"Caught in grace, created for service, called into community"
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Sunday Mornings... 


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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  
Quick Links

November 2020

News and Events
From Pastor Laura
Dear Saints of Bethlehem,
I am writing to you on the Eve of All Saints Day and a few days before the election. I am writing to you in a month when we are called to give thanks and to name our gratitude. I am mindful of all of this, as I consider the place and hope of our Gospel life, in trying times. I can feel the strength of all that we hold as sacred and the open-hearted urgency of now.    
All Saints Day is a day to remember the saints who have come before us; their faith and their joys, their triumphs and their humanity, and to remember the legacy they have laid in us. We are indeed surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses. I remember my own father this All Saints Day. His highest calling was to use the gifts God had given him to heal whenever possible. He always said his faith was simple. I think a better descriptor would have been tireless. He never wearied of doing what was right.   As people of faith, holding collectively all that we have been given, how shall we be the saints of God in our day?
All Saints Day is not purely to look back at legacy, but to consider our place as the living saints of the church in this day. Perfect saints - no. We are, as Luther named us, both saint and sinner. There is a well-known church in Denver called the "House for All Sinners and Saints". That is who we are. Who then shall we be in this world today? A world weary of division, pandemic and pain. A world still full of grace, hope and joy. Today our preschool children paraded around our courtyard in their adorable Halloween costumes. It was, for me, a moment to remember the goodness laid in us all. The hope we all share in tomorrow.
There may be no simple answer to the complex matters of our day. But then again, there might be. We have no place to go, but to the roots of our faith. A Gospel that teaches us that love is above all things. That mercy and compassion are the incarnation of that love. That Christian hope is not a naive view of the world, but a grounded understanding that God is setting this world right and we are a part of that sacred work. To this, the saints have always been called.  
The Greek Orthodox Church on Manchester has a sign board I always read. It changes week to week, and it is always very creative.   This week it says: Love is about being decent in indecent times. Perhaps that is the core of this Gospel work. We will love at all times. We will do so because we have been the recipients of God's love. We will love because that is what the saints of God do.
God bless you, O saints of God. I give thanks to God for you every day.   Together we will honor the saints that have come before us and lay grace on the road that is ahead.  
My love to you all,
Pastor Laura

 Update on Worship 

There are three ways to worship at Bethlehem:
  • You may attend in person worship on the grass at 10AM.
-      In order to join us for in person worship you must sign up for either Nov. 1 and 15 in the "Grace" group or Nov. 8 and 22 in the "Hope" group. There will be no in person worship on Nov. 29, only the livestream worship.
-      The reopening team is keeping the capacity to 65 for each outdoor worship service.
-      Masks are required at all times. Bring a chair, umbrella or hat, communion, bulletin and a smile.
-      Click here for the new link in SignUpGenius and reserve your place today.
-      There is a "What to Expect in Worship" letter and an Inflight Worship Video on our new outdoor worship orientation page on our website to assist you as you prepare for outdoor worship.
  • You may join us for livestream worship at 8:30AM.
-      In order to join the livestream click on this link here.
-      The link will not appear until we go live at 8:25AM. Fear not, we will be there.
-      You may use the chat stream to talk with other worshipers in real time. This is really fun.
-      With the addition of new equipment, we have significantly increased the quality of the audio and video in the livestream in recent weeks. Thanks to all who made this possible.
  • You may watch worship on demand at any time you like.
-      The livestream is immediately uploaded to YouTube at the close of worship.
-      You can access the recorded worship on our YouTube channel.
-      Or it will be available to you on our worship page on our website by midday on Sunday.
In this unique world, we are so pleased to offer you several ways to join us for worship. Our deep thanks to all those who have worked tirelessly and continue to do so every week, to make worship possible in this time. The opportunities above represent countless volunteer hours and the expertise, gift and grace of so many people. Thanks to: our worship team, music team, audio team, video team, ushers, hosts, liturgical bouncers, set-up team, reopening team, protocol writing team and medical team. God bless you all.

 Blessings of the Animals 

Please join us for a virtual blessing of the animals on Sunday, Nov. 8th at 11:45 am.
All animals are welcome, especially those who have never come before. Because we are doing a zoom blessing, even animals who aren't comfortable coming to church will get the blessing they so richly deserve from the comfort of home.   A zoom link will be sent by eblast this week.

 Save the Date: Mary Shaima Ordination 

Mary Shaima, a former member and long time worship leader and deacon in the life of Bethlehem, will be ordained on Sunday, Nov. 22nd at 3 pm in Washington State, where she now serves as pastor. The ordination will be virtual and a link will be available shortly. This will be a wonderful opportunity for Bethlehem to bless Mary in her new ministry.
 ELCA Advocacy 
Presiding Bishop Eaton's Statement on the election - This coming Sunday, Nov. 1, at 4 p.m. Eastern time, I will join many other religious leaders in the Holding On to Hope National Prayer Service, to be held at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Please join me for this special occasion to pray for the good of our nation on the eve of Election Day. Even as we pray, we are called to participate in our nation's electoral process as one way God works through us to love and serve the neighbor (Matthew 22:39). Our vote is a choice about what will make our society a more just, more whole community where human dignity is honored and rights are upheld.
ELCAvotes: Engagement before/during/after election - ELCA Advocacy says "It is both privilege and responsibility for Lutherans in the United States to approach Election 2020 as faith-informed voters. Aware of needs and priorities in our own lives and connected with our neighbors who are equally beloved children of God, Lutherans care about government because it is a gift from God intended for the safety and flourishing of human life. We are civically engaged, mindful that too often and in too many ways, this gift has been abused." Read the full statement here.
November 3, 2020 - Presidential Election
  • Voting in person? Confirm your polling place here. Some have changed this year!
  • You can find a list of Early Voting locations and official Ballot Drop Off locations here. 
  • Check your Voter Registration here. In some cases, you can still register to vote. Call the Registrar's office for more information (858) 565-5800.
  • Where's my ballot? Sign up for the official State of California ballot tracking service BallotTrax to track your ballot from the time it is mailed to you to when it is counted.
  • Any other questions about voting? Visit vote.ca.gov 
Recommendations by the Policy Council of the LOPP-CA are made within the framework of the principals, values, and commitments of the ELCA Social Statements and ELCA Social Messages. View the Voter Guide here.
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.

 Music Ministry 

All of the choirs of Bethlehem are in the process of recording videos to be presented in our worship services in the next two months.  The Good News Singers are making their individual videos for The Hallelujah Chorus.  Any congregational members who would like to participate as a choir member in the singing of this great anthem should contact monagoetsch@gmail.com.  Videos for this project need to be submitted by November 15th. 
The second Bethlehem Virtual Talent Show will be held on December 6th.   I encourage all the talented members of  Bethlehem to join in the fun and submit your videos to cbmeiny@gmail.com. by November 20th.  If you need more time , please contact monagoetsch@gmail.com.  The talent show will be posted online  on December 6th followed by a zoom afterglow party @ 4 p.m. that afternoon. 
Check out the videos that have been produced by the Jubilation Ringers, Children's Choir, Good News Singers and World Music Ensemble.  They can be found  on the Bethlehem Lutheran Church YouTube channel if you look under videos. 
Young adults and Learning Circle children are encouraged to participate in this year's Christmas drama "Called to Christmas" that will be shown during  the livestream service on December 13th.  Children will be assigned roles and record their parts in a zoom format.  All scenes will be combined into a movie with at -home singing participation of Christmas carols between each scene. If interested in participating, please contact Constance Mithelman or Mona Goetsch.

 Giving Tree

Mission Action and Giving Tree Schedule 2020 - All through the year, the Giving Tree at the entrance of the church gives opportunities to help people. There are different projects with different leaders but the same heart.
  • October 19 - November 30:   Secret Santa, Cheryl Monreal
  • December: Happy Advent/Merry Christmas/Joyous New Year

 Giving Tree - Secret Santa Project 

Our annual Secret Santa Project has started but unlike anything seen for the last 30 years.  While the physical Giving Tree is still in the narthex, our access under current COVID 19 protocol doesn't allow us to use it for gift suggestion ornaments, sign up sheets nor drop off of purchased items and gift cards. 
The need, however, continues so we are going to adapt.
As has been the case over the decades (yes, decades), our emphasis is on local teenagers, young adults and parents, some of whom are homeless.  We continue to support Es Por Los Ninos in Baja California.   Your HELP is NEEDED!
To continue to support Bethlehem's Secret Santa program, there are a couple of options.  The easiest way is to use Bethlehem's web site, www.blcenc.org.  Click the Contribute link on the first page of the web, then the OnLine Giving and follow the directions from there.  Use the Special line and designate that your contribution is for Secret Santa.  The other way is to send a check to the church office designating Secret Santa in the memo line.  The early bird contributor is very much appreciated in a very different and difficult season of giving in 2020.
 Any questions please call Cheryl Monreal at (760) 942-1482.

 Scraps & Prayers Ministry 

Beirut August 4, 2020 explosion - Our quilts and school kits were at the pier - On August 4, 2020 explosions at the pier in Beirut directly impacted the work done by the members of Bethlehem in 2019.  Through the generosity of Bethlehem's members through Scraps and Prayers October fund raising and Bethlehem Serves, in October 2019 we sent 100 school kits and almost 30 quilts to Lutheran World Relief (LWR).  Some (possibly all) of these school kits and quilts were at the pier in Beruit when a devastating explosion occurred.  Initially thousands of quilts, school kits, etc were thought lost in the blast - among them our quilts and school kits.  But ...... at the beginning of October we were notified that through the grace of God, none of the LWR items were damaged and all could be shared with more than 24,0000 people in Lebanon.  You make a difference in the greater world. You can read the full letter here.  
Lutheran World Relief - Celebrating 75 Years of Life-Saving Love - One in five. That's how many Lutherans were left homeless in Europe after World War II. It was in response to this burgeoning humanitarian crisis that Lutherans in the United States came together to form Lutheran World Relief. And in the decades that followed so many compassionate Lutherans were relentless. Wherever a need arose, we were there, providing help and hope to countless families struggling under the gripping weight of poverty. Please visit www.lwr.org for a special video which looks back at LWR's beginnings and what this ministry has become.

 Stephen Ministry

How are you, really? This pandemic has gone on longer than we imagined with no end in sight. We are still socially isolated and missing our friends and loved ones. At the same time, we are tired of tripping over the ones we live with. The election has brought added stress and anxiety and now we worry about what new challenges the cooler weather will bring. And the upcoming holidays??
If you could use someone new and different to talk with at this time, consider a Stephen Minister. Our congregation has thirteen Stephen Ministers, both men and women who have continued to meet with people throughout this pandemic. We meet with care receivers by phone, by video conferencing, or sometimes outdoors with appropriate social distancing. We work with members of the congregation and also with non-members. Stephen Ministers are not professional counselors; they are Christian friends who will listen to you, encourage you, and pray with you.
If you would like to know more about how Stephen Ministry works or how we can help you or a loved one please contact Pr Laura, Pr Sam, or one of our Stephen Leaders; Molly Hall, Laure Reynolds, or Suzi Westmoreland.
O Lord, our Good Shepherd, just as you care for your flock and for the lost sheep, you call us to care for those within and outside our congregation who are struggling with the challenges of life. Help each of us to recognize their needs so that we can reach out with your love and compassion. Draw us ever closer, Lord, and unite us in our love for you and for one another. Amen.

 Learn Americal Sign Language (ASL)  

If you have ever wanted to learn American Sign Language (ASL), now is your chance. We offer classes for high school to adult age learners:
Bethlehem ASL Classes: Currently every Thursday on Zoom
  • 5:30-6:00 pm: Pacific Introductory class using "Learn American Sign Language" by James W. Guido 
  • 6:00-7:00 pm: Pacific Review and Conversation Practice

 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