In This Issue

From Pastor Laura

September Worship Schedule

COVID Vaccine Help

Bethlehem Serves 2022

Family Ministry

Music Ministry

Pacifica Synod Study Series

Volunteers Needed

Adventure Ministry

ELCA Advocacy

Meet the Bishop

Stewardship Stream

Stephen Ministry

Engagement Opportunities

Pastor Sam's Sermon Blog

Global Mission "Global Links"

Bethlehem Cares Fund

Newsletter Archives


Contact Us

Rev. Laura Ziehl 
Senior Pastor 
Ext 2
Pastor Sam Nelson
Associate Pastor
Ext 30
Constance Mithelman
Youth Director
Ext 12
Judy Foland
Office Administrator
Ext 1 

Quick Links

Church Calendar

News & Events

Children's Ministry



Pacifica Synod News


Healthy Day Partners


ELCA Global Links

September 2022

News and Events

Dear People of Bethlehem,


Fall is always a season of new adventures, a new school year, a new job or the beginning again of routines that have been relaxed during the summer months. Fall is also a season of thanksgiving. It is a time of harvest of the seeds sown, and our national thanksgiving day as well. I would like to speak to you personally about both. 


I do not have enough words of gratitude to you, the people of Bethlehem, for the gifts and grace and joy of my 25th anniversary of ordination celebration. Thank you for the plaque, the stole, the monetary gift, the slide show, the donuts, cupcakes and the memory book. All are deeply appreciated. Yet even more so, thank you for every kind word and heartfelt text, every hug and every gracious word. Thank you for being part of the celebration last Sunday and thank you for who you are. You cannot know how deeply your words and your grace have touched my heart. It is my privilege, my blessing, and my joy to serve as your pastor. It is my honor to know the gift of ministry among you, both now and in all that lies ahead.


I also want to make you aware of an opportunity that is before me. This fall, I will be taking on a new role in the Pacifica Synod. To be clear, my call as lead pastor here at Bethlehem will not change in any way. I will, however, be adding 10 hours a week of work for the synod. As you know, I have a passion for the work of the wider church. Bishop Dave Nagler, the newly elected bishop of the Pacifica Synod, has asked me to serve as “Regional Assistant to the Bishop” for the San Diego area. He has taken one full time staff position and divided it into four part time positions. I will fill one of the four new positions created on synod staff, in order to meet the needs of the Church that is emerging post pandemic. This is a new vision for the synod and I am very excited to be a part of it. Though the role is not yet completely defined, I will be responsible for mobility (congregations in transition seeking new pastors or deacons) in the San Diego area and candidacy (seminary students working toward ordination and call). Working with seminary students is particularly important to me.


I am very excited to help craft a new way forward for the synod and to use my gifts to help the wider church. Perhaps the Pacifica Synod might serve as a model for whole church as we live into this new day together. Having served in many synod roles in the past, I am keenly aware that my synod work will benefit the congregation, as I bring new ideas, new vision, and best practices for the work we do together. The council is in unanimous support of this new role for me. I was heartened by their enthusiasm at the last council meeting, when all replied by saying, “Congratulations! This will be great for you, and for Bethlehem.”


And so, I return to gratitude. Gratitude for you as a congregation and for your faithful, thoughtful and wide vision of who we are as church together. I am so proud of our work here, and of our place in the Pacifica Synod. Bethlehem is the kind of congregation that leans into the future with joy and always has the depth and breadth and heart to seek the wind of the Spirit. 


If you have any questions I can answer, please feel free to call or text me. I cherish every conversation over coffee, and every opportunity to hear from you.


Yours in Christ,

Pastor Laura                

September Worship Schedule

Sunday Morning Worship:

Worship usually takes place in the sanctuary for both services, and there is the option to sit outside in the eco-narthex as well. The livestream usually takes place during the 10:30 AM or as indicated.

  • September 4 & 18 - 9 am and 10:30 am (with livestream)
  • September 11 - 9 am for a brief worship service
  • September 25 - 8:30 am worship at Bethlehem (with livestream) and 10:30 am at Moonlight Beach

COVID Vaccine Help

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.

Bethlehem Serves 2022

Bethlehem Serves is on September 11 - There will be a short service outside that day at 9:00 a.m. before our congregation breaks into 11 different service projects . Many projects are reaching their maximum participation level so please go online now to sign up for your favorite project! The link can be found on the website cover page. In person sign ups will continue on Sunday, Sept. 4th. After the project, members are encouraged to return to Bethlehem, bring their own lunch and chair and have fellowship with others on the lawn. Those that are not able to attend may contribute to Bethlehem Serves by going to the website and adding your donation as a special gift. Other questions, please contact Mona or Steve Goetsch.

Family Ministry

Learning Circles Begin Sunday, September 18th! -

All children ages 4-6th grade are invited to participate in Learning Circles each Sunday starting on September 18th. All children will start in worship with their families and will be excused to their age-group based Learning Circles classes after the Children's Sermon. Teachers will bring them back in by the end of service. We can't wait to learn and grow with you! Questions? Contact Constance


Current 7-8th graders Start Confirmation Tuesday, September 27 - All current 7-8th graders and their parents will have an informational meeting Tuesday, September 27th at 5:30 pm at church. Please let Constance know if you are unable to attend. We can't wait to see you!

High School Youth Group Meets Wednesdays from 7-8:30 pm -

All High School Youth are invited to attend our gatherings on Wednesday evenings from 7-8:30 pm. We meet in the Multi-Use Building unless notified otherwise. Come for fellowship, devotion and fun!


Successful Summer Service Trip

Thank you to all who donated time, resources, and prayers to help make the High School Summer Service Trip a success! We had an incredible time serving and learning in Rock Point, AZ.


Music Ministry

Choirs of Bethlehem Start Dates - Choirs of Bethlehem will begin rehearsals in September. Here are the starting dates for each group.:

  • JuBellation Ringers  - September 15 6:00 p.m. - Family Center
  • Good News Singers  - September 15 7:22 p.m. - Sanctuary 
  • Children's Choir  - September 18. 10:00 - 10:30 a.m. - Family Center
  • Chimers  - September 18 11:40 a.m. - Family Center

Further questions please contact Mona Goetsch, Kim Froke or Mark Weed.


Beach Service with St. Andrews -September 25 - Musicians from Bethlehem and St. Andrews will combine for the annual Beach Service at Moonlight Beach on September 25 @ 10:30 a.m. I need a few more guitar/ukulele players who could play along on two hymns that morning on the beach. We'll only have one practice for the band on Saturday, Sept. 24 @ 9:30 a.m. Please contact Mona at if interested in playing for this one time event. 

Pacifica Synod Study Series

Now Is the Time - The Pacifica Synod Anti-Racism Team continues to offer a study series called "Now Is the Time" for leaders and lay members interested in promoting racial justice within their communities, congregations, and throughout the ELCA. The study series takes place on Zoom over five consecutive Wednesday evenings starting August 17 through September 14, 2022.


For more information and to register contact Terri Robertson at

Volunteers Needed for Sat. Breakfast at St. Andrews

Volunteers Needed! Saturday Breakfast at St. Andrews - Our mission to feed the hungry a hot breakfast each Saturday is starting back up again, and the kitchen at St. Andrew’s is now open for business. Bethlehem will be preparing breakfast on the 4th Saturday of each month. We need 6 volunteers to crack and scramble 6 doz. eggs, cook 60 hash browns, 13 lbs. of bacon, make 80 pancakes and serve up plates with a smile! 

Please sign up here:

Adventure Ministry

Adventure Ministry Mission Bay Bike Ride - Saturday, September 24.

  • 9 am - meet at church to caravan to Mission Bay.

  • 10 am - meet at Mission Bay. Take 5 South. Exit at Sea World Drive. Turn right (west) to South Shores Parkway. Turn right into the parking area.


Our next Adventure Ministry event will be a bike ride around Mission Bay. The ride is 7 to 8 miles long on flat terrain and takes no more than 1-1/2 hours. We will stop at various points along the way to enjoy the beautiful views of water and wildlife.

We strongly recommend that you wear a helmet and sunscreen. Bring water and snacks. Bring a lunch, too, for our after-ride gathering. 


Let us know if you need to rent a bike. There is a rental facility along the route where you can rent a beach cruiser for $15 for two hours.


Stay tuned for more details next month.


Follow this link to sign up and join us:


Questions? Contact Dennis Astroth or Suzi Westmoreland or send an email to

ELCA Advocacy

Creation Care Investments in the Inflation Reduction Act- After many months of deliberation, Congress has passed, and President Biden has signed, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, a federal spending bill that was heralded as a crucial step towards finding solutions to the climate crisis by making the largest federal investment ever in clean energy technologies. Read more about how our faith convictions lead us to fight for climate justice. 


“Advocacy in Quarantine” - Every Wednesday at noonJoin this weekly Zoom meeting to hear an update from Regina Q. Banks, Director of the Lutheran Office of Public Policy-California about the current status of issues and bills we are following. 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 launches “Advocacy Café” - Join an Advocacy Cafe gathering to hear from ELCA advocacy community leaders about timely topics. The 30-minute presentations will be offered twice on the same day. The day sessions will wrap-up with 15-minutes for a Q&A session with panelists. The evening sessions will wrap-up differently, with 25 minutes to meet in a small group with others to exchange experiences and ideas.

ELCA Advocacy Monthly Updates

U.N. and State Edition


Follow us!

LOPP- CA:  Facebook, Twitter

Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton: Facebook, Twitter

Pacifica Synod: Facebook, Twitter

ELCA Advocacy: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

ELCA: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

For information or questions about Bethlehem’s Advocacy Team, contact Karin Kloehn at

"Meet and Greet" New Bishop

Meet and Greet with Bishop Dave Nagler - Sunday, October 9 - Our new Pacifica Synod Bishop, The Reverend David Nagler, is coming to Bethlehem!


Bishop Dave served as Associate Pastor at Bethlehem from 1993 to 1996 and most recently served as Pastor at Christ Lutheran Church in Pacific Beach.


Bishop Dave will be preaching at both services, and we will have a “Meet and Greet” reception with refreshments. Come to hear about the exciting plans our new bishop has for our synod!

Stewardship Stream

The Mission Endowment Fund of Bethlehem Lutheran Church exists to further the work of God by supporting and expanding the mission and ministry of Bethlehem Lutheran Church. The fund exists to receive gifts from members, invest and manage those gifts, and disperse a portion of those gifts in support of the fund’s purpose. The Endowment Committee provides a report of activity at each Annual Meeting but here’s an interim report to celebrate several recent grants that the Committee has recommended and the Church Council approved:

  • Preschool scholarships – acting on grant requests submitted by Kelly Perez, Half Day Preschool Director, the Mission Endowment Fund provided a total $6,000 to two students and their families to help cover preschool tuition based on financial need.

  • Seminarian support – the Committee and Council are pleased to continue to support Emily Erisman in her seminarian studies and pastoral growth with a grant of $6,000. We look forward to the difference that this “investment” will make in so many lives in the future through Emily’s leadership and care.

  • Youth recreation – the brand new, professionally-installed basketball hoops in the parking lot were funded by the combination of a $4,283 grant from the Mission Endowment Fund and a gift from the Women of Welcome. Its use since then has been amazing!

We encourage you to continue to consider the Mission Endowment Fund in your planned giving.

One final note: We will feature two guest pastors this fall during our 2023 Stewardship Sundays. Bishop Dave Nagler (who did both his internship and first call here at Bethlehem) will preach on October 9th. Pastor Mary Shaima (who grew up in our congregation, and did part of her field education at Bethlehem) will preach on October 16th. The 16th will also be Commitment Sunday. Be sure to look for more information in the coming weeks!

Stephen Ministry

Are We Experiencing a National Mental Health Crisis? - Most of us are taught to deal with mental health issues quietly behind closed doors, with only our families and perhaps a doctor or a therapist. But the increasing number of mass shootings and other fatal incidents in our country over the past few months have made it apparent that there are many in our nation struggling with mental health whose needs are not being met. The stigma around mental health is still very real, and the first step to dismantling that stigma is awareness and conversation. The more we are willing to open up about our own struggles, the more others will feel safe and free to do so as well. The mental health crisis in this nation cannot and should not be dealt with on an individual or family-by-family basis, but must be addressed by whole communities, especially communities of faith. 


It is important that we better understand how to protect ourselves and our community and for everyone to learn how to recognize a mental health crisis and how to respond to it. To aid in that learning please familiarize yourselves with the following San Diego County resources and websites, save the numbers in your phone, and share with your family and friends. If you have questions, please contact Laure Reynolds or Pastor Sam.


National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): - NAMI should be your first stop when researching any aspect of mental illness. They provide comprehensive resources available for mental health services in our area, a Helpline if you need help navigating the system, a Warmline if you need empathy and support with your info, support groups for both affected individuals and family members, and many educational classes. If you have a family member with a mental health issue, we highly recommend their Family-to-Family class. They also have a phone app called oscER which provides easy access to mental health resources and information. If you have kids with mental health issues look for oscERjr and alfrEDU, which is an aid for navigating the special education system.


San Diego Mobile Crisis Response Teams (MCRT): 888 724-7240 or text 741 741 The Mobile Crisis Response Teams provide in-person support to anyone, anywhere in San Diego county, experiencing a non-violent mental health, drug, or alcohol-related crisis.  MCRT dispatches behavioral health experts to emergency calls instead of law enforcement, when appropriate, with teams made up of clinicians, case managers, and peer support specialists. Save this number! For violent situations continue to use 911.


Mental Health First Aid Training Program You are familiar with regular first aid classes for bodily injuries. This class is the mental health equivalent. The Mental Health First Aid Training Program is an 8-hour certification course designed to give participants the tools to respond to psychiatric emergencies until professional help arrives. Classes are provided free by Mental Health America of San Diego County, either in person or on Zoom. Eight hours might seem like a lot, but it is worth every minute.


988- National Suicide and Crisis Prevention Lifeline - Memorize this new number. It will link you to the suicide prevention hotline anywhere in the country. In addition, pressing “1” after dialing 988 will connect you directly to the Veterans Crisis Lifeline which serves our nation’s Veterans, service members, National Guard and Reserve members, and those who support them. For texts, continue to text the Veterans Crisis Lifeline short code: 838255.

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 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. 

Scraps and Prayers - This ministry sews quilts for people in need of comfort and care. We meet each Wednesday morning from 9am-11am in the Multi-Use Room. We need your help sewing and tying quilts. No experience necessary! Stop by for an hour or stay for the whole morning; we'd love to share our scraps and prayers with you. For more information, contact Bobby Allen at or Laure Reynolds at

 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:

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:

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 website. See the website for more details.
Bethlehem Lutheran Church