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					                                        Slater, IA 50244
                                        P. O. Box 297
                                        411 Third Ave.
                                        Bethlehem Lutheran Church
                                                                                    Bethlehem News
Dated Material—Please don’t delay!
                                                                                                 January 2008
                                                                                          Heidi Williams, Pastor
                                                                                          Marlene Fairchild, Secretary

                                                                                            Church Office: (515)228-3933
                                                                    E-mail:            Pastor’s cell number: (515)450-0490
                                                                    E-mail:              Parsonage: (515)228-3684
                                                                                            Issue #558

                                                                                     BELIEVING—In God’s Promises
                                                                                      SERVING—God and Neighbor
                                                                                  LIVING—In God’s Grace through Faith
                                                                                    WELCOMING—All to Jesus Christ

                                                                              Annual Congregational Meeting
                                                                                  Sunday, January 20

                                                                                    Official notice is hereby
                                                                                    given for the Annual Meeting
                                                                                    of Bethlehem Lutheran
                                                                                    Church, to be held Sunday,
                                                                                    January 20, at 10:15 a.m. in
                                                                    the Fellowship Room. Mark this date on
                                                                    your calendars!! There will be a congrega-
                                                                    tional chili and chicken noodle soup meal at
                                                                    11:30 a.m. following the meeting. Those
                                                                    with last names beginning with “A”
                                     US POSTAGE
                                     Non-Profit Org.
                                      Permit No. 1

                                                                    through “H” are asked to furnish a pie;
                                        Slater IA

                                                                    “I” through “Z” are asked for a $4.00
                                                                    donation. We hope everyone will attend!
                                                                            January Volunteers
                                                                Ushers & Elevator Assistance Before Worship
                            This Month’s                     *Rick and Maggie Zimmermann, Dave and Bryan Holland

                                                               Acolytes & Elevator Assistance Following Worship
                             Activities                            January 6—Alisha Smith and Nicholas Upah
                                                                  January 13—Alisha Smith and Nicholas Upah
                                                                January 20—Curtis Weeks and Abbey Anderson
                                                                January 27—Curtis Weeks and Abbey Anderson
Church Council Meeting
 The next Church Council meeting will be Thursday,               Children’s Message      Scripture Readers
January 10, at 7:00 p.m. in the Caleb room next to         January 13—Rhonda Kaldenberg January 6—Dave Cook
the church kitchen. All Council meetings are open to the   January 27—Rosalie Lund      January 13—Barbara Lund
                                                                                        January 20—Brenda Neville
congregation to attend.                                                                 January 27—Jana Mitchell
Circles Meet 3rd Tuesday each month                                              Greeters
 The following circles will meet each third Tuesday of             January 6 & 13—Joe and Tammy Johnson
the month unless otherwise posted.                              January 20 & 27—T. J. Hiatt and Colton Johnson

  Patience and Faith Circles    9:30 a.m.                                   Provide Altar Flowers
                                                                                 January 6—
  Hope Circle                   2:00 p.m.                                        January 13—
                                                                                January 20—
 The next date of circle meetings will be Tuesday,                        January 27—Rose Steoger
January 15.
                                                                             Cassette Tape Ministry
Choir Practices                                                   January 6—Jana Mitchell, Holly Christensen,
 The choir practices every other Wednesday at 6:30                           John/Martha Sheldahl
                                                               January 13, 20, 27—Ronna Hoppenworth, Lucy Cline,
p.m.                                                                             Orin Erickson

Check out the bulletin board in the                                     Altar and Chancel (Communion)
music room for the schedule of                                       January 6 & 20—Craig & Judy Whitney
practices in January.
                                                                           Communion Assistants
                                                                January 6—Dave and Kathy Cook, Judy Whitney
 We are always looking for new                                  January 20—Brenda Neville, Mike and Sue Higgs
members! Everyone is welcome to
come and share their talents.                                                 Flower and Candle
                                                                                 Tami Staples
                                                                                                   Council Minutes
                     Banqueting Table Menus                                                  Wednesday December 12, 2007

                          January 9                               Call to Order: Call to order by Vice-President Judy Herrin at
                          Ham balls
              New potatoes with parmesan cheese                   Roll Call: Ardy Estrem, Dale Petersen, Allison Mickelson, Judy
                       Scalloped corn                             Herrin, Caroll Sesker, Janice Berhow, Kathy Robison, Dave Hokel,
                            Rolls                                 T.J. Hiatt, Juli Helland, Pastor Williams came at 7:15. Absent:
                       Chocolate cake                             Don Sievers, Marlene Thompson. Guests: Doug Houser
                          January 16                              Review and Approve Agenda: Ardy Estrem made a motion to
                                                                  amend the agenda to reflect that Doug Houser was there
                          Roast beef                              representing the Building Committee rather than the Building
                      Potatoes and gravy                          Finance Committee. Second by Janice Berhow. MCU
                             Rolls                                Building Committee Report: Doug Houser presented the revised
                     Strawberry shortcake                         building plans dated 9-11-07. (See attached sheet) Caroll Sesker
                                                                  made a motion to accept the plans as presented. Second by Ardy
                          January 23                              Estrem. MCU
                           Pork chops                             Approve Secretary’s minutes: Motion by Kathy Robinson to
                       Scalloped potatoes                         accept the November Secretary’s minutes. Second by Janice
                   California blend vegetables                    Berhow. MCU
                               Rolls                              Approve Treasurer’s Report: Motion by Janice Berhow to
                             Dessert                              accept the Treasurer’s report. Second by Ardy Estrem. MCU
                          January 30                              Pastor’s Report: Pastor did not present a report this month.
                 Chicken casserole with dressing                  New Business:
                          Snicker salad                             A.) The Nominating Committee is still obtaining names for the
                          Green beans                                  2008 ballot. Mike Gibson has agreed to run for the 1 year
                              Rolls                                    term and Trent Siegfried has agreed to run for a 3 year
                            Dessert                                    term. They are still looking for 2 people to fill 3 year terms
                                                                       and a youth representative.
   Notice: Due to the increase in groceries, starting January 9     B.) Pastor raised some concerns regarding the 2008 proposed
we will be charging $3.00 per plate for carry out meals only.           budget. Additional funds need to be budgeted for an
                                                                        organist for Saturday night services. 450. 00 dollars was
     added to the line item of salary for organists. Other line
     items were reduced to reflect that they were lower than
     anticipated in the 2007 budget. Kathy Robinson made a
     motion to accept the amended 2008 budget proposal.
     Second by Ardy Estrem. MCU
  C.) Dale Petersen, Dave Hokel, Caroll Sesker, and Don Sievers
      will plan the dinner that follow the annual meeting.
  D.) A letter was received from Craig and Judy Whitney regard-
      ing the Food Pantry. Judy had looked into the possibility of
      joining the Food Bank of Iowa to enable the local Food
      Pantry to receive supplies at lower prices. The Food Bank of
      Iowa wanted Bethlehem to be legally and financially
      responsible for the Food Pantry. The Council declined the
      sponsorship for liability reasons. Janice Berhow, Allison
      Mickelson and T.J. Hiatt will look into involving other area
      churches and the community to share the responsibility of
      the Food Pantry.
  A.) Annual meeting is January 20, 2008
  B.) Council retreat is set for February 2, 2008
  C.) Installation of 2008 Council is set for February 3, 2008
Adjournment: Motion was made by Kathy Robinson to adjourn the
meeting. Second by T.J. Hiatt. MCU

Closing Prayer: Pastor Williams.
                                                                      Please Remember in Prayer
                             LSI News                                   Mark Cosens (one of the Ballard wrestling
                                                                      coaches), Reece and Mason Craighton, Carl Fulk,
                                                                      Chad Gibson, Maralyn Hammond, Kay Hanson,
Mentors Make a Difference                                             Mike Ihle, Ron Klimesh (Kristin Myli’s stepdad),
                                                                      Ted Larson (Lisa Stocksleger’s grandfather),
                                                                      Shannon Sayer (Ardy Estrem’s niece), Fern
Lutheran Services in Iowa (LSI) celebrates National Mentoring         Thompson, and Bill White. Please remember
                                                                      the hospitalized and sick in prayers and with your cards.
Month in January. Thank you to all the volunteers who give their
time, compassion and support to make a difference in the lives of
people we serve. Mentors involved in our early childhood programs                          First Communion Classes
                                                                                             First Communion Classes for the fifth
help new parents learn healthy habits and skills to ensure a safe                          grade will be starting on January 9 at 4:00
environment for their children. Mentors for children in residential                        p.m. They will continue every Wednesday
                                                                                           through January 30. Watch your mail for
care are positive role models that help residents develop strong                           information from Pastor Heidi.
relationships and make good decisions. When refugees are
resettled after fleeing persecution, LSI mentors help these new
                                                                      2008 Flower Chart Posted
Iowans learn self-sufficiency through educational support, job          The new 2008 flower chart has been posted on
coaching, and simply by being a friend.                               the bulletin board in the church office hallway.
                                                                      If you wish to provide altar flowers, please
                                                                      choose a date, indicate your name, whether you
                                                                      want the church to order flowers for you, and
Join us in a salute to mentors in Iowa and nationwide. Thank
                                                                      any dedication for the flowers (birthdays,
someone in your life who took the time to teach you a new skill,      anniversaries, to the Glory of God, etc.) Choose
                                                                      your date/s soon for best choice.
show you a new hobby, or convinced you to be yourself. If you are      If you choose to have the church order your
interested in becoming a mentor for LSI, call 1-800-4LSIOWA or        flowers, they will be ordered by the church
                                                                      office from the Madrid Flower Shop. They will make two nice
visit for general information.                         arrangements for $30.00. If you request specific types of
                                                                      flowers, the price will depend on what you have ordered. Madrid
                                                                      Flower Shop will bill you directly for your flowers. Your
                                                                      arrangements may be taken home following the service. Be sure
                                                                      to bring a container to carry them home, as they will be on the
                                                                      altar in the green liners which need to stay at the church. Thank
                                                                      you! (THERE ARE STILL A LOT OF OPEN SPACES!)
A special thanks to all of our wonderful volunteers
who decorated our church for the Christmas
season. The church was beautiful!
                                                                      Attendance and Offering for December

               We will be putting away all of the Christmas                                 Attendance            Offering
               decorations on Saturday, January 5, 2008.
               Anyone that can help, please meet at the                 December 1            Cancelled
                                                                        December 2                84            $ 4313.54
               church at 1:00 p.m. Thank you!!!                         December 8                23               235.00
                                                                        December 9               120              1630.07
                                                                        December 15                15              681.00
Thank you to everyone who provided poinsettias to                       December 16               107             2119.30
help decorate the church. The cost is $13.50. If you                    December 22               22                65.00
haven’t paid for your poinsettia, please drop a check                   December 23               78             2740.50
at the church office. Thanks!                                           December 24       (5:30) 166              1316.00
                                                                                         (10:30) 101

                     At the Madrid Home                          Weekly receipts needed to meet
                     Marge Gunzenhauser (Kathy Cline’s mother)    2007 budget ($170,254 ÷ 52):                 $ 3,274.11
                     Maralyn Hammond
                     Lola Hanson (Darrel Herrin’s mother)        Offerings Received:
                     Claire Ihle                                 January                                       $ 9,474.75
                     Elnora Nernes                               February                                        10,627.45
                     June Swanson                                March                                           13,259.97
                     Marge Torgerson                             April                                           15,109.29
                     Helen Twit                                  May                                             10,835.31
                                                                 June                                             11,591.58
                                                                 July                                            11,949.45
At Madrid (Cedars)                 At Ballard Creek
                                                                 August                                          11,483.75
Ruth Lund                          Edna Gibson                   September                                       13,176.23
Fern Thompson                      Stella Glew                   October                                         11,757.50
                                   Mildred Reinertson            November                                        10,944.45
At Bethany Manor                   Ruth Ryg                      December                                         13,100.41
Dorothy Ehm                                                            Total Offerings                        $ 143,310.14

                                                                 Budgeted Expenses through
                                                                  December 24, 2007 ($3,274.11 x 51):        ($166,979.89)
 Congratulations to Ronna Hoppenworth on the                     Budget deficit as of
birth of a new grandson, Eli Burton Hoppenworth,                  December 30, 2007:                         ($23,669.75)
on December 14. Eli weighed 3 lbs. 14 oz. Eli is
the son of Mitch Hoppenworth,
     Calling all high school juniors and seniors to experience
                           Carthage College

Carthage College is a private college of the liberal arts and
sciences, affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America. Located midway between Chicago and Milwaukee in
Kenosha, Wisconsin, Carthage’s picturesque campus on the Lake
Michigan shore is home to 2,250 full-time and 614 part-time

Come check out firsthand what Carthage is all about. During your
visit you will: tour campus, learn more about financial aid, have the
opportunity to meet your admission director, meet with a coach
and experience campus life with current Carthage students!

   Preview Dates: January 4, 7, 11, 14, 18, 21, 25, 28
                  February 15, 18, 19
                  March 3, 7, 10, 14, 25, 27

This is a great way to see what Carthage College has to offer! To
sign up for a campus visit, please call 800-351-4058 or online at
                      January Birthdays

January 3 -                    January 17 -                January Anniversaries
   Jim Mallon                     Don Sievers
   Zachery Upah
                               January 18 -
January 4 -                       Collin Winter       January 11—Rollie and Pat McCubbin
   Joseph Pearce IV
                               January 19 -          January 19—Darrell and Myrna Harmon
January 5 -                       Mason Lewis         January 23—David and Brenda Hokel
   Sue Essick
                               January 22 -
                                                      January 28—Joe and Tammy Johnson
January 6 -                       Dale Petersen
   Barb Mallon                    Cole Smith
                                  Austin Thompson
January 7 -                       Wyatt Weeks
   Dave Holland
                               January 23 -
January 9 -                       Mitchell Broer
   Charlene Michael               JoEllyn Hokel
                                  Micah Ott
January 10 -                      Zachery Thompson
   Austin Seibert
                               January 24 -
January 11 -                      Steve Boyd
   Kylee Winter                   Rose Steoger
                                  Mason Vegors
January 12 -
   Ardy Estrem                 January 25 -
                                  Tammy Johnson
January 13 -
   Brenden Kaldenberg          January 27 -
   Jennifer Pearson               LaVonne Clark
                                  Mark Eimers
January 16 -                      Jamie Holland
   Dianne Fatka
   Cathy Lewis                 January 29 -
   Trevor Smith                   Ruth Lund
                                  Lori Morrissey
     JANUARY DAY-BY-DAY CALENDAR                     JANUARY DAY-BY-DAY CALENDAR (continued)

Tuesday, January 1
   CHURCH OFFICES CLOSED                         Wednesday, January 16
                                                   4:00 p.m.     First Communion Class
Wednesday, January 2                               5:30 p.m.      Banqueting Table
  6:15 p.m.     7th & 8th Grade Confirmation       6:15 p.m.     7th & 8th Grade Confirmation
  7:15 p.m.     “Rock the Boat”                    7:15 p.m.     “Rock the Boat”

Thursday, January 3                              Saturday, January 19
   7:00 p.m.     Executive Committee                5:00 p.m.     Contemporary Worship

Saturday, January 5                              Sunday, January 20
   5:00 p.m.     Contemporary Worship               9:00 a.m.     Worship with Holy Communion
                                                   10:15 a.m.     Sunday School
Sunday, January   6                                               Annual Meeting
    9:00 a.m.      Worship with Holy Communion     11:30 a.m.     Annual Meeting Dinner
   10:15 a.m.      Sunday School
    5:00 p.m.      Boy Scouts                    Monday, January 21
                                                    9:00 a.m.    BLCW Sewing Day
Monday, January   7                                 1:30 p.m.    Women’s Bible Study
   9:00 a.m.      BLCW Sewing Day
   1:30 p.m.      Women’s Bible Study            Tuesday, January 22
   7:00 p.m.      Worship Planning Team             7:00 p.m.     Boy Scout Parent Meeting

Wednesday, January 9                             Wednesday, January 23
  4:00 p.m.     First Communion Class              4:00 p.m.     First Communion Classes
  5:30 p.m.     Banqueting Table                   5:30 p.m.     Banqueting Table
  6:15 p.m.     7th & 8th Grade Confirmation       6:15 p.m.     7th & 8th Grade Confirmation
  7:15 p.m.     “Rock the Boat”                    7:15 p.m.     “Rock the Boat”

Thursday, January 10                             Saturday, January 26
   7:00 p.m.     Church Council                     5:00 p.m.     Contemporary Worship

Saturday, January 12                             Sunday, January   27
   5:00 p.m.     Contemporary Worship               9:00 a.m.       Worship
                                                   10:15 a.m.       Sunday School
Sunday, January   13                                5:00 p.m.       Boy Scouts
   9:00 a.m.       Worship                          6:30 p.m.       Venturing
  10:15 a.m.       Sunday School
   6:30 p.m.       Venturing                     Monday, January 28
                                                    1:30 p.m.    Women’s Bible Study
Monday, January 14
   1:30 p.m.    Women’s Bible Study              Wednesday, January 30
                                                   4:00 p.m.     First Communion Classes
Tuesday, January 15                                5:30 p.m.     Banqueting Table
   9:30 a.m.     Faith & Patience Circles          6:15 p.m.     7th & 8th Grade Confirmation
   2:00 p.m.     Hope Circle                       7:15 p.m.     “Rock the Boat”
                     When was the last time you laughed out loud?
                     I mean, really belly laughed, roll on the floor
                     laughed, laughed til you cried and gasped for

                     I was listening to National Public Radio this
                     week when Michael Palin, of Monty Python
Flying Circus fame, was interviewed. Bits of Monty Python’s
sketches were aired on the program – the inimitable “Dead
Parrot” sketch, for one (in which a man attempts to bring a dead
parrot he’d bought a half hour before back to the pet shop from
which he’d purchased it, and is told that the Norwegian Blue
parrot isn’t dead, he’s “pining for the fjords.”

An excerpt: “'E's not pinin'! 'E's passed on! This parrot is no
more! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is
maker! 'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e rests in peace! If you hadn't
nailed 'im to the perch 'e'd be pushing up the daisies! 'Is
metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the twig! 'E's kicked
the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain
and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-

In a fog of nostalgia as I listened to Palin, I remembered the
weekends of my junior year in college. Every Sunday night (at
least I think it was Sunday; it may have been Saturday. Who
remembers details of that long ago) at 10:30 p.m. my roommates,
our assorted friends, and I gathered at a duplex on Polk Blvd in
Des Moines to watch Monty Python’s Flying Circus together. We
would lounge around our living room as comfortably as we could in
its cast-off college student décor and laugh at “the dead parrot,”
“my pet fish, Eric,” and “nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition”
until we could scarcely breathe.
And I thought of how rare a thing laughter at anything on            By laughter, I don’t mean the derisive, mocking, too-knowing,
television is these days. Most of the humor I see on television is   sarcastic we are goaded into by our world-weary television shows,
either crudely and overtly sexual, or it is cruel humor at someone   but the kind of laughter that comes from being surprised at the
else’s expense. Gone is any sense of the absurd and with it, any     utter absurdity of God taking on our flesh and form, from babe to
inducement to guffaw. On television, true comedy is as dead as       adulthood, and from being surprised at empty tombs and
the Norwegian Blue parrot.                                           announcements of resurrection – the kind of laughter that
                                                                     spontaneously bursts forth from such surprise, that an absurd
Perhaps the times in which we live have become so grim and           situation results in salvation and life, contrary to all human
serious, with war, terrorism, dread diseases and looming economic    expectation, contrary to how all things in the world work on a
uncertainty, that we have difficulty finding anything really funny   daily basis. Holy laughter is surprise-induced and joy-filled.
to laugh over. Perhaps our culture has wandered so far from the
paths of righteousness that our minds are so full of the grueling    And so this is my wish for all Bethlehemites for 2008: That your
business of righting ourselves that laughter seems too frivolous a   year will be filled with surprises that only the Holy Spirit of God
business in which to engage.                                         can bring, and an attendant, resulting and overpowering need to
                                                                     laugh right out loud til you roll on the floor, kicking your feet and
Whatever the case, in the absence of a chuckle, chortle, hee-haw     gasping for air with tears streaming down your faces, Monty
and guffaw, genuine laughter is the holy grail of the human          Python-style. And not just on Sunday nights, but as often as you
experience. I do not use the word, “holy,” lightly. Laughter is      are surprised by God’s grace.
indeed holy, because it is the heartfelt response to the sacred
expression of God’s absurd interventions into our lives. Sarah       Your Sister in Christ Jesus,
laughed when she heard she would become a mother in her dotage,      Pastor Heidi
an impossible and thoroughly absurd notion. God's people laughed
and shouted when they came free from captivity in
Psalms 126:1-3.

Though the biblical record makes no note of laughter among the
shepherds on that night near Bethlehem nearly 2000 years ago,
one might assume a giggle as they arrived at the stable. The
Savior, Christ the King – as a baby in the manger. Indeed, should
there not be laughter that God’s way of salvation comes through a
carpenter and his teenage wife in a no-account town in a
conquered country?

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