Service to our Neighbors
Bethlehem Serves | Interfaith Shelter | Scraps and Prayers | Prayer Shawls | Lutheran World Relief | SD Pride | Advocacy
Community Resource Center (CRC) | Es Por Los Ninos | Community Library | The Giving Tree | Pajama Project | Sage Garden
Third Avenue Charitable Organization (T.A.C.O.) | Saturday Community Breakfast | Food Pantry
One Sunday a year in mid-September, Bethlehem gathers on a Sunday morning that we might go out in the community to serve. Rather than a worship service on that day, it is the service of our hands, as close to 200 of us go out to 15 projects all over North County. We work at the Rancho Costal Humane Society, the Olivenhain Guest Home, the Community Resource Center and much more. We make toiletry kits for the houseless and school bags for children in need. Then tired and full of joy, we come back for a shared meal. What a gift!
Contact: Mona Goetsch, mona.goetsch.gmail.com
Once yearly at BLC we are happy to be a host shelter for San Diego County’s Interfaith Shelter Network (ISN) rotational program. For two weeks of the year we take a turn along with other churches around the county hosting homeless individuals, couples, and families finding themselves in a period of transition with no current permanent housing. During this time our guests sleep on comfortable beds which we set up in divided cubicles on campus. We provide food for all meals and offer a full hot dinner complete with a prayer and fellowship nightly. All services are done by BLC members and friends on a volunteer basis. Experiencing friendships made as God’s hands in our world is a joy we find very rewarding! We hope you’ll sign up and join us next time!
Contact: Blair Lindberg, firstname.lastname@example.org
Scraps and Prayers
Meets every Wednesday 8:30 to 11:30am, Multi-Use Room
Quilts, crafted in love and prayer.
This group of Bethlehem Women sews quilts, and assembles school bag and fabric kits for people in need. We meet each Wednesday morning from 8:30 to 11:30am in the Multi-Use Room. We need your help cutting, sewing and tying quilts. No experience necessary! Come along for an hour or the whole morning; we’d love to share our scraps and prayers with you!
Contact: Laure Reynolds, email@example.com
The prayer shawl ministry shares fellowship while creating shawls and scarves for members of our congregation who are facing times of change or challenge. The prayer shawl ministry welcomes all knitters who are interested in contributing to our mission, whether beginner, expert, or anywhere in between.
Contact: Janet Mastrogany, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lutheran World Relief
The women’s group gathers information from Lutheran World Relief (LWR) to communicate charitable opportunities to the congregation. Our Scraps and Prayers group creates many quilts each year for the LWR Mission Quilt Ministry, as well as fabric kits and school kits. LWR is an international nonprofit organization, working to end poverty and injustice by empowering some of the world’s most impoverished communities to help themselves. With partners in 35 countries, LWR seeks to promote sustainable development with justice and dignity by helping communities bring about change for healthy, safe and secure lives; engage in Fair Trade; promote peace and reconciliation; and respond to emergencies. LWR is headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, and has worked in international development and relief since 1945.
Contact: Laure Reynolds
As an open and affirming congregation, Bethlehem has been involved with the San Diego Pride week events for many years, including the Light Up the Cathedral interfaith worship service, as well as marching in the Pride Parade with other San Diego County Lutherans.
In 2022 Bethlehem participated in the SD Pride Parade as its own marching contingent for the first time ever!
For too long, the church has been, and in many places continues to be, a source of great pain and trauma for the LGBTQIA+ community. As a Reconciling in Christ congregation, Bethlehem is committed to being a welcoming and inclusive place. We seek to provide a place of healing, while openly acknowledging and repenting of the history of hurt that has been caused by the church, and our members seek to be allies in all matters concerning advocacy and justice.
Connecting Faith and Public Life
As members of the ELCA, we believe that through faithful advocacy we can work for change in public policy to help advance the common good. We work through political channels on behalf of the following biblical values:
- Hospitality to strangers
- Care for creation
- Concern for people living in poverty
On the ELCA Advocacy website you can:
- Learn our Legislative Priorities
- Access in-depth information to help equip you to be a more effective advocate
- Read the ELCA Social Statements
- Read the ELCA Social Messages
- Read the Advocacy Blog
- Join the Advocacy Network to received Advocacy Alerts
- Visit the Action Center to see what action you can take today
- Visit the Lutheran Office of Public Policy-California
Community Resource Center (CRC)
Bethlehem supports CRC, a social service agency in Encinitas with a mission of ending hunger, homelessness and domestic violence in San Diego’s North County. They have numerous volunteer opportunities for individuals, as well as groups, and Bethlehem contributes volunteers for a project at CRC during “Bethlehem Serves” Sunday, as well as CRC’s annual Holiday Baskets event. In addition, donations of food, clothing , household goods and money benefit CRC’s many programs, including a food distribution center, domestic violence shelter and three resale stores. Visit crcncc.org to learn more!
Es Por Los Niños
Es Por Los Ninos is a binational non-profit organization helping children, women and adolescents infected with the AIDS virus in Baja California Mexico. Lacking financial resources and education, this vulnerable population is struggling to survive. For 20 years, the members of Bethlehem have supported Es Por Los Ninos, by donating clothing, supplies and money, including gifts from our Secret Santa program and school bags assembled during Bethlehem Serves. Donations are welcome at anytime; please call Cheryl Monreal for more information.
Contact: Cheryl Monreal 760-942-1482
Bethlehem Lending Library is located in the Multi-Use Building and is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:30pm – 5:00pm. We provide service to the community, mainly grade school aged children (kindergarten – 8th grade). Younger children visit as well. We accept gently used children’s books, and volunteers are welcome too!
Contact: Sally von Zirngibl
The Giving Tree
The Giving Tree is located in the narthex of the church. All through the year, the Giving Tree provides opportunities for the Congregation to help people. There are different projects, with different leaders, but the same heart. Thanks for taking a slip of paper from the tree or signing up for a project on the clipboards below the tree.
Pajama Sewing Project
Meets one Saturday a month, Family Center
During 2017, the Pajama Project’s amazing volunteers sewed 510 pairs of flannel pajama pants for teenagers in need in our community and 812 pairs of children’s pajamas. The garments were distributed through various social service agencies, churches and military organizations in San Diego County. Over 200 pairs of pajamas were distributed to the Santa Rosa, CA fire victims and pillowcases made during Bethlehem Serves were distributed to victims of hurricanes in Texas and the Gulf Coast.
Contact: Belinda Simonini, email@example.com
The Sage Garden Project is a program that brings gardens, cooking classes, and nutritional science – as well as opportunities for physical activity and exercise – to targeted elementary schools. The goal of the program is to reduce the incidence of diabetes. Because the disease is developing at an epidemic rate in the Hispanic/Latino population, schools with a large percentage of these students are targeted for participation.
We have been the blessed to be on the schedule for Bethlehem Serves day for several years. Volunteers help maintain the school garden, complete adult required projects and deep clean out nutritional science lab. During the summer months we have a weekly volunteer day in the garden on Friday mornings from 9-11 to help maintain the garden while the students are on summer break. Participant share in the harvest at the end of their shift. All are welcome!
Contact: Karen Saake
Master Gardener, Sage Garden Project
Third Avenue Charitable Organization ministers to the homeless population and is located at First Lutheran Church at 3rd and Ash Streets in downtown San Diego. This ministry is supported by many Churches and social groups around San Diego County.
Saturday Community Breakfast
In association with St. Andrews Episcopal Church, BLC volunteers on the fourth Saturday every month to prepare, cook and serve a hearty breakfast to 80-100 local folks in need, including fresh fruit, eggs, pancakes and (everyone’s favorite!) over 16 lbs of bacon. Volunteers provide additional services of mobile showers, toiletries, haircuts, and fresh clothes.
St Andrew’s Saturday Breakfast Program is held at 890 Balour Drive, Encinitas, CA 92024, 9-11 am Saturdays.
Contact: Naida Malchiodi
Our food donations support the food pantry at Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church which distributes food to many local families and seniors in need. There is a collection basket in the Narthex to place your donations. Donations should consist of shelf stable products such as canned, dried and packaged food or meals. Also, $10 and $25 grocery store gift cards are much needed for emergencies.
Top Items Needed for St. Andrews Food Pantry:
- Peanut Butter
- Evaporated Milk and Powdered Milk
- Canned Pinto Beans and Dry Beans
- Tomato Sauce and Stewed Tomatoes
- Canned Fruit and Vegetables
- Oatmeal and Cereal
- Mac & Cheese
- Top Raman and Instant Soup
Contact: Cynthia Heigold