October Bethlehem Star

A Message from Pastor


Dear Friends in Christ,


I hope you are doing well as Fall brings new challenges along with beautiful weather. Due to the Derecho there is a housing shortage in Cedar Rapids, creating increased pressure on families that have been homeless. Your Bethlehem Council has decided to partner with Family Promise of Linn County to provide temporary housing in the Bethlehem Inn for a single mother and her children. There are two small children in grade school, one pre-schooler, two toddlers and one infant. This agreement is on a month to month basis ending January 1. Family Promise is a ministry of congregations in Cedar Rapids, assisting homeless families to become self-sufficient. Currently Benton County has no homeless shelters. We would like to provide one evening meal for the family each week. If you are willing to do so, please contact the church office. This outreach ministry is one way we can serve those in need in the name of Jesus.


On another note, on Sunday, October 4, we would like to offer a Pet Blessing. This is in relation to the commemoration of St. Francis who lived his faith through the care of the natural world including the animals. You are invited to send or bring a photo of your pet. These will be displayed at church and a prayer of blessing will be offered during Worship. Normally we would invite you to bring your pet to the church parking lot but due to the virus such is not possible this year. We look forward to seeing which of the Lord’s creatures grace your home!


One other special ministry we would like to hi-light is Faith and Blue. In the month of October, congregations of many faith traditions across the country will lift up the relationships we have with our local law enforcement agencies. Fostering positive relationships between communities and law enforcement is essential at this time in our nation. Eric Dickinson, a member of Bethlehem, will present a mission moment during Worship on October 25. Eric will bring an update on our local police force and a few of the ways they work effectively in community relations.


The Lord be especially close to you as we journey forward together in God’s grace, one day at a time.


Pastor Randy


A Note from the Council

A verse from our worship gathering song the day I write this:


All Are Welcome

Let us build a house where hands will reach beyond the wood and stone.

To heal and strengthen, serve and teach, and live the Word they’ve known.

Here the outcast and the stranger bear the image of God’s face;

Let us bring an end to fear and danger:

All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place.


It is one week after the devastating Derecho with winds traveling 70 to over 100 miles per hour ravaged the Midwest. Mass power outages resulting from downed power lines, impacting approximately 550,000 homes in Iowa. The winds damaged and destroyed trees, homes, schools, buildings and other structures, scattering refuse for miles. Crops are flattened. And even now, 6 days after the storm, many struggle without power. It is a terrible blow as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Yet in the aftermath of the storm we see people “live the Word they’ve known.”


There are calls from neighbors to see where they can help and texts from church friends asking how everyone is. Families, friends, and neighbors come together to clear the refuse. A neighboring lineman works 18 hour days to return power to those in need. People use social media to alert others of much needed supplies, such as which gas stations have shorter lines, when generators were arriving at a store, and where people could find ice to try to preserve their food. Crewmen from Texas, New York and other states help with tree cleanup. Individuals rescue baby animals displaced by the storm, reaching out to wildlife rehabilitators to help. 


My family and I echo the words of so many that say Thank You to all the friends, neighbors, and workers who share their resources and skills so generously to keep us all safe and healthy.  Thank you and God be with you all.


Romans 12:12

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."


Respectfully submitted,

Debbie Sampson


All Aboard the Bethlehem Train

All Aboard: The next train to Bethlehem will be leaving in 49 days!


Join us for exciting and wonderful adventures on the train to Bethlehem.  Stops on this year’s trip includes stops at Quiltsville.  Our guide for this stop will be Mona Hanson. We’ll make other station stops along the route in weeks to come.


Stewardship is always a tough topic, but it is what drives our train for the years to come. The things we all accomplish as a church family are only possible through the generous support of our members. Here are a few of the things we help make happen each year:

            Vinton Heating Assistance Program                  Alliant Energy Relief Fund

            HACAP Meals on Wheels                                 Worship Outreach

            Hats and Mittens for School Children                Lutheran World Relief Kits and Quilts

            Luther Seminary                                               Lutheran Chaplain at the U of I Hospital


We are reminded in Psalm 24:1  “The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof.” Thus, everything we have belongs to the Lord.  We are stewards, caretakers of all that God has placed in our trust.  We are also reminded in Luke 12:34 “to Return to God a Portion, a Percentage of our income.”  The tithe, returning 10% is the Biblical standard we grow to and beyond.


This year’s stewardship theme is “Get on the train to Bethlehem!” In the "heydays" of railroads, the train brought supplies, people, and services to each town across our country. Railroads were how towns were created and grew.  By “getting on the train to Bethlehem” you will be enabling our Church community to grow as we renew our Worship attendance, provide services, food and even blankets to those in need.  Trains brought life, family, and products to each town.  In turn, the trains carried the harvest and livestock to markets.  Our Bethlehem train will demonstrate how our Lord’s mission delivers God’s grace, hope and renewal.


There are a number of covenants in Scripture. The biblical covenants are based on God’s promises. Therefore, we invite and encourage a financial commitment, a pledge from our member households. These pledges are our commitment to the Lord's mission through our congregation for the sake of our members and the sake of the world. To that end we will be sending out “Tickets to Ride” (Pledge cards) via email/mail.  As you return your “tickets” to the church, your name will be placed on one of the train cars. Thus, you will be joining the train to Bethlehem!  It is not required to make a financial pledge of intent but if you choose to do so, be assured that your pledge amount will not be made public in any form.


Before the Train to Bethlehem leaves the station, we encourage you to pray about your financial covenant to fire the Lord’s engine.  Thanks to you, the successful operation of the Lord’s train will continue rolling down the line!  All Aboard!


Clickity Clack, Clickity Clack, Clickity Clack, Clickity Clack, Clickity Clack, Clickity Clack, Clickity Clack,



Bethlehem Church Council



I want to get on board the train to Bethlehem

My/our commitment is:

$___________________ per week, or

$___________________ per month, or

$___________________ per year


Direct my gifts as indicated:

___ General Fund (a portion shared in mission support to Southeastern Iowa Synod & ELCA)

___ General Fund B (not shared with SEIA Synod and ELCA but with other benevolence chosen by the Council)

___ Building Fund






Phone:  ___________________________________________________________________________________


Email:  ____________________________________________________________________________________


Congregation Annual Meeting

The Bethlehem congregation annual meeting will be held on Sunday, November 15th following 9:00 a.m. worship.  All voting members of Bethlehem are encouraged to attend.  Sunday School and Confirmation will be held following the meeting.


Gods Work Our Hands 2020

On Sunday September 13th thirteen members of our congregation gathered with social distancing in place to assemble 86 school kits, 50 health kits, and 25 baby layettes for Lutheran World Relief.  Thank you to everyone who helped with this project.


Sunday School

Group Sunday School has been meeting in the sanctuary after worship service at 10:00 a.m.  We have been learning God’s creation and God’s promises. 



7th, 8th, 9th grade confirmation will be taught by Pastor Randy and Lisa Vermedahl on Sunday morning from 10:00 – 10:45 a.m.  7th graders receiving bibles on September 13th were Jack Blais, Madeline Blais, Haley Crane, Zachary Dickinson, Alexa Henkle, Cooper McClintock, and Aiden Parmater.


Food for Thought

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

October 2020

Book:  Cuttin for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Restaurant:  Fong’s Pizza

November 2020

Book:  The Giver of Stars by JoJo Moyes

Restaurant:  Lotus

December 2020

Book:  The Christmas Town by Donna Van Liere

Meeting Place:  Bethlehem Inn


Live Stream Worship

September 13th Worship Service was Bethlehem’s first Facebook Live Streaming Worship Service.  The Live Streaming Worship Service can be accessed on the “Bethlehem Luth” facebook page or “Bethlehem Lutheran Vinton” facebook page.  The recorded video will be uploaded to the “Bethlehem Lutheran Vinton” You Tube Channel also.  If you have any questions, please contact the church office at 319-472-3784.



We have remembered the following in prayers during the month of September. If you are missed off this list, our sincere apologies.

For health, healing and comfort: Jerry Hanna, Don Neblung, Brennen Still, Duane Mangold, Ainsley Adams, Ellen Tempus, Andrea Bachman, Courtney Lough, Keith Poldberg, Jim Woolison, Dottie Riepe, Elaine Bearbower


October Server Schedule


Month of October:

Acolytes:  Hannah Crane, Grayce McClintock

Altar Guild: Rachel Dickinson, Brenda Sutton

Council Lock-Up: Roxann Harms


October 4th & 11th                                                                                                                              

Lector:  Darin Humiston

Ushers:  Tom & Dana Hanson,

Counters (4th): Pat Gardner, Marta Bauer

Counters (11th): Marta Bauer, Roxann Harms


October 18th & 25th  

Lector:  Jan Bearbower

Ushers:  Marlyn & Ann Jorgensen

Counters (18th): Roxann Harms, Kimmit/Judy Renken

Counters (25th): Kimmit/Judy Renken, Mona Hanson


Flowers in October:

4th:  Madeline Olson’s Birthday by John & Ellen Olson


18th:  Ellen Tempus’ Birthday

25th:  Reformation

(319) 472-3784

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