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Church of the Palms

Church of the Palms

Sarasota church is rooted in service to their community.

Last week, Academy member Aaron Collmer, along with culinary arts staff Patty Haltinner and director William McKeever, took a tour of the Church of the Palms. Their motto is “Love. Life.,” and they are committed to helping their community do just that. A bustling activities schedule includes basketball, yoga, tai chi and an array of physical activity and games. These classes are open to the public at a tiny fraction of the cost of similar classes in the community, making a healthy lifestyle accessible to all. The Church of Palms, led by Senior Pastor, Dr. Stephen McConnell (“Pastor Steve”), understands the connection of mind body and spirit, and they are thoughtful in providing diverse programming to nurture all three.

In addition to honoring our physical selves through exercise and activity, Church of the Palms also provides spiritually-integrated counseling for improved mental health through a program called Samaritan. The state-licensed clinical staff provides counseling to individuals, family therapy, couples counseling and more, and they offer reduced rates for those who qualify. These services are open to anyone, regardless of religious affiliation or faith.

Church of the Palms follows a Presbyterian liturgy, and provides a traditional service as well as a more laid-back contemporary service. Music plays a big part in their worship. The traditional services are likely to include a choir, a grand piano, or a handbell choir, while the contemporary services provide a more modern and energetic soundtrack, often including guitars and other electric instruments. The church has partnered with some of Sarasota’s most prestigious musicians, often featuring guest artists in their services. It is not uncommon to find a drumline one Sunday and a brass band the next.

Like the Academy, Church of the Palms understands that a diverse fellowship requires engagement on many different levels. They seek to remove the barriers that serve to separate us, encouraging wellness in everybody, regardless of ones beliefs. From their local food pantry to their global efforts in countries such as Honduras and Nicaragua, we appreciate their inclusivity, and their far reach to make the world a better place.


Pictured above are (left to right) Aaron Collmer, Patty Haltinner, Susan Neisler (Church of the Palms Health & Well-Being Director) and William McKeever