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

Building Community


           Recently, I was able to take a break and go on vacation. It was good. I decided to head out to New Orleans for the Jazz Festival and became inspired by the food, the music, and the atmosphere. But, the biggest thing I brought back home with me is something that I found along the way.

           Since I had a layover in Phoenix anyway, I thought I would catch up with a few old friends, one of whom was the Rev. Dr. Jeff Schrank. He is the one that puts on a big conference in February every year where thousands of LCMS leaders network and learn about the Best Practices in Ministry.

           Jeff probably thought I was looking for a job when I asked to see him. They have a vacancy and need a young pastor to lead their congregation when he retires. I assured him (and a few other folks I met at his church) that I am where I belong. I love it here! Then, he asked about my parents because he was my Dad’s roommate in seminary. I wasn’t really there to talk about them either. The reason I stopped by was to learn. I had seen what he was able to do—using a simple Bible Summer camp to fund his entire conference filled with free food and multiple guest speakers every year. Then, he gave me one of the greatest gifts you can ever give someone else: advice.

We did not meet in his office because it looks more like a storage closet than a meeting space. It seemed to be where he went only when he needed to type or print something—or store things he was hoping to give to other people. Instead, we walked out into the courtyard, and as we did, Jeff began a MasterClass—showing me--and not just telling me--what I needed to know to be a good pastor:

1. Presence and Approachability. As we sat there and talked, kids from his school would pop up and ask him questions. He would need to go and help find the sugar for the lunch they were making together. Other folks would walk by and Jeff would always stop and give them a warm “hello.” Although he is really introverted, he was able to show them he cared with gusto.

2. Awareness. “Take a drive around the neighborhood,” he said. We both serve “commuter churches.” His is in downtown Phoenix and ours is pretty close to downtown Monterey. People come from all over to worship here together. But, what about throughout the week? “Where are the kids going? What are they doing? What’s happening?” Think about, “What do they care about?” At the end of the day, Jeff told me that what the church really needs to ask is, “How can we help?”

3. Lead. "You’re the driving force,” he said to me. Any project that the congregation gets behind needs you to be behind it because they see you leading it and guiding it, making sure it will all work out. (This might also mean dropping a few projects that I cannot personally make time for.)

4. Build Community. “You’re the community creator,” he summarized. A building is a resource to leverage—be careful about designated spaces (stay adaptable)—and the events need to generate revenue that fall within our mission. “See where people are alone right now and ask, ‘How can I create community for them?’” (And, when they cannot come here, he said, “get mobile.”)

As we step back and contemplate these areas, I believe God will reveal who we are meant to be:

1.    Presence and Approachability. We have a patio out front and a brand-new marquee sign—three of our four new members joined because they stopped by on a weekday. You see me out in the community, not only to make friends, but to let them know that a pastor and a church still care for them, even if they haven’t been here for a while. As I was talking with a member who joined our church last year, they relayed how important it was for them to know that the church was there for them—when I see you introducing yourselves to visitors and making sure everyone feels welcome (aptly adjusting to their comfort level), I rejoice.

2.    Awareness. As we go to the community, we need to see the need. Who is alone? How can we help them? How can we get them together? The Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) had a demographic study done this year on the tri-county area and relayed the fact that we need to be bringing different types of people together in order to flourish in our region in the future. The older residents need to care for the students who may not look or act like them (according to their observations, the failure to do this is part of the reason why public schools don’t receive the funding they need). Could you imagine the church’s impact if we were the ones to do this? What if we implemented our heart and Christian beliefs in order to make sure that Jesus’ love is what is connecting them? Speaking of “awareness,” on a personal level, we need to know how our words and actions effect those around us. One cutting comment can remove someone from the faith their entire life.

3.    Lead. The best way to be a part of any community event or faith-based program for LCMS Lutherans is to lead it. Not only do we become a Christian example for all, but if we are setting the guidelines, we are able to be involved. So many other groups and opportunities have given into ideologies that we cannot support. But, if we are leading the way, we can make a space for those who would like to participate with us.

4.    Build Community. To summarize, our mission is to “worship God as a loving community that grows in faith and shares the gospel.” Building this community is God’s work through us, and Bethlehem will soon become a sanctuary for those in need… in the world, but not of it… revealed as a source of support and encouragement in faith. People should be taking their breaks in our courtyard. Our neighbors should know some of our names. This building should be thriving every day… creating a space with Christ for those who feel alone right now. And, when they cannot come here, let’s get out there!

I don’t have all of the answers, but these seem to be a few of the right questions. I am honored to serve and excited to see how God will answer these questions through you.


In Christ,

Pastor Josh Schmidt

P.S. Thank you to everyone who signed up for Rev. Dr. Dale Meyer’s Summer Conference this year (June 6th-8th)! If you have any questions about the conference, contact Stephanie Calica at

President's Report

pictured above with our friend Vince

Revelation 3:8 [Jesus Said] I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

There we were sitting in Bible class discussing the time Jesus took what the disciples had and turned 5 loaves of bread and two fish miraculously into enough to feed 5000.  Yes, He provides for our needs and then some. I think we all felt a little wanting. We could also tell Pastor Josh was under the weather and had caught a cold and I was distracted with sympathy for Pastor Josh and quite honestly the pending voters meeting.   A gentleman and his wife, who had shown up early for church, were wandering on the patio. I don’t usually get up and leave in the middle of Bible Study, but I was drawn to do so and introduced myself to them. As you may know now it was Pastor Bob Scudieri and his wife Lynn. Pastor Bob did his Vicarage here at Bethlehem 55 years ago. He joined us and cheered us up as he reminisced about the good days he had back in 1969. What a nice surprise! Pastor Josh invited him to robe up and join in running the service and what a fabulous service it was with Pastor Josh’s sermon, Hannah playing Amazing Grace and Christopher Lesher’s Confirmation. 

Then it was off to the potluck and voters meeting, where Pastor Josh, with a hoarse voice, squeezed out his report that highlighted growth and blessings. By then Pastor was exhausted and had to excuse himself. We went on and approved $6,471 to be distributed from the Endowment Fund. We heard a status on the school spinoff, gave CCAMB a check from our allocated CCAMB Scholarship Fund (we awarded a student $308), and bid them well with warm wishes. We studied the Board approved Balanced Budget for Fiscal Year 2025. I finished with a short Board report.

Because Pastor Josh had excused himself earlier, Pastor Bob Scudieri closed us in Prayer. He prayed for the school, church and all of us. mentioning doorways to new future endeavors. What a blessing and praise God for He did provide for our needs.

Later that night he sent us the following thank you note:

Hi Ken, Pastor Bob Scudieri here. Thank you for your warm hospitality this morning. Lynn and I agree, the culture of Christian love, and outreach, are like the culture we knew at Bethlehem 55 years ago. We would love to stay in touch and help however we can. May our Lord continue to open new doors of opportunity, none as miraculous as the open door to Jesus' tomb! If God can open that door, He can open new opportunities for Bethlehem.

Let’s seek our Lord, watch for new doors of opportunity opening, support Pastor Josh, and as he said in his newsletter, build community and receive what God provides and be fed until we are full. 

Ken Goebel

Upcoming Events


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

June 6-8 - Dr. Meyer in Monterey CSL Conference

June 9 - Women's I-HELP

June 15 - Father's Day Fundraiser

June 21-22 - Youth Lock-In at Faith Lutheran Church

June 24-28 - Vacation Bible School


June 4 - Youth Meeting


Happy Birthday!

June 2 - Ken Goebel

June 3 - Hannah Hueffmeier

June 6 - Mike Bustos

June 12 - Mark Johnson

June 15 - Safeer Parveen

June 15 - Alexandra Schouwenberg

June 16 - Lillian King

June 27 - Larry Anderson

June 30 - Cameron Boone

Praise Report

We spent over a year praying for Little Nathaniel.  We started praying before he was born that his mother would be able to carry him as close to full term as possible.  His mother carried him 38 days after her water broke with bed rest and hospitalization.  Nathaniel was born at 26 weeks weighing just under 2 pounds.

We continued to pray for his breathing, eating, and growing. He had many setbacks due to being born so early.  We prayed for him and his parents while they were in Japan and after they were finally able to be safely airlifted stateside. 

Today, Nathaniel is a bubbly little boy, walking, clapping his hands, and laughing.  He enjoys music and trying to bounce along.  This makes his grandma’s heart sing as she has taught for several decades locally (and continues to teach) students studying violin and viola.  When you see this little boy, you would never know the journey he has had in his short life.  God watched over his parents and his little body.  Praise God for all the answered prayers!  

Financial Report

Month of April

Beginning Balance


April Income


April Expenses


Ending Balance


Feel free to contact me if you have questions.

Bob McCully

Youth Ministry

“The Youth Room” - June 2024

E3 Youth Ministry Update

12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.  1 Thess 3:11-13 NIV

Things are moving right along with our burgeoning youth group. This month we will be hosting a Lock-in at Bethlehem, as well as a “regular” youth meeting. As we get into a routine of youth meetings and “invite a friend” activities, I am excited to see how God will grow our youth group and it’s influence in the younger set of our community here on the Monterey Peninsula. 

Unfortunately, we will not be attending the Higher Things Conference in Portland next month. This difficult decision was made so that we can focus more on growing our group locally, stewarding our resources wisely, and gearing up for the National Youth Gathering next year. Thank you for those that have prayed over our group in preparation for this event. In a perfect world we could “do it all”, but we live in anything but a perfect world. 

We are instead, hoping to attend a Christian Concert overnight trip to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in September, as well as hosting additional fun events this summer and fall. 

Getting back to the subject of National Youth Gathering, please mark your calendars for Saturday June 15, from 3-6. Our Youth will be hosting a Father’s Day Barbeque Fundraiser that afternoon.  More details will be coming soon! 

LWML Grant Update!!! 

We were Approved!!! At the LWML District convention last Month, the Bethlehem Lutheran Youth Ministry program was approved to receive $7000.00! of the 24 submissions that were approved, we were prioritized to 4th in line to receive funds. We don’t know quite yet when the funds will physically be dispersed, but we are so grateful for the generosity of the LWML and God’s faithfulness. 

In the meantime, if you would like to contribute to getting the youth room setup for our kids, I have created an amazon wish list of things that we can use. Please take a look and check back often for updates and changes. 


Continually and always, thank you for your support, generosity and prayers. My sincere hope is that our Youth Ministry will not only be a blessing to the youth who attend, but to our congregation and the Monterey area. We are just getting started! 

On a personal note, thank you to all who congratulated Christopher on his Confirmation on May 19, and to those who have prayed for him and June over the last 3 years. Bethlehem is such a special family of believers, and my family and I are so blessed to be here.  

By His Grace, 


VBS Update

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12 NIV

“All roads lead to Rome”. 

“There’s more than one way to skin a cat”. 

“Six in one, half a dozen in the other”.

All of these idioms basically say the same thing: it doesn’t matter how you get there, you’ll still end up with the same result. 

Unfortunately, by too much of our society, this way of thinking gets applied to Faith, and ultimately, eternity in Heaven. Whether it be the belief that many faiths lead to the same Heaven, or that we can earn our place in Heaven by being a good enough person, this way of thinking is eternally dangerous for those who profess it. 

We know that this isn’t the Truth. The Bible, and specifically Jesus, has told us as much. “I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE.” (John 14:6) Period. No ambiguity, no room for anything else. 

On Day 4 of VBS, through John’s first-hand account of Jesus’ teaching in John Ch 14, and the assertions of Acts Ch 4, the kids will learn that Jesus is the ONLY way to eternity in Heaven. 

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. Eph 4:14-15 NIV

Once we know the Truth, it is our responsibility to share that Truth with as many people as will hear it. If your friend was walking around with toilet paper sticking out of their pants, and headed up on stage for a solo performance, you would quietly tell them so they could avoid the embarrassment. 

Likewise, but so much more imperative, if we truly believe that ‘Truth comes from God’, that ‘His plan is always best for us’, that ‘Everyone needs Jesus’, because ‘He is the only way to Heaven’, then we have no choice but to share these Truths within our circle of Influence. 

But today’s culture teaches that believing these truths makes us hateful or intolerant. Love and Tolerance are now culturally defined as never telling someone they are doing something wrong, or that we disagree with them. 

On Day 5 of VBS, kids will hear that it is because of our love for our neighbors and friends, and belief that God is our ultimate authority, that we should do all that we can to share these truths, as Peter encouraged in his first letter to the Church: 

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” 1 Peter 3:15 NIV.  

We are still in Need of Volunteers! 

Particular needs are: 

Games Rotation Leader – Setup and lead students in active games that reinforce the days lesson. (curriculum provided, just follow the instructions)

Adventure Guide – Lead a group of students to their station for Bible story, craft, games, and bible challenge. There are Station Leaders that will lead each activity. 

Snack Prep – Prepare a small snack for all children each day. 

Closing Celebration Lunch Coordinator – plan with Crystal, and Prepare a lunch for VBS Staff, the children and their families on Friday June 28 after VBS ends (12:30-ish).

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. 


Our Vacation Bible School has a meal on Friday, June 28 at 12:30 and is asking for your help!

If you are a Thrivent member, you can apply for two $250 action cards a year to be used for different ministries. If every Thrivent member would do this, just twice a year, it would mean $500 going to the program OF YOUR CHOICE at Bethlehem Lutheran Church - Youth events, Endowment Fund, Evangelism - I-HELP, etc.

The applicant simply needs to send in the application (see link) to their Thrivent rep and do a short report (with pictures) afterwards. BLC would appreciate any pictures as well! Thank you in advance for your invaluable help for our little church's finances.


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.

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