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February Bethlehem Star

From the Pastor’s Desk

Dear Friends,

Discipleship is a main theme in Matthew’s gospel, which is the primary gospel being read in worship each week.  Mathew is also being studied in our Thursday Bible Study.


How then does discipleship happen?  How exactly do we follow our Lord Jesus from one day to the next?


So when I am home for a day in the week, here is what usually happens:  Luther’s morning prayer before getting out of bed, look out the window for weather, bed made, Cheerios and juice, devotions, and news off the web, wash dishes, gym on MWF, wash a load of clothes, lunch (usually peanut butter sandwich), check mail, countless trips down the hallway and back looking for something, and continuous chatter inside my head!  Throw in reading occasionally, a little worry, anxiety, thankfulness and looking ahead and that’s how most days go.


How does the presence of God and discipleship fit into this routine?  Well, in the midst of talking to myself, there are flashes of prayer and then when there are errands to run, there are moments when I actually say to myself, “Can I convey something of Christ’s kindness to the people encountered at the store, gas station and tire shop?”  Now mind you, this doesn’t always happen, but when it does, there is more intentionality in my behavior.  You know, a little more patience, a smile, small talk, perhaps even a prayer for the person who is doing his/her job.  I’m sure there are issues they are dealing with in their lives.  It’s all pretty routine, but then Luther reminds us that the parent changing a diaper or a maid sweeping the floor is doing holy work.  It’s called vocation.  God managing and caring for the world through us.

And where is God in this ordinary, daily enterprise?  God is present in our homes, at work and school.   God is there, giving you and me every breath we take, calling forth life itself.  Jesus is present, extending care and forgiveness, granting us courage and providing some ethical teachings we can attempt to follow.  The Holy Spirit is present granting us faith, praying on our behalf, sending us out as the Lord’s agents, as salt and light.


So there you go, Beloved Children of God, discipleship happens right in our homes and especially too as we go out into our communities to work, to volunteer, to shop, to vote.  Before we vote, we would do well to read again, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, Matthew, Chapters 5-7.  Good, honest, ethical government is another way God works in the world.  Thank you for your faithful discipleship!


See you Sunday and at Places along The Way,

Pastor Randy


A note from the council

Often as I sit in worship and listen to the Pastor’s words, they connect with a personal life situation.  One recent Sunday he spoke of the birth of Jesus and how Mary and Joseph had to flee Bethlehem to avoid the wrath of Herod and how we often times must change our plans due to unforeseen circumstances.  On another Sunday he mentioned that, on average, people change vocations up to 7 times during their life, and reassured us that Jesus is with us not just in church but also as we go into the world and make challenging decisions.  These words came at a time that my husband and I were advising our youngest son as he makes decisions about college, what classes to take, and how it will impact his long term plans.  Perhaps it helped him to be reminded about how change is constant and that he can only make the best decisions he can with the information available at the time. 


The Sunday I write this, the gospel was Matthew 3:13-17, the baptism of Jesus.  Pastor relayed how Jesus became one with us and lived among us and that through him we receive an identity, a sense of comfort and belonging.  Pastor recalled a time in his childhood when his family moved and he had to start at a new school.  His mother went to school with him and sat with him in the back of the class until he was comfortable. 


During one school year, when my oldest son was seven, we found out that he had a tumor in his abdomen that was pushing against his spine causing a curvature.  We soon found out the tumor was benign but it was determined that he needed immediate surgery.  After almost a week in the hospital and more days of healing at home, it was time for him to return to school.  His father and I had been by his side constantly for two weeks and he was very apprehensive about going back to class.  We discussed this with his teacher and it was suggested that I stay with him until he became comfortable.  I remember sitting in that little chair at the back of the class, waiting for the right moment to quietly exit.  The memory brought tears to my eyes.


Many a Sunday morning God speaks to me through the readings, hymns, and Pastor’s sermon.


What will God say to you on Sunday morning?


Debbie Sampson, Church Council


February Choirs

YoungStars Choir

Rehearse:  6:30 pm on February 5

Sing in worship w/ 8:20 warm-up: February 9


Chapel Choir

Rehearse: 7:00 pm on February 5, 12, 19

Sing in worship w/ 8:15 warm-up:

February 2, 16




Christian Faith

If anyone needs prayer, please contact the church office or Pastor (319-472-3784) or Brenda Sutton (319-929-3961 phone or text message).  A team of church members is always available to pray for you or your loved ones.


Christian Life

Thank you to all who donated and purchased an item of the ELCA Good Gifts project during the Advent and Christmas season.  Thirty-two items for a total of $914 were purchased.  This included the following:

Roosters                                                       3

School fees and uniforms for a girl           3

Pig                                                                5

Chicks                                                         4

Honeybees                                                  4

School supplies                                          5

Nutrition for a child for 1 month            1

Water filter                                                1

Bibles                                                          2

Goat                                                            2

Pair of goats                                               1

Latrine                                                       1


Team Property

Snow removal schedule will be as follows:


*Kimmet Renken, Eric Dickenson, Ryan McClintock, Darin Humiston


*Rob and Emily Hanson, Jim Dahl, John Williams

Extra help when needed:  Dennis Eden

* Indicates Team Leader for the month.


Food for Thought

Meet on the 3rd Thursday of every month at 6:30 p.m.


February 20, 2020       

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris.

Restaurant:  La Reyna in Vinton or Crooked Antler in Van Horne


March 19, 2020

The Forgiving Jar by Wanda Brunstetter. 

Restaurant: Zeppelins



April 16, 2020             

An Extra Mile by Sharon Garlough Brown (#4 in the Sensible Shoes series).     

Restaurant: Black Sheep Social Club


May 21, 2020              

Every Note Played by Lisa Genova. 

Restaurant: Edison’s


Ladies Lunch Out

We meet the 2nd Friday of the month at 11:30 a.m. at Pizza Ranch- Food and Fellowship. All Ladies are welcome—it’s a lot of fun!   Hope to see you there!  Linda Wallace, Deb Jertson, Marta Bauer and Pam Woolison- Team Christian Life.


Sharing our faith with others

For many years now, a small band of faithful individuals have worshipped with those who are shut-ins at several of our residential care facilities in Vinton. 


This ministry continues into 2020 as Bethlehem Lutheran and four other churches (members of VAMA) take the Good News of Jesus Christ to the residents of the Virginia Gay Nursing and Rehab and Windsor Manor Assisted Living Home on a scheduled monthly basis.


The purpose of this worship ministry is to proclaim the love that God has for all people.  Favorite hymns are sung, selected lessons are read, a message is proclaimed and most importantly a wonderful time of fellowship and solidarity is enjoyed by everyone involved.



We have remembered the following in prayers

during the month of January. If you are missed off this list, our sincere apologies.

For health, healing and comfort: Tim Jorgensen, Carly Meyer, Lori Neblung, Jerry Hanna, Gary Volberding, Kay West, Dana Egge, Deb Jertson, Marta Bauer, Brenda Krull, Aza Swayzer, Nick Krull, Maren Redlinger, Ellen Tempus, Gary Cottrell,  the family of Doug Johnson





Vinton Food Pantry

Thank you to our friends at Bethlehem Lutheran once again!  We appreciate receiving two checks from you for $60 and $150 from both November and December.

As you no doubt know, we are seeing an increase in the number of families we help.  Thanks again.

Sherry C. 

Vinton Food Pantry


February Server Schedule

Month of February:

Acolytes:  Olivia Erhardt, Franki Evans

Assisting Minister:  Emma Dickinson

Altar Guild: Denise Evans, Dana Hanson

Tape Ministry: Elaine Bearbower

Council Lock-Up: Dave Vermedahl


February 2nd & 9th   

Communion Server:  Tina Eden

Greeters:  Jan Bearbower, Doris Gosse

Lector:  Bill Martin

Ushers:  Doug & Brenda Sutton, John & Shirale Hanson

Counters (2nd): Kimmit/Judy Renken, Steve Wallace

Counters (9th): Steve Wallace, Marta Bauer


February 16th & 23rd

Communion Servers: Julie Lindahl, Lisa Vermedahl

Greeters: Roxann Harms, Ellen Olson

Lector:  Darin Humiston

Ushers:  Gary & Loretta Simnacher, Tom & Dana Hanson

Counters (16th): Marta Bauer, Dennis/Tina Eden

Counters (23rd): Dennis/Tina Eden, Doug Sutton


 Flowers in February:



16th: Sampson’s 20th Anniversary at Bethlehem

23rd: Marlyn & Ann Jorgensen’s Anniversary