• Welcome
  • What to Expect
  • Children & Youth
  • Worship Schedule
  • Directions
  • Contact
  • Greetings,

    Welcome to the Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea, a community of people from all walks of life discovering the joy of knowing and following Jesus Christ. We gather on Sundays to hear the sacred stories of God’s love and to be spiritually nourished in sharing Holy Communion. Then, inspired by our fellowship, we strive to make God's love a living reality in our lives every day. At Bethesda, Sunday is the high point of the week. So, look around our web site. Then come and join us on a Sunday morning soon.

    Peace, The Rev. James Harlan, Rector

  • Every Sunday is where the life begins at Bethesda. We celebrate the Holy Eucharist with glorious liturgy and music. We also celebrate Holy Eucharist during the week and offer a healing service on Wednesdays. All baptized Christians are invited to participate in the Holy Eucharist when visiting Bethesda-by-the-Sea. It is not necessary to be a member of the Episcopal Church in order to receive Holy Communion. Persons who have not been baptized are welcome to come to the altar rail and kneel to receive a blessing. Cross your arms on your chest as a sign that you will not receive Communion. Click here for our service schedule.


  • FROM I-95

    Take the Okeechobee Blvd East exit (70). Travel East on Okeechobee Blvd to the Intracoastal Waterway. Cross over the Intracoastal Waterway, and continue going East to the second light (South County Road). Turn North (left) onto South County Road, and travel 1/2 mile. The church will be on the Right.


    Click here and scroll to Directions and Parking Information.

  • Having the faith of a child

    Children and youth bring such wonderful life and energy to our community. Bethesda offers a warm welcome to every child, whether parents prefer to bring their children into the worship service, or put them in the special children's worship (when available), or let them enjoy the nursery. We strive to create a place where even our littlest members know that God loves them, where all of us can grow in our faith, and where parents can find their own sense of peace and support.



  • God is Love

    Our worship is formal, intimate, transcendent, reflective, fun, and inspiring. As we celebrate our life together, we focus on God's love for each and every person and encourage one another to seek that loving presence of God. We have communion as an integral part of every service where we share together in a simple meal of bread and wine. While our worship may not be entirely familiar, we encourage everyone to join in as they are comfortable. Read more here.


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Come and worship with us

Episcopalians like to say that anyone who wants to know what we believe, needs simply to come and worship with us. Holy Week like no other week enacts what we believe about the world, ourselves, and God who created us. Through the liturgies of these next four days, we bring into our present reality the surpassing gift of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. Indeed, to fully celebrate the resurrection of Easter we need to remain with Jesus through the Last Supper, the night in the garden, the arrest and trial, and the crucifixion and burial. The redeeming, healing work of our Lord happens because Jesus suffered and died and rose again. For Episcopalians, to celebrate the Resurrection apart from the observances of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Great Vigil on Saturday simply rings hollow. We give ourselves a tremendous gift by giving ourselves fully to our life of worship for these next four days.more...

The Very Holy Week

There is an awesome holiness, a power to each day next week. There is a majesty and a terror, an exquisite awfulness to the journey we take in Jesus' footsteps to the cross, the retracing of a path of sorrows from the hideous triumphalism of Palm Sunday to the rent Temple curtain on Friday and its midday darkness. Each day is powerful. Each day the cross we carry for Jesus gets heavier. Each day the trash heap of Golgotha becomes clearer and clearer. Each day brings us inexorably closer to the Friday they call Good and the Saturday for which even a name is difficult.more...

Lenten Retreat: Rediscovering the Magic of Bible Stories

Did you ever go to vacation bible school in the summer when you were young? How well do you remember bible stories? So many of us were taught bible stories as young people, but we have neglected to revisit them as adults. If we do, what happens when we revisit Jonah and the big fish (it's a FISH, not a whale!), or Queen Esther's crafty heroism, or Peter walking on water, as adults with our critical, skeptical, faithful, and loving minds? How do we rediscover the magic of those bible stories that have captivated the attention of the faithful for centuries, even millennia?more...

Missions: He loved. We share.

Mission work is foundational to the identity of Christians. It's so ingrained in who we are that it's part of our baptismal covenant: "Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?" As we know, our neighbors are around the corner and around the globe, and our youth mission projects this summer will reflect that reality.more...

The Great Litany

On the first and final Sundays in Lent, we begin the 11:00 service with the Great Litany, an ancient and complex series of penitential petitions that Christians have prayed since at least the fifth century. The prayers are so central to Christian liturgy, in fact, that they were the first rite translated from Latin to English by Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury under Henry VIII, in 1544, when he gathered the petitions into their present order. The Litany begins with an invocation of the Trinity and continues with petitions for deliverance from evil, spiritual harm, and natural calamities; pleas for the power of Christ’s Incarnation, life, death, and resurrection for deliverance; and prayers of general intercession, concluding with both the Agnus Dei (O Lamb of God…) and the Kyrie (Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy).[1]  At Bethesda, we intone (chant) the petitions while in procession, the congregation responding to each grouping of petitions with a different text. Slow, steady, and intentional, praying the Great Litany is a beautiful way to begin and end Lent, that season of penitence and introspection that leads us to Holy Week and Christ’s death upon the cross for our redemption, and it is our hope that praying the Litany this Sunday will afford us each that beauty of solemn holiness at the beginning of this season.more...

Welcome the Season of Lent

I invite you...more...

Feeding in February

We all know if it is February at Bethesda it is time for "Feeding in February," three events, one cause: eat a meal, make a meal, share a meal! February is when we as a Christian community focus on hunger.more...

Christmas at Sea 2017

This Christmas season over 300 gift bags were delivered to 24 ships. Russians, Ukrainians, Hondurans, Panamanians, Poles, Indians, and for course Filipinos received  Christmas presents which were for the most part provided by the people of Bethesda by the Sea. On Sunday November 19, the people of Bethesda assembled over 250 gift bags in about 40 minutes! The same effort was repeated on Sunday December 24 after the 9:00 service. We truly are a family here at Bethesda. On behalf of the mariners, thank you for all you do for them throughout the year for collecting soap, and shampoo samples as those items are a welcome surprise for the mariners.more...

Still Moving Forward

Holy Redeemer Episcopal Church/Palanca Pantry Make Strides in 2017 more...

Sunday mornings at Bethesda

I hope you’ve heard by now of the exciting plans we are putting in place for Sunday mornings at Bethesda. You received a letter from me several weeks ago that described some of the elements of our plans, and in this note, we will look at the rest of Sunday morning. If you did not receive my previous letter, please get in touch, and we will send it to you right away, either by mail or email; you can also find it on our website (under Resources/Publications/Bethesda Parish Letters). If you know of someone else who needs to read these, please share your copy or encourage them to call the church office. We also have provided more detail about various aspects of Sunday mornings in the weekly E-mail Newsletters, beginning July 20th. Those email newsletters are also available on the website (under Resources/E-newsletter/). If you have not read those, please do so, as they have more insight and detail than can be put in this letter.more...