• 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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The Program Year is in Full Swing

Amazingly enough, September is drawing to a close already, which means that the program year is in full swing. We have returned to our three-service Sunday schedule of 8:00, 9:00, and 11:00 a.m., and Christian formation opportunities have returned to the 9:50 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. hour. Children and youth activities have resumed, the Church Mouse opens Monday, and we’re well on our way into a rich and wonderful new year. St. Paul tells us in his first letter to the Corinthians that each of us has different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit, and I couldn’t agree more. For a parish our size, Bethesda fosters a dazzling array of ministries, and I encourage you to find your place among all that happens here. If you haven’t already done so, acquaint yourself with our catalogue (click here) that lists and describes in 94 pages all that goes on at Bethesda, arranged by date, from now until January. We keep the catalogue updated, so when you have a question about what’s happening when, you’ll most likely find the answer in the catalogue. So find your place at Bethesda, listen to where God is calling you to be, and join in the activities of this most remarkable family of faith!

Burl +
Associate For Christian Education, Pastoral Care,
and Outreach more...

In Pursuit of Wisdom

Throughout the history of the three Abrahamic faiths, each has placed a high value on learning and the core belief that God is the source of all knowledge and the fountain of truth. In our modern world we also understand that education beyond the secondary level is a prerequisite to success in life. Through the generosity of parishioners and donors, Bethesda-by-the-Sea is able to award scholarships to students graduating from Palm Beach County high schools, from Boca Raton to Pahokee, Jupiter to Belle Glade, and all the high schools in between, who fit the criteria of the scholarship program and demonstrate potential for success in higher education and in life after graduation. As an educator, I am proud of Bethesda's commitment to high school students and I value the relationships we are building with young adults.more...

Your Life Can Be A Pilgrimage

For many years, pilgrimage has been my central spiritual metaphor. Nearly thirteen years ago, I followed in the steps of centuries of pilgrims as I walked 500 miles from St. Jean Pied de Port in France to Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. The Camino de Santiago, or the Way of St. James, has been a Christian pilgrimage route since the Middle Ages. more...

Rest Time Is Not Waste Time

Summer for most of us is a time to change the pace of our lives. Many migrate north in an attempt to escape the challenging heat in South Florida, and most of us look forward to changing the rhythm of our lives.more...

Sea Sunday, July 8

Every summer, the Mission to Seafarers appoints one Sunday as Sea Sunday. It is a Sunday when seafarers are included in the Prayers of the People. Many people around the world and in this country do not realize that 90% of all our daily needs--such as food, clothing, fuel, and building materials, you name it--are transported by sea. The people who operate and work on these ships are unknown to us, but their lives at sea make our standard of living possible. Did you know that all the fuel we use in south Florida arrives by tanker at Port Everglades? You may have heard that during our last hurricane, when supplies became scarce and we waited for that tanker truck to appear at the gas station. It came from Port Everglades, where the fuel was brought in by ship. That is just one example of our dependency on commercial shipping. But who can the seafarer depend on when the trials of life away from home under dangerous conditions leave in the wake a sense of isolation--being cut off from the rest of the world they serve? That is the purpose of the Mission to Seafarers and one of your ministries at Bethesda by-the-Sea. Through ship visits--supplied with your generous donations of everyday items such as knitted caps, reading materials, and basic necessities including toiletries--the mariners who no one sees are connected with the wider world in the name of Christ. It is this simple hospitality which lifts their spirits in the routine of life aboard ship. This year, July 8 has been appointed Sea Sunday. Remember the mariners in your prayers, knowing that they welcome us as we go on their ships, and that the Christ is revealed in the guise of the stranger.more...

Summer in Palm Beach

Summer in Palm Beach means things generally quieten down-the traffic lessens, the lines at Publix shorten, the social obligations wane-and even here at Bethesda, we use the summer months to take stock of the year that has past, plan ahead, work on maintenance projects that we can't do during season, and generally get our house in order. But while we're getting our house in order for the coming year, the campus is still abuzz with activity. Vacation Bible School is the last week of June, preparations happen for the Keys mission trip and for the Honduras mission trip for our youth, Palm Beach Day Arts Camp is in July, the Flower Guild and Altar Guild maintain their regular schedule of work and artistry, Hal (and others) still practice organ, AA and Al-Anon meet nine times during a week, the two teams that prepare food for St. George's cook twice a month and the sandwich team gathers faithfully every Friday morning, the Men of Bethesda gather, the Cursillistas gather, the Intercessory Prayer Group meets every Monday, the Nautical Knitters are in the library on Saturdays, SafeChurch and Safeguarding God's Children training is in late August, and some committees even continue to meet during these summer months. We still have two services on Sunday mornings-mark your calendar, Scholarship Sunday is 5 August!-and a service at 8:00 a.m. Tuesday and 12:05 p.m. on Wednesday. Whew. While the Associates and staff fit in our vacations amidst the activity, we never stop at Bethesda, because working toward the Kingdom of God never stops.more...

A Lavish Gift

These are the words the Venerable Bede uses to describe the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and in our lives: a lavish gift given "to everyone in every place, regardless of sex, state of life or position" (Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles 2.17). This Sunday we celebrate this lavish gift from God, given to each of us. God's Holy Spirit, that descended on the disciples at Pentecost and is given to us at our baptism, empowers us for the life and ministry for which we were created.more...

Recognition Sunday

This Sunday is Recognition Sunday, the day we recognize those persons who participate in the 60 varied ministries of Bethesda-by-the-Sea. It is the day we vocally and visibly acknowledge the incredible number of people who are Jesus' hands and feet within our congregation, those people who give of their time and talent in service of God and others. At each service this Sunday, we will call out each ministry by name and ask for those involved in that ministry to stand. By the end of that long list, most of the congregation at each service is standing, many remaining standing for participation in multiple ministries. It is a beautiful sight to look out from the chancel and see the witness of so many Bethesdans who give selflessly of their time and their abilities to build up this community and to serve God around the corner and around the world. We hope you'll join us this Sunday as we recognize these many ministers of the Gospel AND perhaps be inspired to find your place serving where God calls you to serve.more...

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...