Our new pastor, beginning in November 2023 and concluding in April of 2026, is the Rev. Dr. Doug Dortch. Doug has been a local church minister for 43 years, serving most recently in the suburban Birmingham, Alabama area and in downtown Tallahassee, Florida. More than two decades of service to those congregations was preceded by ministry in other churches in Kentucky and Alabama. Doug received three theological degrees from the Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, KY, the M.Div., Th.M., and Ph.D. degrees. His Ph.D. degree is in Christian Preaching and Philosophy.
His most recent pastorates were at the Mountain Brook Baptist Church (2011- 2022) and First Baptist Church – Tallahassee, FL (1994-2011).
Doug met his wife, Judy, in Louisville. Judy pursued her career as a nurse and they raised two children – their daughter, a teacher, and their son, a surgeon, both of whom are in Florida. They have 3 grandchildren.
Doug and Judy currently live on Florida’s panhandle in Santa Rosa Beach, near Destin.
When asked about the Captiva Chapel, he said, “I have a deep call to ministry, and though I retired from the pastorate, I still sense that God has something for me to do. The Chapel’s 3-year seasonal call has much that appeals to me, and I am enthusiastic about how might I work with Chapel attendees to help them continue to serve God’s mission.”
Doug’s hobbies include golf, walking, reading and racquetball.
Questions and Answers with Reverend Dortch
We asked Reverend Dortch to answer a few questions so that we can get to know him a little.
How do you feel about your role at Captiva Chapel by the Sea? I am honored to be invited to serve for the next term as pastor for Captiva Chapel by the Sea. The Chapel has long been a source of spiritual inspiration and community for those who spend their winter on the island, whether for an extended period or a short stay, and I feel exceedingly grateful to be given the opportunity to extend such ministry to the Captiva/Sanibel community for the next three years.
What are your hopes for the next three years that you'll be with us? My greatest hope is that each of us will grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus in the coming days. After all, Jesus invites us to follow him – a weighty challenge that can only be met by leaning into the resources the Holy Spirit makes available to us. If over the next three years we can say that we “improved our serve,” both as individual disciples and as a corporate community, then our time together will surely be all that God wants it to be.
What can worshippers expect at the Sunday services? My Baptist tradition places a heavy emphasis on the “ministry of the Word,” or what most worship attendees know as preaching. So, that part of the pastor’s task is paramount for me. Yet, I understand (and am grateful) that the Holy Spirit employs other aspects of worship such as prayer and praise to convey divine truth. Thus the most faithful worship in my heart and mind is that which points people to a central theme, one which ideally invites all to experience something that connects them to the presence of Jesus, who promises to be among us “when two or three are gathered in his name.”
What would you consider to be your greatest accomplishment? My greatest accomplishment personally has been my forty-five year marriage to Judy and the wonderful love we share with our children and grandchildren. I count it a success that all my family love the church and are active in their church. Professionally, I am thankful for the faithful ministries Judy and I enjoyed in every church we served. We have been blessed to have been a part of some truly wonderful congregations, and I celebrate how we are able to go back to any of them today and be received warmly because of how each church was better when we left than when we came.
How will you know you've made a difference at the Captiva Chapel by the Sea? My view of the church is that God calls every church to faithfulness more than effectiveness. So, the question I will ask when my time is up at the Chapel is, “Is Captiva Chapel by the Sea more faithful today than it was three years ago?” The answer to that question will lie not so much with what happens within the Captiva Chapel as in the positive changes that we will have brought about in the community around us. Fortunately, the Captiva Chapel has long understood its role in God’s mission and has been laser-focused on it so that my task is simply to direct our faith community’s energies to what has long been its passion. Then God’s Kingdom will come a bit nearer and God’s Will shall be done a bit more clearly on Captiva-Sanibel as it is in heaven.
What is something you'd like everyone to know about you? I would hope that people would see that I am approachable and accepting. I love people and I love the church, and more than anything, I want them to know of my earnest desire to have others see Jesus in me.
Captiva Chapel by the Sea & Captiva's Historic Cemetery (just beyond the Captiva Memorial Library at the corner of Chapin Lane & Wiles Drive)
11580 Chapin Lane Box 188 Captiva, FL 33924
An historic and sacred space, on serene Captiva Island.