"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  
Quick Links

May 2021

News and Events
 From Pastor Sam
Thursday, April 22nd marked Earth Day. A day to give thanks for the world in which we live. A day to marvel at the beauty and complexity of nature - its resilience and fragility, its splendor and vastness. In the first chapter of Genesis, we hear of God's labor pains in the creation of our world. We hear the story about God's inspired and careful work when the earth was nothing but a formless void, and darkness covered the face of the deep. After creating all that is, God created us, in God's own image. It's surprising that anyone can make it any further than that bombshell of a verse when they are reading the Bible. You were created it the image of the divine! You bear God's likeness in the core of who you are! What an incredible, mind-boggling, and wonderful idea?! It is an affirmation of all people. A comment on the worth and value of every single human life. A blessing of unimaginable proportions. It's tempting to simply stop right there, to rest in, and ponder that fact.
But God wasn't done. Because once humanity was created, then God looked upon everything that had been made, and reckoned it to be very good. And humanity was tasked with having dominion over all of creation. Now, many people have misunderstood this as both an order, and as permission. An order to bend and break the natural world to our will, and permission to do whatever we want with its resources. In truth, having dominion over actually means being caretakers of, protectors of, guardians of. We were not called to drain earth dry of every possible resource. To take and take and take, thinking that there would always be enough to satisfy our needs. We were entrusted with this world's safekeeping.
I think that our relationship with creation has shifted over the past year. I certainly know that my appreciation of it has grown. Nature has been one of the few escapes, especially for those of us lucky enough to live here in San Diego. Afternoon walks, drives along the ocean, bike rides, and paddle board outings have all provided safe ways to escape from the confines of home, while still remaining safe. And let's not forget how the animals have responded. A few months into the pandemic there started to be news stories about animals showing up in unexpected places. Mountain goats wandering the streets of small towns in Wales. Wild boars roaming free in Israel. Dolphins popping up all over the place (some fake, some true). It was truly a beautiful sight to behold, and really made us reconsider a few things. Despite understanding ourselves to be at the top of the food chain, despite the massive feats of engineering and taming of the natural world that we have created, just a few weeks of staying inside our homes, and nature began to retake control. Nature began to heal itself of the damage that our pollution and exploitation have done. Nature showed us its true power - the regenerative power of creation. The ability to bring new life out of death; a resurrection spirit that mirrors that of its Creator.
So, while Earth Day has "officially" come and gone, in reality, we have been called to treat every day like Earth Day. To treat every day as a new opportunity to value, protect, restore, and preserve this beautiful world that we have been given.
     Nature's Blessings,
     Pastor Sam

 May Worship Schedule

There are three ways to worship at Bethlehem:
  • You may attend in person worship on the grass at 10AM.
-      In order to join us for in-person worship you must sign up for any, some, or all of the services of your choosing, from the first four Sundays of this month, May 2, 9, 16 and 23. Please Note: There will be no in-person worship service on Sunday May 30.
-      The reopening team is increasing the capacity to 90 for each outdoor worship service.
-      Masks are required at all times. Bring a chair, umbrella or hat, communion, bulletin and a smile.
-      Click here for the new link in SignUpGenius and reserve your place today.
-      There is a "What to Expect in Worship" letter and an Inflight Worship Video on our new outdoor worship orientation page on our website to assist you as you prepare for outdoor worship.
  • You may join us for livestream worship at 8:30AM.
-      In order to join the livestream click on this link here.
-      The link will not appear until we go live at 8:25AM. Fear not, we will be there.
-      You may use the chat stream to talk with other worshipers in real time. This is really fun.
-      With the addition of new equipment, we have significantly increased the quality of the audio and video in the livestream in recent weeks. Thanks to all who made this possible.
  • You may watch worship on demand at any time you like.
-      The livestream is immediately uploaded to YouTube at the close of worship.
-      You can access the recorded worship on our YouTube channel.
-      Or it will be available to you on our worship page on our website by midday on Sunday.
In this unique world, we are so pleased to offer you several ways to join us for worship. Our deep thanks to all those who have worked tirelessly and continue to do so every week, to make worship possible in this time. The opportunities above represent countless volunteer hours and the expertise, gift and grace of so many people. Thanks to: our worship team, music team, audio team, video team, ushers, hosts, liturgical bouncers, set-up team, reopening team, protocol writing team and medical team. God bless you all.

 Update on Indoor Worship
As you are all aware, the world in which we live is changing quickly once again. It's beginning to feel a lot like it did in the early days of the pandemic. Protocols, regulations, and recommendations are all changing day to day, if not hour to hour. We are thankful that we have been able to gather for outdoor worship successfully and safely since August. We are equally thankful for livestream and Zoom and the creative worship it has allowed.
Only very recently have the regulations changed in ways that allow us to consider indoor worship. Previously, indoor safety concerns and the restrictions being placed on indoor worship, left us unable to move back indoors. Those restrictions have recently been relaxed, and the possibility of doing worship in a way that is authentic to who we are as the Bethlehem community is once again becoming possible. The reopening committee has been, and will continue to be, working diligently to create a protocol that allows for the highest quality of worship while also maintaining the highest level of safety for all those involved.
As we have many times before in this past year, we ask for your patience and your grace as we work toward opening for indoor worship in the somewhat near future. Please know with certainty that both the outdoor worship service and the livestream services will remain. We hope that you will continue to engage in this community and our worship services in whatever way you choose, and we look forward to once again gathering as a beloved community within the walls of our sanctuary.

 Covid Vaccine Appointment Assistance

If you need help navigating the Covid-19 vaccine sign up process, we are here to help. Our Stephen Ministry/Parish Nurse team can assist with:

  • Finding out your eligibility to receive a vaccine.
  • Helping you find a vaccination site and make an appointment.
  • Assisting with transportation to the site.

Please call the church office, (760) 753-1026, and we will get you the help you need.

 Music Ministry
Please enjoy the special music you will hear this month from Bethlehem's musical ensembles.
May 2- JuBellation Ringers video and live at the 10 a.m. service!
May 9 - Children's Chimers video and live at the 10 a.m. service and Special Mother's Day video by the Children's Choir.
May 23 - Good News Singers Pentecost video at both services. 
 May Educational Opportunity
Acting on our faith: Following Christ Together in the Face of Racism
Please join us on Zoom May 4th from 6pm-7:30pm. In May, June and July, Suzi Westmoreland will facilitate a discussion of the book Be the Bridge: Pursuing God's Heart for Racial Reconciliation by Latasha Morrison. On May 4th we will discuss Part I (Intro-Chapter 3). 
Our upcoming meetings will be structured so that half of our time will be book discussion and the other half will be an opportunity to share and learn from one another as we act on our faith trying to do anti-racist work locally, nationally and globally. 
We will meet on Zoom on the first Tuesday of the month from May-September. Please refer to a previous e-blast or contact the church office for the Zoom link itself
 ELCA Advocacy 
Register now for Lutheran Lobby Day - May 19, 2021- Please plan to join this year's virtual gathering of California Lutherans who want to learn more about faith-based advocacy and the legislative process. Keynote speaker, The Rev. Cornell William Brooks, is a fourth-generation ordained minister, civil rights attorney, social justice activist, life-long advocate, and former President of the NAACP. We will gather on Zoom to pray, learn, and meet with California's legislators. This year's priority bills are centered on food justice and immigrant rights as racial justice issues. Details and free registration here.
"Advocacy in Quarantine" - Every Wednesday at noon - You can join this weekly Zoom meeting to hear an update on current legislative priorities 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 Update: Advocacy Connections
ELCA Advocacy Update: United Nations and State Edition
A reflection on Ecumenical Advocacy Days
The ELCA is a founding organization and sponsor of Ecumenical Advocacy Days, attended annually by many Lutherans for skill building and experience. Lessons for advocacy by Rev. Paul Benz, co-director of Faith Action Network, Seattle, WA,  highlights central learnings for him about effective and meaningful faith-centered advocacy.

Follow us!
Bishop Elizabeth Eaton: Facebook, Twitter
Bishop Andy Taylor: Facebook
For information or questions about Bethlehem's Advocacy Team, contact Karin Kloehn at blcadvocacy@gmail.com.

 May Giving Tree 

Supporting babies & their families with Bare Bottom Essentials
This year's May Giving Tree is like none before - it's Virtual
To make it a success - WE NEED YOU!
This May, Support the Enlisted Project (STEP) and the Women of Bethlehem are calling on YOU to help. Let's support our military and Veteran families by keeping their little ones clean and healthy. We are focusing our Baby Drive efforts on meeting the ever-growing baby hygiene needs of our young military families. For $26 you could provide a family with two packages of baby wipes, a tube of rash cream, a bottle of baby shampoo and baby powder. For $40 you could provide a month of diapers. Additional opportunities to provide more assistance for babies or the general needs of young families are also available.
How? We have created our own STEP/Bethlehem Baby Drive donation link. It's simple. Click here on the STEP's Baby Drive  link and start shopping on the secure STEP web site. You can fill your basket with individual items or you can click "Baby Hygiene Bag" to select a month's supply. If you have questions about STEP, this link will provide you access to their entire mission and what they have been able to accomplish since their establishment in 2012.
If you would prefer, you can click here on the Bethlehem's online giving link found at the church's web site for your donation.
Your donation will make the difference to a young military family somewhere in Southern California from Travis AFB to the Riverside County's eastern border to Imperial County to here in San Diego county and all points in between. All branches of the military are served.
Put a diaper on a baby's bottom every time it is needed. Keep a baby clean and happy. And support mothers in this month which honors mothers - let them know you care.
For further information or questions on this project, please contact Kim Oswald at rdoswald@aol.com.


 Stephen Ministry

Things are changing. We have borne our restrictions and afflictions this year with patience, like Job, and we are beginning to believe that a return to "normal" life is right around the corner. Every day we see newer guidelines with fewer restrictions. The fear that we have lived with for the past year is starting to ease and be replaced with cautious optimism. We look to the next few months with hope.
But some of us have trouble shedding the caution and restriction of the last year and are not yet ready to emerge. If this describes you, speaking to a Stephen Minister may help. A Stephen Minister can meet you in an environment where you feel safe. They can listen to you, encourage you, and pray with you. All conversations with a Stephen Minister remain confidential. If you would like to know more about Stephen Ministry, please contact Pr. Laura, Pr. Sam, or one of our Stephen Leaders, Suzi Westmoreland, Molly Hall, or Laure Reynolds.
You will forget your misery; you will remember it as waters that have passed away. And your life will be brighter than the noonday; its darkness will be like the morning. And you will have confidence, because there is hope; you will be protectedand take your rest in safety. You will lie down, and no one will make you afraid. (Job 11:16-19 NRSV)

 Parish Nurse 

Anyone interested in a recertification  of CPR with AED please contact Rose Moldenhauer rosemoldy@cox.net. The class will be one hour by zoom and 1/2 hour safe, hands on practice. Date to be determined. 

Stewardship Stream 

Smart Giving - The laws governing the tax treatment of philanthropy change regularly.  Here are a few financially savvy ways you can benefit Bethlehem:
  • In 2021, even those taxpayers who don't itemize their deductions can reduce their tax burden with charitable contributions.  Single filers can deduct gifts of cash to charity of up to $300 and joint filers can deduct up to $600.
  • Consider giving appreciated assets (held more than a year) such as stock, mutual funds and ETF's so that you get a deduction for the securities' full value but avoid paying capital gains taxes on the increase in value.
  • If you are 70 ½ or older and have an IRA, you can make a charitable gift directly from your IRA and exclude it from your taxable income.  This can be particularly tax-wise if you don't itemize.  If you make such a gift after you turn 72, this also helps you satisfy your required minimum distribution (RMD) for that year.
  • If you have established or are considering a donor-advised fund, recommend a grant to Bethlehem.  This allows you to support Bethlehem without impacting your current budget.
  • With as little as a sentence in your will, you can create a brighter tomorrow at Bethlehem without parting with assets today.  You can designate Bethlehem or the Bethlehem Endowment Fund (for an in perpetuity gift) as the beneficiary of a specific asset, or as the recipient of a percentage of the total estate, or of a specified amount.
As always, please consult your tax advisor and feel free to call the Bethlehem office with questions.

 Interfaith Shelter Network (IFSN)
A message from Blair and Diane, BLC's IFSN ministry representatives...

Dear Friends at BLC,

Given the pandemic, we were not able to set up an on-campus shelter this year; however, shelter for households was provided in a motel setting. We reached out to you in January 2021 for donations and because of your amazing generosity, BLC raised a total of
$5582 for the IFSN!! When combined with previously raised monies, we donated a total of
$5920 to the IFSN in February 2021. This is an additional $1000 over our original goal. With your generosity, we were able to house and feed over five households for an entire week! Way to GO!!
The following is a letter of gratitude from one of our IFSN participants:
April12, 2021

My name is (Anonymous). I am currently in the Interfaith Shelter Network homeless program for men. I want to sincerely thank this program for letting me be apart of its outstanding service. At this time, I would also like to thank everyone who has ever donated to this program.
Interfaith's services help you get the strength and peace of mind to get your life back on track. It has been a tremendous part of my comeback, providing the support and the amenities it takes to achieve normalcy.They have outstanding staff, who work hard 7days a week to help their clients.They have the love and ability to ignite your passion back for life! Thank God for a place like this.
Please continue to support this ministry with your time, donations, and partnerships!

We share this letter with you in thanksgiving for the difference your donations and efforts make in the lives of others! Whatever way we help IFSN, whether financially or with an on-campus shelter, BLC is a big reason that the program is so successful in sheltering households. We will keep you posted on how you can continue to help with the upcoming Rotational Shelter of 2022!
Thanks so much for your continued support!
Blair Lindberg and Diane Langager
BLC Representatives for IFSN, North County San Diego

Website Update
As you may be aware, it is not currently possible to access our website using the Google search engine. We are aware of this problem and are working to address it. Unfortunately, the malware that is present in the system cannot be easily removed. We have increased security on the website and are working to correct the problem. It is very frustrating for us all. Until the problem is corrected you can simply access the website directly at www.blcenc.org.

Our apologies for this inconvenience.

 Learn Americal Sign Language (ASL)  

If you have ever wanted to learn American Sign Language (ASL), now is your chance, in a friendly, supportive learning environment. The classes are designed for high school to adult learners.
Bethlehem ASL Classes:  
Most Thursdays from 6 to 7 pm Pacific Time
Our textbook is available on Amazon: "Learn American Sign Language" by James W. Guido
If you're interested in joining us, contact Suzi Westmoreland at  


 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. 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 chachapinillap@gmail.com.  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. 

 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: 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 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