• 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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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...

Christmas at Sea 2017

This Christmas season over 300 gift bags were delivered to 24 ships. Russians, Ukrainians, Hondurans, Panamanians, Poles, Indians, and for course Filipinos received  Christmas presents which were for the most part provided by the people of Bethesda by the Sea. On Sunday November 19, the people of Bethesda assembled over 250 gift bags in about 40 minutes! The same effort was repeated on Sunday December 24 after the 9:00 service. We truly are a family here at Bethesda. On behalf of the mariners, thank you for all you do for them throughout the year for collecting soap, and shampoo samples as those items are a welcome surprise for the mariners.more...

Christmas at Sea 2016

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

2016 Blessing of the Fleet

“Three months later we set sail on a ship that had wintered at the island, an Alexandrian ship with the Twin Brothers as its figurehead.” Acts 28:11more...

Christmas at Sea

Christmas at Sea has arrived at the Port of Palm Beach! The gift bags began arriving on ships as of December 16 and at this writing, 72 gift bags have been delivered to crewman. One ship, the Heinrich Sibum, received their 14 presents via a net lowered over the side as she was preparing to depart for Europe. Now that is what I call casting a net! I am sure they were as surprised as Peter was when he was once told to cast his net one more time on the Sea of Galilee by a certain passenger.more...

Dangers of the Seafaring Life

“And there are some who have no memorial, who have perished as though they had not lived…” —Sirach 44:9more...

Reflection of the Lenten Season

As I write this I am reflecting on the Lenten season which included three funerals of beloved Bethesda parishioners. On February 19, Ash Wednesday, we were all reminded of our mortality in this life with these words: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” With the opening joyful hymn on Palm Sunday, “All Glory, Laud, and Honor” we quickly progress in the Liturgy on Palm Sunday to the Gospel account of Jesus’ betrayal, trial, and Crucifixion. The Gospel ends with the tomb being sealed, and so begins the holiest (and longest) week of the Christian year. Ash Wednesday seems so long ago to me, yet on that cool night, I was invited to hold an Ash Wednesday service on Monarch Countess, a car carrier which travels to Haiti. The crew is Honduran and Panamanian, and that night three crew members received the Ashes and communion on Miercoles de Cinzanas. The cadets that night did not realize that it was Ash Wednesday and were grateful to enter into a holy Lent with that impermanent reminder of death and that the Easter joy is to come. Death is not permanent, just like those ashes on our forehead at the beginning of Lent. The cross made on our head at Baptism with the words, “You are sealed as Christ’s own forever” cannot be washed away. Death has no dominion over us because of the grace of God poured out on the cross that first holy week. For the crews of the ships which come to the port, the majority of whom are either from Latin America or the Philippines, Holy Week or La Semana Santa is the most special time of the year filled with services and passion plays. It is especially stressful for those who are away from home and family during this time of family reunions. Holy Week is a time where those separated by distance can be offered a little sacred time in the midst of their busy day to reflect that the Lord is with them too not only in the loneliness of Maundy Thursday but in the joy that Easter morning will bring as we announce to all who will hear and believe: He is Risen! Feliz Pascuas! more...

Christmas Eve in 1968

As a very young boy in the late 1960’s at the time of the original Star Trek series and the Apollo moon missions, I wanted to be an astronaut. When I realized in my mid -twenties that becoming a space explorer was not going to happen, I became a SCUBA diver and experienced the weightlessness of floating in another strange and wonderful environment here on Earth. Space however, and looking into the night sky makes me aware that we are a small part of a much larger story. Some of us here this morning work at telling a part of that story called American History and I believe that the history of the space program is more than knowing who was the first man on the moon, if fact, as I ponder the great voyages in the history of humankind, I am most fascinated by the voyage of Apollo 8, the first voyage to the moon and out of Earth Orbit. The 10 revolutions around the moon of Apollo 8 on Christmas Eve 46 years ago, was one of profound spiritual significance in which the opening words of Genesis and the Gospel of John were used by the astronauts to describe the wonder and awe of the Creation outside their four windows. When reporting on the flight of Apollo 8 David Brinkley said, “Numerous times in 1968 we have seen the human race at its worst, and yet at the end of 1968, we have seen the human race at its best. more...

Knitting Thanks

“But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6: 3more...

"My Nature" Visit at the Port of Palm Beach

“The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world and those who live in it, for he has founded it on the seas and established it on the rivers.” –Ps. 24:1more...