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UPDATE: Chapel cancels special service, rest of season

By Staff | Mar 17, 2020


UPDATE: The Captiva Chapel by the Sea has canceled its special service scheduled for March 22 to honor the island’s first responders. In addition, the chapel’s services and activities for the rest of the season have been canceled.



The Captiva Chapel by the Sea is doing something special for its weekly service this weekend – honoring the island’s law enforcement, firefighters and EMTs – and the public is welcome to join in.

On March 22 from 11 a.m. to noon, the chapel’s congregation will recognize the work that its first responders do for the community during its hour-long program. Merni Libonate, chair of the chapel’s events committee, reported that on-duty personnel are invited to attend if their schedule permits it.

“We’re doing it because it’s about time,” she said, explaining that it is the first time the chapel has organized something like this. “We want them to know that we don’t take them for granted.”

“They do everything for us, large and small,” Libonate added.

Pastor Larry Marshall’s wife came up with the idea to devote a Sunday to thanking Captiva emergency workers. Her inspiration was an act of kindness by Lee County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chris Lusk.

“Rosemary found a dog wandering near the chapel and, being a relative newcomer to the island, asked Lusk what she should do,” she said, noting that Lusk coincidentally had met the dog’s owners days earlier. “He recognized the dog and reunited it with its owners – an elderly couple that lived nearby.”

“Here was this small gesture that meant the world to these residents,” Libonate added.

She continued that Rosemary Marshall later reached out to her and asked if the chapel had ever organized a first responder Sunday, a service dedicated to honoring emergency personnel. Learning it was a no, preparations got underway to hold the first one and invite the first responders to attend.

“Our first responders deal with so many issues. Things big and small,” Libonate said. “They mean so much – we want them to know that we see everything they do and don’t take them for granted.”

She explained that Marshall’s sermon will tie into their role in the community.

“It is geared toward people who are selfless, who give of themselves – the value of a good heart,” Libonate said. “Having them there gives our congregation a chance to thank them personally.”

Residents and visitors are invited to join.

“We’re all looking forward to saying thank you for all you do,” she said.

With recent concerns about the coronavirus, Libonate noted that the chapel always offers additional seating outdoors for its services. Those nervous about sitting in an enclosed building can use it.

For more information, call 239-472-1646 or visit www.captivachapel.com.

The Historic Captiva Chapel by the Sea is at 11580 Chapin Lane, Captiva.