What does the name Bethesda mean?
Bethesda is Hebrew for House of Mercy or House of Grace.

Does the name Bethesda have any historical significance?
Over 2,000 years ago, there was a real Pool of Bethesda, located in what is now the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem. The Gospel of John contains an account of how Jesus undertook one of his healing miracles at the Pool of Bethesda. (John 5:2-9)

Why does this congregation call itself Bethesda?
We don’t really know. Our congregation dates back to 1723, when it was called the Cabin John Meeting House; by 1820, the congregation had taken its current name.

Isn’t our congregation named after the town of Bethesda?
Actually, it is the reverse. Until 1871, the area around what is now Bethesda had no formal location name. When a growing population prompted the Post Office to assign a name to the area, our pastor at that time successfully lobbied to name the area after the church!

Why does our congregation call itself “A Place for Healing”?
Look around with us at our community, our nation, our world. We see people sick at heart, we witness wounded relationships between one another and between God and humankind, and we observe illnesses of the soul stemming from a lack of purpose, a focus on the temporary, and a loneliness based on self-absorption. Our social fabric is fraying due to unrelenting friction between haves and have-nots, and between Blues, Reds, Greens, Pinks, Left, Right, Center, and so forth.

Our congregation offers a physical and a spiritual location to address these maladies. We provide warm and close connections to each person who joins us in worship, study, ministry. We offer deeply communal prayers of joy and consolation as we gather to face what life brings us. We supply the healing balm of God’s unending love, grace, and social justice that is present if we care to seek it, find it, and nurture it.

Medical miracles? We follow the lead of our neighbors up Wisconsin Avenue at the National Institutes of Health and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The healing we offer is healing for the troubled soul, the restless heart, the unsettled mind. It is a healing that comes from a sense of spiritual connectedness and a devotion to the path of Jesus, the Christ.