"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

October 2020

News and Events
From Council and Pastors
Dear People of Bethlehem,
What a year this has been! 2020 has been unlike anything in recent memory and has presented, not only our congregation, but the entire world, with so many challenges to be overcome. It has been a year of great loss and mourning. A year where much that was looked forward to with eager anticipation, ended up not being able to happen, or else looked incredibly different than what we had envisioned. It has been a year of reevaluation of priorities, as well as sacrifice; difficult decisions done out of love for our neighbor and a commitment to the common good. But in the midst of all of that, it has also been a year of surprising grace, unexpected moments of joy, and a lesson in the strength and resiliency of the human spirit.
Despite the narratives of scarcity around us, stories that would leave us fearful and worried about there not being enough, God's abundance has shown up in unique and wonderful ways. Especially here at Bethlehem. Which is why the theme for this year's stewardship focus is "Discovering Abundance in a Time of Scarcity."
First and foremost, we want to say thank you. Thank you for the ways that you have continually, graciously, and joyfully supported the work of this congregation. Through your financial support, the countless volunteer hours you have shared, and the time and energy you have given participating in this community in brand new ways, you have helped Bethlehem live into new and exciting expressions of what it means to be the church. We are so grateful for you!
As we look forward to next year, we need your help to plan as best we can. Knowing what your planned contributions are for 2021 helps us to create a budget that faithfully and honestly facilitates the work of this congregation.
Now, more than ever, we need to understand the importance of being a community of faith. Just as we wear our masks, not always for our own safety, but for the safety of our neighbor, whether we know them personally or not, we must support one another as the people of Bethlehem. This has been a difficult year, and as we ask God to guide our giving, we know that some of you may not be able to increase your pledge from last year, or may even need to decrease your planned gifts. If that is the case, please know that we fully understand, and if we can be of any assistance to your or your family please reach out and let us know. For others, this may not be the case. If you are in a position to increase your support for our congregation, if you have the ability to step forward so as to allow others to step back, we ask that you prayerfully consider that option as you fill out this year's pledge card.  
Given our new worship practices, our usual Commitment Sunday will not be possible. However, if you are attending our in-person worship service on either October 4th or 11th, we ask that you bring your completed pledge cards with you and place them in the baskets provided. If not, please feel free to return them by mail. We also have an electronic way of responding with your pledge through a Survey Monkey link (see below). Rest assured these responses will be safe and confidential. 
Like everything else, our return to "normal" is filled with uncertainties, but there are three certainties you can count on: God's Spirit will carry us into this new "normal." With support from you and people like you, Bethlehem will continue to be the church together in service to the world. And finally, and most importantly, God's love, grace, and mercy will find you, wherever you may be. For never before have the words of the Apostle Paul been so true and so needed -
"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Blessings to you and your family, and thank you for your support of the work of this Congregation.
In Christ,
The Bethlehem Lutheran Church Council, 
Pastor Sam and Pastor Laura
**As mentioned above, here is the link to fill out your pledge electronically via Survey Monkey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DR32HHH

 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 Oct. 4 and 18 in the "Grace" group or Oct. 11 and 25 in the "Hope" group.
-      After a successful September, the reopening team has increased 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.

 Adult Education Opportunity 

Thursday, Oct. 1 at 7pm, all are welcome to join Pastor Laura, Pastor Sam and Mea Hutson Hall for the first of 4 conversations on race. These are weighty issues for us all and we will engage in faithful and important conversation. For this reason, we have named the class, "A Listening Space." Come prepared to listen to others and to speak your heart.
We will be utilizing videos by Bishop Michael Curry of the Episcopal Church as well as other educated voices to guide our conversation. There will be ample time for small group conversation as we learn and grow together.
Join us for a 4 week series beginning Thursday, Oct. 1st thru Thursday, Oct. 22 at 7pm. Contact the church office for the Zoom link.

 Music Ministry 

No Stopping the Music at Bethlehem! - Music at Bethlehem continues to thrive  in our COVID environment!  The Jubellation Ringers and Children's Chimers have begun rehearsals outside wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.  They will be performing in the outside services September 27th, October 11, November 1 (chimers) and November 22. You can view the beautiful performance Okwagala Kwe (Love) performed by the World Music Ensemble on this YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmX0XvEubk4 or go to the Bethlehem YouTube channel. The Children's Choir has just finished performing on their video  We are the Salt, We are the Light which will be featured in the services during Bethlehem's stewardship drive in October. And finally, the Good News Singers are creating individual videos that will be combined to sing Christ is the Rock for our Reformation service on October 25th. Trumpet and Euphonium will also add to the festive sound of that festival Sunday!
Two upcoming congregational opportunities will be happening in the fall/winter season.  The Good News Singers will be creating  individual videos that will combine to sing  The Hallelujah Chorus for our Christmas program. If you might be interested in participating in this virtual experience, please contact monagoetsch@gmail.com. All videos must be submitted by November 18th. 
Secondly,  we are sponsoring the Second Virtual Talent Show!  We had such success this summer on the first one that we are going to invite all to share their Christmas talents for the show scheduled for December 6th.   Videos for the talent show will need to be submitted to cbmeiny@gmail.com by November 20th.  On December 6th, the talent show will be put on YouTube for viewing.  That afternoon, we will have a Talent Show Afterglow Party for all participants and viewers  at 4 p.m.!   More information to come as we get closer to the dates. 
Plans are also in the works for a Zoom Christmas Program for Kids and Young Adults entitled Called to Christmas  on December 13th.
 ELCA Advocacy 
November 3, 2020 - Presidential Election - Voting is our greatest right and responsibility in a democracy.
Virtual Evening with Regina Banks - Oct. 1 at 7 pm: To register, email Edie Lott at thelotts@gmail.com with your name, congregation and city. You will receive a Zoom Meeting Invitation before the event.  

Ballot Measure Voter Guide from the Lutheran Office of Public Policy - California.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. Download a copy here.
Text-bank training from LOPP-CA for contacting faith-based voters for the 
Yes on 16 campaign- Text-banking is the new phone-banking - a great way to reach out to voters. Learn how, and join others in faith-based advocacy.  LOPP-CA has adopted Prop. 16 as one of two ballot propositions to take action on this year because it is a concrete way to begin to overturn a racist policy that was enacted twenty-four years ago. When Prop 209 was passed, many believed that affirmative action was no longer needed. But the truth is that racism is alive and well. Reversing the ban on affirmative action is one small step we can take right now to help remove barriers to marginalized communities. You can read more about why LOPP-CA supports Prop. 16 in our Voter Guide. For more information about the text-bank training, contact Louise Julig at ljulig@me.com
Advocacy in Quarantine - Every Wednesday at 12:00pm - Stay informed and join the vital work of Advocacy! The Lutheran Office of Public Policy-California hosts a ZOOM meeting each Wednesday at 12:00pm to provide an update on current legislative action and advocacy work. The meetings are 25 minutes long, and end with one or two suggested Action Items that will take you no more than 5 minutes to accomplish. More info LOPP-CA
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

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 1 - 18:  Lutheran World Relief Ingathering: Quilts & Blankets,
    Scraps and Prayers Quilting Group
  • October 19 - November 30:   Secret Santa, Cheryl Monreal
  • December: Happy Advent/Merry Christmas/Joyous New Year

 Scraps & Prayers Ministry 

Lutheran World Relief Quilts 2020 - October is the time of year when Scraps and Prayers typically pulls all the finished quilts out of storage and displays them on the pews in anticipation of their shipment to Lutheran World Relief (LWR).  This year, however, because of COVID a much smaller number of quilts have been made. During the early days of the pandemic we gave away bins and bins of material to sewers throughout the area to meet the need for masks for medical and personal use.  Thousands of masks were made with our donated material.   When we were tired of sewing masks, we resumed sewing quilt tops. In August we began again to tie quilts - in the breezeway with four or five people, observing social distancing guidance.
Despite the limitations, this year we have already been able to donate baby quilts and full size quilts to Gently Hugged, to Support the Enlisted Project, to CRC's Holiday Basket project, to UCSD for the foster teens entering college this fall, and to the Wounded Warrior Project at Camp Pendleton. In a couple of weeks, we hope to have 20 quilts to ship to LWR.  That may not seem like a large number but given the challenges this year, we are thankful that we may have twenty.  
In past years, when we displayed quilts on the pews, we have always offered a small portion of the quilts to the congregation to help support the quilting ministry. The money we raise is used to purchase fabric, batting, and supplies. This year, because of the limitations we will not have quilts available for fundraising efforts.
What can you do this year? - If you would like to continue to support the work of Bethlehem's quilting ministry you could send a check to the church office designating Scraps and Prayers in the memo line. Or, if you would like to support LWR , you can donate to the LWR Quilt & Kit Shipping Fund at www.lwr.org/donate/shippingfund. These funds are used to ship our quilts and kits to wherever they are needed around the world.

Social Distancing and Quilt Tying

 Giving Tree - Secret Santa Project 

Our annual Secret Santa Project is starting on October 19th 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, send a check to the church office designating "Secret Santa" in the memo line.  The early bird check write 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.

 Stephen Ministry

Are You Experiencing Pandemic Fatigue? - Are you feeling exhausted from all the disruptions to life brought on by the pandemic? Are you or someone you know struggling with challenges like . . .
  • Isolation and loneliness;
  • Anxiety over health;
  • Grief due to many different kinds of losses;
  • Tension from juggling work, childcare, and schooling;
  • Financial strain or job loss;
  • Uncertainty about the future; or
  • Other unexpected life challenges?
If so, you don't have to face it alone. Our Stephen Ministers are ready to listen, care, encourage, and provide emotional and spiritual support.
A Stephen Minister will meet with you privately-by phone, by video chat, or, if safely possible, in person-to offer care and support. It's free and completely confidential. For more information please contact Pr Laura, Pr Sam, or one of our Stephen Leaders, Molly Hall, Laure Reynolds, or Suzi Westmoreland.
Visit https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/hhsa/programs/bhs/covid19_resources.html   for information and resources from the San Diego County on how to manage your mental health and cope during COVID.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28


 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