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CHURCH OF THE PALMS TRIES TO OFFER SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

As part of the United Methodist Church, Church of the Palms strives to provide help, hope and a spiritual home. 

“Knowing we are called to especially care for the least, the last, and the alone, we focus on providing help through application of our resources, including time and skills,” said the church’s pastor, Pete Berntson. 

To help meet the needs of the local community, Church of the Palms partners with several different organizations — for example, church members donate money and time to help Hilton Head Regional Habitat for Humanity build homes. And, four times a year, the church converts its classrooms to bedrooms, its gathering space to a play area and its fellowship hall to a living room for a week so guests with Family Promise of Beaufort County can have a safe, comfortable place to stay while they work toward permanent housing. 

Pastor Pete BernstonChurch members also volunteer at Mercy Ministries in Hardeeville and provide the group with donations of food every week. The church also provides a scholarship for a business student studying at Africa University in Zimbabwe. 

When it comes to providing hope, the church strives to fulfill the intangible needs of people through its chapter of Stephen Ministries — a nonprofit Christian education organization that trains church members to provide one-on-one Christian care and guidance to those experiencing an acute crisis. Church of the Palms also participates in Carrefour Friends, an outreach program that provides companionship to people in assisted-living facilities and nursing homes. 

The church’s Grandparent Program gives University of South Carolina Beaufort students the opportunity to “adopt a grandparent.” Students can sign up online to be matched with a surrogate grandparent who will give the students a little extra love and support while they are away from their families. 

Church of the Palms regularly opens its doors as a meeting place for several groups, including the Boy Scouts, the Lowcountry Youth Wind Symphony, the Lowcountry Jazz Band and Alcoholics Anonymous. 

Thanks to its location on S.C. 170, Church of the Palms is conveniently located for most of the Lowcountry, from Bluffton to Hardeeville and Beaufort. 

It takes advantage of its prime positioning by hosting family-friendly events — like its annual pumpkin patch, a local favorite, as well as trunk-or-treat, Okatie’s Got Talent Show and a yard sale known as “Grandma’s Attic.” This year’s yard sale is planned for May 2. 

“We like to have fun,” Berntson said. “Most people who come here don’t have family here, so we have to be each other’s family.” 

WORSHIP AT HOME

Worship services will be halted until at least May 1. Streaming capabilities are being used to share worship experiences. The Gathering service held each Saturday at 5:30 p.m.. and the Sunday 11 a.m. service will be live streamed on the Church of the Palms YouTube channel palmsumc.org/YouTube. The church also has social media channels and a daily newsletter. For more information, call 843-379-1888 or go to www.palmsumc.org.