The Week At Bethlehem

January 26, 2020
  • Third Sunday After Epiphany

    January 26, 2020

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  • Worship Service

    January 26, 2020  8:30 am - 9:30 am

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  • Worship Service

    January 26, 2020  10:00 am - 11:00 am

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  • Annual Meeting of the Congregation

    January 26, 2020  11:15 am - 12:15 pm

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January 27, 2020
January 28, 2020
  • Bethlehem Community Library

    January 28, 2020  2:30 pm - 5:00 pm

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  • Yoga

    January 28, 2020  6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

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January 29, 2020
  • Scraps and Prayers

    January 29, 2020  8:30 am - 11:30 am
    Multi-use Building

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  • Annual Meeting - BWELCA

    January 29, 2020  9:00 am - 10:00 am
    Multi-use Building

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  • Tai Chi

    January 29, 2020  6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

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  • High School Youth

    January 29, 2020  7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
    Multi-use Building

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January 30, 2020
  • Bethlehem Community Library

    January 30, 2020  11:30 am - 2:00 pm

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  • ASL - Introductory Class

    January 30, 2020  5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
    Multi-use Building

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  • ASL - Review and Practic

    January 30, 2020  6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
    Multi-use Building

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News & Notes

The 2019 Annual Report for the January 26 annual meeting is available here.

Proposed Changes to Bethlehem’s Constitution- At our annual meeting on January 26, 2020, the congregation will be asked to approve changes to Bethlehem’s Constitution. The congregation must be notified of the proposed changes at least 30 days in advance of the meeting at which the vote will be taken and be notified of the Congregation Council’s recommendation. The Council voted at its November meeting to recommend approval of the changes. A majority vote is required of voting members attending the meeting.

The changes are required to bring our constitution into compliance with language required by the ELCA. No other changes are proposed in our constitution. The only changes being proposed are those made by the ELCA’s Churchwide Assembly in August 2019 and are part of mandatory language required to be included in the constitutions of all ELCA congregations.

The changes are described in this document.

If you have any questions about the proposed changes or the process itself, contact Bob Michelet at

Learn American Sign Language (ASL): Whether you are a novice, an expert, or need a refresher, please join one or both of our ASL classes, starting this Thursday, January 30 in the Multi Use Building from 5:30-6:30 pm for Introduction to ASL and 6:30-7:30 pm for Review and Practice. The classes are designed for high school age and above. Our goal is to have fun, learn to communicate with the Deaf community, and learn about Deaf culture. For more info, contact Suzi Westmoreland at (760) 505-3365 or

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:


As you know, Chris Matthews resigned as the children’s ministry director after 3 faithful years of service to Bethlehem. His original intention was to serve a one year interim position, and we are so grateful for his joyful and faithful leadership in this important ministry. He continues to be a faithful member of the congregation and important part of our music ministry.

Mea Hudson Hall agreed to step into a three month interim position from October 1, 2019 to January 1, 2020, in order to allow Bethlehem to carefully consider the next step in children’s ministry. During that time she: organized the fall Learning Circle program and recruited teachers, updated registration materials, inventoried and organized all children’s ministry curriculum and supplies, wrote and directed the children’s Christmas Program and led two family fellowship events. I wish to thank Mea for her extraordinary skill and commitment to both children’s and youth ministry here at Bethlehem. We are very blessed.

At the same time, a group of people with investment and experience in our children’s and youth ministry gathered to consider all possible staffing options moving forward. That team included: Mark Weed, Suzi Westmoreland, Sue LaClair, Mea Hudson Hall and Pastor Laura. The recommendation of the committee was to combine children’s and youth ministry into one family ministry program. This is a model we have considered for several years. Combining both programs and creating a Director of Family Ministry, allows for continuity in the ministry we provide families here at Bethlehem. One director will now oversee all family ministry, linking children’s ministry and youth ministry in new and important ways and providing consistency in the program and its vision moving forward. An added benefit is the creation of a very stable full time staffing position. Frequent changes in part time children’s ministry and youth ministry positions are particularly detrimental to the programs. There are many benefits to a Family Ministry Program and as with anything, limitations as well. The strongest concern was the heavier work load in the summer months and the energy and time necessary to fulfill both roles.

I spoke with Constance Mithelman about the possibility of stepping into the role of Family Ministry Director. She was not only interested, but enthusiastic, invested and excited about the ministry possibilities. She has proven her expertise in youth ministry, is certified in both children and youth ministry and spent her year in the Lutheran Volunteer Core working as a 2nd grade classroom teacher. She has been a consistent presence in VBS here at Bethlehem, working with our 5th and 6th graders, simply because she recognized the value of the time invested with the kids before they enter middle school.

The recommendation of the committee was brought to the council in November and approved unanimously after careful consideration. The benefits of an overarching program, stable director and consistent ministry and vision, make this an important step forward in Bethlehem’s ministry. Thank you for all you do to support the families and youth of this congregation and our new Family Ministry Director.

In Christ,
Pastor Laura

LutherGlen Farm
February 7-9, 2020

You are invited to join Pastor Laura at LutherGlen farm for retreat February 7-9, 2020. All are welcome: families of any size, children, individuals, younger and older adults. LutherGlen is a retreat center, located 2 hours Northeast of Encinitas on the edge of the San Bernardino National Forest, near Oak Glen. It is a working farm with goats and sheep, as well as a welcoming staff and a beautiful retreat center offering gracious hospitality. The theme is “Under Construction: Ephesians 2:10 – We are what God has made us.” Please visit their website at: to register. See you there!

2020 offering envelopes are delayed until late January due to printing issues at the company supplying the envelopes. Temporary offering envelopes are available in the office for those who prefer to use envelopes. Many members and friends of Bethlehem have signed up for direct deposit for their contributions. Offering gifts can be made electronically, either on our Stewardship page at by clicking on the contribute tab, or by using the Give Plus Church mobile app. There are options for one time donations, as well as recurring gifts and special offerings.

Family Ministry News

Winter Retreats are Coming! It’s time to go to Luther Glen for a weekend to unplug, remember what is important and discover new ways God is at work in us!

High School: February 15-17
Middle School: March 6-8
Cost: $145 (scholarships available)
RSVP to Constance ( ASAP

Family Winterfest at Luther Glen. The whole family is invited for a weekend getaway to camp! The kids will have activities planned by LRCC staff and the parents/guardians will be having devotional time with Pastor Laura who was asked to lead the retreat this year!

February 7-9
Cost: Adults (12+) $105
Children (4-11) $95
Toddlers (3 and under) Free
Family Max: $350
RSVP to Constance ( ASAP

Save the Dates/RSVP:

Vacation Bible School 2020 at Bethlehem!
June 29-July 2nd.

Confirmation Camp 2020: July 12-17th
All current 6-7th graders
Cost: $435 (with scholarships available)

High School Summer Service Trip 2020: July 31- August 8th
Current 8th graders – Current Freshmen in college
Cost $450 (with scholarships available)

Music Ministry

Second Sabbath Leads Worship on Sunday, January 12th. Our Second Sabbath ensemble will lead worship at both services on Sunday, January 12th. They are dedicating their performance to Norm Keith who passed away a few months ago. Norm loved the music of Second Sabbath, especially the banjo. Norm’s birthday happens to be January 12th so we know he will be listening from heaven!

Choirs First Rehearsals in January. The first rehearsals for each group are as follows:

Children’s Choir and Chimers – January 12
Good News Singers – January 16
JuBellation Ringers – January 23

Bethlehem Women of the ELCA

Bethlehem Women of the ELCA will hold their annual meeting on January 29, 2020 at 0900 in the MUB. The annual meeting will look at all aspects of funds and projects for 2020 as well as an election of officers. All women of Bethlehem are invited and encouraged to participate.

Women’s Christmas Bazaar. Happy New Year! Thank you to all who shopped and contributed their time and talents to our annual Christmas Bazaar. It was a wonderfully successful morning for all of us. We will use the money raised to support scholarships to the Women of the ELCA’s Triennial Gathering and to other projects to support the women of the greater Bethlehem community. You truly make a difference to so many with your help.

Eleventh Triennial Gathering of Women of the ELCA
Ring in the New Year by Registering for Gathering 2020
July 16-19, in Phoenix, Arizona

Women of Bethlehem – Act Now………….Act Soon.

Join over 5,000 women from across the U.S. and the globe for worship, praise, learning, service and fellowship at the Eleventh Triennial Gathering of Women of the ELCA July 14-16, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. Women will explore the triennial’s theme “Just Love” through Bible study, keynote presentations, servant events, business meetings and more.

Scholarships are available from the Women of Bethlehem as registration is $375, day registration is $200. Please contact Bobby Allen ( for more information from one who has attended this very affirming event in the past. Maybe rent a van to drive together??? Maybe rent a place together??? Lots of potential as Phoenix is so close. Think about it. Act!

January Giving Tree

Providing support for Youth Camps and Service Trips. Please contact Constance Mithelman, for more information.

Save the Date! The next Bethlehem Women’s Retreat is scheduled for May 1 – 3, 2020 at Luther Glen.

Stephen Ministry

Happy New Year! Stephen Ministry wishes you a year of good health- physical health, mental health, emotional health, and spiritual health. Remember that Stephen Ministry is here to support you in your quest for better wellbeing. If you would like to know more about how Stephen Ministry works and how a Stephen Minister can help you or a loved one please contact Pr Sam, Pr Laura, or one of our Stephen Leaders Laure Reynolds or Molly Hall.

Lenten Course for Personal and Spiritual Growth Join us this March as we offer Discovering God’s Vision for your Life: You and your Spiritual Gifts. During this eight hour class you will find clues to your spiritual gifts using the Haugk Spiritual Gifts Inventory and other activities then we will explore ways to further develop and use your gifts. The class will run from 11:00 to 1:00 on the first four Sundays in March. Registration will begin in mid-January. A registration fee of $20 will cover the cost of books and materials. For more information contact Laure Reynolds at 760-271-3359 or

ELCA Advocacy

Save the Date – Lutheran Lobby Day May 20, 2020

Join other Lutherans from around the state at the Capitol in Sacramento. The day will include information and training to prepare you meet with your legislators to advocate for faith-based issues.

The Lutheran Office of Public Policy-California has set four legislative priorities for 2020. They are:

  • Deep Childhood Poverty
  • Homelessness and Housing Insecurity
  • Immigration
  • Food and Farming Policy.

We will be coordinating a group from Bethlehem to attend Lobby Day. If you would like to receive additional information about attending (as it becomes available), please email Karin Kloehn at and ask to be added to Bethlehem’s Advocacy Team Email Group. You can read about Lobby Day 2019 here. (Please note that all arrangements will be at your personal expense.)

Reminder: Presidential Primary Election Date – March 3, 2020

Check your voter registration status here. Additional voter and election information can be found at

ELCA Advocacy December Update: U.N. and State Edition

Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton’s Statement – December 30, 2019

Bishop Eaton responds to anti-Semitic incidents in New York.

Follow us!

LOPP- CA: Facebook, Twitter
ELCA Advocacy: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
ELCA: Facebook,Twitter, Instagram
Bishop Elizabeth Eaton: Facebook, Twitter

For information or questions about Bethlehem’s Advocacy Team, contact Karin Kloehn at

Prayer Shawl Ministry Update for the End of 2019

We have distributed 18 shawls and 6 scarves/hats to graduating hight school seniors. In addition over 50 hats (primarily the prodigious accomplishment of the Westmoreland family!) have been given to Cheryl Monreal’s projects and/or sold at the church bazaar to benefit the Women’s ministries at BLC.

We meet casually 3-4 times a year, in-between church services on Sunday mornings. Our next meeting will be in Feb, date TBD. Novice and experienced knitters welcome. And of course, please continue to knit at your leisure at home!

Interfaith Rotational Shelter 2020

Hey Bethlehem! 📢 Ready to Make a Difference?!

It’s that time again for BLC to host the homeless!

Please bring your friends and Join us on March 1-14 for” Bethlehem’s InterFaith Rotational Shelter 2020!

For those newly interested, we have partnered with the Interfaith Rotational Shelter Network (IFSN) for the past 10 years. IFSN is a collaborative effort through local congregations, social service agencies and local government entities to provide shelter, services and resources to homeless San Diegans throughout the region. BLC is part of the North County Coastal Section and the shelter is coordinated at BLC by Blair Lindberg and Diane Langager.

This year BLC will be hosting the shelter in the Multi-Use Room starting Sunday, March 1st through March 15th. We will be taking the first week, Sunday thru Saturday, March 1-7, providing all of the volunteer efforts for meals, laundry night, overnight hosts, etc.

Seaside Community Church partners with us and will cover the second week.

Church volunteers set up temporary housing in the Multi-Use Room (MUR) and dining area in the Family Center (FC) the Saturday before, February 29. The guests arrive daily at 5:30 pm at the MUR. They eat dinner nightly in the Family Center at 6:30 pm, then retire back to the MUR for the night. The guests leave early in the morning (by 7:30 am) to go to work, seek employment, or go to school (…yes, we house families too!). Guests are not allowed to stay in the shelter during the day.

There are a variety of ways you can volunteer to help with the shelter.

Here is a short list:
Set up/ Take-down ~ Prepare & Serve Dinners ~ Donate Food ~ Greeter ~ Overnight Hosts ~ Laundry ~ Transportation ~ Cash Donations

Interested in learning more or to sign up to volunteer, Go Online to:
2. register first to join Sign Up Genius (Only requires your email address and No they won’t send you extra emails)
3. Search “Bethlehem Lutheran Church IFS 2020”

If you are already registered? You should receive an invitation by email.

If Online is Not for You?

Text or call Blair Lindberg at 858-663-5681 (leave a message) and she’ll be happy to help sign you up!
And a BIG THANKS goes out to all those volunteers who make this important ministry happen! 🙏 🙏 🙏 We couldn’t help our friends make their way back on their own without you!

Blair and Diane

Adventure Ministry

Saturday, February 29, join us for an early morning hike through Annie’s Canyon and breakfast at Claire’s on Cedros! Get up early to hear the frogs and birds serenading us on a hike followed by a tasty breakfast. Join us for the hike or breakfast or both. All are welcome.

Meet for the hike at 7 am at the North Rios Avenue Trailhead, Solana Beach. (Take 101 south, east on Lomas Santa Fe, north on North Rios Avenue). Breakfast follows at 9:30 am at Claire’s on Cedros, 246 North Cedros Avenue, Solana Beach. Contact Dennis Astroth, Eileen Lajimodiere, or Suzi Westmoreland for any questions.

Upcoming adventures planned for May 16, July 18, September 12, and November 7. Watch for more details to come.

Sunday Ride Ministry

Sunday Ride Ministry is a program we are starting at Bethlehem to lend a hand and a ride to church services for those in our church in need. If you can occasionally give a ride please sign up in the church entrance or contact Rose Moldenhauer