March Bethlehem Star

From the Pastor’s Desk

Dear Friends in Christ,


We are about to enter the last three days of Holy Week and then the celebration of Easter. Jesus will share a last meal with his disciples and wash their feet. Then, abandoned by his friends, alone Jesus will face a rigged trial and execution. He will be hastily buried. On the 3rd day, Jesus will rise from death. For people who believe this reality, the event of Jesus’ death and resurrection is the center not only of our faith, but of life itself. Death and resurrection, these two go together like the heads and tails of a single coin. Death and resurrection define our living.


Consider these:

You drag yourself home from a miserable day at work, you are welcomed by someone who loves you.

You come down with a serious illness. Over time with good medical care, you recover.

You lose your job and are left floundering. In time, a door of opportunity opens and you have a new career.

Your child struggles in school, then a teacher or counselor provides some guidance and things turn around.

A community is overcome with violence and division. Folks from the neighborhood begin organizing with conversations and bridges are built.

A nation grows weary with totalitarian rule. Protests happen, thousands rise up, a wall comes down and freedom happens.

We stand with sorrow at a grave. By faith we trust in a new life still to come.

Deaths of one small or large kind or another come our way. And thanks be to God, resurrection happens too!

Pastor Randy


Holy Week and Easter

You are invited to experience the events of Holy Week and Easter.


Maundy Thursday 6:30 PM

We commemorate the Lord’s Supper


Good Friday Service of Darkness 6:30 PM

Satan returns for a final visit.


The Resurrection of Our Lord

God’s final Word is Life!

Easter 7:00 and 9:00 AM


A note from the council

As March entered like a lamb, we looked around and saw. The snow is melting. Temperatures are rising. Bright colors are replacing browns and grays. There’s only one explanation:

It must be spring!


Being lucky enough to be born and grow up on a farm I have my own perspective of what spring means. This is a time of warming weather and nature coming back to life. I am reminded of the innocence and beauty that exists in this world and that there is new life all around us. As Christians, we are given new life and renewed hope with every sunrise.


Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. (James 5:7)


For believers, spring is a reminder that God is all about making things new. In fact, Jesus promised to make everything new one day. (Revelation 21:5).


Tim Jorgensen


Farewell Gathering

Jon & Julie Clingman will be moving to Dubuque on April 12th.  There will be Farewell Gathering for them hosted by Julie Flatberg at Total Balance, 217 W 4th Street, Vinton, Iowa on Sunday, April 11th from 1:00-4:00 p.m.  Please come for snacks & drinks to wish The Clingman’s a happy farewell as they begin a new chapter in their lives.


Benton County Food Pantry

The Benton County Food Pantry is asking for monetary donations at this time.  They are not able to accept food or other items due to recommended guidelines.  Please send your donation to:

Benton County Food Pantry

PO Box 3

Vinton, IA  52349

Your continued support is greatly appreciated.


Ecumenical Holy Week Services

There will not be any Ecumenical Holy Week Services this year sponsored by the Vinton Area Ministerial Association.  The offerings collected at these services is used to provide food and fuel for those in need in our community.  If you would like to donate toward this ministry please make out your check to VAMA and send to the church office at 1206 C Avenue, Vinton, IA  52349.


Easter Lily Donations

Thank you for your Easter Lily donations this year.  They help us celebrate the resurrection of Our Lord Jesus.  Your generosity is greatly appreciated!


Confirmation & Sunday School

Confirmation and Sunday School classes will not meet on Easter Sunday, April 4th.   They will resume on Sunday April 11th at 9:50 a.m.


Team Property

Team Property would like to thank all that helped in keeping the sidewalks, parking lots, and driveways cleared and safe this winter.  We are very blessed to have dedicated members that serve in this way.  The snow removal teams and persons that just helped out (and there were many), easily saved the congregation $5,000 this snowy winter (really in two months.)

Thank you!


Food for Thought

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


Book:  Truly, Madly, Deeply by Karen Kingsbury

Meet:  Church or Crooked Antler


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 sometime at the end of July or first part of August.


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).


Summer Bible Camp

Is your child interested in going to a church camp this summer?  There are three Lutheran

Bible Camps in Iowa that they may attend and Bethlehem Lutheran Church will help with the cost.


Lutheran Lakeside Camp is located near Spirit Lake in northwest Iowa.  Their website is or phone number is 712-336-2109.


Riverside Bible Camp is located near Story City north of Des Moines, Iowa.  Their website is or phone number is 515-733-5271.


EWALU Bible Camp is located near Strawberry Point in northeast Iowa.  Their website is or phone number is 563-933-4700.


There are brochures at the church also.  Please

contact the church office (472-3784)  if you

have any questions or need assistance.


CPPC Graduation Project

Benton-Iowa Community Partnership for Protecting Children group are asking for donations to help the children that are graduating from Vinton-Shellsburg that are in foster care. 


The goal is to help students receive things typically associated with high school graduation such as senior pictures, invitations, cakes, refreshments for their celebration as well as items needed as they transition out of high school to college or their first apartment. 


The monetary donations can be sent to the Wesley United Methodist Church, 516 2nd Ave, Vinton, IA  52349.  Please make your check out to Wesley United Methodist Church and make a notation in the subject line “Graduation”. 


If you would like to volunteer to help with the graduation celebration, please contact Barbara Rego at 472-3034.  Donations need to be given by May 1st.


Message from SEIA

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.  And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:18-20


Dear Southeastern Iowa Synod,


We are just shy of the 1-year mark since the world was upended by the pandemic, and the Office of the Bishop is writing to you to humbly thank you for the ways that you have embodied what it means to be the synod this past year.


At its root, synod means to gather together and you, the followers of Jesus Christ who are members of the 138 congregations in Southeastern Iowa have boldly and innovatively gathered together to continue to live our Christ’s command to baptize and teach this year.  The ways you gather look different:  worship, confirmation, Sunday School, baptisms – each of these ways that had become routine for us have been shaken, stirred, and poured out in new ways – and through it all you have been faithful.  You trusted in the promised presence of Christ.  You let the Holy Spirit teach you new ways of seeing and being.  You grieved all that is lost and looked ahead to what would rise from the ashes.


Over the last twelve months you have also continued to financially support the work of the whole church.  In the Southeastern Iowa Synod your gifts supported congregations impacted by the pandemic and the derecho.  Your gifts supported your neighbors who were transitioning from one pastor to the next.  Your gifts have made it possible to offer grants for technology upgrades so that our digital witness can be strengthened.


When it comes to sharing the good news of God’s love poured out in Jesus Christ, it takes us all.  And when we support each other, carrying each other’s burdens, celebrating each other’s joys, and generously contributing to our shared ministry, we can truly claim to be #inthistogether.


On behalf of the Office of the Bishop and with gratitude to be the church together,


Reverend Erika Uthe

Assistant to the Bishop

Director for Evangelical Mission


Celebrating a Birth

Congratulations to Becky & Brendan Frerck on

the birth of their daughter Natalee Jean on March 18th.  Grandparents are Rev. Mark & LuAnn Urlaub.



We have remembered the following in prayers

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

For health, healing and comfort: Jerry Hanna, Duane Mangold, Ellen Tempus, Kay West, Pat Gardner, Eric Dickinson, Larry Nudd, Linda Wallace, Lisa Campise, Larry Bearbower

April Server Schedule

Month of April:

Altar Guild: Denise Evans, Brenda Sutton

Council Lock-Up: Dave Vermedahl

April 4th & 11th    

Acolyte:  Aza Swayzer

Lector:  Tenny Jertson

Ushers:  Gregg & Debbie Sampson

Counters (4th): Tina Eden, Roxann Harms

Counters (11th): Dennis/Tina Eden, Dave Vermedahl


April 18th & 25th

Acolyte:  Aza Swayzer

Lector:  Doug Sutton

Ushers:  Dave & Lisa Vermedahl

Counters (18th): Marta Bauer, Dave Vermedahl

Counters (25th): Marta Bauer, Deb Jertson

(319) 472-3784

©2019 by Bethlehem Ev Lutheran Church. Proudly created with