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

March 2018

News and Events

 From Pastor Laura

Dear people of Bethlehem,
Is it Spring yet? The signs are everywhere around us. In other parts of the country it's a little clearer: the snow melts, the daffodils push through the frozen ground, the trees begin to bud. But here in San Diego, seasons are marked differently; a subtle greening of the world. In our part of the world the change of seasons is more a matter of the heart, than the ground. Is it time? Time for resurrection and an empty tomb and a new day. Time to consider the post Easter journey already glimpsed on the horizon. We can see it, but we are not there yet. That is the nature of the faithful journey. We can see it, the hope and justice and love and grace of God, but the world is not there yet. Yet, we do not lose hope. Because we must first be able to see it, if we are to get there. So let us see it on the horizon, until that day comes when it is so, until that day when tears are laid aside, and righteousness rolls down like an ever flowing stream.
Pastor Sam Nelson's first Sunday with us will be Sunday, March 18th. Three members of Bethlehem and I were able to attend his ordination last Sunday in Half Moon Bay. It was a powerfully moving service as Pastor Sam took on the responsibility and blessing of this new call. On March 18th we will welcome him. I remember still, the powerful welcome you extended to me on my first day at Bethlehem. I knew from that moment on, how blessed I was to be with you. This Sunday and next, there will be an opportunity to write a small note card to Pastor Sam. Offer him a welcome or a prayer or tell him where the best Mexican food is in town. I still have the notes you wrote to me. Also, we are asking everyone to bring a shell or pebble or piece of sea glass on his first Sunday. Together they will be a symbol of the prayers we offer him. Pastor Sam's installation will be Sunday, April 8 at 2pm. Bishop Andy Taylor will be with us to install our new pastor. Looking forward to seeing you all there.  
I have a story of stewardship. As you know, we have spent the last year working on our mission endowment fund with an excellent committee and the expertise of Greg Shepherd. We now have a clear path for those who wish to give legacy gifts to the congregation. The fund is set up to maintain the principle of the gift and use the interest only to fund ongoing ministry. Just this month we received the first substantial legacy gift to be placed in that fund. Dorothy Gish was a wise, faithful and consistent member of Bethlehem for many years. Her funeral was last year and a number of you were there. We received a check this month from her estate. What a rich blessing. Now Dorothy's legacy lives in the ongoing ministry of this congregation. Her legacy will touch us for the whole of this congregation's journey. Thank you to all those who have remembered Bethlehem in your legacy giving. If you would like to make such a gift and would like some information on how to do so, please contact the church office and we will connect you to someone like Greg Shepherd, who can assist you. I stood this week at the graveside of another longtime member of this congregation, Ione Ellis. She was a woman of faith and grace and dignity and she turned 100 years old this year. As I stood at her graveside, I was struck by the grace of this life's journey; its tears and blessing, faith and mercy for us all. Blessed be each saints of God's church, you and me and those who now rest in eternity's promise.
Please join us for Holy Week services. We begin with Maundy Thursday's service of foot washing, then to Good Friday's Tenebrae service of shadows, and finally to the Vigil of Easter as we wait for the resurrection of our Lord with joy. These three days offer us a unique journey. If you have never made the commitment to come all three days, I invite you to do so. It is a powerful time. Easter Sunday morning, we will worship at 7:30, 9:00 and 10:30am. Bethlehem knows how to do celebration worship well. Join us for trumpets, choirs and joy.
Blessed Lenten journey to you all, as we see on the horizon the hope Christ came to bring.
In Christ,
Pastor Laura

 Welcome Pastor Sam

  • Pastor Sam's first Sunday with us will be Sunday, March 18th. 
  • Write a note of welcome for him. Note cards will be available at church this Sunday and next. 
  • Bring a shell, pebble or piece of sea glass to church on Sunday March 18th as a symbol of our prayers. 
  • Pastor Sam's installation will be Sunday, April 8, 2pm. Please mark your calendars. 

 Lent and Holy Week Schedule

WEDNESDAY EVENINGS IN LENT  (February 21st - March 21st):
6:00 - 6:45 pm: Soup Supper in the Family Center

7:00 - 7:30 pm: Worship - Holden Evening Prayer

7:30 - 8:30 pm: Education - Jamie Newcomb will bring his substantial gifts as a professional actor and lead us in an evening of theater, around a different theme each week: Journey, Time, Grief, Gratitude and Hope.
Donations received during the Lenten Evening Services
will go toward supporting Hands of Peace.
HOLY WEEK :                  
EASTER EGG HUNT -  Saturday, March 24th
10:00 am - 3 years old through 6th grade
PALM SUNDAY  - March 25th
No 8:00 am Service
9:00 and 10:30 am - Choir Cantata (No Communion) 
MAUNDY THURSDAY -   March 29th
7:00 pm - Holy Communion Service 
GOOD FRIDAY - March 30th
7:00 pm - Service of Tenebrae 
EASTER VIGIL - March 31st
7:00 pm - A service of shadows, light, sacrament and celebration 
Holy Communion at 7:30, 9:00 and 10:30 am 

 Children's Ministry

Upcoming Events and News
Easter Egg Hunt Saturday, March 24th @ 10 AM: Join us for a morning of family fun and fellowship! Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy music with Chris Matthews "The Musicman" after the  Egg Hunt! We could use some teenagers and adults to help hide eggs, play games with the kids, set-up and tear down, etc. If you would like to volunteer contact:  Chris Matthews at
VBS First Week of July: Bethlehem Lutheran Church is pleased to announce this year's VBS  "Shipwrecked" to be held the first week of July 2018. Join us on July 2-3 and 5-6 for an exciting adventure! The adventure starts at 9 am and will end at 12 noon each day. At Shipwrecked  VBS, kids discover how Jesus rescues us through life's storms. Shipwrecked is filled with incredible Bible-learning experiences kids see, hear, touch, and even taste! Sciency-Fun  Gizmos, team-building games, cool Bible songs, and tasty treats are just a few of the standout activities that help faith flow into real life. (Since everything is hands-on, kids might get a little messy. Be sure to send them in play clothes and safe shoes.) Plus, we'll help kids discover how to see evidence of God in everyday life-something we call God Sightings. Get ready to hear that phrase a lot! Registration forms for campers and volunteers will be available at , or in the church office.
First Communion Classes Will Be Held In April: These classes are for young people in the first grade and older. Parent participation is required. Classes will be held on Wednesday, April  18th and Wednesday, April 22nd @ 6pm. First Communion will be at the 9 am service Sunday,  April 29th. If you would like your child to participate contact:  Chris Matthews at
Be A Children's Ministry Volunteer: If you are looking for a fun and rewarding way to serve at  Bethlehem, please consider donating your time and talents to our Children's Ministries. None of our programs and activities would be possible, without the amazing help and support of this congregation. Be a part of the fun in 2018! If you would like to know how you can be of service contact: Chris Matthews at
Chris Matthews
Director of Children's Ministries
Bethlehem Lutheran Church

 Youth Ministry

High School Winter Retreat

Mark your calendars for the High School Winter Retreat at LRCC where the youth will discover what it means to be ENGAGED in their lives as disciples of Christ.

Middle School: March 9-11

Cost: $139

We will need drivers as well.  Please RSVP to Constance at .

Summer Service Trip

Summer Service Trip dates have been released!
Saturday, July 28-Saturday, August 4

Interested in chaperoning?  Email Constance at

 Bethlehem Women of the ELCA

Bethlehem Women of the ELCA:
Mission Action and Giving Tree Schedule 2018

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.
January        ELCA World Hunger Appeal // St. Andrew's Food Pantry
                     Cheryl Monreal
February      T.A.C.O.
                     Lori Cook
March           College Care Packages
                     Skye Svenningsen
April             Mother's Day Thankoffering - Es Por Los Ninos                
                     BWELCA - Cheryl Monreal
May             Center for Global Awareness
                     Dianne Nichols & Gail Winterbourne
June             Student Health Care Project Clinics
                     JoAnn Daughtery
July 1st - 8th   Vacation Bible School
                     Christ Matthews
July 9th -        Bethlehem Serves
August 19th   Mike Notrica                  
August 20th-   Pajama Project Appeal
September     Belinda Simonini
October 1st -   Lutheran World Relief Ingathering: Quilts & Blankets
midOctober    Scraps and Prayers Quilting Group
midOctober -   Secret Santa
November       Cheryl Monreal
December       Community Resource Center
                        Karin Kloehn        
Ongoing:       TACO (soup kitchen)

 Stephen Ministry

We have set a date for the start of the new Stephen Ministry Training class! Class will be held on Monday evenings from 7:00 and 9:00pm in the Multi-Use Room beginning May 7th. The cost of the class is $50 which covers the cost of books. If you are interested in taking the class please contact one of our Stephen Leaders, Molly Hall or Laure Reynolds, so that we may order materials for you.
In addition to offering this class to new Stephen Ministers, we are opening up the class to anyone in the congregation who would like to improve the listening and caring skills that you use in your own life- either in your personal life or in the ministries you are part of within the church or community. For more information please contact Molly Hall or Laure Reynolds.

 Endowment Fund

Give It Twice

Each month, Bethlehem's Mission Endowment Fund Committee shares some thoughts and suggestions about planned giving. This month's topic is "Give It Twice".
If you are torn between leaving a gift to your children and leaving a gift to the church upon death, here is a strategy that might be for you. Using a special trust called a testamentary trust or "give it twice trust," you can benefit both your children and your church. While you might want to give a major portion of your estate outright to children, the rest of your estate can be put in a "give it twice" trust. The trust will pay an income to your children for a certain period of years chosen by you, perhaps ten or twenty years. At the end of that term, the principal from the trust is then given to the church. It's both a wonderful way to show your love for your children and at the same time witness to them your love of God and your church.
For more information about "Give It Twice" trusts and other gifting strategies, contact our gift planners, Lisa Higginbothem at 805-910-5048, or or Greg Shepherd at 909-910-6823 or

 Giving Tree

March Giving Tree is for COLLEGE CARE PACKAGES - It's time to celebrate our youth and remember them in our prayers and actions as they pursue their education.

During the month of March, please consider giving a monetary donation so we can purchase snacks, supplies and postage to make the day a bit brighter for about 25 college students. The care packages will ship in early April. Thank you for your contributions and please contact Skye Svenningsen if you have any questions. 310-913-6256 or

 St. Andrews Food Pantry

St. Andrews food pantry needs our help. Every Thursday morning a team meets at Gelsons market in Carlsbad to pick up food and transport it back to the food pantry. If you can devote one Thursday a month to this project your help would be appreciated. If interested please contact Bob Moran at St. Andrews at 760-487-1630 or

 TACO (Third Avenue Charitable Organization)

Help Serve at TACO

We will be going to help serve at TACO on Monday, March 19.  Anyone interested should contact Lori Cook at 760 207-0432 by March 12.

TACO Needs for March

TACO has needs for the over 200 people that come there for meals, hygiene items (must be new & unopened), disposable razors, clothing of all kinds, shoes, 6 packs of men's crew socks (women prefer them because they're warmer) and anything WARM, like coats, jackets, sweaters, sweatshirts (preferably w/a hood), sweat pants, thermal tops & pants, scarves, hats & gloves. Large size is good. Plastic rain ponchos, blankets & sleeping bags are always needed & always in short supply. Many of our guests are literally living on the street and have to find ways to keep warm through long, cold, damp winter nights near the ocean in San Diego. Plastic rain ponchos can be purchased for $5-8. Thank you all so much for being the caring & loving congregation that you are!   Call w/questions or comments:  Lori Cook: 760 207-0432

 Music Ministry

The Good News Singers will present their annual Palm Sunday cantata on March 25th during the 9 and 10:30 services.  No Stone Could Hold Him by Lloyd Lloyd tells the Passion story through scripture and song using narrators, orchestra and singers.  This dynamic presentation will begin your reflections on Holy Week. There will be no 8:00 a.m. service that Sunday. 
 Bethlehem Advocacy Team
Advocacy - Connecting Faith and Pubic Life

Bethlehem's new Advocacy Team is working to connect interested people with each other, and with the work and resources of the ELCA and other advocacy organizations.
We recently hosted a resource table between Sunday services, which offered information on issues such as Jubilee, immigration, the environment, and gun violence. More than 75 postcards were written to our legislators expressing opinions and asking for support on issues that are important to the people of Bethlehem.
We have started an Bethlehem Advocacy Team email group to share advocacy information and activities. If you would like to be included, please contact
For more information on ELCA Advocacy, visit

 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.

Dear  ,


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Yours in Christ

Bethlehem Lutheran Webmaster