The Rev. James McConnell started as priest-in-charge on June 4, 2017.
Father McConnell is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. He served in the U.S. Navy, achieving the rank of petty officer, from 1959 until 1964. He served the next ten years as a police officer in New Orleans, followed by a career in the insurance industry. He earned degrees in criminal justice and in education.
In 1965 he married Carolyn Cochran in Metairie, Louisiana. They have two children: a daughter, Shelley, and a son, James (Trey). Both live in Wyoming with the three grandchildren and one great-grandson.
Following an active lay ministry at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Lafayette, Louisiana, he entered the seminary at the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee in 1983, graduating with a Master of Divinity degree in 1986. He was ordained deacon on June 13th and priest on December 21st 1986 in the Diocese of Western Louisiana.
Father McConnell has served as priest in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, and Wyoming. He served most recently, 2007-2017, as vicar of St. Ann's Episcopal Church in Wauchula, FL.
Father McConnell and Carolyn live in Punta Gorda, FL with their cat, Mr. Fuzz. He serves as chaplain with the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office and the Punta Gorda Police Department. _____________________________________________________________
The Rev. Mario Castro has been Hispanic Missioner at St. Edmund's since 2012. He was born in La Joya de Guerra, a small town near Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. He attended St. Vincent De Paul Seminary (Roman Catholic) in the Dominican Republic. He and his wife have been active in the Episcopal Church since 1994. In 1994, Father Castro and his family began attending St. Francis Episcopal Church, Tampa; they eventually became very involved in parish life and worked with the community evangelizing. Fr. Castro served on the church’s vestry and held the position of senior warden. Father Mario, as he prefers to be called, has an active Latino congregation for the 6:00 Spanish language Eucharist on Sundays and is available in Arcadia on Wednesdays. He also serves at the Church of the Redeemer, Sarasota, which has the largest Latino congregation in the Diocese of Southwest Florida. ______________________________________________________________ The Rev. Robert Vaughn has been deacon at St. Edmund's since 2001. He was ordained deacon on December 23, 1990, in the Diocese of Southeast Florida by Bishop Calvin Onderdonk Schofield. Prior to 2001, Deacon Vaughn served at the Chapel of the Venerable Bede (Episcopal Church Center, University of Miami), and for two years was the Executive Director of St. Laurence Chapel (a center for the homeless in Pompono Beach, FL).
He grew up in the Roman Catholic Church and for 13 years was a Holy Cross Brother working in high schools and residential treatment centers for juvenile offenders. He was received into the Episcopal Church in 1982. He has a B.A. in Theology from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Social Work degree from Barry University. He is a licensed clinical social worker with experience in psychiatric and medical settings.
He is active in the local community: he is a Past Exalted Ruler of Arcadia Elks Lodge 1524, previous Chairman of the DeSoto County Democratic Party, and past chairman of DeSoto Cares Homeless Services; he currently serves as president of the Peace River Chapter of the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida. He coordinates St. Edmund's community outreach & benevolence ministries.
Deacon Vaughn is married to Nancy Jo; they have two sons, six grandchildren, and a rescued Australian Cattle Dog-Pointer named "Dolly.
“…he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:30-32)