The Week At Bethlehem

May 28, 2020
  • POSTPONED - 33rd Annual Pacifica Synod Assembly

    May 28, 2020 - May 30, 2020  
    California Lutheran University, 60 W Olsen Rd, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360, USA

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  • SUSPENDED - Bethlehem Community Library

    May 28, 2020  11:30 am - 2:00 pm

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May 29, 2020
  • POSTPONED - 33rd Annual Pacifica Synod Assembly

    May 28, 2020 - May 30, 2020  
    California Lutheran University, 60 W Olsen Rd, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360, USA

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  • VIRTUAL Tai Chi Practice

    May 29, 2020  9:00 am - 10:00 am

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May 30, 2020
  • POSTPONED - 33rd Annual Pacifica Synod Assembly

    May 28, 2020 - May 30, 2020  
    California Lutheran University, 60 W Olsen Rd, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360, USA

    See more details

May 31, 2020
June 1, 2020
  • VIRTUAL - Centering Prayer

    June 1, 2020  4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

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  • SUSPENDED - Stephen Ministers

    June 1, 2020  7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

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  • Virtual Theology on Tap

    June 1, 2020  7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
    Zoom virtual

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June 2, 2020
  • SUSPENDED - Bethlehem Community Library

    June 2, 2020  2:30 pm - 5:00 pm

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  • SUSPENDED - Yoga

    June 2, 2020  6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

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June 3, 2020
  • SUSPENDED - Scraps and Prayers

    June 3, 2020  8:30 am - 11:30 am
    Multi-use Building

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  • VIRTUAL - Tai Chi Practice

    June 3, 2020  6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

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  • SUSPENDED - High School Youth

    June 3, 2020  7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
    Multi-use Building

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  • Virtual Evening Devotion and Bethlehem Cafe

    June 3, 2020  7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

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News & Notes updated 5/5/2020

A Treasurer’s Report as of May 2020 will be available here soon.

The “State of the Congregation” by the Pastor Laura and Pastor Sam from the May 2020 newsletter can be found here.

Cancelled Events:
  • Women’s Retreat, May 1-3
  • Adventure Ministry, May 16
  • Synod Assembly, May 28-30
  • Vacation Bible School, June 29 – July 2
  • Summer Trip, August 1-8
  • Tanzania Trip, August 27 – Sept. 3

“Virtual” Opportunities for Worship, Devotion, Education and Engagement :

  • Sunday Morning Worship: We have been overjoyed to provide worship to you each Sunday morning. As pastors it is our greatest joy each week, and our music staff feels the same. Thank you for your kind comments and the “Peace be with you” that echoes throughout North County. Worship is certainly one of the common things holding us all up. Currently, there are only 5 of us in the sanctuary recording worship and our safety protocol is very strict. As restrictions and protocol change, worship will change, until we can all be together again. Meanwhile we can feel the Spirit move through it all.
  • Wednesday Evening Devotion: Beginning Wednesday, May 6 we will be offering a short evening devotion to gather us all mid-week. It will be hosted on Zoom and the link will be provided in a separate e-blast. This devotion will be followed by Bethlehem Cafe, an opportunity to see each other’s faces and connect in small breakout groups.
  • Theology on Tap: Beginning Monday, May 11th through Monday June 1st, we will begin a virtual Theology on Tap. You are invited to bring your own beverage of choice. The theme of the class will be Lutheranism 101. This will be an opportunity to connect with each other and ask important faith questions at the same time.
  • Centering Prayer:  If you would like to join in Centering Prayer on Mondays from 4:30 – 6 pm by Zoom, please contact the church office:   You will be able to join online from your computer, tablet or smart phone. Centering prayer is an opportunity for group guided meditation and prayer with a skilled facilitator. Everyone is welcome.
  • Qigong/Tai chi:  The weekly Qigong/Tai chi practices at our church will be available by Zoom.  You will be 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  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.
  • Learn American Sign Language: The Westmoreland family is hosting Zoom meetings where you can learn and practice American Sign Language. If you would like to join the fun, contact Suzi at

Opportunities to Give and Serve…

  • Bethlehem Cares Fund: We have an existing fund to help members of Bethlehem with unexpected financial need. During this pandemic we are experiencing an increased need for these funds. If you would like to contribute, please contact Judy Foland in the church office or donate through the contribute link on the website.
  • Enclosed Envelope: We thank you for your faithful support of this congregation. Please give whatever you can at this time.
  • Navajo Nation: If you would like to contribute additional funds to help the Navajo Evangelical Lutheran Mission and the work they are doing on the Navajo reservation, please contact Judy Foland in the church office or donate through the contribute link on the website.
  • Ocean Knoll: We are continuing to receive funds to support food need for vulnerable elementary school students and their families. Please contact Judy Foland in the church office or donate through the contribute link on the website.

Stephen Ministers are making phone calls to all our members in an effort to check in and see how everyone is doing. If you have any needs that we might be able to help with, please let us know. Our goal is to make certain we have reached everyone, at least once. If you have not heard from us, it is likely that we do not have a correct phone number for you. If you feel this might be you, please contact Judy Foland in the church office with a good phone number for you. 760-753-1026 or

Coronavirus Update (3/16 – 5pm):

Beginning today, March 16 we will be closing the campus completely until we are instructed that it is safe to reopen. This includes worship and all gatherings and meetings. Both preschool programs are also closed. We will keep you updated on any changes. The church office voice mail will be monitored. Please feel free to call if you have any need. Pastor Sam and I are available by phone as well. The church office phone number is 760-753-1026. It is important to stay in touch at this time.

Virtual Worship Services: Worship is essential to who we are, and so deeply necessary in times like these. We will be recording Holden Evening prayer and Sunday morning worship and they will be available on the website ( and the church Facebook page. (

  • Sunday morning worship will be available at 8:30 am Sunday. A bulletin will be created for the website as well. Bring bread and wine to your family table as we spread the grace of this meal around North County.

Bethlehem Women of the ELCA

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!

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.

  • May – Mother’s Day Thankoffering (BWELCA) – Possible move to June due to COVID-19
  • June – Center for Global Awareness (Dianne Nichols & Gail Winterbourne) – Cancelled COVID-19
  • June 29 to July 15 – Vacation Bible School/Youth Camps & Service Trips (Constance Mithelman)
  • July 16 to August 16 – Bethlehem Serves (Beth Nelson)
  • August 17 thru September – Pajama Project Appeal (Belinda Simonini)
  • September to October 15 – Lutheran World Relief Ingathering: Quilts & Blankets (Scraps and Prayers Quilting Group)
  • October 16 thru November – Secret Santa (Cheryl Monreal)
  • December – TBD

Stephen Ministry

When, for a short time, we were made orphans by being separated from you – in person, not in heart- we longed with great eagerness to see you face to face. 1Thessalonians 3:17
Do you feel alone? In this time of stress, uncertainty and isolation be assured that our Stephen Ministers are still actively caring to members of our congregation and community.   In biblical times, St Paul wrote letters to communicate with churches when he could not be present face to face. In our modern times our Stephen Ministers are blessed to have tools such as phone, video conferencing, text, and email to continue providing quality care to those in need. If our current situation is difficult for you and you would like to have someone to talk with then please reach out to our Stephen Ministry program. Our Stephen Ministers are not professional counselors, but lay people who have been trained to listen and care for people in times of need. As always, all requests and conversations are kept strictly confidential. For more information please email Laure Reynolds at
May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this. 1Thessalonians 5:23-24

ELCA Advocacy

Church and State
Why do we talk about politics at church? The ELCA’s Draft Social Message on Government and Civic Engagement tells us why. It explains why government “merits both the active support and critical engagement of Lutherans.” You can read and comment on the Draft Message at the ELCA website here. The comment period ends May 27, 2020.
Virtual Lutheran Lobby Day – Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Join LOPP-CA for our Second Annual Advocacy Day. Laypeople, pastors, and bishops will convene virtually with the California State Legislature. While we regret that we cannot gather in person at the State Capitol, we are excited that gathering virtually this year may allow people who cannot travel to join in. Register here. A link for the virtual meeting will be sent prior to the event.
Take the 2020 Census
The ELCA is a Census Partner, encouraging an accurate count, because it impacts a more just resource distribution and representation in the political process. For your neighbor and yourself – fill out your Census and encourage everyone in your community to be counted!
Follow us!
Bishop Elizabeth Eaton: Facebook, Twitter
For information or questions about Bethlehem’s Advocacy Team, contact Karin Kloehn at

Music is an important part of worship at Bethlehem.  Although, we have had to cancel our weekly rehearsals and live performance in June, we continue to connect through technology with choirs and musicians in our Bethlehem congregation and beyond.  Our Good News Singers have had three “Sip and Sing” Zoom sessions where we are singing our favorite hymns and sharing inspirational readings. Recordings of those hymns are beginning to be shared with our congregation in our worship services. The Children’s choir  recorded a special Easter message and will have another for Mother’s Day.  We are reaching out to all musicians at Bethlehem who are willing to provide at-home videos of worship songs that can be used as special music in our weekly services. Please contact our Pastors or Mona Goetsch if you are interested in adding to our music.

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: