• 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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From the Rector

As I write, we are still basking in the glow of a transcendent and prayerful Holy Week. The liturgies of Holy Week center our life as a parish family. The journey of Holy Week, culminating in the joy of Easter Day reminds us that at the center of all that we do is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. more...

Outreach Highlights of the Season

What a busy season this has been for our Outreach Committee from October through April! The events have been fun, inspiring, and great for the community we serve. Below are just some of the highlights of the season. more...

Reflection of the Lenten Season

As I write this I am reflecting on the Lenten season which included three funerals of beloved Bethesda parishioners. On February 19, Ash Wednesday, we were all reminded of our mortality in this life with these words: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” With the opening joyful hymn on Palm Sunday, “All Glory, Laud, and Honor” we quickly progress in the Liturgy on Palm Sunday to the Gospel account of Jesus’ betrayal, trial, and Crucifixion. The Gospel ends with the tomb being sealed, and so begins the holiest (and longest) week of the Christian year. Ash Wednesday seems so long ago to me, yet on that cool night, I was invited to hold an Ash Wednesday service on Monarch Countess, a car carrier which travels to Haiti. The crew is Honduran and Panamanian, and that night three crew members received the Ashes and communion on Miercoles de Cinzanas. The cadets that night did not realize that it was Ash Wednesday and were grateful to enter into a holy Lent with that impermanent reminder of death and that the Easter joy is to come. Death is not permanent, just like those ashes on our forehead at the beginning of Lent. The cross made on our head at Baptism with the words, “You are sealed as Christ’s own forever” cannot be washed away. Death has no dominion over us because of the grace of God poured out on the cross that first holy week. For the crews of the ships which come to the port, the majority of whom are either from Latin America or the Philippines, Holy Week or La Semana Santa is the most special time of the year filled with services and passion plays. It is especially stressful for those who are away from home and family during this time of family reunions. Holy Week is a time where those separated by distance can be offered a little sacred time in the midst of their busy day to reflect that the Lord is with them too not only in the loneliness of Maundy Thursday but in the joy that Easter morning will bring as we announce to all who will hear and believe: He is Risen! Feliz Pascuas! more...

Honduras Mission Trip: Day 4 and 5

Our team FINALLY completed the security camera project in the hot, hot, HOT sun yesterday. In total we placed six cameras around the exterior of the building and had to string all of the wiring through a hole into one office. The benefit of the new system is that it is connected to a wireless network rather than hardwired into one monitor, so the principal of Holy Family Bilingual School and staff will be able to monitor what’s happening on the grounds from multiple offices throughout the facility and even on their phones! It’s a great security upgrade for the students that come here each day. more...

Honduras Mission Trip: Day 2 and 3

Greetings once again from Our Little Roses in San Pedro Sula, Honduras! Day 2 and 3 of our mission trip looked surprisingly similar as you can tell by the pictures posted on Bethesda’s Facebook wall. We have been working hard mounting and wiring security cameras around the facility. This involves several trips up and down ladders, drilling holes through concrete, and laboring in weather that is about 10 degrees warmer than what we left behind in Palm Beach. The entire group has pitched in to ease the effort and we wrapped up this project before we leave Friday.more...

Honduras Mission Trip: Day 1


Being an Exemplary Church

Three years ago, we were wrestling to understand all the ramifications of our decision to live in decisively new ways as a parish. We latched upon the word exemplary to connote the general direction we wished to go in our ministry. What we mean by this is that we are choosing to lead and set the example of how an Episcopal parish can fulfill God’s mission in this rapidly changing world. We mean that we will learn from others’ best practices without being constrained to go along with the crowd and that we expect more and more to be a parish that others look to for direction and leadership. We mean that we are not going to define our ministry solely based on what we had been and could no longer be, but on a conviction that God was calling us to a new era of great ministry.more...

Christmas Eve in 1968

As a very young boy in the late 1960’s at the time of the original Star Trek series and the Apollo moon missions, I wanted to be an astronaut. When I realized in my mid -twenties that becoming a space explorer was not going to happen, I became a SCUBA diver and experienced the weightlessness of floating in another strange and wonderful environment here on Earth. Space however, and looking into the night sky makes me aware that we are a small part of a much larger story. Some of us here this morning work at telling a part of that story called American History and I believe that the history of the space program is more than knowing who was the first man on the moon, if fact, as I ponder the great voyages in the history of humankind, I am most fascinated by the voyage of Apollo 8, the first voyage to the moon and out of Earth Orbit. The 10 revolutions around the moon of Apollo 8 on Christmas Eve 46 years ago, was one of profound spiritual significance in which the opening words of Genesis and the Gospel of John were used by the astronauts to describe the wonder and awe of the Creation outside their four windows. When reporting on the flight of Apollo 8 David Brinkley said, “Numerous times in 1968 we have seen the human race at its worst, and yet at the end of 1968, we have seen the human race at its best. more...

Village Baptist Feeding Center

The church received an e-mail from Dan E. Shorter at Village Baptist Feeding Center.more...

Knitting Thanks

“But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6: 3more...