• 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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Another successful mission trip to Our Little Roses Orphanage for Girls in Honduras! We had a wonderful mission team, perfect weather, and through the grace of God we accomplished our goals and returned safely. more...


I love board games. I love all kinds of games really—video games, sports games, icebreaker games—but I especially love board games. When I was a kid I was infatuated with Monopoly. I don’t know why. It certainly wasn’t a quick game to play. It usually ended with everyone being totally frustrated. It was outdated and plodding and required math skills that weren’t always obvious to a 10 year old. Try reading those instructions on reclaiming mortgaged property from the bank through the eyes of a pre-teen and they look a lot like the tax code. But if anyone ever asked me what game I wanted to play, I would immediately say, “Monopoly, and I want to be the banker. . . and I’m the dog.” There comes a point in a game of Monopoly where you’ve been around the board a few times buying up smaller property, maybe some trains or a utility, perhaps a brief stint in jail, when you’ll land on an un-owned Boardwalk, the best property in the game. Your money is stretched pretty thin. There’s not a high likelihood that anyone else will land on this property forcing them to pay you rent. There’s little advantage to be gained by sinking more cash into diminishing returns. And yet—it’s Boardwalk. It’s the top of the line. You can’t just pass up the chance to buy Boardwalk! Only a complete novice to the game would do that. And so you roll the dice, you gamble on yet another piece of property and pray that it will yield a windfall later on. In the end, it’s just too tempting. more...

Rationale or Rationalization: An Opportunity to be Honest

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Deepen your spiritual life in Lent

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 13. The Church invites us to find ways during Lent to deepen our spiritual life and our concern for the world around us. One of the best gifts we can give ourselves is to make some space—both in our schedules and in our hearts—to pray. So, as a way to invite each of us to think about how we pray, I offer some brief thoughts about characteristics of prayer that have helped me be more open to the loving presence of God in my life.more...

Lenten Worship at the Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea

Ash Wednesday we begin the holy season of Lent. The Church has, from very early on, called people to a time of fasting to prepare for the paschal feast at Easter. Over time this fast became fixed at forty days. So, we begin this forty-day season of Lent on Ash Wednesday, and draw it to an end with our Holy Week celebrations. Fasting and penitence have always been Christian practices intended, not as means of punishment, but as means of drawing us into a deeper knowledge of the life-changing meaning of the paschal mystery: Christ’s life, ministry, death, and resurrection. This season offers such a profound opportunity to vary and rethink the rhythm of our daily individual and weekly common life in which we can discover new dimensions of our relationships with God, one another, and the world, and in which we can know more clearly the life we have been given by God in Christ.more...

Marks 125th Anniversary in 2014

In 1789 the Episcopal Church separated formally from the Church of England and no longer would its clergy be required to accept the supremacy of the British crown. A revised version of the Book of Common Prayer was produced in the same year. more...

125 Years Ago

1889 was the beginning of our parish’s life. Four faithful people gathered here to worship and establish an Episcopal congregation on the shores of Lake Worth. more...

From the Associate for Administration

2013 was an exciting year for Bethesda and it was equally exciting for me and my family. Early in the year my wife accepted a faculty position and moved from our long time home in East Tennessee to sunny Florida. At the end of the summer my son moved away to start graduate school. Finally, to close out the year I joined my wife in Florida when I accepted the position here in beautiful Palm Beach at Bethesda-by-the-Sea. I am thankful and humbled to be afforded such a wonderful opportunity. more...


I enjoy working with engaged couples as they prepare, not just for the wedding, but more importantly for married life. For many who embark on the journey of a long-term, intimate relationship, the transition from being single to being a couple is full of blessings and great challenges. I describe one of the great and almost universal challenges as going from a mindset of “mine and yours” to one where we see everything in life as “ours.”more...

New Parents

I always love spending time with new parents. The arrival of an individual’s or couple’s new child is certainly one of the most significant events in life, and many people describe the experience as upending and changing everything. How many new parents come to a whole new realization that they need to make changes in their life to be able to fully welcome and embrace the new arrival? People find this the occasion where they finally stop smoking, or write a will, or add on to the house, or change their diet, or all kinds of other healthy, proactive choices. They find that these choices had been in front of them for some time, but they just did not feel motivated to take action. But when they come to see their life as about more than their own comfort and contentment, they find a new, deeper desire to effect those healthy changes.more...