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

Sunday Mornings... 

  8:30am and 10:00 am


Learning Circles 

(Pre - 6th)

10:00 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  
Quick Links

March 2020

News and Events

From Pastor Sam

Lenten Blessings Bethlehem,
I think that it's fitting that my article in January was about new years resolutions, and now my March article coincides with the beginning of Lent - another season that is well known for its focus on self-improvement. Maybe this is sign that what the world really needs is a Lutheran self-help book! I'm not sure if that would make the best seller list.
I love the season of Lent. Beautiful purple paraments adorn the walls of the sanctuary. The hymns we sing take on a minor key and a mournful melody. It is a season of introspection and self-reflection. A chance to stop. In the midst of this busy world that is constantly pushing us to look forward, to keep moving, keep going, regardless of if we have long since wandered off the road, Lent is an opportunity to pause, take stock, reflect, and repent.
The meaning of that word repent has been somewhat distorted over the years. It does not mean that we are supposed to punish ourselves, to deny ourselves things that make us happy, and that somehow our suffering/misery will make us more worthy in the eyes of God. Sadly, this is what most people think of when they think of Lent. People who rarely ever attend church are still familiar with the concept of giving something up for Lent. Now if you use Lent as a motivator to make a life change that you've been meaning to, then that's great! But what usually ends up happening though, is we pick something we love (but not too much, maybe a 7 out of 10), give it up for Lent, are miserable for a few weeks, and then Easter comes (that is, if we have even made it that far) and then start right back up where they left off, maybe even a bit more to make up for lost time.
The truth of the matter is that there is not a single thing that we can do to make God love us any more or any less. We are all God's beloved children, and we are all afforded the unmerited, undeserved, unconditional grace and love of God. Now, that being said, God certainly does have hopes and desires for how we might live out our lives, ways that God wishes we would act when interacting with others as well as with ourselves. Think about what the things are that are getting in the way of you being the person God knows that you can be. Are there certain behaviors or actions or thoughts that impede your movement towards being that person? What is it that stands between you and God? How have you strayed or wandered from God?
That is what repentance is about. Repent means to "turn around." There is movement and action inherent in the word. It means that we are called to turn back towards the God from whom we have wandered. Sometimes that might mean giving up certain things in our lives - a behavior, a substance, a way of thinking. There's no need to limit yourself to only refraining from the typical choices like chocolate or caffeine. Get creative, think bigger! Maybe this Lent you are feeling called to give up responding out of anger, or making assumptions about others, or allowing others to undermine and determine your self-worth. Or it might mean that rather than give something up, you are feeling called to take on something new - daily meditation, prayer, or time spent reading the Bible, just to suggest a few.
However you decide to spend this Lent, I hope that it results in real, substantial growth and change that continues far beyond the finish line of Easter. I hope that you are able to engage in spiritual practices that bring you into a closer relationship with God. I hope that these 40 days might be for you a chance to better yourself, not so that you might earn God's approval, but simply because God wants to see you thrive and live your best life. May you work on becoming the best you that you can be during the Lenten season.

                                Pastor Sam

 Annual Congregational Meeting Update
During the Annual Meeting, a question was asked about the extent of electronic giving.  Here are some facts in response to that question:
  • 47% of the 2019 general offerings were received electronically.  This provided a very steady core of financial support for the church.
  • Bethlehem has approximately 250 family units of which 110 to 120 provide regular financial support.  Further, 80 to 85 of our family units regularly give electronically.
If you want to join those who give electronically - either for the ease and simplicity, or your interest in being part of the church's steady financial core - either sign up through the website link or the Give Plus app, both of which are more fully described later in the newsletter. 

 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

 ELCA Advocacy 
Vote on Tuesday, March 3
California's Presidential Primary election is this week. If you need information about your ballot, your polling place, or other election information, you can find it at sdvote.com. If you missed the registration deadline for this election, you can still vote if you follow the instructions found here.
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.)
2020 National ELCA Advocacy Priorities
Read about the ELCA Advocacy identified areas of priority for our work together on the federal level. "These priorities reflect ELCA Advocacy commitments for faithful and timely attention to pressing concerns that affect our neighbor's well-being and the wholeness of creation," says the Rev. Amy E. Reumann, Director of ELCA Advocacy.
ELCA Advocacy
Peace Not Walls' February Action Alert asks for support to include Palestinian voices in the "Peace to Prosperity" plan. Urge your lawmakers to refrain from funding the proposal until Palestinians are given sufficient opportunity to weigh in.
Support the NO BAN Act. New travel restrictions placed on additional countries as introduced on Jan. 31 by the Trump administration compel us to speak out. This policy change is not only discriminatory, but it also prolongs the separation of families longing to be reunited with loved ones.
Joint Statement on the Trump Administration's New Landmine Policy. The ELCA joined many other organization in signing a Joint Statement strongly condemning the Trump Administration's decision to lift existing United States prohibitions against the use of landmines.
Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton's Recent Statement
Statement on New Travel Ban - February 5, 2020
Join ELCA Young Adults in The #NoplasticsforLent Initiative, led by young adults from across the church. It calls for individuals, families, and communities to fast for 40 days from single-use plastics, to pray for creation, to lament the ways we have been complicit in the degradation of the earth, and to act to care for our neighbor in fasting from the things that are hurting our planet.
Follow us!
Bishop Elizabeth Eaton: Facebook, Twitter 
For information or questions about Bethlehem's Advocacy Team, contact Karin Kloehn at blcadvocacy@gmail.com.

 Music Ministry 

Special Music in March  

This month our worship will be highlighted with music from our performing groups. Here is the schedule for March.

March 1- The Good News Singers
March 8- The Children's Chimers
March 15- The Children's Choir
March 22- The JuBellation Ringers
March 29 - Second Sabbath

On April 5th, the Good News Singers will perform Worthy Is the Lamb!, a cantata by Lloyd Larson. The cantata highlights the events of Holy Week and is accompanied by an orchestra and narration. The cantata will be performed at both services that day.

How is music selected for our worship services?
Each month, Pastor Laura, Pastor Sam, Judy Collier and Mona Goetsch meet for worship planning. Weekly Readings and suggested music are provided in the Revised Common Lectionary for our perusal. As a committee we thoughtfully plan what music will compliment the weekly scripture lessons and the Pastoral sermon topic for each Sunday.  The liturgical parts of our service are determined by settings found in our Evangelical Lutheran Worship hymnal or selected liturgies by noted composers. As each season changes, we change our liturgical setting to keep our worship fresh. Working as a committee, we collaborate, each bringing new and creative ideas which makes worship services at Bethlehem a blended worship of musical styles for all who attend.

 Family Ministry News

Winter Retreat for Middle School is 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!
Middle School: March 6-8
Cost: $145 (scholarships available)
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)

 Bethlehem Women of the ELCA

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  fel lowship 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!

 Bethlehem Women's Retreat

2020 Bethlehem Women's Retreat
He is the Potter and We are the Clay
The 2020 Bethlehem Women's Retreat will be held at Luther Glen Conference Center in Yucaipa, CA on May 1 - 3, 2020. Join us for a weekend of faith, fellowship, and fun!

We have a choice of two housing options available this year at two different prices. The conference center sleeps 40 persons and features comfortable rooms which each sleep 2 to 4 people. Each room has an attached bath. The cost for the conference center will be $195 per person for the weekend and includes bedding and towels. If you don't mind more rustic conditions and a short walk we also have available the cabins at Camp Yolijwa which have bunk beds and shared bathrooms at a price of $125. Bring your own bedding and towels for the cabins. The cost for all participants includes meals Saturday breakfast through Sunday breakfast.

Sign-ups will begin in the middle of March. Sign up for the conference center rooms will be first come first serve based on when we receive your money.

Visit the Luther Glen website at http://www.lrcchome.com/about/luther_glen.php . For more information contact Lori Wolf, Laure Reynolds, or Rose Moldenhauer.

Full and partial scholarships will be available. Would you like to sponsor a scholarship?

 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 35 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 or a student to add to our list.  310-916-6256  or  skyesven@gmail.com 
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.
  • April - CSUSM Student Healthcare Project (JoAnn Daughtery)
  • May - Mother's Day Thankoffering (BWELCA)
  • June - Center for Global Awareness (Dianne Nichols & Gail Winterbourne)
  • June 29 to July 15 - Vacation Bible School/Youth Camps & Service Trips (Constance Mithelman)
  • 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

What would I Say to a Stephen Minister?
How could one help me? Why would I confide in a stranger?
In our society we are taught to keep our worries and troubles private, to not admit weakness, and to solve problems by ourselves. But, sometimes having someone trustworthy to share your concerns with can ease your journey and help you recover quicker.
A Stephen Minister is not a therapist or a professional counselor. In fact, a Stephen Minister generally does not work with someone who needs professional help. A Stephen Minister is a member of the congregation who has been trained by Stephen Leaders to care for a person who is going through one of life's crises, like illness, divorce, grief, or unemployment.
A Stephen Minister is an individual who is particularly loving, patient, prayerful, and encouraging. They are trained to listen non-judgmentally, to maintain strict confidentiality, and to support you as you work your own way through a difficult situation. Most importantly, each Stephen Minister has a deep desire to be of comfort and service to others and consider it a great honor to be trusted enough to be allowed into a caring relationship with you.
And, once you have met them they are no longer strangers.
If you would like to know more about Stephen Ministry please speak with Pr Laura, Pr Sam, or one of our Stephen Leaders, Molly Hall, Suzi Westmoreland, or Laure Reynolds, or visit the Stephen Ministry website at stephenministries.org.

Scraps and Prayers

NEW - we are adding a once a month SATURDAY Scraps and Prayers beginning May 9th from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. in the MUB. These Saturday sessions will be in addition to the weekly Wednesday morning meetings of Scraps and Prayers.  
Join us in tying quilts and laying out already cut quilt squares for quilts.  Come for some fun and conversation and learning a bit more about how the many quilts you see on the pews in October are put together.  We will be meeting on the second Saturday of May, June, July, August and September.   If you are a sewer and want to see what we do and perhaps take a quilt kit home to sew, we would love to have you join us.  No sewing skills required - as many of us can attest.  Come one, come all - if you can tie your shoes, you can tie a quilt.  Come try a new way to spend your Saturday morning.  If you have any questions, please contact  Bobby Allen, roberta798@aol.com or Kim Oswald, rdoswald@aol.com.

 Choose To Serve (Outreach Ministries)

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 outside or contact Naida Malchiodi at naidalouise2@yahoo.com .

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
Learn American Sign Language
Learn American Sign Language (ASL): Whether you are a novice, an expert, or need a refresher, please join one or both of our ASL classes. The classes are designed for high school age and above. Our goal is have fun, learn to communicate with the Deaf community, and learn about Deaf culture. For more info, contact Suzi Westmoreland: 760-505-3365 or suziwestmoreland@hotmail.com .
American Sign Language. Thursdays in the Multi Use Building. 5:30-6:30 pm for Introduction to ASL and 6:30-7:30 pm for Review and Practice.

 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/"

 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

 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