• 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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Harold Pysher

Harold Pysher

Associate for Music and Liturgy,
Organist and Choirmaster

Hal is the eldest of five children and a native of Pennsylvania. His father’s side of the family was musical, so from an early age he was exposed to family sing-a-longs. It’s a miracle that those gatherings didn’t make him swear off music forever! He started studying piano when he was 8 and organ when he was 12. His piano teacher and first organ teacher were “originals”—the piano teacher charged $1 for a 45-minute lesson (for 10+ years!), and the organ teacher (organist at his home church) would accept no payment at all!

When he was in high school, he studied with another organ teacher in his home town, an alumnus of Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ. Because of the stories he heard, and because it had not only the largest organ department in the world but also one of the best choral programs anywhere, Hal became obsessed with attending that school. Although other music schools expressed interest, Westminster was the only place he applied. He earned two degrees there: Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance and Master of Music in Church Music. While at Westminster, he had the good fortune of being invited to serve as Assistant/Associate Organist to James Litton at Trinity Church, Princeton, which he did for 6 revelatory years. Having grown up in the Lutheran Church, he realized in short order that the Episcopal Church was his real “home.”

Over the course of more than 35 years in full-time church music ministry, Hal has had just two church jobs since his Princeton days. His first was a wonderful 9 years at Calvary Church, Williamsville, NY, and he began his long tenure at Bethesda-by-the-Sea in the fall of 1987. Hal has direct oversight of music for services, as well as concerts. Along with the Rector and other Associates, he helps coordinate all aspects of our worship liturgies.

Hal enjoys classical music in general and opera in particular. While a student in Princeton, he was just an hour from New York, so he made as many excursions as possible to the Metropolitan Opera House. One of the major joys in his life has been the artistry of the late, great opera diva, Dame Joan Sutherland. To say he’s obsessed with her singing and her mastery of vocal technique—even several years after her death—would be a gross understatement! He’s known far and wide to be a rabid gadget person: anything having to do with computers or gadgetry in general consumes far too much of his time! He’s also known to watch way too much mindless television and read ridiculously-low-brow novels.



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