Religion

Palmetto church hosts Back-to-School bash Aug. 18

PALMETTO -- Senior Pastor Jason Lane remembers the scene well.

He was a boy of 4 or 5, one of three children, and their parents were kneeling in the bedroom praying.

"My dad pastored fulltime in the 1970s for $45 a week and they were praying because we didn't have food to eat," recalled the Martinsville, Ind., native and pastor at Skyway Community Chapel.

"It seemed like shortly after the prayer, there was a knock on the door and there were church members standing there with groceries."

That left an indelible impression on Lane, 37, whose 100-member congregation hosts a Back-to-School bash today.

"I remember thinking, to hear the prayer of my parents was special, but to see how God answered it was even more powerful," he said. "What we were looking at were people who were actually listening to the voice of God."

Lane said his congregants are listening to it, too, on the eve of today's event.

Skyway Community Chapel will be giving away 500 backpacks loaded with school supplies. There also will be food for the homeless and those who are struggling. There will be games, free food, music and more for children, most of whom will begin classes Monday at either Palm View Elementary School or Buffalo Creek Middle.

"We're trying to help kids, but it's with the families in mind, especially those who need a hand," Lane said. "Even though it's

back-to-school supplies, we're giving away groceries -- some meat, bread, produce."

It is major undertaking for Lane's church. "To me the amount of what we're trying to accomplish is staggering considering the size of our church and that's a testimony of how God provides," he said. "Between multiple people buying school supplies and people's donations, everything's been taken care of."

A minister for 17 years, Lane has been with Skyway Community Chapel for four, two-and-a-half as senior pastor. "One of the things I encourage our church members to do is take a culture walk," he said. "They see what our community is, the needs people have and then try to meet those needs.

"If someone calls us up and said they needs groceries, we have some small resources, but we try to do something. What drives me is helping families. God has always provided."

Information: Back-to-School Bash at Skyway Community Chapel, 512 61st St. E., Palmetto; 10 a.m.-3 p.m. today; details: Senior Pastor Jason Lane, 941-962-7900, or Youth Pastor Bill Cox, 941-744-7701, or visit www.skywaycc.org.

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