• 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




RSS Feed


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...

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...

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...

From the Rector

Having now been in Palm Beach for four years, I have been taking some time here and there to get to know some of the other congregations and ministries in our diocese. I have had the chance to visit and have lunch with colleagues in Coral Springs, Plantation, Stuart, and Clewiston, for example, and will continue to get out and about when other obligations take me away from here during the week.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...

From the Rector

As I write, we are still basking in the glow of a transcendent and prayerful Holy Week. The liturgies of Holy Week center our life as a parish family. The journey of Holy Week, culminating in the joy of Easter Day reminds us that at the center of all that we do is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. more...

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...

Being an Exemplary Church

Three years ago, we were wrestling to understand all the ramifications of our decision to live in decisively new ways as a parish. We latched upon the word exemplary to connote the general direction we wished to go in our ministry. What we mean by this is that we are choosing to lead and set the example of how an Episcopal parish can fulfill God’s mission in this rapidly changing world. We mean that we will learn from others’ best practices without being constrained to go along with the crowd and that we expect more and more to be a parish that others look to for direction and leadership. We mean that we are not going to define our ministry solely based on what we had been and could no longer be, but on a conviction that God was calling us to a new era of great ministry.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...