about the Theme: 

Holy Welcome

Throughout his earthly ministry, Jesus gathered a diverse tapestry of followers. He famously ate with tax collectors and people labeled “sinners,” as well as the religious elite. He healed both lepers and soldiers of the occupation. This Lent we will explore what it means to live as the inclusive body of Christ. At a time when the Christian Church has become known for the exclusion of people who are LGBTQ+, when Christianity is tied to White Nationalism, when our political divides often make people feel unwelcome in both conservative and progressive congregations, how do we set a bigger table where everyone is fully welcome and included? Come and see.

Worship and study opportunities

Lenten mid-week worship services will be offered both in-person at church and through live stream on Bethlehem’s Facebook page. Worship begins at 7:00 PM on Wednesday evenings and will be available for viewing on the Facebook page at any time. The services will feature stories of welcome and inclusion told by our members.

February 14       Holy Love,  Ash Wednesday Worship

February 21       Jesus, the Host      

February 28      Radical Hospitality                                

March 6             Total Authenticity      

March 13            True Diversity    

March 20           A Bigger Table           

Soup Suppers will be served each week at 6 PM, starting February 21. 

Lenten Small Groups will meet in person on Wednesday nights following worship (around 7:45 p.m.) and in person at Gretchen McDowell's home Thursday mornings at 9:30 a.m. Small groups begin Wednesday, February 14. 

Use the Google Form link below to register to attend a group. 

The study will use several chapters from the book A Bigger Table: Building Messy, Authentic, and Hopeful Spiritual Community by John Pavlovitz. You are encouraged to borrow or purchase a copy through your preferred book seller.

Small Group Sign Up Form


Reconciling in Christ Sunday

On June 5, 2011, Bethlehem's congregation overwhelmingly approved a welcome statement naming our commitment to the inclusion of people of all sexual orientations and gender expressions. This action designated Bethlehem a "Reconciling in Christ," or "RIC," congregation. All RIC congregations are encouraged to observe RIC Sunday the last Sunday in January or another Sunday during the year. We will celebrate RIC Sunday on March 10.  

During Reconciling in Christ Sunday, we will hear the ways the gospel calls us to full inclusion and receiving the gifts of all people in our community and life. We also will introduce Bethlehem's newly formed Reconciling in Christ renewal team. Over the course of the next year, the renewal team will update our welcome statement and engage in actions to deepen our commitment to to fully welcoming and inclusive to people who identify as LGBTQ. We also will take a special offering for the organization ReconcilingWorks which has been advocating for the full inclusion of LGBTQ people in the Lutheran church for over 40 years. Check out the ReconcilingWorks web site for more details about their important work, as well as a wealth of resources.