In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are delighted to welcome all visitors and newcomers to Bethesda Church. It is clear you already know that a good way to find out about us to visit our website. Bravo! An even better way to learn about us is to come and meet us, either at a worship service or some other activity or event. And if you would like to meet with someone one-on-one, or talk to someone on the phone, simply contact us to let us know.
Maybe you are “just visiting?” Or perhaps you are considering becoming a Christian, or an Episcopalian, or a member of Bethesda Church? Whatever has brought you to us, we’re glad you’re here and we’ve provided some information below that may help you. Also, you’ll notice we’ve included two short lists on this page: upcoming events and a news feed. Both of these lists are simply suggestions. As a newcomer, you are invited to all worship services and public events — far more than what occupies the lists on this page — but we made the lists on this page to give newcomers some possible on-ramps into our community.
Click on any event below to read more details. Newcomers are invited to all public events at Bethesda; the list below includes events that might be of particular interest to newcomers.
Click on any news item below to read more details. For a complete listing of all the latest news, click here.
Support our neighbors at Franklin Community Center.
Our Lent Study this year will be an introduction to the life and contemplative writings of the late Trappist Monk, Thomas Merton.
We look forward to special music by saxophonist, Robert Moore, who will play works by Bach, Handel, and Purcell during the 9am liturgy.
Just a reminder: there will be only on service at 9am on Sunday, 31 December.
Please “read more” for the entire schedule. Please note: morning services on 24 December, 25 December and 31 December are at 9am.
We have many types of visitors at Bethesda — first-time visitors and also “regular visitors,” that is, visitors who regularly visit Saratoga Springs and worship with us when they are in town. We understand that many of our visitors have a church home elsewhere, and we think that’s a good thing. Let us be your home away from home, if you desire.
For those of you who are first-time visitors to Bethesda, we encourage you to look at the visitor information in the “about us” section of this website. If you are a first-time visitor who isn’t yet a Christian, or an Episcopalian, keep reading more below!
Interested in Becoming a Christian?
If you are not a Christian, we want you to know, first and foremost, that you are welcome to attend our worship services, ask questions, attend classes, and learn more. If you attend a worship service with Holy Communion, you will notice that only baptized Christians are welcome to receive Holy Communion. However, you can still go up to the altar rail. Simply cross your hands over your chest, and you will receive a blessing.
Everyone is invited to become a Christian. The way a person becomes a Christian is to be baptized. (A photo of the Baptismal font at Bethesda Church is directly above.) If you are interested in becoming a Christian but don’t know much about baptism, contact us and we’ll help you understand. You can also see the words that are used in the Sacrament of Baptism in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. The section on Holy Baptism begins on page 208. You might also want to take the Inquirers’ Class, which is offered each Spring, around March. Check the website calendar each winter and spring, or email or call the parish office to find out when the next class is offered, or to set up a meeting to discuss the possibility of being baptized.
If you are already a baptized Christian but aren’t an Episcopalian, keep reading below.
Interested in Becoming an Episcopalian?
Many of our visitors and newcomers are already baptized, and therefore they are Christians, but they are not members of The Episcopal Church. The Episcopal Church is part of the larger Anglican Communion, which has its roots in the Church of England. Bethesda Church is a parish in the Diocese of Albany of the The Episcopal Church.
Christians of other denominations are welcome at Bethesda, and are also welcome to receive Holy Communion. But perhaps you are interested in learning more about The Episcopal Church? And perhaps you might want to become an Episcopalian? If so, the Inquirers’ Course (offered once a year, usually around March) might help you decide. Nevertheless, at any time of year we encourage you to worship with us and to contact us if you want to learn more, or if you have questions.
If you are a baptized Christian who becomes an Episcopalian, you will not be re-baptized. You are already a Christian! Rather, you will be confirmed or received into the Episcopal Church, a ceremony that usually happens each spring, when the bishop visits. If you want to learn more about Confirmation and Reception, consider looking at the words used during the rite itself, which can be found in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer beginning on page 413 (in the “Pastoral Offices” section).
If you are already an Episcopalian, but not a member of Bethesda Church, keep reading.
Photo by Jane Agee
Interested in Becoming a Member of Bethesda?
If you are already an Episcopalian, you are welcome to worship with us. And please introduce yourself! If you worship regularly with us, perhaps you are ready to become a member of Bethesda? If so, notify an usher or greeter after church, or contact the church office and set up a time to chat. We would need to initiate the transfer process (which is easy) through which your membership would change from your current parish to Bethesda.
Anyone who is baptized at Bethesda, or who is confirmed or received at Bethesda, or who transfers to Bethesda from another Episcopal parish will become a member of Bethesda at the end of that process. To maintain your membership, you are expected to attend regularly and also support the parish. Doing so allows you to experience some of the joy that comes with being part of a parish community — that you may be changed by it, that you may grow within it, and that you may help to maintain it for the benefit of others.