• 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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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...

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...

Welcome the Season of Lent

I invite you...more...

Sunday mornings at Bethesda

I hope you’ve heard by now of the exciting plans we are putting in place for Sunday mornings at Bethesda. You received a letter from me several weeks ago that described some of the elements of our plans, and in this note, we will look at the rest of Sunday morning. If you did not receive my previous letter, please get in touch, and we will send it to you right away, either by mail or email; you can also find it on our website (under Resources/Publications/Bethesda Parish Letters). If you know of someone else who needs to read these, please share your copy or encourage them to call the church office. We also have provided more detail about various aspects of Sunday mornings in the weekly E-mail Newsletters, beginning July 20th. Those email newsletters are also available on the website (under Resources/E-newsletter/). If you have not read those, please do so, as they have more insight and detail than can be put in this letter.more...

Sunday Conversations: The Results

The Results more...


In Orlando this past week, we have once again seen the depths to which the human race can sink into violence and hatred. We have also seen and heard such disappointing rhetoric in response to the tragedy. For me, the endless commentary all around has not necessarily led to clarity about what happened, why it happened, or how we can best respond to it. I have been trying to focus some prayerful attention on the question of how our faith in Jesus Christ might shape both our perspective and response.more...

the season is winding down

As the season is winding down and many are heading north, the rhythm of life at Bethesda slows down a bit. During this past Sunday’s services, we had the joy of recognizing everyone who has been serving in any ministry this year and also to advance our choristers who have passed their exams and demonstrated their readiness to move up a level in our Youth Choir. We also will take a moment to give thanks for our Sunday School students, teachers, and assistants who have built a tremendous community of learning and love together.more...

Rector's 2016 Address

I’ve been thinking lately about what I said in my first sermon here 4 ½ years ago. You may remember, I said that it felt like a first date. I observed that the place was full of excitement and anticipation, along with no small amount of nervous tension. And looking back, it occurs to me that, while some people seemed determined to find what’s wrong rather than what’s right (also not unlike some first dates), most wanted to make a good first impression and most wanted to see and celebrate the best in one another. Now, let’s be honest, this really isn’t an apt metaphor; some would argue it was more like meeting one’s spouse for the first time in an arranged marriage.more...

Rector’s Reflections on 2015

I find myself filled with gratitude as I look back on 2015 and the tremendous ministry we shared at Bethesda-by-the-Sea. More than that, I am filled with incredible joy that we can look back and see so clearly that even insofar as we accomplished amazing things together, even more we experienced the clear and strong presence of God in our growing capacity to carry out all our programs. more...

From the Rector

[God] will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing as on a day of festival. more...