Little Stone Church is iconic building on Cadotte Avenue adjoining the golf course of the Grand Hotel
Couples Flock to Little Stone Church on Mackinac Island for Vows
Rev. Dr. Vincent Carroll, Pastor, is Ex-Navy Chaplain, Published Poet
Every week several wedding parties ride horse-drawn carriages up the hill on Mackinac Island toward the Grand Hotel.
However, they don't make it all the way up the hill to the Grand until after the ceremony. They're on their way to stand before the Rev. Dr. Vincent Carroll and be married.
The wedding parties are drawn by one of Michigan's most picturesque chapels, the historic 108-year-old Little Stone Church, plus no doubt the vibrant personality of Rev. Carroll.
Rev. Dr. Vincent Carroll says
being pastor of the Little Stone Church is
"the best job on Mackinac Island."
The church even has its own wedding coordinator, Peg Largo, who along with music director Rachelle Risling assist Rev. Carroll with the numerous wedding ceremonies throughout the island high tourist season from May to October.
Frequent wedding duties, plus myriad activities in the small, tightly-knit, island community make the Rev. Dr. Vincent Carroll, pastor of the Little Stone Church since 2003, one of the busiest and most recognized figures on Mackinac.
He may be seen in bright "cathedral purple" presiding at a morning meeting of the mens' club at the Mackinac Island Yacht Club where he serves as club chaplain.
Later he con-celebrates a funeral in ecumenical fashion with his friend the also popular Father Jim Williams at St. Anne's Roman Catholic Church. Father Jim has since retired, was given a big parish and island sendoff, and is off on a trip to Europe.
Then Rev. Carroll explains jocularly that he is "practicing my Spanish" in lively street corner conversations with employees of the City of Mackinac Island on historic Market Street.
In full ministerial regalia, Rev. Carroll engages local residents in conversations as he goes about the business of the church and community amid clopping horses and throngs of day tourists, called "fudgies" by the locals.
A few years ago Rev. Carroll concluded the Little Stone Church's Poetry Festival by reciting poems from his published books, "Poems from DaNang" and "Biblical Characters with an Attitude," and an excerpt from his newest work, "Bible with 66 Pages."
Sean Ely of the Mackinac Island Town Crier weekly newspaper wrote in 2007: "In 2005, Rev. Carroll published "Biblical Characters with an Attitude," that focuses on the biblical characters and their attitude.
"The publication has a sense of humor, he said, and, in it, he writes in a modern context.
"The book has 50 characters, one for every week of the year, except for Easter and Christmas. Rev. Carroll meant for the book to act as a guide for teachers to follow for Sunday school study, introducing one character to study in depth each week."
Rev. Carroll's "Poems from DaNang," were published in 2007, reflecting on his service in Vietnam in the early 1970s. "The voices and sounds and the smells of Vietnam are still fresh in his thoughts, he said.
"Poems from DaNang" has been placed in the Brown University library for Southeast Asian Poetry and Vietnamese Poetry.
Rev. Carroll, a retired United States Navy Captain, served over 27 years in the Navy Chaplain Corps. He is an ordained Minister in the
United Church of Christ. Dr. Carroll was graduated from the University of Iowa, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities and Chapman University. He did postgraduate study at the Claremont Colleges in California and Oxford University, England. In addition to his successful military career he has served parishes in Minnesota, Michigan and Florida.
Dr. Carroll's military service included tours in Vietnam, Japan, Alaska, California, and Florida. He also had the privilege of preaching at Camp David while stationed at the Pentagon.
Sea tours aboard USS Lexington and USS New Jersey were followed by an assignment to the United States Naval Academy as senior chaplain. In that post he served as lecturer in the Department of History, as a member of the Rhodes Scholar Committee and assistant coach for the Navy Fencing Team.
Dr. Carroll's final tour of duty was Chaplain of Naval forces Europe and the Mediterranean. During that assignment he led a special delegation re-establishing the Military Chaplaincy of the Hungarian Armed Forces.
Dr. Carroll has authored three books: "Biblical Characters with
an Attitude," "Poems from DaNang," and "An Iowa Mother...An American
During his career, his wife Molly served as Director of Alcohol and Drug Prevention Programs for the University of Arizona and West Florida University. She was also a Therapeutic Recreation Director for several hospitals and nursing homes. The Carroll's currently reside in the Little Stone Church Parsonage on Cadotte Avenue.
The Union Congregational Church began with the formation in August 1899 of a congregation known as the Union Church Society. The church structure was built of local fieldstone in 1904 with Deacons S.B. Poole and J.M. Leggett setting the cornerstones of the church.
Asbury W. Buckley of Chicago was the architect and the Koepke Brothers of Petoskey were hired as contractors. Local builder Frank Rounds and his crew gathered glacial-erratic fieldstones to construct the church. The granite cut stones used for the buttresses and courses surrounding windows and the door must have been transported as they are not indigenous to the Island.
The 55 by 40 foot interior, featuring gleaming woodwork, and deep-set, colorful memorial windows is virtually unchanged. More recently, a rose window was added above the altar.
During its early years, the church was served by Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational ministers. Its formal name reflects the ecumenical spirit of the founders and their leaders. A few years after it was constructed, the name "Little Stone Church" came into common usage. As member Lorabeth Fitzgerald commented, "This name seems to reflect the affection that members and visitors alike hold for this little church."
The three church windows on the right of this page represent scenes in the history of Mackinac Island. The top window shows Robert Stuart, John Jacob Astor's agent for the American Fur Trading Company, negotiating with voyageurs. Stuart, in a blue coat, points to a scroll that may be an account of their business dealings.
The middle window features Presbyterian missionary William Ferry. Ferry, sponsored by the United Foreign Mission Socitety of New York, established a school for Indian children in the Island's Mission House in 1825.
The bottom window at the right represents Shusco, a Native American converted to Christianity by Reverend Ferry, reading his Bible to his fellow tribesmen.
The three windows were dedicated to Gurdon Saltonstall Hubbard of Chicago, who spent ten years on the Island during the 1800s. Installed in 1914, all fourteen windows of the church were made by the Lamb Studios, founded in 1857 and now the oldest continuously operating stained glass studio in the United States.
The Little Stone Church, a registered Michigan Historic Site, celebrated the centennial of its founding congregation in 1999.
The church was registered in the Michigan Stained Glass Census by Lorabeth Fitzgerald of Grand Ledge (MSGC 94.0148).
Community Article 7138
Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at email@example.com)
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