• 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.


    phone-visitor.jpg (561) 655-4554 


    fb-visitor.jpg Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea

    twitter-visitor.jpg @BBTSchurch



Christmas at Sea 2016

Blog Home  RSS Feed

Christmas at Sea 2016

“Come now look upon the works of the Lord, what awesome things he has done on earth.”   Psalm 46:9

On the last Sunday of the Christian year, which we call Christ the King Sunday, the people of Bethesda came together to create gift bags for mariners who call at the Port of Palm Beach. This annual tradition at Bethesda is in preparation for “Christmas at Sea,” a worldwide Anglican ministry which provides Christmas gifts to seafarers who call at ports around the world during the Christmas season. Beginning with Advent, Christians prepare for the joy of this season with the call to repent and make ready to invite Christ into our lives. It is a season of reflection and anticipation of happiness which will cast out fear as we prepare for the tidings of great joy that God is with us, which was announced to the Shepherds near Bethlehem that very first Christmas. However, for seafarers, it is the loneliest time of the year as they are far away from their families, many of whom can count on one hand the times they have celebrated Christmas at home throughout their career.

Seafarers make the most of their situation by decorating the mess room with a small artificial Christmas tree and perhaps, if they are in port, having a small party on Christmas Eve. This is a time when our outreach to mariners comes through with the ministry of presence whereby we give each seafarer who visits to the Port of Palm Beach their own gift. On Sunday, November 22, many came together to assemble decorated gift bags which hold everyday items collected and saved over the past year. Toiletry items which we take for granted every day, and yet to them, are luxuries—a small bottle of conditioner and shampoo, a razor, socks, a toothbrush, and toothpaste, a hand-made knitted cap or scarf, a card or colored bag which reminds them of their young kids back at home. Through these small gifts, the mariners receive something even more valuable to them—the gift of being remembered.

Remembered by people they don’t even know or have ever met, this is Christian love. This is who we are and want to be, as the palmist wrote, “What awesome things he has done on earth”—through you. I was not present on Sunday when you assembled the gifts. I was across town at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Tequesta receiving over 250 scarves and mariners watch caps that knitters from Good Shepherd and other knitting groups had made. They along with the Nautical Knitters of Bethesda, and knitters at Holy Trinity make the most valued of all possessions of a seafarer—the knitted hat or scarf. At about the same time the knitted hats at Good Shepherd were being blessed, the knitting of Bethesda was being blessed by Father James. When the mariners are told that these items are hand-made and blessed by a Priest, they become holy gifts and offerings.

On behalf of Mission and Outreach, the Port Ministry, Seafarers House, and all of you who support our outreach to seafarers through your acts of knitting, collecting, donating, and participating in SOS Sunday and the Blessing of the Fleet event, thank you for remembering the hidden and forgotten in our midst as you bring light and the meaning of Christmas to the sojourner—through you, they may come to know that God is with them always.

Christmas Blessings to All!