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December Bethlehem Star

A Message from Pastor Randy

Even before Halloween arrived, stores had Christmas decorations, gift items and Christmas chocolates on display and ready for sale. Years ago I used to complain about the early holiday sale promotions. But now, I figure if the early rush to Christmas encourages us to think about what Christmas actually means then well and good. Life is a tough business after all. There is too much pain, bewilderment and animosity around the world. So much the better then if the early holiday spirit stirs generosity and a hope for peace and well-being.

Christmas of course has its origin within the Christian tradition and from the Scriptures of the Newer Testament. God comes to be born in the flesh. God takes on our humanity in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. He is born to a Jewish woman named Mary and her husband Joseph. Another name for Jesus is Immanuel, which means, “God with us.”

We assume most people in the U.S. know the Christmas story. Many believe in this reality of God becoming human like us in order to rescue us and the world from sin and death. However, there is an increasing number of folk, especially our little ones and our youth, who do not know the real Christmas story.

So, we might begin our journey toward Christmas by first reading the biblical story in Luke chapter 2 and Matthew chapters 1 and 2. Knowing the story, we can then wait with anticipation and hope for Christmas Eve. Within many Christian traditions, the four weeks prior to Christmas is a season called Advent. It is a time to prepare, pray and wait for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. Advent is a wonderful time in the life of the Church, a good time to worship and count down the days to Christmas.

All of us wait and hope for one thing or another in life. We dream of better days ahead. Advent is a great time to look up, to look outward toward the world God loves. It is a season to renew one’s faith and enter again into the mystery and joy of God becoming flesh in the Child born in Bethlehem!

Advent blessing to you.

Pastor Randy Kasch


A Note from the Council

Just wanted to share a few thoughts on the budgeting process the council just completed.   First, I want to thank you for your generosity and prayerful giving.  Serving as the council treasurer is a very humbling position.  It is an amazing process to watch the congregation’s generosity come together to support so many important aspects of our own Christian life and also reach so many others through our missionary support, hunger relief and outreach.  Through congregation financial support, we were able to provide much needed funding to the new Wednesday Nite Lites Family Meal program that is growing in numbers and an upcoming regional worship event that will be held with other local ELCA sister congregations.


Second, I would like to thank the financial staff, Jana and Marta, and the committees that are so efficient and organized in handling our financial affairs.    It is truly their hard work and dedication that makes the budgeting process run so smoothly.  If you have any questions on the budgeting process, the financial statements or opportunities for automated giving, please feel free to reach out to myself or any of the other council members.  Being good stewards of your gifts is something we each take very seriously.  Please continue to lift up the congregation, Jana, Marta, the council and Pastor Randy in your prayers as we work through this journey in stewardship. 

Respectfully submitted,

Tina Eden,  Council Treasurer


Annual Congregational Meeting

Bethlehem Lutheran Church annual congregational meeting was held on Sunday, November 10th.  Pat Gardner, Ellen Olson, and Dave Vermedahl were elected to serve a three-year term on the church council.  Tina Eden, Deb Sampson, Jan Bearbower, and Warren Henkel were elected to serve on the nominating committee for next year.  The 2020 proposed budget was approved.


Call Committee

Kimmit Renken, Chairman of the Call Committee reported at the Congregational Annual Meeting that three candidates were nominated by congregation members to consider to become our pastor.  The synod office has reported that none of the candidates nominated would be available to be called to Bethlehem. 

However, Paul Ostrem, Assistant to the Bishop has asked to meet with the Bethlehem Call Committee in December to present two candidates that would be available.


Poinsettia Donations

Poinsettia donation forms are available and must be turned into the church office by Sunday, December 15th. 


Matthew Bible Study

Pastor Randy will be teaching a  Matthew bible study on Thursday afternoons from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. beginning on December 6th, 13th, and 20th.  There will be a break in the study for the Christmas holiday and will resume in January.  Please sign up or call the church office if you are interested.


ELCA Good Gifts

ELCA Good Gifts tree is ready for you to make a difference in the lives of others.  There are pigs, goats, chickens, honeybees, water projects, school supplies, gardening projects, health care, warm blankets, and many more items for you to consider.  They will be available from December 1st until Epiphany January 5th.

Salvation Army Bell Ringing

Bethlehem will be ringing the bell at the Fareway Store in Vinton on Saturday, December 7th from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.  Please sign up today.


Christmas Caroling

Bethlehem members old and young are invited to join in singing Christmas Carols to those church members that are home bound on Sunday, December 15th from 4-7 p.m.  Meet at the church to go caroling and enjoy the food and fellowship afterwards at the church.  Come and spread the joy of Christ’s birth with others.


Senior Advent Afternoon

An Advent Afternoon is planned for Tuesday, December 17th at 2:00 p.m. at the church.  If you are in need of transportation, please contact the church office.  Please join us for food and fellowship during the Advent Season.


Sunday School

Sunday School Christmas Service will be held during regular worship on Sunday, December 22nd at 9:00 a.m.  Please come and join as the Bethlehem children tell the Amazing Christmas Story.


LYO Event

LYO (Lutheran Youth Organization) will meet December 15th at 10:15 – 11:00 a.m. in the basement of the Bethlehem Inn for a lesson/discussion and to plan the Service Sunday on December 29th. 



“Lights”, an after-school program meets on Wednesdays from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m..  This will provide the Bethlehem youth and their friends with a safe, fun, and interactive place to go after school.  At 5:30 p.m. a simple Family Meal will be served.  Bethlehem is one big family, so everyone is welcome at the family meal.  If you are interested, please contact the church office at 319-472-3784. 

Lights will not meet when there is no school.  There will be no program on the following dates:  November 27th, December 25th, January 1st, 8th, and 15th.  If school is cancelled or let out early on Wednesdays due to bad weather, Lights will not meet.

Women's Evening Bible Study

The Women’s Evening Bible Study is trying something new.  We are meeting the second and fourth Wednesday of each month from 6:00 to 6:45pm.  The topic for each meeting will be self-contained so if you miss one meeting, you can still join the next meeting.  We are trying some devotionals, some podcasts, and whatever else shows up along the way.  Because of Christmas, we will only be meeting once December 11th.  Come for the LIGHTS meal and then stay for bible study!

Do you have 45 minutes twice a month to meet with like-minded women and discuss topics of faith? We look forward to seeing you there!

Marta Bauer, Facilitator


Food for Thought

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

December 2019

Book:  Catching Christmas by Terri Blackstock

Meeting Place:  Bethlehem Inn  


YoungStars & Chapel Choir

December Chapel Choir

Rehearsals on Wed. at 7:00 pm: December 4 & 11

Sing in worship w/ 8:15 warm-up: December 1, 8, 15

December YoungStars Choir

Rehearse:  6:00-6:30 pm on December 11.

Sing in worship w/ 8:20 warm-up: December 15

(Chapel and YoungStars will combine for December 15 anthem)


Team Property

Snow removal schedule will be as follows:


*Brenda Krull, Mike Timmermans, Dave Redlinger



*Doug Sutton, Darin Humiston, Bill Martin, Mike Timmermans



*Gregg Sampson, Tom Hanson, Chad Schmadeke, Dave Redlinger


*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.


Lutheran World Relief

Dear Bethlehem Lutheran Friends,

Thank you for your generous gifts to Lutheran World Relief’s Quilt and Kit Shipping Fund!  Your donation ensures that LWR Quilts and Kits get into the hands of a person who needs it.

With your help, we have delivered Quilts and Kits to families in Mozambique, whose communities were utterly ravaged by Cyclone Idai.  For refugee families, your gift means so much.  A School Kit can make the difference between getting an education or missing out.  A Personal Care Kit helps families provide for basic hygiene needs, freeing up precious resources.  Quilts help families through cold winter nights.

Thank you for your generosity and partnership!  On behalf of LWR

, our partners and those we serve together, please accept my heartfelt thanks once more for your gift and all that it will do.

Warm Regards,

Ambassador Daniel V. Speckhard

President and CEO



We have remembered the following in prayers

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

For health, healing and comfort: Jerry & Marva Hanna, Steve Wallace, Gary & Joan Volberding, Sheila Stickels, Tim Jorgensen, Carly Meyer, Lori Neblung (mother-in-law of Cheri Neblung), Ellen Tempus, Sue Kerkman, Emelia Jacobson, Pat Gardner, Dana Hanson, Tom Hanson, Kay West, the family of Sheila Stickels


December Server Schedule

Month of December                                                                                                                                                             

Acolytes:  Olivia Erhardt, Maren Redlinger

Altar Guild: Dana Hanson, Brenda Sutton

Assist. Minister (1st & 15th): Katelyn Humiston

Tape Ministry: Dave Vermedahl

Council Lock-Up: Bill Martin


December 1st & 8th    

Communion Server (1st):  Tina Eden

Greeters:  Duane & Sue Mangold

Lector:  Shirale Hanson

Ushers:  John & Shirale Hanson, Tom & Dana Hanson

Counters (1st): Ryan/Kelli McClintock, John/Ellen Olson

Counters (8th): John/Ellen Olson, Denise Evans


December 15th , 22nd, 29th    

Communion Servers (15th): Dana Hanson, Brenda Sutton

Greeters: Gary & Loretta Simnacher

Lector:  Tenny Jertson

Ushers:  Marlyn & Ann Jorgensen, Dave & Lisa Vermedahl

Counters (15th): Denise Evans, Deb Jertson

Counters (22nd): Deb Jertson, Doug Sutton

Counters (29th):  Marta Bauer, Ryan/Kelli McClintock

December 24th Christmas Eve 5:30 p.m.

Acolytes:  Hannah Crane, Franki Evans

Assisting Minister:  Katelyn Humiston

Communion Server:  Brenda Sutton

Lector:  Tenny Jertson

Ushers:  Darin & Stephanie Humiston, Ryan & Kelli McClintock


December 24th Christmas Eve 10:30 p.m.

Acolytes:  Olivia Erhardt

Assisting Minister:  Tim Jorgensen

Communion Server:  Tina Eden

Lector:  Tenny Jertson

Ushers:  Doug & Brenda Sutton


Flowers in December:




22nd:  Tim Jorgensen’s Birthday

24th:  Olson Family



December Fellowship Refreshments


8th: Mission Cookies – Neblung, Olson, Redlinger


22nd: Mission Cookies – Stein, Sivola, Wallace