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

Leb Shema

            At the end of last month, Bethlehem published an online community survey for our friends, families, and co-workers to share their input on who we are and what they might need. (If you haven’t filled it out yet, please do so before it closes April 30th

            These few questions are only a glimpse of the process I have been going through recently for you. With the news that our Academy (CCAMB) will be outgrowing our facility at the end of the school year, my mind was opened to the plethora of possibilities that may surround us. Just as King Solomon did when God asked him what he needed to be a good leader, I prayed for a “leb shema,” a “heart that listens.”

            What I have heard so far is that no matter what we decide to do with the upcoming vacancy of our facility, we will be blessed: Eyes spark at the idea of more local child-care options (up to and including another homeschool tutorial; a new micro school; another Lutheran school; a preschool; and/or after school programs [could you imagine a 5-Day after school VBS??]). Parents grin at the idea of a place for high schoolers to learn and grow in leadership and their faith together—especially since we are so close to Monterey High School and commuting distance from most other local schools. Under-graduate and graduate level students could be welcomed here as an off-campus study space! Investors like the sound of a building to be utilized as a shared community space (like the one at the Barnyard). There has been the concept of a coffee shop, breakroom, ESL location, and/or gym shared.

            Whatever we do, it will be well thought-through, planned, and intentionally implemented. Whatever we do, we will do it together. And, whatever we do will expand our mission “to worship God as a loving community, that grows in faith, and shares the gospel of Christ!”


            In the 1990’s when the Ministry Center was first built it, the cause was called the “Building Together, Rejoicing Forever!” program. The need was seen for an effective space to grow Christian education; create a child-friendly area that is also welcoming to the well-aged; a place to have wedding receptions, potlucks, and other gatherings; and share our facility for our own leadership teams as well as community groups. 

            At the end of the day, we may do all, none, or a few of these ideas. As we listen to the needs of our members and the community as we dwell on the Word of God and live in prayer, we will know how to lead them. The most striking and inspiring thought to me so far has been a shared work space for nonprofits. In this process, I have met many local leaders, and the owners of “Pearl Works” (Alora and John) helped me to see that no matter what we might do, we need to stop asking ourselves, “What can we do with our building?” and, instead, ponder, “How can our building be used to build community?”


Thank you for being a part of our “loving community!!!”

And, a special thank you, to all those leading our CCAMB transition process!!!


God’s peace,

Pastor Josh Schmidt

P.S. If you are interested in Rev. Dr. Dale Meyer’s Summer Conference this year (June 6-8) contact Stephanie Calica for details at and make sure to register through the Seminary at: Prof Insights: Faculty-Led Workshop – Professor Meyer in Monterey, CA - Concordia Seminary (

Christ is Risen!!!

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Upcoming Events


May 4, BLC & FLC BBQ at Via Paraiso Park

May 12 - Women's I-HELP, 5pm

May 22 - Men's I-HELP, 5pm

May 28 - Men's I-HELP, 5pm


May 12 - New Member Sunday

May 19 - Confirmation Sunday


May 6 - Worship Committee, 4:30pm

May 7 - Youth Meeting, 4pm

May 19 - Voter's Meeting and Potluck after church, 11:30am

Happy Birthday!

May 5 - Nathan Farish

May 5 - Greg Hansen

May 5 - Rozita Zaerivand

May 6 - Mary Golden

May 11 - Elviera Messersmith

May 23 - Malcolm Beety

May 27 - Lindamarie Rosier

May 28 - Lori Glenn

May 30 - David Padlina

May 30 - Aaron Kanak

May 31 - Donna Aldrete

BBQ and Potluck Fun!

Faith Lutheran Church and Bethlehem Lutheran Church are celebrating our confirmands together with a BBQ and potluck at Via Paraiso Park.

Saturday, May 4th,

at 3pm-6pm

Please, bring a dish (Sign-up with: Donna Aldrete, Lori Glenn, or Becca Harbaugh.)

Confirmation for Christopher will be at BLC and for June at Faith. Both will be held during our services May 19th at 10am.

COME and join the fun!


Mark your calendars and pick a recipe!!!

Our annual May Voters' Meeting will be Sunday, May 19th, after church.

We will discuss the budget for the next fiscal year; leadership transitions; and future opportunities for our church in this area.

The best decisions are made on a full stomach,

so, let's make it a potluck!!!

In the meantime, keep an eye on your email for a letter with an agenda.

Youth Ministry

“The Youth Room” - May 2024

E3 Youth Ministry Update

This update has been a long time coming. For me personally, it has been 9 years in the making. For Bethlehem Lutheran church, it has been over 20 years. 

Friday April 19, 2024 we had 4 youth gathered in the youth room to spend time in fellowship, worship, Bible study and prayer. We studied Hebrews Ch 10, discussed how we have assurance of our salvation because of Jesus' sacrifice, as well as how we are called to meet together to encourage one another in our faith as we face opposition from the world. This is why Youth Ministry is critical for the foundation of life-long faith in the next generation of leaders. During this stage of life when future adults are discovering who they are, what they believe, who they want to be, we need to make sure they are regularly hearing God’s Word, learning who God created them to be, and knowing that they are not alone in their faith. 

I know I say this every month, but THANK YOU! For seeing the value of youth ministry, for your patience as we put things together, for your prayers, and for your continued support. 

Hopefully by the time you read this we will know whether the LWML voted to support our youth ministry with a $7000 grant. 

Whether we receive this grant or not, I firmly believe that God has big plans for the ministry life at Bethlehem, for all ages and walks of life. I am so blessed and excited to see the ways that we are growing, expanding our reach, and loving on the community around us. 

Praise God from whom all blessings flow! 

VBS Update - Romans 3:20-22a

20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. 

21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. 

There are many people in our world that believe in heaven and forgiveness, but also believe that they have to continually earn that forgiveness or their place in Heaven. Such was the case of the Rich Young Ruler that asked Jesus “What must I do to get into Heaven?” Until that time, the Law was all God’s people had to lean on for keeping their relationship right with God. This was, and is, an overwhelming perspective, given that Jesus taught that even our thoughts are as bad as actions. In this frame of mind, almost every thought we have goes against God’s law. We could never keep up exchanging good works for sinful thoughts and actions. 

Praise God we don’t have to! This is why Jesus came to die for us, and rose again. He did all of the good things. He followed all of the laws. He paid the price of death for all of our sins. All we need, and the only way, to get into heaven is Jesus! 

This year’s program will run June 24-28, Mornings from 9:30a-12:30pm. We will need volunteers in several areas including crew guides, Station Leaders, Kitchen crew for snacks, as well as decorating and cleanup. If you have any time to spare in the weeks leading up to VBS to help with supply organization, classroom setup, and other behind the scenes tasks, please register here!

Also please spread the word! If you have neighbors, friends, or co-workers with kids, let them know that we would love to have them! You can share the link above as it is for student registration as well, 

Please pray that families will make the time to come to VBS and hear God’s truth in a world of shifting sands, and that we will get the volunteers we need to share this important message with those families. 

Summer Conference

June 6-8


Rev. Dr. Dale Meyer's three-day summer conference is coming up beginning June 6!

If you have already registered, your book:

"Word Alive! 52 Selected Sermons" by Dale A. Meyer 

is ready to pick up in Pastor's office!

For more details about the conference, contact:

Stephanie Calica at 

Make sure to register through the Seminary! 

Book Club with Faith!

Faith Lutheran Church in Seaside has invited us to be part of their book club! Please join us!

Book: “The Great Divorce” by C.S. Lewis

When: Sunday, June 9 at 3:00pm

Where: Pastor Harbaugh's home

We will get together to discuss what we have learned and how the book’s wisdom may be applied to a Lutheran worldview.

Evangelism Committee Report

Dear BLC, 

I am stepping down as chair of the Evangelism Committee, as in this season of life I am finding my calling to share and live out the Gospel closer to home. Family life with young kids is beautiful, busy, and full. And it's also ephemeral. While we're surrounded by our kids' friends and their families, school community, and sports teams, we have a unique opportunity to share Jesus' love. This is where I feel called to put my energy and time at the present. After much prayer, and conversation with Pastor, I feel confident in this decision and also excited about the future of evangelism at BLC. Change provides opportunity for new ideas and growth and I know God works good for the good of those who love Him.

I will continue to coordinate the monthly women's I-HELP meals, and Ray will continue to coordinate the monthly men's I-HELP meals. If you are able to help with either of these, please get in touch with us.  

The little free lending library will be a blessing to our neighbors once we're able to install it. If you would like to help by building it, please let me know. The Rotary has offered to do so if no one from BLC is interested.

Thank you for blessing me with the opportunity to serve as chair. It has been a gift and I have been filled up spiritually by the many experiences gained - through the Adopt-A-Family program, I-HELP, play and walk group for youngsters, and many other activities. God is good!


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