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

Sunday Mornings... 


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Rev. Laura Ziehl 
Senior Pastor 
Ext 2
Pastor Sam Nelson
Associate Pastor
Constance Mithelman
Youth Director
Ext 12
Judy Foland
Office Administrator
Ext 1  
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June 2020

News and Events
From Pastor Laura

Dear people of Bethlehem,
It is a time of the Spirit. This Pentecost we remember that the wind of God blows among us still. The fire of God still ignites us. We need such a promise so deeply today. Our world is troubled. Our lives are troubled. Our streets are troubled. Come, Holy Spirit. Come and bring peace to the nations. Come and bring comfort to our anguish. Come and descend on us like you did on your first disciples. Fill us with courageous prophetic voice, and at the same time bring us peace. This day, we pray for the people of La Mesa and Minneapolis and for us all.
As Pastor Sam said so well in his Pentecost sermon, there is a distance between the world as it is, and the world as it should be. And this pandemic has made that distance so palpable. The pain inflicted by this virus is not right. The way people of color are treated in this country is not right. The profound loss in our lives in this current moment is not right.
But that is the purpose of the Spirit. To accompany us to a better place. To lead us to God's vision of a world whose foundation is grace and whose walls are hope and justice and whose doors stand wide open to the possibility of love at all times. And just because it is not here today, does not mean we do not work towards its coming. Just because it is not here today, does not mean we do not live into its possibility and celebrate it when we see it, and make it true as we live our lives. And the work of bringing in God's kingdom is not ours to do alone, for this we have the Spirit and each other. Nor will it happen speedily. But it will happen. One act of kindness at a time, one moment of healing at a time, one word of grace at a time, one gift of the Spirit at a time.
The fruits of the Spirit are: healing and hope, justice and mercy, love, grace and life. These are the promise of tomorrow. The harvest of God's life in our midst, now. So hang on. Hang on to every blessing in today, and every hope in tomorrow. We shall see the day. Come, Holy Spirit, come!
     Blessed Pentecost to you all,
     Pastor Laura

*** COVID-19 UPDATE ***
As you know from Governor Newsom's latest update, churches are now allowed to open under strict protocol. Bethlehem is beginning a very careful, informed, thoughtful conversation about how to open safely, under what protocol, and when it would feel safe and right to do so. We have no date for opening at this time, but are in the beginning stages of consideration. You will be receiving a survey in the coming weeks, asking your opinion on these matters.    
General guidelines are available from the ELCA. The Pacifica Synod is engaged in a synod wide conversation on these matters as well, with input from all congregations, including ours. Bishop Taylor intends to have guidelines for our Synod later this week. We have much work to do as we begin to consider and put in place protocol that welcomes and protects all.
Given the written protocol that is available at this time, our initial thoughts are these: Worship would be outdoors, with social distancing on the grass and masks required. There would be sign-ups for multiple worship times in order to limit the number of people at each worship service and ensure proper social distancing.
Most importantly, be assured that a worship service will continue to be available on the website every Sunday, for those who feel they would rather not participate in worship in person. All are welcome at Bethlehem, whether you worship virtually or in person.  
We have much work to do and much to consider before our plans are finalized. Though we all want to come back to church and our separation continues to be painful, the call of the church has always been to protect the most vulnerable and care for the neighbor. We will keep you updated as we consider how we might safely open at a future date. In the meantime, worship will continue to be available on our website every Sunday. Thank you all for the strong community we have formed online and for your continued support of Bethlehem and the ministry we share. In truth, the church has never been closed, nor are we opening, we are simply continuing to be church in new ways. Difficult though this has been, it is nonetheless a creative and engaging time. We look forward to all that the Spirit is even now preparing.    

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.


 ELCA Advocacy 
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) reaffirms its commitment to combating racism and white supremacy following the recent murders of Black Americans. Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Dreasjon (Sean) Reed, and George Floyd were our neighbors. Read the full statement here.
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has called on the church to join with faith communities across the United States in lament and remembrance, and on our elected leaders to observe Monday, June 1, as a day of mourning to honor the more than 100,000 people who have died from COVID-19.
Presiding Bishop Elizabeth on CNN
"The church has never been closed" Watch Bishop Eaton address the question of navigating a return to gathering for worship in the time of COVID-19.
Follow developing stories and responses
There is a lot going on in the news as this newsletter is being created. You can follow the actions and responses of our church leaders here:
Bishop Elizabeth Eaton: Facebook, Twitter
Bishop Andy Taylor: Facebook
Lutheran Lobby Day
The 2020 Virtual Lutheran Lobby gathered over 80 people online in May for an update on current legislative initiatives at both the state and national levels. We received a message encouragement from Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton for the faithful work of advocacy, and we made plans for Lobby Day 2021 - next year in Sacramento!
Advocacy in Quarantine - Every Wednesday at 12:00pm
The Lutheran Office of Public Policy-California is hosting a ZOOM meeting each Wednesday to provide an update on current legislative action and advocacy work. The meetings are 25 minutes long, and end with one or two suggested Action Items that will take you no more than 5 minutes to accomplish. I hope you can find 30 minutes a week to stay informed and join the vital work of advocacy.
ELCA Advocacy Updates
Take the 2020 Census
The ELCA is a Census Partner, encouraging an accurate count, because it impacts a more just resource distribution and representation in the political process. For your neighbor and yourself - fill out your Census and encourage everyone in your community to be counted!
Follow us!
For information or questions about Bethlehem's Advocacy Team, contact Karin Kloehn at blcadvocacy@gmail.com.

 Music Ministry 

The Choir Concert scheduled for June 7th has been cancelled. 

 Bethlehem Women of the ELCA

  The Eleventh Triennial Gathering of Women of the ELCA has been rescheduled to July 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona.  Watch for more information as we receive it.

 Bethlehem Women's Retreat

The Bethlehem's Women's Retreat which was originally scheduled for this month has been rescheduled for next year.  We hope to see you on April 30 - May 2, 2021 at Luther Glen.  Something to look forward to!

 Spiritual Gifts Class

The last Spiritual Gifts class will be postponed until it is safe to reschedule.

 Giving Tree

Mission Action and Giving Tree Schedule 2020 - 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.

  • June - Center for Global Awareness (Dianne Nichols & Gail Winterbourne) - Cancelled COVID19
  • July 1 - July 15 - Youth Camps (Constance Mithelman) - Cancelled COVID19
  • July 16 to August 16 - Bethlehem Serves (Beth Nelson)
  • August 17 thru September - Pajama Project Appeal (Belinda Simonini)
  • September  to October 15 - Lutheran World Relief Ingathering:  Quilts & Blankets (Scraps and Prayers Quilting Group)
  • October 16 thru November - Secret Santa (Cheryl Monreal)
  • December - TBD

 Stephen Ministry

Prayer in Time of Conflict, Crisis, Disaster - O God, where hearts are fearful and constricted, grant courage and hope. Where anxiety is infectious and widening, grant peace and reassurance. Where impossibilities close every door and window, grant imagination and resistance. Where distrust twists our thinking, grant healing and illumination. Where spirits are daunted and weakened, grant soaring wings and strengthened dreams. All these things we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen. Evangelical Lutheran Worship
Do current events leave you feeling anxious, helpless, and alone? Are the changes happening around us adding to the burden you are already carrying? It might help to talk with a Stephen Minister. A Stephen Minister is a lay person who has been trained to support you and to listen non-judgmentally as you work through a difficult time. All conversations and inquiries are kept strictly confidential. If you would like to know more please contact Pr. Laura, Pr. Sam, or one of our Stephen Leaders, Suzi Westmoreland, Molly Hall, or Laure Reynolds.

Prayer Shawl Ministry 

Prayer shawls are intended to provide comfort for any who might be going through a particularly difficult time. Unfortunately, this is applicable to so much of the world right now. Our ministry group is on hiatus, and consequently unable to access our supply of shawls at church.  We look forward to the day when we will be able to meet again in person, and have the ability to distribute a shawl to anyone who might be in need.  
In the meantime, please continue to knit/crochet at home.  Teach yourself on youtube! Feel free to create any kind of shawl or wrap you would like. Sample patterns may be found on  www.shawlministry.com .  Here is a quote from  the Wings Cancer Foundation, which seems so timely right now in this time of isolation and social distancing, "Our prayer shawl ministry has grown out of the desire to combine the healing power of prayer with the healing ministry of human touch...we enfold each person in genuine loving concern and envision each shawl extending that ''hug' and bringing comfort and solace even when we're not physically present."
Contact: Janet Mastrogany (619) 980-8671 or janet.mastrogany@gmail.com . You are all in my prayers.

 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/"

 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

 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.

 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 smile.amazon.com website. See the website for more details.

Dear  ,


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


Yours in Christ

Bethlehem Lutheran Webmaster