"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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March 2021

News and Events
 From Pastor Laura
Dear people of Bethlehem,
As a Lutheran expression of faith, we travel in liturgical seasons. We move from the waiting of Advent, to the light of Epiphany, to the reflective contemplation of Lent. We are accustomed to the pace, and as ashes are placed on our foreheads, we are reminded of each Lenten journey that has preceded it. It becomes a way to mark our place on the kingdom journey.
But, we are reaching a season that has given me pause, and I sit uncomfortably with it. In the next two weeks, we will reach the one year anniversary of this pandemic's effects on us. Sunday morning, March 21st, marks the anniversary of our first virtual worship. I approach this milestone with unease. Not certain how to feel about this moment. Certainly I will feel the grief that comes at the anniversary of any loss. The melancholy that accompanies the heart in the memory of loss. I expect also to feel gratitude and pride that we have remained a connected, vibrant and creative community of faith. We have faced a difficult journey and found ourselves equal to the task, that is true in our personal lives as well. We have learned much and we have been fortunate to blessed others often. Yet I also know this, I will not feel that contented memory that I am accustomed to feeling on Ash Wednesday or Easter, as I remember years past, and anticipate years to come.
This is a different kind of an anniversary. This moment is accompanied by an eager longing for the empty tomb. An urgent hope for resurrection life. This journey has created a clarifying honesty about what it means to be people of God. People who find compassion in every day and cling to the promise of hope. In that way this anniversary, like every season, marks our place on the kingdom journey. The steps we take now will never be repeated again - let us pray to God that such a thing is true. But this time has changed us for the better, because in our pain we have been accompanied by a necessary grace, and that grace is now woven into the fabric of all that will yet be for us.
And so, perhaps my unease is unwarranted. I think Lena would say so. Lena Michael was a member of this congregation and one of the most faithful servants of God's grace I have ever known. She was 8 years old during the pandemic of 1918 and she told me all about it. She died in her 106th year and, in all of her years, she lived with a quiet confidence in her Lord and a kindness and grace and joy, that not only brought her through every storm, but allowed her to take my hand and lead me though my storms, as well.   I will count myself blessed, if I take with me from this pandemic, a small portion of the grace Lena carried from hers. I will count myself doubly blessed, if I can share that grace with others, as she did.
As we mark one year in this pandemic, may we also mark one year in God's extraordinary grace. One year of life redeemed. I give thanks to God for you, and for this journey we have walked together. This Easter we will sing of resurrection like no other! I look forward to singing with you.
Blessings to you all, Pastor Laura

 Update on Worship 

Outdoor worship sign-ups will look different in March and April.
Because Palm Sunday falls on the final Sunday of March (we will be doing a Zoom worship service that day) and Easter is the first Sunday of April (Easter will have its own sign-up just like Christmas did, so stay tuned for that) our neat and tidy method of offering two pairs of Sundays to come and worship won't work for March or April. So instead, we decided to combine the two months, and allow you to sign up for one trio of services.
  • The Grace group will gather on 3/7, 3/21, & 4/18.
  • The Hope group will gather on 3/14, 4/11, & 4/25.
Click here for the new link in SignUpGenius and reserve your place today.

Join us for Zoom Holden Evening Prayer on Wednesday nights at 6 pm throughout Lent. We will speak of the things that bring us hope. Plan to stay after worship for a time of conversation and fellowship.
Our Holy Week schedule will be as follows:
  • Zoom Palm Sunday worship at 9 am on Sunday, March 28th. All are Welcome!
  • Maundy Thursday worship will be live-streamed at 6 pm on April 1st.
  • Good Friday Worship will be a prerecorded service of mediation and contemplation.
  • Easter Vigil will be worship on the lawn and live-streamed as well, at 3 pm on April 2nd.
  • Easter Sunday will be worship on the lawn at 8, 9:30 and 11 am, on April 3rd. The Easter service will be live-streamed at 9:30 am.
 Opportunities to Give

During Lent we are collecting non-perishable food items for St. Andrews feeding ministry. You are welcome to drop items off during outdoor worship on Sunday mornings throughout Lent.


Ocean Knoll Elementary School is in need of gift cards from grocery stores or Target to assist school families living in food insufficiency. Cards may be dropped off during outdoor worship or mailed to the church office.


Thanks to your generosity, we have met and exceeded our goal to provide hotels and meals for families we would normally have housed at Bethlehem, through the Interfaith Shelter Network. Your gifts, change lives.

 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
This is a busy time for the choirs of Bethlehem as they are preparing for Lent and Easter.  By this time, you will have seen the fun music video  made by our Children's choir called "Walking in the Footsteps of the Lord".  If you haven't seen it, please watch it here: https://youtu.be/Mi68xPEvFuU
March brings virtual videos from the World Music Ensemble on March 7th called "Somos Uno ( We are One)" followed by the Good News Singers gospel tune " I Can Call Jesus Anytime".  Our Chldren's Chimers will be making a video and performing "live" at the 10 a.m. service on March 21st followed by a video by the JuBellation Ringers for Palm Sunday.  Music continues to flow even in the COVID environment!  We look forward to the Easter Vigil with the WME ensemble leading the worship on the lawn and another virtual choir video by the Good News Singers and Children's Choir. 

 ELCA Advocacy 
"Advocacy in Quarantine" - Every Wednesday at noon you can join a 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.
California Legislature to address hunger - During this legislative session, the California State Senate and Assembly will consider several Right to Food pieces of legislation. The Lutheran Office of Public Policy - California urges you write to your representatives to ask them to support these bills:
  • SB 107 - CalFresh Simple for Seniors, which makes it easier for seniors to access healthy public food assistance.
  • SB108- Healthy Food Access, which declares that every human being has the right to access sufficient healthy food and lays out guidelines to help make this happen.
  • SB 364- End Child Hunger, which establishes universal school meals for all children in public schools and creates a stopgap nutrition program for school breaks or when campuses are closed.
  • AB 221- Emergency Food for All, which grants food assistance access regardless of immigration status.
You can search for and read the full text of the bills here. Find your representatives here. If you want help or more information, contact blcadvocacy@gmail.com
Cut child poverty if half? It could happen.Read this compelling article about proposed national legislation that has the potential to help millions of poor children and low-income families. Then contact your representatives to ask them to support these measures.
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.

 Stephen Ministry

What Is Stephen Ministry? Stephen Ministry is a ministry in our congregation in which trained and supervised laypeople, called Stephen Ministers, provide one-to-one Christian care to individuals facing life challenges.
Who Is Involved? Stephen Leaders are the ones who oversee and direct our Stephen Ministry. They recruit, select, train, organize, and supervise our Stephen Ministers; identify people in need of care; and match them with a Stephen Minister. We have three Stephen Leaders: Molly Hall, Laure Reynolds, and Suzi Westmoreland.
Stephen Ministers are lay caregivers. They have engaged in high-quality training in Christian caregiving, including topics such as listening, feelings, boundaries, and assertiveness. We currently have nine active Stephen Ministers: Frank Belock, Dan Halvorson, Linda Inskeep, Marla Keith, Mark King, Blair Lindberg, Beth Nelson, George Orness, and Annmarie Robbins.
Care receivers are the recipients of Stephen Ministers' care. They are people from our church or community who are experiencing grief, loss of a job, divorce, loneliness, illness, or other life difficulties. Stephen Ministers meet with their care receivers once a week for about an hour for as long as the care receiver needs it.
O God, we ask for your blessing upon our Stephen Ministry. Give our Stephen Leaders wisdom and discernment as they nurture and guide others to give and receive care. Be with our Stephen Ministers as they bear witness to your unconditional love and show your unending mercy. Let their care receivers experience the healing presence of Jesus Christ. May the Holy Spirit strengthen and encourage each of us to love one another and bear one another's burdens. Help us make Bethlehem a community where people feel welcome, loved, and connected to you. Amen.

 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 

The people of Bethlehem continue to be tremendously generous particularly in light of our tumultuous circumstances - THANK YOU. We are grateful for those who have taken advantage of one of the following ways to give.   For your convivence, all giving options are listed below:
  • You can download the FREE app "GivePlus+" wherever you get your apps (Google Play Store or Apple App Store). After you launch the app, you will be prompted to find your church - Bethlehem Lutheran Church at 925 Balour, Encinitas. The easiest way to use the app is to set up an account using your email address, although you have the option to just "Give Now." Select General Operating for your regular giving to Bethlehem, indicating whether your gift is a recurring or one-time one.   Once you have the app set up, it's easy to contribute to other ministries listed on the app for Bethlehem.
  • You can also log on to the Bethlehem website, select "Contribute" and then "Give Now" to access the same system as the app, though the website view looks different. Both the GivePlus+ App and website list many of the ministries and funds at Bethlehem.   However, if you want to contribute to either a ministry or fund that is not specifically listed (e.g., Easter, Lent, Ocean Knoll, St. Andrews Food Pantry, etc.), the website accepts an entry for "Special" and you can type in your intended purpose or fund. Unfortunately, the app doesn't have this functionality.
  • You are more than welcome to mail in or drop off checks to the church office, either with or without a "church envelope."
  • And, of course, if you attend one of our in-person worship services, you can do it the old fashion way when we "pass the hat!" At the check-in table you will find a basket for your donation.
Bethlehem has a tremendous opportunity to minister to so many within and outside our church. Your financial support makes this all possible and we so much appreciate that!

 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 Wednesday Qigong/Taichi practice through March 24 will be held early from 5:00 pm- 5:50 pm to accommodate Holden Evening Prayer at 6:00 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