Bethlehem Lutheran Church

800 Cass St. Monterey, CA. 93940

831-373-1523   †

Our mission "To worship God as a loving community that grows in faith and shares the Gospel of Christ."

BLC Family News & Events

Pastor's Letter

Selfless as a Flower

            “Flowers do not exist for themselves…


            The beauty of flowers is for others, for hummingbirds and especially for people.


When I stayed… on Kevin and Sandy’s ranch [in Northern California], I spent much of my time at the kitchen table writing…Sandy had placed a vase that she filled with flowers, with snapdragons and daisies. I remember thinking, These flowers were put here just for me! What an impact that had on my thoughts. How it made me treasure that place. That’s what can begin to happen in the lives of others when they experience Christian qualities blooming in your life.


Love seeks not its own (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:5). Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience are not to be put on display for your own selfish advancement. They are to be developed and used in love for others.”


– Rev. Dr. Dale Meyer’s Broadcast,

The Lutheran Hour, February 14th, 1999.


        The church season that we find ourselves in the midst of today is called, “Lent.” It is Latin for “Spring.” Although it is a penitential season where we reflect on the selfless sacrifice that Jesus Christ has made on the cross for us… it is also meant to be a season of hope. As it says in the first letter to the Corinthians concerning the resurrection of the dead:

“What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain… what is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable (15:36-37, 42).”


In the same way, we spend this season together learning how to live in “honest repentance” and “Full of Faith.” We learn what it means to die to ourselves, like that kernel that is buried, so that as the weather warms, we might grow into full bloom—full of life and love and the gift of God’s grace that He has brought into fruition on that Easter morning… a colorful bouquet for us to share with all the world… more beautiful and sweeter smelling than anything we could have ever grown on our own.


Thank you for growing together with me,

Pastor Josh Schmidt

Rev. Dr. Dale Meyer will be with us for our Summer Conference this year (June 6-8). Registration is now open! Contact Stephanie Calica for details at

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

Feb. 25, 7pm Concordia Univ Irvine Choir Performance

Feb. 27 and 28, 5pm - Men's I-HELP

Feb. 28, 5:30pm Soup Supper & Lent Service

March 6, 5:30pm Soup Supper & Lent Service

March 10, 5pm Women's I-HELP

March 13, 5:30pm Soup Supper & Lent Service

March 20, 5:30pm Soup Supper & Lent Service

March 27, 5pm Men's I-HELP

Holy Week

March 24, 10am Palm Sunday

March 28, 6pm Maundy Thursday

March 29, 7pm Good Friday

March 31, 10:00 Easter Sunday service w/Brunch beforehand at 8:40


Feb. 27, 5:30pm Board of Directors Meeting

March 4, 4:30pm Worship Committee Meeting

March 5, 4pm Youth Meeting

March Birthdays

March 7 - Sally McCully

March 9 - Darla Vining

March 11 - Craig Christensen

March 13 - Nargis Parveen

March 17 - Hunter Kaufman

March 20 - Jenn Kozdon

March 21 - Susan Johnson

March 21 - Kim Sims

March 23 - Tammy Davies

March 25 - Inge Sims

March 26 - Rick Bitter

March 28 - Alan Laden

March 31 - Chase Kaufman

March 31 - April Zobel

President’s Report

Dear Family and Friends of Bethlehem Lutheran Church,

As we rapidly approach Spring and look forward to the Easter season, there have been many folks working diligently behind the scenes to implement changes and improvements that benefit our entire congregation. Improvements to the physical facility continue, and include the installation of new signage on the front of the building, cleaning and refurbishment of the entire gutter system, plumbing fixes, and various electrical and mechanical updates. We have also engaged an outside entity that has performed an Energy Audit on our electricity usage and is helping us apply for grants that in turn should enable us to install more energy-efficient lighting throughout our facility. This should lead to lower energy bills and cost savings in the years ahead.

Separately, with Ewald Hueffmeier's departure as Treasurer, we are grateful to Marilyn Maxner for agreeing to step in on an interim basis to ensure that our bookkeeping functions continue seamlessly. We are also in the process of implementing more stringent Financial Controls and will provide more insight on these changes at the next Voters Assembly. 

We have also begun Budget Planning for the 2025 fiscal year, which begins July 1. If anyone has operational spending requests or special project requests that they would like the Board to consider, please enumerate them in writing to either myself, Bob McCully, or Pastor and we will be sure to give them proper consideration.

As always, please feel free to reach out with suggestions or recommendations. I'm always interested in listening to any insights you'd like to share!

God's blessings, David

Youth Ministry

“The Youth Room” - March 2024

E3 Youth Ministry Update

“I planted. Apollos watered, but God gave growth. So neither he who plants not he who waters is anything, but but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers.” 1 Cor 3:6-9a

As we get closer to spring and sunnier weather, many people look forward to looking up at the hills to see green grass, purple Lupins, and orange Poppies, all of which are made possible by the rain we get during the winter. 

In much the same way, we have a lot to look forward to in the growth of our youth ministry program.  

We are planting seeds

  • We have a meeting space taking shape 
  • We are reaching out to other churches in our district to begin growing those connections.
  • Having gone to National Youth Gathering and FLY, giving our youth faith building experiences with their peers

Watering is happening 

  • Through your support in prayer, encouragement, and contributions. 
  • Through participation in events like Higher Things and National Youth Gathering.
  •  We have named our ministry and established a mission statement. 
  • We have a plan to start meeting twice per month, likely on Tuesday evenings. 

But we know that ultimately God is the one who will bring all things to fruition. Bethlehem has patiently waited for more than 20 years to see an active youth ministry again, and it is exciting to see Him work through His people here at Bethlehem and at Faith Lutheran in Seaside to bring it to reality. 

To guide us in our planning and implementation of the youth program, we felt it was important for us to establish an identity, including a name and a mission statement that reflects who we want to be as a ministry. After prayerful consideration and fine-tuning, here is what we came up with: 

E3 Youth Ministry - EQUIP youth to worship God, to ENCOURAGE one another in life-long faith, and to ENGAGE their peers with the Gospel of Christ. 

We ask that you would please continue to keep our Youth ministry in prayer, specifically that God would be working in the hearts of the youth that are/will be part of our youth group, that He would give me (Crystal), Pastor Josh and Pastor Darren wisdom and guidance as we continue to plan and organize.


VBS Update 

Believe none of what you hear, and only half of what see. 

Of everything I learned in grade school, this statement from my 6th grade teacher is one life lesson I have tried to remember to live by and teach my kids. 

“And it’s important to know where truth comes from. It comes from God. He alone gets to decide what’s right and wrong, good and bad, true and False.”  BRB DAY 1 Closing skit

Over the next few months I am going to include the daily points for VBS so that you can join in prayer over our preparations, and hopefully feel encouraged to help with this incredible ministry. 

Day 1 of VBS uses the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden, being misled by the serpent to disobey God, to illustrate the importance of knowing what real truth is and where it comes from. Especially in today’s world where anyone can put any information they want in front of the masses, it is more critical than ever for us to discern truth from lies. And the best way to do that is through studying and memorizing scripture. 

This is why we do VBS. To present Scripture to young kids in ways that they will understand and remember. Through music, activities like crafts and games, and of course bible study, we are laying a foundation of scripture that will stick with them well into adulthood.

Thank you for your prayers and support for Vacation Bible School. Please prayerfully consider how you might be involved, whether through volunteering, donating, or helping get the word out. Every small contribution of time and resources makes a huge impact on the ministry and the kids we serve. 

Easter's Coming Early This Year!

Easter is going to be here before we know it and that means Easter lilies!!! As a fundraiser for our youth group, you may order your Easter Lillies through the office at $50 each (get them for yourself or for church on Easter Sunday).

Orders need to be in by the first week of March.

Calling for Endowment Fund

Distribution Ideas

The Endowment Fund has been strongly recovering since last year’s market downturn.  Although the fund is still not back to what it was before the downturn, the Committee believes that a conservative distribution from the fund is appropriate.  Thus, the Endowment Fund Committee plans to recommend to the Voters that an amount of $6,471 be distributed from the fund this year.  The Fund has distributed $21,264 in the last four years, through the Covid lockdown and while experiencing an economic downturn.  As previously reported, Bethlehem remains debt free, and the Endowment Fund Committee and Board of Directors continue to be committed to assist and support all of our ministries.  

If you would like to recommend a special project (above and beyond general operations) to use the distributed amount, please leave a note in the Endowment mailbox in the church’s mailroom, or email Sally at with your suggestion (please put “ENDOWMENT” in the subject line!).

If you wish to make a contribution to the Endowment Fund in addition to your regular tithing, simply note on your check that it is for the Endowment Fund.  If it is in memoriam of a special person, please include that information as well.

Thank you all for supporting our church, allowing us to implement all of the wonderful improvements and programs we now have!  Thank God we have a congregation that has given over and above so that we can continue to grow! 

Sonja Johnson, Sally McCully, Zach Kaufman

Financial Officer Bob McCully, President David Boone, Pastor Josh Schmidt

Want to dig into the book of James a little bit deeper?

Here's a study for you!

James: Tired, Tested, Torn, and Full of Faith (InScribed Collection): Maddox, Micah: 9780310141082: Books

Live full of faith through hard times.

Do you ever feel like you can’t take one more thing? You’re on the edge. Your nerves are shot. Your mind is done. Your body is tired, and your emotions are a mess. If you could gather yourself for even a moment you might explode at the reality of all you’ve been through. In the face of the fears, frustrations, and failures of this world, we have a choice. We can sit and stare at the life we live and hope something changes. Or we can rise up and walk in faith. This five-week study will help you to:

  • Revisit the foundation of your faith
  • Look to God first in hard situations
  • Discover faith isn’t a list of do’s and don’ts
  • Move from a place of struggle to a place of comfort
  • Gain a fresh perspective on how to live full of faith when feeling tired and tested

Concordia University Irvine's

Woman's Choir Concert


Sunday, February 25th at 7pm at Bethlehem!

See you there.

Evangelism Committee Report

We would like to place a lending library on our patio on Cass Street for our neighbors and others to enjoy. We plan to stock it with devotionals, possibly small audio bibles, other faith-inspiring materials, and possibly also regular books. If you are interested in building the little library (see blueprint possibilities here ), or helping to build it, please contact Brynn and let her know.  

For those who are interested in helping with the I-HELP program but are intimidated by how to get started, we would like to invite you to join us as a server at one of our dinners. You don't need to bring anything - we'll provide the food - and you can enjoy a dinner on us. You'll have a chance to see how the dinners work, and if it seems like something you could help tackle. And, your help serving would be a blessing to the I-HELP program, as would your company at the dinner for the participants. If you are interested in joining a dinner as a server, please contact Brynn and she can get you scheduled. Women's dinners take place on the second Sunday of the month and men's dinners take place on the fourth Wednesday of the month. 

If you are interested in jumping in and providing a meal for I-HELP, the online sign-ups are below. You can also sign up in the Fellowship Hall or in the narthex at BLC.  

Men's I-HELP:

Women's I-HELP:

For any questions, comments, feedback, etc. please contact Brynn at or (209) 609-6271.

Brynn Kaufman 

"The Chosen" Lunches in Lent

On Tuesdays during Lent, we are watching "the Chosen" together in the Vineyard Room. It is a fascinating way to see Christ's story anew. In the first episode, we see how he has called us by name, healing us from our past and the second episode reveals the fellowship we are to have together in him. Grab a lunch and meet us at noon!!

You can also catch up and/or watch episodes online for free at:

Home | The Chosen

Worship Committee Report

Music for the Church Service—

Did you know that the organ music offered during the worship service is not a church version of elevator music? It's chosen with the prayer that it will enhance your worship. Many worshippers enter the sanctuary at the beginning of the service desiring to pray or just sit quietly as they prepare for worship. They welcome the prelude music as part of that process. The music is chosen, not as background music, but as an enhancement to worship. As are the pieces played during the offering and Holy Communion.

The prelude is the beginning of the service. The music is chosen in various ways. Usually it's an arrangement of the opening hymn or one of the other hymns in the service. 

The music played while the offerings are gathered and while Holy Communion is being celebrated is apt to be contemplative in nature. In any case, the music will be quiet to aid in meditation or prayer.

The postlude is the end of the service. The music here is chosen for its exuberance. It relates to one of the hymns, most likely the ending one. It’s meant to send the worshippers out rejoicing, dancing, ready to live out their faith in joy.

Why haven’t we been using the organ?

Many of you know Lindamarie, our organist, broke her left arm while on vacation this past summer. Then in September she fell and sprained her right arm. As a result she has trouble lifting her arms. She’s being treated by physical therapy for several months now. And she’s made enough progress that her doctor has told her she can, God willing, be back on the organ by Palm Sunday. Why so long when she’s been playing the piano for a few months now? The organist has to reach higher for the organ keyboards than the pianist does. We know many of you have been praying for complete healing; continued prayers are requested.

Service Assistants—

We have a new scheduler for ushers, greeters, readers, and communion assistants: Patti Johannsen, one of our newest members. If you haven’t met her yet, introduce yourself. She frequently serves as communion assistant. And if you’re willing to serve in one of these positions, please let her know at 

It’s Lent—

During Lent, the Church's worship assumes a more penitential character. The color for the season is purple, a color associated with penitence. The "Hymn of Praise" is omitted from the liturgy, as is "Alleluia."

By not using the alleluia — a joyful expression meaning "Praise the Lord" — until Easter, the Lenten season is clearly set apart as a distinct time from the rest of the year. Additionally, it forms a powerful contrast with the festive celebration of Jesus' resurrection when our alleluias ring loud and clear.

In the ancient Church, the weeks leading up to Easter were a time of intensive preparation of the candidates who were to be baptized at the Easter vigil on Holy Saturday. This time in the Church's calendar was seen as an especially appropriate time for Baptism because of the relationship between Christ's death and resurrection and our own in Holy Baptism (see Rom. 6:1-11).

This focus would suggest that the season of Lent serves not only as a time to meditate on the suffering that Christ endured on our behalf but also as an opportunity to reflect upon our own Baptism and what it means to live as a child of God.


Our Worship Committee is inspired by a love of church music and forms of worship. Is this something you’re interested in? You’d be welcome to attend any of the meetings.

Your Worship Committee: Jean Goebel, Marilyn Maxner, Melody Nelson, Lindamarie Rosier, Pastor Josh Schmidt

Full of Faith

Tired, Tested, Torn, and Full of Faith: James “has a lot to say about rules and the unexpected, out-of-your-control life struggles… He’s a straight talker who gets to the point and doesn’t sugar coat or soften the facts that make faith work or worthless. If you are ready for your faith to feel full again, this book is for you”! –Micah Maddox

Steadfast Under Trial

February 18th | Lent

Genesis 22:1-18

James 1:12-18

Mark 1:9-15

LSB 655: Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word; LSB 809: Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father; LSB 547: The Lamb, the Lamb; WOV 660: I Want Jesus to Walk with Me


“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life.” James 1:12


Steadfast Under Trial

Christ stood steadfast for us, now we stand steadfast in the faith for each other until we are given the crown of life (Rev. 2:10).


Guilty, but Saved

February 25th | Lent

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16

James 2:1-13

Mark 8:27-38

LSB 611: Chief of Sinners Though I Be; LSB 614 v.1-3, 8: “As Surely as I Live,” God Said; LSB 439 v.1-3: O Dearest Jesus, What Law Hast Thou Broken; Bulletin: “Jesus Paid it All”

“For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.” James 2:10.


Guilty, but Saved

If it were up to us we would stay “guilty,” dead in our sin and trespasses. But, thanks be to God! That we are saved by His grace through faith. He keeps the law that we could not and we believe that has won for us a place in paradise forever.


Teaching the Truth

March 3rd | Lent

Exodus 20 :1-17

James 3 :1-12

John 2:13-22


LSB 578: Thy Strong Word; LSB 707: Oh, That the Lord Would Guide My Ways; LSB 433: Glory Be to Jesus; LSB 425: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross


“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” James 3:1.


Teaching the Truth

Many a preacher have given a “fire and brimstone” sermon, inspiring parishioners in their fear to cling to God. Yet, if we teach the truth without love, we are just a clanging gong; a crashing symbol; a mouthful of nonsensical speech. Jesus teaches in a way we should follow, gently, humbly, and for the sake of those who would be willing to listen.

In the Gospel lesson for today, we hear how He doesn’t let anything get in the way of that.


Humble Exaltation

March 10th | Lent

Numbers 21:4-9

James 4:10-17

John 3:14-21

LSB 544 v.1-2, 5-7: O Love, How Deep; LSB 588: Jesus loves me! This I know; LSB 837: Lift High the Cross


“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” James 4:10.


Humble Exaltation

Jesus humbles himself to the point of death on the cross for us and God lifts him up eternally (Phil. 2). What does humility look like in your life? How does God use what others might see as weakness to prove His strength?


Found & Served

March 17th | Lent

Jeremiah 31:31-34

James 5:13-20

Mark 10:35-45

LSB 709: The King of Love My Shepherd Is; LSB 424 v.1-3: O Christ, You Walked the Road; LSB 618: I Come, O Savior, to Thy Table; LSB 430: My Song is Love Unknown


“My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” James 5:19-20.


Found & Served

No matter how far we have fallen from grace, Christ still comes in search of us to forgive us, renew us, and lead us home—honoring His covenantal promise to always be with us.

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