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

November 2017

News and Events

From Pastor Laura

Dear people of Bethlehem,

Blessed Reformation to you.  We stand at a moment in history.  A moment when we give thanks for the work of this particular expression of the Church that is named Lutheran.  We are honoring 500 years of Reformation:
  • 500 years of claiming grace.
  • 500 years of faithfulness.
  • 500 years of proclaiming the word.
  • 500 years of serving those in need.
  • 500 years of being Protestant, the protesting ones in the face of injustice.
  • 500 years of life in the name of the living God.
Our work is not done.  As the hymn says, we have come this far by faith, and God's future lies before us.  On this anniversary of the Reformation, we stand in a long tradition of those who proclaim the gospel with courage and compassion.  This coming Sunday is All Saints Sunday.  Another blessed opportunity to give thanks for the great cloud of witnesses who have preceded us.  Those who have gone before us in faith.  Those who have taught us, shown us in the expression of their lives, what it means to live this Gospel word.  What a blessed heritage. 

Now it is our turn.  Now we stand in their place.  Now we bear witness to the living Lord in a world that desperately needs to hear of compassion and grace.  I am honored to be part of a church, part of this church in these days, because I know of no better place from which to begin to heal the world.  We will never manage to heal it all, of course, but we can and will make a difference, in Jesus' name.

We stand now at another transition in Bethlehem's leadership.  The call committee has been formed and is currently working towards calling the associate pastoral position that has been open since Pastor Daren's departure.  The members of the call committee are: Steve Grady (chair), Loie Michael, Bob Michelet, Mark Reynolds, Patricia Sinay, and Nancy Staycer.  The reasons for the open position until this moment are threefold.  1) There were insufficient financial resources to hire the position immediately after Pastor Daren's departure, due to an unexpected deficit. 2) The synod, which is a strong partner in the call process, was in transition to a new bishop.  3) There were not available candidate names for call.  As we move forward I ask your prayers for the work of the Holy Spirit, and the work of the committee.  It is my experience that God works mightily in this process, and I am confident in the Spirit's ability to bring the right leader at the right time. 
I want to personally thank and give thanks to God for Mary Shaima's ministry among us.  She came last summer to complete her diaconal project here at Bethlehem and gifted us greatly.  She has graciously stayed on, in a contracted position as she awaits call herself.  The work of this congregation this last year and a half, would not have been accomplished without her gifts of: preaching, adult education, worship, administration, hospitality, grace and voice.  She has been a faithful partner in ministry with me, and to this congregation in every way and I will be forever grateful for her gifts and grace.  As we move forward in this call process, I ask your prayers for Mary in her call process as well.  What a profound blessing she is, and will be to God's Church.  She has gifted this congregation in many roles, for many decades, and for this most recent gift of ministry, we are profoundly grateful. 

Steve Grady, as the chair of the call committee, will keep the congregation regularly updated as the call process moves forward.  If you have any questions, comments or input, please do not hesitate to reach out to Steve or myself or any member of the call committee.  We welcome your comments, questions and insight.  A call process is the work of the Spirit, therefore a call might happen quickly or take additional time.  The committee has met with Pastor Terry Tuvey Allen who is the Assistant to the Bishop for candidacy and call.  We are currently preparing to begin interviews with the hope of having a name to offer the congregation for call, by the annual meeting on January 21st.  The call committee is of the unanimous opinion that our highest goal is the right fit and right leader for Bethlehem's future, rather than a strict timeline.  If additional time is needed, we will take that time.    

The church is always in a place of Reformation.  One of the consistent promises of God is that he is  regularly making all things new.  God is always moving the church forward into her new mission and ministry.  God's promise is the same for us.  God is always making you and me new.  Forgiving, renewing, healing and restoring us.  Calling us into new lives of service and grace. 

In this time of Reformation, I give thanks to God for the Church, and I give thanks to God for you.
In his grace,
Pastor Laura

From Mary Shaima, Diaconal Associate

Dear partners in ministry,
Yes, you read that correctly! You and I are partners in ministry, called together by God.
For a number of Sundays last month, we considered how that partnership extends to others as well - locally, regionally, globally, and into the future as a legacy - by way of our stewardship, how we faithfully care for and share what is ours by God's grace. Our partnership with each other doesn't end at our property boundaries, and for that I give deep and lasting thanks to God.
Pastor Diane Wheatley, who served Bethlehem from 1984 to 1988, reminded us last fall that God's work through our hands has reached more people and places than we could possibly count. She made a rough estimate of the lives she had impacted throughout her career; it was in the many thousands. And of course, because she did her internship and first call with us, we participated in that impact as well.
You may have noticed I'm using the pronoun "we" - I recently became aware that I always use that pronoun. Many of you know that I was baptized at Bethlehem - to be specific, on May 9, 1965. Fifty-two years ago. Staying this long at one congregation is not the norm anymore! My life has taken a route that has kept me at Bethlehem - with plenty of detours, to be sure - but I really feel like Bethlehem is my home. Not my workplace, but my home.
Therefore, I have decided not to place my name in consideration for the open call at Bethlehem. This means that I will not be part of the interview process as the call committee does the important work of discerning who God might be calling to serve Bethlehem as the associate pastor or deacon. It has been a deep privilege and joy to partner with you in completing my diaconal project, and I am very grateful to the council for the opportunity to serve on contract status as I continued to discern. We have done good work together, and I believe we have learned a lot from each other. Whether you decide to call a pastor (Minister of Word and Sacrament) or a deacon (Minister of Word and Service) I am thrilled that we have been able to "beta test" what it looks like to have a deacon walk with you as a community.
As Pastor Laura has outlined above, the call committee is engaged in its very important work; I am likewise engaged in seeking a call. I don't know where that will be, but I have agreed to continue to serve on the same contract status until either Bethlehem finds the ideal candidate or I receive a call, whichever comes first.
This process may take some time, but it may also happen quickly. It is a process that works best when we listen for the voice of God and seek the Spirit's movement, and God's timing is definitely a mystery! Once Bethlehem has called someone, however, I will be adhering to the good advice of making myself absent from your life together for a time so that there is healthy space for you to welcome someone new to the journey.
To be honest, it is really exciting for me to think about another leader being able to experience and be formed by this community. I think of other folks, like Pastor Diane, who have trained with us and then gone out into the world. Their names are on the timeline in the conference room, and they have all made great and positive impacts wherever they've served. It's time for me to do that now, and make room for another person to join your journey. This prayer that originated at Holden Village states it so well:
O God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Thank you, dear partners. May this sacred work we do together continue to bear good fruit and proclaim God's gospel of love and grace for all.
Deacon-to-be Mary Shaima

 In Memoriam

In Memoriam

Ray Hartzell

August 16, 1927 - October 21, 2017 


Condolences can be sent to Mary Hartzell at:

The Village at Rockville

9701 Veirs Drive  #1123

Rockville, MD  20850


"If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's." Romans 14:8 

Advent and Christmas Schedule

Christmas Concert Sunday, December 3 at 4PM in the Sanctuary.


Christmas Caroling Sunday, December 10 at 5:30PM. Meet in the Family Center for a potluck supper and then we will go out for caroling.


Comfort at Christmas Service Wednesday, December 13 in the Sanctuary.


Children's Christmas Program  Sunday, December 17 at 9AM. Regualr worship services at 8AM and 10:30AM.


Christmas Eve Sunday, December 24. Worship services at 10AM, 4:30PM, 7PM, and 9PM.


Christmas Day Monday, December 25. One worship service at 10AM.


Worship Service Sunday, December 31. One worship service at 10AM.

Bethlehem Women of the ELCA

Bethlehem Women of the ELCA will meet on Wednesday, November 15th at 9:00AM in the multi-use building for a 2017 funds and projects status meeting and a preliminary look at 2018.  All women of Bethlehem are invited to participate.  The annual meeting of the BWELCA is planned for the end of January.
Quilts and the October In-Gathering
Thank you to all for your generous donations for the quilts on the pews, soap and dollars to ship Lutheran World Relief (LWR) items worldwide.  We collected close to $3000 for the quilts, a portion of which will be sent to LWR to assist them in shipping and the remainder will be used to buy batting, material and accessories to continue making quilts during 2018.   We also sent the 101 school bags which were made during Bethlehem Serves Sunday, 35 quilts, 19 fabric kits and 240 bars of soap.  Another year where your generosity will make such a difference in the lives of others throughout the world.  As we receive updates on where our donated items are sent - we'll send out updates for all to share.
Giving Tree through November 30th: is our annual Secret Santa Project. We have the same giving opportunities as in past years. Also, as with the last couple of years, we are going to reach out and help raise money for a building project for a center to support those living and discriminated against with HIV/AIDS in Baja California.  Please check the Giving Tree for more information.  Any questions please call Cheryl Monreal at (760) 942-1482.

Looking Forward

Women's Christmas Bazaar - Sunday, December 3rd from 8:30 - noon in the Family Center.  Bring your Christmas shopping list.  What will be available - handcrafted items, baked goods, jam and jellies, Scholastic Books and pre-ordered SERRV products to mention a few items.
Crafters and Cooks  Please consider contributing your beautiful handcrafts, delicious preserves and baked goods or any special skill you may have to sell at the Christmas Bazaar on December 3rd.  Please deliver baked goods or craft items to the Family Center on Saturday, Dec. 2nd between 10:00 a.m. - noon or on Sunday, Dec. 3rd  before 9:00.  For information  or to make alternative arrangements, please contact Kim Oswald, or 760 634-2995.  Proceeds will benefit the ministries of the Bethlehem Women of the ELCA.  Thank you for your support.

Stephen Ministry

What Do Our Stephen Ministers Do?
At Bethlehem Lutheran Church we currently have nine Stephen Ministers: Frank Belock, Molly Hall, Mea Hall, Dan Halvorson, Marla Keith, Beth Nelson, Laure Reynolds, Annmarie Robbins, and Suzi Westmoreland. Stephen Ministers are assigned a care receiver by one of our leaders who serves as our referrals coordinator. The Stephen Minister will visit with his or her care receiver usually for one hour each week. During this time they will listen to the care receiver, pray, and offer support. Between visits the Stephen Minister is available by phone if needed. Twice a month all Stephen Ministers gather for Supervision and for Continuing Education.
At Bethlehem the Stephen Ministers also perform other tasks. A Stephen Minister may be called on in times of crisis to assist the pastor or a member of the congregation. They may be called on to visit the sick, hospitalized, or home-bound. Stephen Ministers are present at all funerals. You may see a Stephen Minister serve communion. They will also bring communion to those who are home-bound. On the first Sunday of each month a Stephen Minister is available in the back of the church during communion to offer healing prayer for you or your loved ones. If you would like a prayer at another time, our Stephen Ministers are always happy to share a prayer of joy, healing, or thanksgiving with you. Look for us on Sundays with our blue name tags. 

Endowment Fund

Each month, Bethlehem's Mission Endowment Fund Committee shares some thoughts and suggestions about planned giving from Greg Shepherd, the Pacifica Synod's gift-planning resource. This month's topic is "Leftovers".
Soon, Thanksgiving will be here. We will begin the Thanksgiving meal with prayer. When we serve the meal, we will pass the food in a manner that tries to make certain our guests are served first. When the meal has ended and cleanup has begun, we will begin packaging up the leftovers. We divide up the packages so that we can give some to each of our guests to take home with them.
Our lifelong stewardship is much like the Thanksgiving meal. We make certain that the first fruits are given to God before satisfying our own needs. At the end of our life, there will be leftover gifts from God which we no longer need as we enter into His kingdom. Before our departure, we package those gifts into a will or trust. We put names on the packages in the way of beneficiaries of financial assets. Was God present at your table during your lifetime? Is God's name on one of the leftover packages?
            To help plan your leftover gifts from God, to be given to your loved ones, and His continued work here on earth, contact our congregation's gift planner, Greg Shepherd at: (909) 910-6823 or by email at:  

 Interfaith Homeless Shelter

Bethlehem Lutheran Church Interfaith Shelter 2017
We are pleased to announce that will be hosting the Interfaith Shelter at Bethlehem again this year. We partner with the Interfaith Shelter Network which is a collaborative effort by local congregations, human services agencies and government entities to provide shelter, services and resources to homeless San Diegans throughout the region. The shelter will be coordinated by Blair Lindberg and Diane Langager.
Bethlehem will host the shelter for two weeks starting December 3 - 10, with Seaside Community Church providing all of the volunteer efforts and food for the second week (December 10 - 17).
Church volunteers set up temporary housing and dining facilities in the Multi-use Room and Family Center. We host up to 12 people. Our guests arrive daily at 5:30 pm. They eat dinner in the Family Center at 6:30 pm and then retire to the Multi-use Room for the night. Guests leave early in the morning and are not allowed to stay in the shelter during the day. There are a variety of ways in which you can volunteer to help with the shelter:
Breakfast * Lunch * Dinner * Overnight Host * Laundry * Set-up * Transportation * Take-down * Cash Donations
For more information and to sign up to volunteer* go to:
Or feel free to contact Blair or Diane directly at:
Blair Lindberg ; 858/663-5681
Diane Langager ; 760/271-2072
* For those of you who volunteered last year, you should have already received an invite from signup genius via email. If your email has changed or you have not received an invite - please contact Blair.

Pajama Project

The PJ Project has just distributed over 1300 pairs of PJ's and Pajama Pants to children, teens and those in need in your community. On our 21st year of the project we are even able to send over 200 pairs to the Santa Rosa Fire Victims.

We need your help to buy flannel and supplies for our 22nd year of providing to those in need. The Pajama Project is shopping during Thanksgiving week for 3000 yards of flannel at the best price to stretch our limited funds.

Please help us fund our flannel. Donate now, by going to gofundme for PJ Project  Large or small, every donation helps.

Thank you for supporting the PJ Project in bringing comfort and joy to those in need with the gift of a warm pair of "Handmade with Love for you" Pajamas!

 Upcoming Events

  • Jubilee San Diego Event!Friday, November 3, 2017 at San Dieguito United Methodist Church, 170 Calle Magdalena, Encinitas - enjoy a German dinner and a presentation by Professor Ulrich Duchrow of the University of Heidelberg: can reformation help to overcome the consequences of imperial capitalism? Professor Duchrow is a pacifist, theologian, and economist and has articulated a role for the church in founding a better world.
  •  Blessing of the Animals:  We invite you to a blessing of the animals next Sunday, November 5thafter the 10:30 service.  Please bring your guinea pig, chicken, iguana, cat, dog, turtle, horse, bird or any creature with which God has blessed you.  All animals must be on a leash or in a cage.  Come meet the other animals of the congregation. All are welcome.
  • On Sunday, November 12th we will honor our veterans and those serving active military duty. If you are or know of someone we can recognize please contact Rose Moldenhauer at or 760-803-8109, Kim Oswald at or the church office. We need name, rank, dates of service and a photo in uniform if possible.
  • Volunteer Training for all Sunday morning Ushers/Coordinators, Readers, Acolytes and Chancel Care -on Sunday, November 19th after the 10:30 service.  All current volunteers as well as anyone interested in becoming a Sunday morning volunteer are encouraged to attend. Please contact the church office with questions and to let us know you will be attending - or 760-753-1026. 
  • The San Dieguito Interfaith Ministerial Association will be hosting the 30th annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Eve Celebration on Wednesday, November 22nd, at San Dieguito United Methodist Church, 170 Calle Magadalena, Encinitas, CA.  The program begins at 7 p.m.  This annual event brings people of various religious communities together to enjoy a night in harmony and includes words and music from many leaders of different faiths as well as the famous Interfaith Choir. There are representatives from many types of faiths, temples and churches and civic leaders, sharing words of encouragement, gratitude and thanks. It's truly an uplifting and wonderful evening and everyone in the community is invited.  Attendees are encouraged to bring a pie to share or purchase online as well as canned goods to benefit the CRC. Flyers with more information are in the entry.

 Rainer Janssen

Dennis and Margo Astroth recently visited Rainer Janssen and his brother Volker in Hannover, Germany. Rainer was a German exchange pastor at Bethlehem in 2003. He is now the Pastor of a congregation that worships in a 1000 year old church. Rainer and his wife, Wiebke, live in a parsonage that is 300 years old. Rainer and Volker both send their best wishes to everyone at Bethlehem.

 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.

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Yours in Christ

Bethlehem Lutheran Webmaster