In This Issue

From Pastor Sam
Worship Protocol Update
June Worship Schedule
St. Andrew's Feeding Ministry
Music Ministry
BLC Women
Food Pantry Update
COVID Vaccine Help
Stephen Ministry
ELCA Advocacy
Adventure Ministry
Family Ministry
Engagement Opportunities
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
Family Ministry Director
Ext 12
Judy Foland
Office Administrator
Ext 1 
June 2022
News and Events
The Pacifica Synod Assembly was held in Irvine, CA two weeks ago.  Before we dive into the specifics of what all happened over those three days, I want to take a cue from Bob Michelet.  When he shared about the assembly during worship on the Sunday after the assembly, he wisely reminded us that part of being an “All Are Welcome” church means doing our best to not use insider language and jargon.  Or at the very least, making sure to explain it when we do.  So, to back up for a moment, I want to talk about the church on a larger scale than just what happens at Bethlehem.

We are part of a larger national church called the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America).  It was founded in 1988, and it is organized into geographical regions called synods – there are 65 of them in all.  The size of a synod is determined by the density of Lutheran churches in that area.  For example, Minneapolis, MN is its own synod, as is the city of St. Paul, MN because there are just that many Lutherans up there in the frozen north.  Conversely, the Rocky Mountain Synod covers all of Utah, Colorado, Arizona, most of Wyoming, and part of Texas.  We are a part of the Pacifica Synod which covers the very bottom of California (south of LA), Hawaii, and soon will include Guam, as well as all other US territories in the Pacific.  Each synod has a bishop, and there is one presiding bishop for the whole ELCA.  Once a year, every synod gathers to conduct whatever business needs to be done as well as share the amazing work that is going on in different congregations, as well as in the larger church.  

This year’s assembly was special for a number of reasons.  For starters, it was the first time in three years that we have been able to gather together in-person.  The 2020 Assembly was canceled entirely, and the 2021 A-Zoom-bly happened on Zoom (hence the clever name).  It was also important because we had the privilege and responsibility of electing a new bishop.  Bishop Andy Taylor decided not to seek a second term, which left the field wide open.  It was a wonderful, spirit-led, and discernment-filled process that ultimately resulted in Dave Nagler being elected.  Dave served as intern and then associate pastor at Bethlehem back in the 90s.  He spoke with clarity of purpose, prophetic wisdom, and graceful humility, and I think that his leadership is exactly what this synod needs as we navigate what the church is going to look like as we come out of this pandemic, and given everything that’s going on in the world. 

I am incredibly proud to be a part of the ELCA.  I love the tradition that it grounds us in, the community that we get to be a part of because of it, and the collective discerning of God’s will for us as the people of God.  For more information about what happened at this year’s assembly please visit the 2022 Pacifica Synod Assembly Final Review Publication:

Pastor Sam
Worship Protocol Update
As you have probably heard during Sunday morning announcements, we are moving towards the next phase of worship at Bethlehem.  Although the outdoor worship service has been absolutely wonderful, and has allowed us a way to gather safely, the amount of work that it takes to set up on a weekly basis is simply untenable.  Therefore, we are working toward creating a hybrid worship experience, where indoor and outdoor worship will be provided at every service.  A large TV will be placed in the eco-narthex, along with a speaker.  We hope that this will be a way to make everyone, regardless of where they choose to sit, feel like one worshipping community.  This will most likely begin in June, but we are holding off on announcing a specific start date for now.  We have much of the physical equipment that we need and are just waiting to make sure that we can offer exactly what we want to be able to offer.  Look for an eblast in the coming weeks with a more specific date and any new details to be aware of.  And as always, thank you for your grace and understanding as we pivot yet again! 

Sunday Morning Worship (Until Switch to Hybrid):

  • June
  • 9 am - Indoor Worship and Livestream
  • 10:30 am - Outdoor Worship

St. Andrew's Feeding Ministry
Volunteers Needed! Saturday Breakfast at St. Andrew's

Our mission to feed the hungry a hot breakfast each Saturday is starting back up again, and the kitchen at St. Andrew’s is now open for business.  Bethlehem will be preparing breakfast on the 4th Saturday of each month.  We need 6 volunteers to crack and scramble 6 doz. eggs, cook 60 hash browns, 13 lbs. of bacon, make 80 pancakes and serve up plates with a smile!  

Please sign up here:

Naida Malchiodi
Family Ministry
Final Call! - Join us for the return of in-person VBS this summer! It's going to be MONUMENTAL! June 27-June 30th. For registration, click here! Interested in volunteering? Fill out the Volunteer Registration Form and Constance will be in touch!

Confirmation Camp - Do you have a current 6th or 7th grader? Sign up for Confirmation Camp with Constance! July 10-15th at Luther Glen!

High School Summer Service Trip - Current 8th graders through Freshmen in College - Join us for a trip to the Navajo Reservation in Rock Point, AZ! July 30-August 6th. I will be coming up with a contingency plan, as the Navajo Nation has their own COVID guidelines and restrictions we will honor. RSVP to Constance!

Music Ministry
Bethlehem Talent Show - June 12 @ 4 pmBethlehem's Music Ministry is hosting the annual Spring Talent Show on June 12@ 4 p.m. in the sanctuary. We are looking for videos / live performances from our congregation to add to the musical groups from Bethlehem.  The concert will be a combination of live and video performances  for an afternoon of merriment for all. Please submit your videos to by June 5th . Now is the time to highlight your dog, make a craft, dance, perform a magic trick, or demonstrate a science experiment. We encourage everyone to participate!
Musical Calendar for June
  • June 5- Pentecost- Good News Singers at both services
  • June 12- JuBellation Ringers at both services; Talent Show @ 4 p.m.
  • June 19- World Music Ensemble at both services
  • June 27- 30th - Vacation Bible School Band (opening/closing sessions) 
Women's Ministry
Women of Welcome

Women of all ages, please join us for a Movie Night featuring Disney’s ENCANTO!  
Friday June 10th — 6 pm - 8:30 pm

“Surrounded by the exceptional, it's easy to feel unexceptional.” — Mirabel.  Come along and get your joy back while we explore this family’s magical connection in our behind the scenes discussion led by Pastor Laura and Clemencia (Cha Cha) Pinilla. Cha Cha, a native Columbian, brings a rich perspective to the cultural elements of the movie which is set in rural Columbia.  Come and learn more about yourself and your family.

We will gather in the Sanctuary to watch the movie and then have a time to share and discuss. Snacks will be provided.  Bring your own beverage!

All are Welcome!  We look forward to seeing you.  
Food Pantry Update
Thank You for Supporting the Food Pantry!

We collected 54 bags of groceries and raised $1007 for the St. Andrew's Food Pantry. Thank you for your generous support!


Cynthia Heigold
Stephen Ministry
What is Stephen Ministry? 
Bethlehem Lutheran Church is a Stephen Ministry congregation.  What does that mean?
We all experience crises at some time in our lives, like illness, death of a loved one, divorce, or loss of a job. While the pastors are called to minister to individuals in these situations, they often simply don’t have enough time to follow up with everyone for an extended period of time.  Stephen Ministers are lay members of the congregation with gifts for caring that are trained to listen to and support people through these times of crises, and for as long as they need it afterwards.  They are not counselors or professionals.  They are committed Christian friends who will be there when you need them.  
Stephen Ministers are paired one on one with care receivers. Care receivers do not have to be a member of Bethlehem. Men are always paired with a male Stephen Minister and women are paired with a female Stephen Minister.  Typically a Stephen Minister meets with a care receiver once a week. 
 Stephen Ministers are supervised regularly by Stephen Leaders to make sure the caring relationship is mutually satisfactory and progressing as expected, however, details of conversations are never shared.  Confidentiality is a key component of Stephen Ministry.
If you are interested in knowing more about Stephen Ministry, either to join us as a Stephen Minister or to learn about becoming a care receiver, please speak with Pr Laura, Pr Sam, or with one of our Stephen Leaders, Molly Hall, Laure Reynolds, or Suzi Westmoreland.
ELCA Advocacy
ELCA response to the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas

ELCA statement on the Buffalo mass murders

A pastoral message on abortion
Read Bishop Elizabeth Eaton’s response to the leaked Supreme Court draft. 

Lutheran Lobby Day Report 
At Lutheran Lobby Day this year, over 100 attendees met with 22 legislative offices to advocate for the passage of six bills. Here is the current status of those bills:

AB 2589 (Santiago): CalEITC Expansion. 
This bill will provide a 1-time payment of $2000 per child dependent to California residents who made less than $30,000 in 2021 and file their taxes. Increase the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) minimum tax credit to about $255 per eligible tax filer. AB 2589 would benefit approximately 5 million Californians, including 2 million children. It is continuing to move forward. Next step is a vote in the Assembly. Action item: Contact Asm. Tasha Boerner Hovarth to ask her to support this bill.

AB 1615 (Ting): Foster Youth Housing. 
This bill will extend eligibility for housing assistance to 36 months for foster youth aging out of the system. It is continuing to move forward. Next step is a vote in the Assembly. Action item:  Contact Asm. Tasha Boerner Hovarth to ask her to support this bill.

SB 854 (Skinner): the HOPE for Children Act. 
This bill would establish California’s first baby bond program for children who lost a parent or caregiver to COVID-19 and eligible foster youth. It did not move forward, however, the required funding was included in the Senate Budget proposal, so there is still a chance for this to program to happen.

AB 2180 (Wicks): The Children of Incarcerated Parents and Caregivers Taskforce. 
This bill would establish a statewide entity that focuses on identifying and addressing the needs of children affected by mass incarceration. It did not continue and is effectively dead for this session. 

SB 464 Food for All. 
This bill expands the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP) to include undocumented Californians who otherwise qualify for federal SNAP benefits. It is still in process, and we continue to advocate for its passage. Action item: Contact Sen. Patricia Bates to ask her to support this bill.

SB 222 (Dodd) Water Rate Assistance. 
This bill requires the development of a Water Rate Assistance Program to provide water affordability assistance for both drinking water and wastewater services to low-income ratepayers. It is still in process, and we continue to advocate for its passage. Action item: Contact Sen. Patricia Bates to ask her to support this bill.

“Advocacy in Quarantine”  - Every Wednesday at noon
Keep up with these bills and more by joining this weekly Zoom meeting to hear an update from Regina Q. Banks, Director of the Lutheran Office of Public Policy- California. These quick 30-minutes sessions include a specific action you can take in support of our efforts to end child poverty, fight for water justice, and support equitable reform of housing, hunger, and immigration policies. 

ELCA Advocacy Monthly Updates

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

Adventure Ministry
Save the Date! Our next adventure will be a walk over the bridges of San Diego in the Balboa Park area: 
Saturday, June 18th
8 am Meet at Bethlehem to carpool to Balboa Park.
Plan to spend the morning walking and then join us for lunch, if you want.
You can always contact the leaders for more information: Eileen Lajimodiere, Suzi Westmoreland. Hope you can join us on June 18th!
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.

Please be aware, there will be no practices between May 11 and June 6.

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. 

Scraps and Prayers - This ministry sews quilts for people in need of comfort and care. We meet each Wednesday morning from 9am-11am in the Multi-Use Room. We need your help sewing and tying quilts. No experience necessary! Stop by for an hour or stay for the whole morning; we'd love to share our scraps and prayers with you. For more information, contact Bobby Allen at or Laure Reynolds at

 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.