The Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea is a community of people dedicated to building the kingdom of God “on earth as it is in heaven.” It’s a family made up of members from Stuart to Wellington to Boca Raton and to right down the street in the Town of Palm Beach. In the Introduction to Kathryn Hall’s book The History of the Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea 1889-1989 there’s this wonderful passage: “The Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea is like a tapestry. The saints are the many threads of the tapestry. Some are bright, shining, and exhibit great constancy and continuity. Some are somber, but as they hear the Word of God and worship Him they too become spiritually strong, as one sees the lustrous sheen of Christian character.” The people that make up our community are not just one type of person. We are a testament to God’s vision for humanity, bringing our variety of gifts to this place in the service of God’s will that all may know His love.

The Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea is a building, our current site is almost 100 years old at this point. Wherever we’ve worshiped, our buildings have kept watch over generations of Christian people through joyous celebrations and painful turning points. This building has borne witness to natural disasters and technological triumphs. It has decayed and been restored. It holds in its stained glass, plaques, organ, and artwork, the age-old story of this small corner of the Christian world. It is a magnificent reminder of what can be accomplished when we work in service of our God who, working through us, can do more than we could ever hope or imagine. At the very center of our property is a pool, overseen by the statue of an angel carved from pink limestone by Janet Scudder. That pool represents the healing waters of Bethesda from our scripture. Bethesda, in Jesus’ time and here and now, is a place where human beings, in need of being made whole, come looking for miracles.

In Hebrew, bayit or bet(h) means house. That literally means that Bethesda is our home. We have journeyed through a tremendous wilderness in recent times facing unprecedented challenges to our ministries, but our house, our home, is still here. On Sunday, September 12, we invite you to come home to Bethesda. We invite you to share in a picnic lunch on the grounds following our Sunday worship services. We invite you to learn more about how you can be involved in the various fellowship, formation, outreach, and evangelism opportunities of our parish community. We invite you to experience the healing love of this community and building. Welcome home to the Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea! We hope that you’ll take this time to find your place in our beautiful tapestry.

Greg Knight
Associate for Christian Formation