A New Sunday School Year


Loved seeing all the kids up front ready to learn about God our first week of Sunday School!!  We had a great time in both classes and we look forward to seeing you in church again next week.

Just a reminder that Sunday School is held during the 9 am church service for pre-K to 6th grade children.   We start the service with our families and dismiss to Sunday School following the children’s sermon with Pastor Johanna.  On communion Sundays we return to finish the service and receive communion with our families.  The 3rd Sunday of the month is family worship and there is no Sunday School so that the children may worship together with their families.  A staffed nursery is available every Sunday for families with young children.

What’s up in the garden this week?

What’s up in the garden? This week it’s daylilies. The daylily is one of the most aptly named flowers in the garden. Its scientific name, hemerocallis, means beautiful for a day in Greek, and each blossom lives up to its name by blooming only for one day. In spite of this, daylilies provide color in the garden for up to three or four weeks because there are many blossoms in a clump.

Daylilies are a favorite garden flower because they require little care, can withstand both lilliesdrought and cold, and are pest resistant. They are related to hostas, which are also blooming now and found in abundance in our garden.

Lilies are mentioned in the Bible in both the Old and New Testaments. Some Bible scholars believe that the biblical lily was the scarlet martagon because of its brilliant color, its ability to thrive among thorny shrubs, and its prolific growth. Other scholars believe that the word lily in the Bible is more generic, meaning any flower with a trumpet-like shape. We don’t have to know the truth in order to appreciate these beautiful flowers. Come stop by the prayer garden dedication any day and “consider the lilies of the field, how they grow.” (Matthew 6:28)

Prayer Garden Dedication Photos

Our Prayer Garden Dedication this weekend was so beautiful! We had a good crowd, we sang songs, prayed, and offered thanksgiving for this space, the people who made it possible, and the people who will use it. Then we enjoyed it along with some cookies! We hope you will find a time to come and use it, and tell your friends to come as well!

chatting IMG_0646 IMG_0647 IMG_0648 IMG_0649 Johanna leads proposed garden refreshments

Community Prayer Garden


Community Prayer Garden Dedication

Saturday August 1st, 2015    10am


After years of dreaming and planning, we will be dedicating our Community Prayer Garden this week.  We will gather in the garden (rain or shine!) for a service of morning prayer that includes a time for blessing and dedication of this gift. The service will last only about 20-30 minutes, but we hope you will linger to enjoy this beautiful place.
Our hope for this space is that it will be used by the community as much as our own members, that it will be a place of respite and peace, and place where people can find and be with some sense of the divine, whether or not they share our particular Christian beliefs. So even if you are unable to attend the dedication, please know that the space exists and is open for all to use at any time it is needed for prayer.

NOTE: There is some seating available, but most people will be standing throughout the service, so plan accordingly. You also may want to be bring mosquito repellent.

~ The Story of the Prayer Garden ~

Prayer has long been a part of the character of Bethlehem Lutheran Church. Today, this is enacted through an active prayer chain, as well as a group who meets for prayer each Wednesday throughout the year. Several years ago, a couple members had a vision for the little grove of trees near the parking lot: to create a garden that would serve as a respite and a place for people to sit amidst God’s beautiful creation and pray.

Though there was energy around the idea, the hopeful spot for the garden was too swampy to create a pathway. But a conversation with Bruce Zaretsky of Zaretsky and Associates, Inc. opened a new possibility: a boardwalk, surrounded by shade- and water-loving plants. Bethlehem eagerly agreed to the idea, and Zaretsky finished building the boardwalk he designed in 2013.

Shortly thereafter, Jason Leisten cleared out a walkway through some nearby trees. This offers a sort of extension to the boardwalk, and an even more secluded place to seek God. In the future, we hope this will also have benches and scripture, and will lead to a large walking labyrinth in the shape of a rose, as a nod to the history this area, formerly known as Roseland.

Some members have a connection to Scout Troop 113, and invited one of the scouts to design and build some benches for the garden. Will Dorfner took on the idea for his Eagle Scout project, and in 2014, the benches were complete.

Meanwhile, several members donated plants – some purchased, some taken right out of their own gardens. As a result, the plants represent not only current members, but in some cases, also members who had previously shared plants and have since passed away. The growth in the garden truly represents the cloud of witnesses by which we are surrounded.

We wanted a place where people could leave their prayer requests, to be prayed for by other users of the garden, which would tie us all together even more. Many years ago, Robert Panneitz had built a small mailbox in the shape of Bethlehem. Kevin O’Grady fixed up that original mailbox and made it look clean and sharp to add a gracious entry point to the garden where people can take or leave prayers.

The final touch was to add scripture to the garden. Our weekly prayer group brainstormed what short verses they would like present to help people focus their prayers, and we choose seven, since seven is the biblical number of completion. Rochester Signs and Graphics made the plaques for us and installed them in July, 2015.

The prayer garden was dedicated on August 1, 2015, and we hope it will be in use for many years to come!

garden2 garden3

Strawberry Social Success!

Many thanks to all who helped make our 2015 Strawberry Social another huge success. Despite warnings of thunderstorms all day, we ended up with a beautiful, warm, slightly breezing evening, with lots of happy, full people of all ages. Many people enjoyed walking around our prayer garden, and we even had a magician entertaining folks (thanks, Magic Mike!).


A couple folks from South Wedge Mission came (Pastor Matthew and member Caroline) to tell people about the mission this year’s social supported, and they were very grateful to meet some of their mission partners. After expenses, we will be able to give them about $1000 toward the work they do in the South Wedge. Praise God!

Here are some pictures from the event:


Mmm shortcake!


The line to get in.


Magic Mike entertains


Men making hots


A poodle balloon!


Cutting up strawberries the day before


Service with a smile!


A full house, as usual


Making massive amount of mac salad the day before


Crop Walk

Another successful Crop Hunger Walk.  The weather was wonderful on Sunday as 66 walkers raised more than $2479.50 to help fight hunger here and around the world.  Thank you to everyone who walked or donated to the cause.

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