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

September 2017

News and Events

From Pastor Laura

Dear People of Bethlehem,
What matters most in this life? As I listen to the news from Houston, I hear people say again and again, "We have lost everything, but we are alive and we are giving thanks to God." At times like these, priorities are suddenly clear and small things fall away. A human chain reaches across flooded waters to bring a pregnant woman to safety. Neighbors help elderly neighbors when they do not even speak the same language. All are helping where they can and opening their doors and welcoming those in need and giving thanks for the blessing of life.
While attending a synod council retreat this month, I came across a Statement of Purpose for the Pacifica Synod. Purpose is the step after priorities. Where will we move, now that we know what matters?
Pacifica Synod Statement of Purpose
  • To proclaim God's saving Gospel;
  • To carry out Christ's Great Commission;
  • To serve in response to God's love to meet human needs;
  • To worship God;
  • To nurture members in the Word of God; and
  • To manifest unity.
Where will we move, now that we know what matters? What are your priorities and what is your purpose?   As an exercise this week, I am going to write both down for myself. I invite you to join me. What matters to you? What are your priorities? What is your statement of purpose?
It would be fun to do the same for Bethlehem. Our mission statement says: The Mission of Bethlehem Lutheran Church is to announce boldly the love of God through Christ. That is always our center, in word and deed. And we are indeed bold. As an RIC congregation we extend radical welcome to all. We have two preschools and each year we make a congregational decision to commit ourselves to educating young children. We are a people of intentional service. Bethlehem Serves does not name one Sunday in our lives, it names who we are. We are known in the synod for excellent worship and proclamation. What is next for us? What priority or purpose would you add? Place it here --- > __________________  
At the end of September through mid October, we will be looking at the reach of our ministry beginning locally and ending globally. How does our stewardship and how do our gifts touch this world? From as close as the Pajama Project, to as distant as Lutheran Disaster Response, we are making a difference in this world. The women of the congregation are headed on retreat this month, Sept. 15-17 under the theme, "Women's Voices: For such a Time as This." Please join us if you are able. Dinner groups will be starting this fall as well, watch for this wonderful opportunity to join with members of the congregation for conversation in a new way. There will be an Octoberfest at Bethlehem on October 31st, to honor the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. We are excited to announce that we have completed the renovation of the Family Center on schedule and on budget, just in time to welcome new preschool families. We have brand new playground equipment as well.
New vision and energy is in the air. September does that. It draws us back to childhood and new notebooks and clean erasers. September is a time for new priorities and new ideas. At Bethlehem, we welcome yours! At Bethlehem, you are welcome.
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Laura

Personal note: I want to thank you all for celebrating 20 years of ordained ministry with me last Sunday. Your support and love and kind words, touched me deeply. I was deeply moved and am so honored to serve with you in this place. What a gift you all are to me. My special thanks to Mary Shaima, for her leadership on Sunday, for her beautiful Hawaiian chant and for her partnership in this work that we share. My thanks to Gail Winterbourne, Rose Moldenhauer, Cynthia Heigold and all those who helped make the day so meaningful. I am so very blessed. Mahalo

From Mary Shaima, Diaconal Associate

"Welcome! Come on in!"
Pastor Laura told a story this past Sunday about Mattress Mack, the furniture dealer who opened his showrooms to evacuees from Hurricane Harvey.
Mattress Mack's story is a story about evangelism - spreading the good news. The Greek evangelii means "good news" and I'm certain those furniture showrooms were plenty good news for folks who had been standing terrified in waist-deep water.
We tend to be a little scared of the word "evangelism," associating it with hard-sell techniques that sound more like come-to-Jesus-or-else. But what if we take that word at its face value? What does "spreading the good news" look like? Let's start with Sunday morning.
When we come to worship, we know what to expect. We know who to look for, where our friends usually sit. But if you are a visitor, none of these things will be known to you.
Put yourself in a visitor's shoes for a moment. You've made the decision to check out a church.   Maybe you heard that Bethlehem is a welcoming community, and you want to see for yourself. You walk up to the doors at about 8:50 AM. Here is how you might feel welcomed:
*Someone sees you on the sidewalk and says "good morning! Welcome!"
*The ushers don't just hand you a bulletin, they say something like "thank you for being here." If you have kids, they let you know about kid-specific things.
*When you sit down - possibly towards the back, just in case things get weird and you want to leave - folks make an effort to come over and introduce themselves, and ask permission to introduce you at the visitor recognition time. They might ask if you need any guidance with the worship order.
*After worship, someone makes sure to connect with you, asking if you have a few minutes to chat and introducing you to others.
If none of those things happen - a visitor isn't likely to return. I wouldn't.
It can be very easy for us to slip into our usual circles, gravitate to our friends, and so on. But Sunday morning is our weekly open house. Sunday mornings are when, like Mattress Mack, we throw open the doors and say "welcome! Come on in!" and then follow it up with the kind of caring welcome that he gave to every person who came through his doors.
So I want to give you a challenge. This is for me too! I want to challenge us to step outside our comfort zones and find someone on Sundays who might be a visitor. Someone we don't know. Introduce yourself, welcome them, and if they are a first-time visitor, ask them if they'd mind if you introduced them at the welcome time. I have other suggestions for welcome on my blog this week:
Now, there are risks involved with this, but that's the nature of following Jesus. One of those risks is that we'll introduce ourselves to someone who's been a member for a long time. (Awkward!) Remember: grace abounds. None of us can possibly know everyone's name! But making the effort makes all the difference. Spread the love, y'all.
Jesus' radical welcome to each one of us is also a challenge to spread the good news. It's way too good to keep to ourselves!
See you in worship.
Mary Shaima, Diaconal Associate

Children's Ministry

Upcoming Events and News

Learning Circles: Our regular Learning Circles Program will begin on September 17. We are in need of more volunteers to teach. The curriculum is the Spark Lectionary program.Teaching a lesson is fun and easy! All materials are provided! If you would like to volunteer please contact Chris Matthews at We hope to have enough volunteers so that
the commitment would be no more than 2 Sundays per month.

Bible Distribution: Does your child have his/her own Bible? Each year we provide Bibles for all of our children, in Grades 3-6, who do not have one of their own. If you would like your child to receive a Bible this year, please contact Chris Matthews at

Chris Matthews
Director of Children's Ministries
Bethlehem Lutheran Church

Bethlehem Women of the ELCA

2017 Bethlehem Women's Retreat
The Women of Bethlehem will be attending a retreat on September 15 through 17 at Luther Glen Conference Center.  The theme of our retreat is "For Such a Time as This- Women's Voices".  Please pray for us!

Quilts on the Pews-  October 1st and 8th
Scraps and Prayers, the Bethlehem quilting group, has quilts on the pews in the sanctuary during the first two weeks of October. This year we will offer baby quilts and other specialty quilts to the congregation in exchange for a donation, which will be used to help us buy materials needed to make all the quilts during the year. If you would like one of the baby quilts or specialty quilts, please see Kim Oswald or any of the other Scraps and Prayers members on the 1st and 8th. You may take your quilt home with you on those dates. Thank you for supporting this vital ministry!
The majority of the quilts from Scraps and Prayers are made for Lutheran World Relief (LWR).  Prior to last October we offered these quilts to the congregation in exchange for a donation to the Lutheran World Relief shipping fund.  Last year LWR requested that we send them the quilts instead of money.  We started something new last year and we are continuing it again this year.  The LWR quilts will be displayed on the pews for all to see but will not be offered to the congregation.  Instead, they will be blessed on October 8th and then sent on their way to LWR for distribution around the globe.
Along with the quilts, school bags, and fabric kits which we send to Lutheran World Relief we are also collecting full size bars of soap through October 10th.   Bring one, bring ten, bring all the full size soap bars you want - please put them in the Women's Basket under the Giving Tree Table.  As always, your support is very much appreciated.
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.
Giving Tree After October 11th through November 30th: Our annual Secret Santa Project will be starting. We will have the same giving opportunities as in past years. Also, as with 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.

2017 Pacifica Women of the ELCA Convention and Gathering
The 2017 Pacifica Women of the ELCA Convention and Gathering will be at Calvary Lutheran Church in Solana Beach on November 3-4, 2017.  LOVE FULLY LIVE FULLY is the theme and 1 Corinthians 16:14 is the theme verse.  Keynote Speaker:  Pastor Meghan Johnston Aelabouni.  The registration deadline is October 18, 2017 with one or two day registrations available. Registration fee scholarships are available from BWELCA. If you would like information on the convention/registration -please link to, visit them on Facebook  - Pacifica Synod Women of the ELCA, see the notice in the narthex or contact Kim Oswald at or (760) 634-2995.
Artists - Crafters - Small Business Retailers... Looking for a place to market your creations and products? Why not consider being a VENDOR at the Pacifica Women of the ELCA Convention, November 3-4, 2017, at Calvary Lutheran Church, Solana Beach. To qualify for a space you must be a member of an ELCA congregation. There is no fee for use of the space; however a donation will be much appreciated.  Contact Jackie Severa at or 760/464-2309 for an application form. (Space is limited.)

Stephen Ministry

We All Know Someone.....
Someone in crisis who doesn't know where to turn.
Someone who is tense, upset, worn out-needing someone to talk with, someone to care.
You'd like to help.  But how?
There are three easy steps.
  1. Listen and care for your friend in your own relationship together.
  2. Mention Stephen Ministry and ask your friend for permission to share his or her need with someone who can help.  Be sure to tell them that all information will be kept confidential.
  3. Once permission is given, report his or her need as promptly as possible.  You can do this by speaking with Pr. Laura or with one of our Stephen Leaders, Molly Hall or Laure Reynolds.  Molly Hall, our Referrals Coordinator will then contact your friend to explain Stephen Ministry, answer questions, and determine if your friend is a good candidate for Stephen Ministry.  Your friend does not need to be a member of Bethlehem to receive care.

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 "Who Needs a Will?"
We've all heard people say they don't need a will because they don't have much money or because the law will take care of the distribution of their property after they die. Others put off writing a will because they think the process is complicated and expensive or they are just too busy.
Unfortunately, putting off the writing of your will can mean unnecessary hardship, financially and emotionally, for your surviving family members. In addition, the state will distribute your assets, but probably not in a manner that would satisfy you. If you have minor children and have not named a guardian of your choice in a will, the state will also decide who gets custody of your children.
A will is a means of planning for the protection of your family and the distribution of your assets according to your wishes. In addition, through your will you can express the important values of your life by distributing your assets in ways that provide ongoing support to those people and ministries most important to you.
To learn how to receive a Will and Trust Workbook at no cost, contact our congregation's endowment committee consultant, Greg Shepherd, at: (909) 910-6823 or email him at:

 Oktoberfest / Reformation Celebration

Plans are well underway for Bethlehem's 500th Anniversary Reformation & Oktoberfest Celebration on Sunday, October 29th.  An informational flyer is attached below.  Tickets will be available for purchase beginning October 1st as well as volunteer sign-ups for the following areas:
  • Set-up/Take-down
  •  Grill Masters
  • Beer Garden Staff
  • Food Servers
  • Face Painters
  • Game Organizers 
Click here to view the event flyer. Looking forward to fun-filled event
Roger Lakey, Gail Winterbourne & Joanne Manzi

 Upcoming Events

  • Wednesday night Bible Study. Join us for three consecutive Wednesday nights  (October 4, 11, 18) as we examine the theme of "No More Nice". We will share a potluck dinner from 6PM to 6:30PM and study together until about 8:30PM. No charge for the course - All Are Welcome!
  • Work Party. On Saturday, October 21, we will be painting parts of the Childcare building. Meet us at 9AM and we will work until noon. Wear old clothing, bring a hat, water, and sunscreen, and you favorite paint brush. Doughnuts will be provided.

 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