More than 200 parishioners welcomed the Rev. Dr. Vince Carroll as the sixth senior pastor at Longboat Island Chapel Sunday, April 7. Carroll, who’s led services since the Advent season, is a former Naval chaplain who came to Longboat Key by way of Mackinac Island, Mich., where he preached at The Little Stone Church.
The Rev. Donald H. Ashmall, council minister of the International Council of Community Churches in Frankfort, Ill., led the installation service. “By this international action, we have prayerfully examined our hearts, souls and minds, and invite you to lead this congregation faithfully into the future,” Ashmall read on behalf of the church’s 12 trustees, who then came forward to participate in laying of hands ceremony.
The service concluded with the choir singing “Eternal Father, Strong to Save,” the official hymn of the U.S. Navy.
The Longboat Observer asked the Rev. Dr. Vince Carroll to reflect on his first few months at the Longboat Island Chapel, as well as his plans for its future.
Q: What have been your highlights?
A: Celebrating the Advent and Lenten season were exceptional experiences, as was being a part of the 50th anniversary. I’ve also enjoyed discovering the kind people and the ambiance of the island. This is a delightful atmosphere.
Q: What challenges did you face starting out?
A: All churches have unique personalities and it can take a while to learn it and for a seasoned congregation to get to know you and your style. But this group, a cooperation of various faith backgrounds, was anxiously awaiting a new pastor and had had several false starts. It was a good fit.
Q: What experiences are you excited for in the future?
A: I’m looking forward to conducting weddings in our beautiful Friendship Garden. This one in particular, the groom is in the Air Force, so it will be a uniformed wedding. I’m pulling out mine from my Navy days — it still fits!
Q: What goals do you have for the church?
A: I’d like to increase membership, which is currently about 300 people. This will equip us to further our outreach and mission programs for the community. I’d also like to expand Shifting Sands, our transitions support group, and our Aging in Paradise center.