June Bethlehem Star
A Message from Pastor
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ Jesus,
Have you spent some time tent camping? I remember a couple of overnight fishing trips with my dad when we slept in our tent. There have been backyard nights in a tent with kids and grandkids. Donna and I have tented on vacation a time or two and when I was in the Navy Reserve there were California nights at Camp Pendleton. Tenting can be fun when the conditions are favorable. But lately I’ve seen too many news programs and heard too many stories of people in our country and around the world whose lives are spent in tents. They are homeless. They are refugees who have fled or been exiled from their homelands because of starvation, war, drug lords, drought and disease.
It is almost impossible to imagine being a parent and having to make a home in a tent while on the run or in a country that really doesn’t want you. You tuck your children to bed in a strange or hostile land. You are jobless and live on the edge of hopelessness. When will you and your children be safe? Who might welcome you?
We remember that Joseph and Mary, as refugees had to flee into Egypt with their newborn, escaping from a dictator bent on destroying innocent lives. Many of our own ancestors came here through Ellis Island, looking toward the light of the Statue of Liberty in order to escape famine, poverty and religious intolerance. It’s no wonder we as the Lord’s Church have been a people of welcome and hospitality. Many of our own Lutheran congregations have hosted immigrants and refugees. I remember the welcome the congregation I served gave to a Mong family just before Christmas. It was the first time they experienced snow. We were able to provide them a start to a new life with a home, a job and school for the children.
Lutheran Services in Iowa, our social service agency, has provided life and hope for thousands who have been reduced to surviving in tents for months and years at a time. Former Iowa Congressman, Jim Leach once said that new immigrants are some of our best ambassadors.
They tell their families and former neighbors in their country of origin of the freedoms, rights and opportunities we enjoy in our country.
These new immigrants realize the great benefits and responsibilities of democracy as opposed to the oppression and corruption of totalitarian regimes who use fear and threat to govern.
Tents are fine for a few nights of adventure. Solid homes, education and jobs are the life-giving gifts we thank our Lord God for each day. We pray for these gifts for our children and for all God’s children the world over.
See you Sunday,
A Note from the Council
The Elephant in the Room
As most of the church family at Bethlehem is aware, the interim ministry of Pastor Randy Kasch is going to end on July 18th. He has been here for over 2 years. This is probably twice as long as most ministries of this type last. Most are only 12 months.
Randy has performed an amazing ministry while here. His sermons show that God is definitely in his life. He brings God into our lives as well. He touches our hearts. His efforts have far exceeded our expectations. Through confirmation classes, adult study etc., he has truly shown he cares about our family. Thank you! Randy! You will be greatly missed!
Elephant in the Room ------ What's next?
Having another interim pastor is still to be determined. It is unlikely that we will have secured a fulltime replacement for Pastor Urlaub by July 18th. A recent email from the Southeast Iowa Synod indicates there have been 5 graduates from seminaries in our area. All have been assigned elsewhere. It has indeed been difficult to secure an established minister to come to Bethlehem. They are few and far between. If we can receive another interim that will be great, but it is possible we may have to bring in supply pastors alternating various Sundays throughout the month. At first glance this does not seem ideal but actually could be exciting to hear someone different each Sunday.
In the meantime let us Abide - Abide with our Bethlehem Church Family
The Hebrew meaning for abide is " to stay, to make your home in or dwell in." "Abiding in Christ is a life of fruitfulness and abundance to God."
During these difficult times in the life of our Church Family, I hope you will all abide with us. As Randy said in his sermon on May 9th, "What has love got to do with it?" EVERYTHING!!!! The most important thing about our Church family is the love of God and the love of each other. "The love of God freely given to our friends and especially our enemies is what Lutherans call GRACE!"
At this time when our pastoral leadership is in transition, I would ask you all to stay close and abide in our Church Family and pray for all of us together. Christ is risen! He risen indeed!
Congratulations to Marta Bauer who was elected as a lay female voting member to the ELCA Churchwide Assembly next year in Columbus, Ohio.
Online Giving is available on the Bethlehem website at www.bethlehemvinton.org. Just click on the “Online Giving” button on the Home page and follow the directions.
Food for Thought
Meet on the 3rd Thursday of every month at 6:30 p.m.
Book: The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
Summer Fuel Up Program
All Vinton-Shellsburg youth ages 1-18 are invited to join a FREE breakfast and lunch beginning on June 7 – July 30, Monday – Thursday. Locations are Tilford Elementary in Vinton, Shellsburg Elementary in Shellsburg, and Garrison Public Library in Garrison. Breakfast is served from 8:00-8:30 a.m. and Lunch is served from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Transportation is also available. If you have any questions contact Karen Ackman at email@example.com or call the church office at 472-3784.
Bethlehem Lutheran is part of the Vinton community Meals on Wheels Program. We have agreed to provide one person to assist with the delivery of meals each month on the third Monday and also the fifth Monday when there is one. It requires the volunteer to check in at HACAP center by 11 a.m. and usually you are done by 1:00 p.m. The driver of the van takes you to the homes of those requesting meals and you then take the container of food to the door, knock, leave the food and return to the van to go to the next stop. We currently only have a couple of Bethlehem members able to help and could use a little more assistance. It may only amount to a few Mondays a year.
Think about it and call the church office if you are interested.
Thanks in advance,
Linda Wallace on behalf of Team Christian Life
Vacation Bible School
Plans for Vacation Bible School this summer are beginning with Kaitlynn Miller, Youth
Leader from the Wesley Methodist Church and Emily Mefford, Youth Leader from the
Presbyterian Church. Bethlehem Youth are invited to participate in this joint VBS. It will be held at the Wesley United Methodist Church located at 516 2nd Avenue, Vinton on July 25, 26, 27, 28, and 29 6:00-8:00 p.m.
The theme this year will be “Knights of the North Castle”. North Castle is hidden in a
frozen land. The King’s valiant Knights are on a quest in search of the King’s Armor. But the armor isn’t what they think it is. Quest for the King’s Armor invites children to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His power by exploring how we put on the Armor of God. The children will take on the role of brave Knights and begin their quest by opening the King’s Book (the Bible).
Children in Pre-school through 5th grade will be invited on this quest. But if there are any youth 6th through 12th grade that would like to help please call the church office (472-3784). There are also many leaders that are needed for Opening & Closing service, Music, Storytelling, Games, Snacks, Crafts, and Decorations. If anyone would like to help with any of these please call the church office (472-3784).
Please pre-register at wesley-church.mycokesburyvbs.com
Stamp Collection Project
The Southeastern Iowa Synod Women’s Organization is working with other Women of the ELCA groups to donate cancelled stamps to the ministry of Lutheran World Relief. The cancelled stamps are sent to a group that sorts and sells used stamps to collectors around the world. 65 million stamps have been collected and $42,000 has been donated to Lutheran World Relief for shipping of the quilts and kits around the world.
Bethlehem can participate by collecting stamps that are cancelled or new using the following guidelines:
Cut the stamps from the envelope leaving ¼ inch around the stamps so as not to damage the stamps.
Bring the stamps or mail them to the church office. We have a box for you to drop them in.
We will be collecting stamps until September 5th.
Thank You Bethlehem!
The family we hosted in the Bethlehem Inn over the last 8 months in partnership with Family Promise of Linn County has moved. Samantha and her children are so very thankful to Bethlehem for providing a wonderful, safe home for them in this time of transition during the pandemic. Four of the children were often in attendance with Brenda Sutton in our Sunday School. Two of the children greatly benefited from attending our public school in Vinton. Brenda provided much needed support, gifts and guidance to mom and the little ones. Please continue to pray for Samantha and her family. She is hoping for employment and childcare in another location.
We have remembered the following in prayers
during the month of May. If you are missed off this list, our sincere apologies.
For health, healing and comfort: Jerry Hanna, Duane Mangold, Kay West, Ellen Tempus, Larry Nudd, Brenda Sutton, Joan Lindahl, Jim Nottger, the Larry Woolison Family (Jim Woolison’s brother), the Alan Bachman Family (Linda Wallace’s brother)
For those graduating from high school: Emma Dickinson, Katelyn Humiston, Maren Redlinger, Aza Swayzer
Benton County Food Pantry
Thank you for your recent donation for our food pantry. Bethlehem Lutheran has been a steady, wonderful support for our pantry. We have ongoing need and we are 100% donation funded, so your help is appreciated!
Sherry C., Vinton Food Pantry
June Server Schedule
Month of June:
Altar Guild: Dana Hanson, Brenda Sutton
Communion Server: Dana Hanson
Council Lock-Up: Dave Vermedahl
June 6th, 13th
Acolyte: Victoria Humiston
Lector: Tim Jorgensen
Ushers: Doug & Brenda Sutton
Counters (6th): Mona Hanson, Steve Wallace
Counters (13th): Steve Wallace, Doug Sutton
June 20th, 27th
Acolyte: Brant Dickinson
Lector: Shirale Hanson
Ushers: Carol & Warren Henkel
Counters (20th): Doug Sutton, Tim Jorgensen
Counters (27th): Tim Jorgensen, John/Ellen Olson