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  • 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

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  • 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.

     

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  • 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.

    PARKING

    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.

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  • 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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  • WE LOOK FORWARD
    TO MEETING YOU...

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Education and Nutrition

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Education and Nutrition

A few weeks ago, I was giving my weekly reading to the “Butterflies” class at the Opportunity Early Childhood Education and Family Center in the Westgate section of West Palm Beach—an agency founded by the women of Bethesda-by-the-Sea in the 1930’s.

The book, The Shopping Expedition, tells the story of a mother who takes her daughter on what starts out as a routine shopping trip to the supermarket. En route, they are beset by a succession of calamities: the car breaks down, they encounter a blizzard, cross a desert, have to navigate a jungle replete with dangerous wildlife, cross a river and then a large harbor, only to arrive at the supermarket after nightfall. But, the store is still open, and the expedition is a success.

The school’s teachers recently began a learning initiative for the students with the goal of enriching their vocabulary by teaching them a new word each week and having the children use it in practical terms so that they understand it. After reading the story, when we were discussing lessons learned from it, I asked the class what they thought was the biggest takeaway from the marathon shopping expedition that ends up being a success. “Persistence!” exclaimed Assistant teacher Miss Mel. “Remember our word from last week?” she asked the class—a very good lesson, indeed.

Then I did an exercise with the class. I drew a shopping cart on the “smart board” (Bethesda Outreach donated two of these wonderful and very sophisticated devices to Opportunity recently) and asked the children to fill it up with items that their mothers buy when they go food shopping. My own lesson learned from this class and exercise was this: nearly every item the children came up with was a foodstuff that was only basic, and overall, lacking in well-rounded nutrition—indicating the staple diet of a low-income family. Macaroni, beans and crackers prevailed. Only one child listed eggs, and one more chicken. The most popular items in the basket were luxury snacks such as cookies, cake and candy—more than likely “dream” items for these kids, and ones they did not enjoy frequently. The point is that lack of proper nutrition—and by this, I mean ample and varied sources of protein, dairy, and fresh vegetables—is a fact of life for many of these kids. And, lacking proper nutrition makes any daily task hard—especially learning and assimilating knowledge.

One of the high-school students whom Bethesda Outreach mentors as part of its Take Stock in Children program recently lamented in a college application essay that on some days she simply could not wait to go to school in the morning so that she could be fed. According to a 2015 figure from the Palm Beach County Food Bank, in Palm Beach County—an area that has one of the highest per capita incomes in the nation—at least one in six residents is classified as ”food insecure,” meaning they do not know where their next meal is coming from. If one does the math, this statistic translates into nearly 300,000 children who go to bed hungry.

“Feeding in February” is the Bethesda Outreach major feeding initiative this winter. It includes three events for one cause. “Empty Bowls” (eat a meal) is on Friday, February 3, here at Bethesda. Palm Beach Unites (make a meal) will be held in the gymnasium at the Palm Beach Day Academy on Sunday, February 12. “Share What You Can” (bring a meal) will take place on Sunday, February 26, at Bethesda. Look for more details in the coming months.

Lee Daniels
On behalf of the Outreach Committee

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