of all ages. If you are interested, please email Lori Wolf: It will be fun!

 Synod Assembly - Seven Sacred Pauses

At this year's Pacifica Synod Assembly one of the breakout sessions discussed the book Seven Sacred Pauses: Living Mindfully through the Hours of the Day by Macrina Wiederkehr. This is a meditative work on the seven monastic hours of the day.  You are invited to become a pilgrim of the hours.  To facilitate your daily pilgrimage she focuses on the special theme of each hour.  You are encouraged to pause, and breathe in the spirit of the hour, when possible.  This book is designed to draw you into the practice of contemplative listening to the moments of each hour.

Click on this link to view the Synod Assembly presentation:

 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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