• 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

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...

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...

All in the family

Paul loved the church in Corinth. They were a vibrant, lively community that, perhaps more than any church in its day, was embracing their call to welcome everyone. The church in Corinth had wealthy people and poor people. It had men and women serving in all kinds of roles. It had Jewish and Greek people, young and old. It was a wonderfully diverse community. But Paul was frustrated, and it doesn’t take too close a reading of 1 Corinthians to feel that from him.more...

Membership & Ministry

We live in a community that focuses a great deal on membership and entitlements that go with it. And so, quite often, people approach their relationship with Bethesda in that same vein: that being a member is primarily about benefits to which one is entitled. Except, that is not the primary nature of the Church. The Church’s reason for existence is to draw us deeper into a relationship with God and to organize us as the family of God to serve and share the Good News of Jesus Christ with the world. * more...

Our Parish Impact

We are mid-way through this year of worship, service and learning together. I would like to give you a sampling of the impact of this parish, on what we are doing for one another, and on what we are doing to serve our wider community. Since January we have shared:more...

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...

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...