The Longboat Island Chapel congregation voted Sunday, Jan. 13, to name the Rev. Dr. Vincent Carroll as senior minister. Carroll performed a dry run for the job, when he led services throughout Advent.
“It was a wonderful whirlwind of a month,” he said of learning he’d been nominated in mid-December and receiving final approval two weeks ago.
Carroll, who has wintered in Sarasota with his wife, Molly, for the past 14 years, only discovered the chapel in October, but felt an instant attraction.
A native Iowan who spent 27 years in the U.S. Navy, he has a fondness many Midwestern sailors share for balmy, seaside communities, he explained.
“All of us, when we first see them, fall in love with palm trees,” he said.
The chapel’s landscaping, which includes bougainvillea and several of those beloved palms, lends “a semi-tropical, Key West vibe that puts me at ease,” Carroll said. He meditates daily in the garden.
Prior to accepting the position, Carroll worked as summer pastor at The Little Stone Church on Mackinac Island, Mich.
The bulk of Carroll’s career, which now enters its 45th year, was with the U.S. Navy. As a Naval chaplain, he preached in Vietnam, on the Carrier Lexington and Battleship New Jersey, at the Pentagon, Camp David and the U.S. Naval Academy.
Carroll credits his Navy tenure as molding him for his new role leading an interfaith congregation.
“It let me travel worldwide and exposed me to many cultures,” he said.
Carroll studied at the University of Iowa; United Theological Seminary in Minneapolis; Chapman University in Los Angeles; and Claremont School of Theology in Claremont, Calif. In addition, he did graduate studies at San Diego State University; Pacific School of Religion in Berkley, Calif.; Iserlohn Institute in Iserlohn, Germany; and Mansfield College of Oxford University.