"Caught in grace, created for service, called into community"
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Rev. Laura Ziehl 
Senior Pastor 
Ext 2
Pastor Sam Nelson
Associate Pastor
Constance Mithelman
Youth Director
Ext 12
Judy Foland
Office Administrator
Ext 1  
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April 2021

News and Events
 From Pastor Sam
Easter Blessings Dear People of Bethlehem,
This will now be our second COVID-19 Holy Week. In many ways it feels very familiar, and in others it still feels incredibly foreign. After a year spent in the midst of the pandemic and lock-down and quarantine, we each arrive at this Easter with very different lived experiences. Some have been relatively spared, save for some inconvenience and restriction. Some have suffered greatly, and are grieving tremendous losses. Some have worked, and been stretched, beyond their limits and are weary to the very core of their beings. And others are a complicated and confusing combination of these and more. And while some are overjoyed and absolutely ready to raise shouts of "Christ is risen!" there are others who find themselves still beneath the cross of Jesus; not quite ready for the joy and exuberance of Easter morning.
The blessing, in all of this, is that we have a God who meets us where we are. That's the true power of the incarnation, the fact that God chose to enter into our world, our lives, into the human story to show us that we do not have a distant, hands-off God. No, we have a God who is willing to come to us, to chase after us, to go through the muck and the mud with us, all so that we might know we are loved, and so that we might know we are never alone. The moment of the cross assures us of that fact, while the joy of the empty tomb promises that something better awaits us. Promises that God is already, and always, making all things new; transforming death into life.
But God is willing to move at our pace. So, wherever you find yourselves along the road from cross to empty tomb, know that God will be right there by your side. We have a God who walked the path from death to life, to not only accompany us, but to guide us, on our own journeys from darkness to light.
May the comfort and joy of Easter enliven and sustain you,  
Pastor Sam
 From Pastor Laura
Dear Easter People,
I have always admired Mary Magdalene's decisions on Easter Sunday morning. A woman of tenacity and strength, she had known suffering in her life. Yet she also knew the possibility of hope. On that first Easter morning, she was up before first light. She traveled to the tomb not in joy, but in sorrow. She chose not to turn from the pain, but to walk toward it. She came to do what was needed. Much of this year has felt like that. So many have done what is needed in the pain. Mary found the stone removed and she turned and ran back by the same road she had traveled, to tell the disciples. Peter and John came to the tomb, but so did she - again. It would have been easier to do otherwise. But she was not one to choose easy. The disciples looked in and left, but Mary stayed. She stood in her grief. And in that courageous place she saw 2 angels, a gardener, and her Lord. Sometimes it is the courage to stand that changes everything. Then she ran again. For the fourth time she ran the same steps, her tenacity, her strength carrying her. And she, before any other voice was willing to speak, shared the good news.  
Dear people of Bethlehem, you have run with perseverance the race, in the darkness and in the light, for a year. You have clung to hope for so long. You have faced sorrow and not turned away. You have done what was needed and what was right, in the midst of it all. As we celebrate, once again Jesus resurrection, perhaps this year we celebrate our own as well. Things are changing, and like Mary we can see the early light. Not brilliant sun as yet, but dawn is always the time of greatest promise. There is hope on the horizon this Easter - tenacious, hard won hope - for us all. With Mary, may we have the courage to speak of God's rising, and our own. May joy find us. May we dare to run, and dare to claim the risen Christ, even as we stand before an empty tomb. I give thanks for you and for the hope you have carried this year. He is Risen! He is Risen, Indeed!
Blessed Easter to you all,
Pastor Laura            

 Holy Week Worship Schedule

March 28thZoom @ 9 am  
April 1st, Livestream @ 6 pm  
April 2nd,Prerecorded YouTube Video
April 3rd, Outdoor Worship on the lawn (sign up required)
and Livestream @ 3pm  
April 4th, Outdoor Worship on the lawn (sign up required)  
@ 8:00 am, 9:30 am, 11:00 am
and Livestream at 9:30 am

 April Worship Schedule

Because of how Holy Week services fell in the calendar in April, the remaining outdoor worship services are as follows:
  • The Grace group will gather on 4/18.
  • The Hope group will gather on 4/11, & 4/25.
If you had not done so last month already, click here for the new link in SignUpGenius and reserve your place today.

 Covid Vaccine Appointment Assistance

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.

 Music Ministry
The band is back! - This month brings "live" choral/instrumental music to our outdoor worship service. The World Music Ensemble will be leading music on the lawn for the Easter Vigil on April 3rd. Hope to see many of you at this exciting service.
In addition Holy Week is filled with music videos created by the JuBellation Ringers, Children's Choir and Good News Singers.  The Trumpeter Mark Weed returns to play for our Easter Sunday services!  Musical groups continue to practice and create beautiful music to enhance our worship experiences.  You can view all the music videos that have been created on Bethlehem's Youtube channel. Enjoy!
 ELCA Advocacy 
Bethlehem Advocacy Team Meeting- Tuesday, April 6 at 7:00pm -All are welcome to join a Zoom gathering to learn about current issues being discussed in the legislatures of both California and Washington, D.C. Important conversations concerning voting rights, immigrant justice, gun violence, healthcare, and more are taking place right now. Learn how your advocacy can make a difference! Email Karin Kloehn at blcadvocacy@gmail.com for the Zoom link.
"Advocacy in Quarantine" -Every Wednesday at noon you can join this weekly Zoom meeting to hear an update on current legislative priorities from Regina Q. Banks, Director of the Lutheran Office of Public Policy- California. 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.
Ecumenical Advocacy Days - April 18 to April 21 -EAD is an annual gathering (usually in person, in Washington, D.C.) of the ecumenical Christian community working to strengthen our Christian voice and to mobilize for advocacy on a wide variety of U.S. domestic and international policy issues
This year's theme is "Imagine! God's Earth and People Restored" which will focus on climate justice. Because it will be a virtual event this year, it offers you a great opportunity to "attend" without having to travel to Washington, D.C. Your registration gives you access to many interesting and informative speakers, breakout sessions, and workshops. Complete details here or contact Karin Kloehn at blcadvocacy@gmail.com for more information. Early Bird Registration ($25) ends on April 7, 2021.
Save the Date! Lutheran Lobby Day is May 19, 2021 -Please plan to join this year's (virtual) gathering of California Lutherans who want to learn more about faith-based advocacy and the legislative process. This will be a chance to connect with Lutherans from across the state and hear from leaders who are working on a variety of peace and justice issues. More details and registration information will be available soon.
ELCA Advocacy Updates

Follow us!
Bishop Elizabeth Eaton: Facebook, Twitter
Bishop Andy Taylor: Facebook
For information or questions about Bethlehem's Advocacy Team, contact Karin Kloehn at blcadvocacy@gmail.com.

 Giving Tree 

The Giving Tree is back......Virtually in May. - It's our Bare Bottom Essential Virtual Drive to buy basics for Support the Enlisted Project, sponsored by Bethlehem Women of the ELCA.
We are calling on YOU for help. Nobody should debate between paying the electric bill and buying diapers. Let's support our military and Veteran families by keeping their little ones clean and healthy. We are focusing our Baby Drive efforts on meeting the ever-growing baby hygiene needs of our young military families. For $26 you could provide a family with 2 packages of baby wipes, a tube of rash cream, a bottle of baby shampoo, and baby powder.
Will you help us make sure each family who comes in for support leaves with their basic baby hygiene needs met?  Make a difference this May in the form of a monetary donation, gift card, or baby hygiene item. 
Visit Support the Enlisted Project web site to learn more about the organization and what they do in the community.  HOME | STEP

 Stephen Ministry

Looking Forward - Spring is typically the time of year when we emerge from our winter hibernation, look forward to warmer weather and start making summer plans. Spring this year is special. We are emerging from a yearlong COVID hibernation and with new vaccines are looking hopefully forward to fresh activities, celebrations, and long-awaited vacations.
But sometimes it is difficult to make that transition from the familiar to the unknown, from a place of safety to a place of hope, or from a place of grief to a place of healing. If you are having difficulty making a transition in your life a Stephen Minister may be able to help. Stephen Ministers offer a trusted, confidential, listening ear to those in our congregation and the surrounding community. If you would like to know more please contact Pr Laura, Pr Sam, or one of our Stephen Leaders Molly Hall, Laure Reynolds, or Suzi Westmoreland.
Goodbye and Hello -This month we say goodbye to Marla Keith, who has served our congregation for many years as a dedicated and gifted Stephen Minister, as the head of our grief ministry program, and as the leader of our women's bible study group. May God be with you Marla and bless you in your future endeavors. Blair Lindberg, one of our Stephen Ministers, will be assuming the grief ministry duties. Welcome Blair!    

 Parish Nurse 

Anyone interested in a recertification  of CPR with AED please contact Rose Moldenhauer rosemoldy@cox.net. The class will be one hour by zoom and 1/2 hour safe, hands on practice. Date to be determined. 

 Supporting Bethlehem's Ministries 

Stimulus Checks Are Here! - On March 11, 2021, the next round of federal stimulus checks was approved and were sent on their way. For many they are a welcome relief that couldn't come quickly enough. For others, the checks are nice-to-have but aren't as vital to living life.

If you are experiencing a season of fruitfulness, consider "paying forward" your windfall to a philanthropic cause, either through Bethlehem (e.g., Bethlehem Cares Fund, Ocean Knoll, Es Por Los Ninos, etc.) or another worthy institution. If this is not your circumstance, know that Bethlehem is here to support you however we can. Please reach out to one of the pastors if you are in need of assistance, or just need someone to talk to.

For all of the ways that you support, care for, and contribute to the community of Bethlehem, we give thanks.

 Learn Americal Sign Language (ASL)  

If you have ever wanted to learn American Sign Language (ASL), now is your chance, in a friendly, supportive learning environment. The classes are designed for high school to adult learners.  
Bethlehem ASL Classes:  
Most Thursdays from 6 to 7 pm Pacific Time
Our textbook is available on Amazon: "Learn American Sign Language" by James W. Guido
If you're interested in joining us, contact Suzi Westmoreland at  


 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 chachapinillap@gmail.com.  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. 

 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: https://sinningboldlywithsam.wordpress.com/"

 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: https://community.elca.org/elca-email-subscriptions

 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 smile.amazon.com website. See the website for more details.

Dear  ,


Thank you for registering with our e-mail announcement and update service at www.blcenc.org


Yours in Christ

Bethlehem Lutheran Webmaster