General Assembly: GA Presentations: Presenter views and opinions do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the UUA.

Church of the Larger Fellowship Worship Service, General Assembly 2000

General Assembly 2000 Event 384

"Home Still Rocks My Soul"

Rev. Jane Rzepka led the full worship service of the Church of the Larger Fellowship (CLF) attended by approximately 190 people on Saturday night June 24. Rev Rzepka was installed as minister of CLF in a ceremony the previous night. The theme of the service was home. The music was the Tashian String Band featuring Holly and Barry Tashian from the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville and also Ross Sermon on the upright bass and Amanda Mathis on the fiddle.

The opening words invited us to make this place and time our home away from home. The incoming chair of CLF, Beth Neidel, and the outgoing chair, Linda Melski, lit the chalice. Betsy William, director of Religious Education at CLF, read from Visions of Utopia by John Egerton. Rev David Horst, CLF staff, read from Gemini by Nikki Giovanni.

The imagery conjured by Rev. Rzepka's sermon was from a story by Tennessee poet Charles Wright who "swears" this story is true. It is about the sleep-walking escapade from campsite by an 11 year old boy. He awakens next to a black bear on the edge of a 1,000-foot cliff drop. For the boy, the reassuring comfort of home was beneath the tent flap at the campsite. It is this same comfort we seek in Unitarian Universalism as we awaken next to our black bears and our cliff drops. "We go out into the wild with the hope that we will return home to a place that offers respite." Like refugees, we take solace in the trappings of home amidst the impoverishment and sameness of our surroundings.

Rev. Rzepka acknowledged Mary Gordon's insight that the "the realistic home is a vexed place with an ambiguous halo." All the greater is the need for our chosen home in Unitarian Universalism. Rzepka's closing blessing was "May this home of Unitarian Universalism rock your soul." On this night and in this place, with the help of Rev. Rzepka and the Tashian String Band, we rocked. And we were at home.

Order of Service

"Sometimes people hit upon a place to which they mysteriously feel that they belong. Here is the home they sought, and they will settle amid scenes that they have never seen before, among people they have never known, as though they were familiar to them from their birth. Here at last they find rest."

The Moon and Sixpence (adapted), Somerset Maugham

Prelude: Fiddle Tunes, The Tashian String Band

Opening Words and Welcome: Rev. Jane Rzepka Minister, CLF

Song: Come Sing a Song With Me

Unison Chalice Lighting: Beth Neidel, Incoming Chair, CLF Board; Linda Melski, Outgoing Chair

In the light of truth,
And the warmth of this evening's community
We gather.
May the flame we now kindle
Be to us a symbol
Of the holiness we seek.

Music: Home, Barry and Holly Tashian

Reading: Visions of Utopia, John Egerton and Betsy Williams, Director of Religious Education, CLF

Interlude: The Tashian String Band

Reading: Gemini, Nikki Giovanni, Rev. David Horst, CLF Staff

Song: I'll Take My Time, Barry and Holly Tashian


I'll take my time, I'll take my time
I don't have to worry, I won't fall behind
Everybody hurries everywhere they roam
But I'll take my time going home.

Sermon: Home Still Rocks My Soul

Song: Sweet Sunny South

Closing Words

Postlude: Fiddle Tunes, The Tashian String Band


  • Many thanks go to Barry and Holly Tashian who performed their original songs for the service. Thanks also go to the Tashian String Band: Barry and Holly Tashian, vocals and guitars; Alan Johnson, fiddle; and Ross Sermons, upright bass.
  • The Chalice is shared by the Tahlequah, OK, Congregation of Unitarian Universalists. It was created by Jim Kelly, an artist and member of the group.
  • The beautiful flowers were brought by Linda Eller and other volunteers. Thank you.
  • Thanks also go to Nelson Simonson, head usher, and to the ushers themselves.
  • Come, Sing a Song with Me has been reprinted by permission of the Surtsey Publishing Co., Plainville, MA.

The Church of the Larger Fellowship is a church without walls serving isolated religious liberals. We create community with our parishioners through the mail, on the phone and electronically (email and on our website).

The Tashian String Band

Barry & Holly Tashian: Barry and Holly are Rounder Recording artists from Nashville, TN both grew up in Westport, CT. They have been performing country/bluegrass duets for over twenty-five years, touring the U.S. and Europe, and appearing on "A Prairie Home Companion" and "The Grand Ole Opry" numerous times.

They were Speakers of the Week at Star Island conferences in 1997 and 1999, giving workshops on harmony singing and songwriting. They have also taught at Summer Acoustic Music Week and Augusta Music Camp.

Their fourth album, Straw Into Gold received the INDIE Award for Country Album of the Year in 1994. Country artists Ty England, Daniel O'Donnell, and Roland White are among the many to record their songs. Their latest album, Harmony was nominated for Bluegrass Album of the Year at the Nashville Music Awards.

Their albums are available for sale after the service.

Barry Tashian (lead guitar and vocals) opened for The Beatles on their last tour in 1966 with his rock band, Barry and The Remains. Barry has written a book about the tour titled: Ticket to Ride: The Extraordinary Diary of the Beatles Last Tour, Dowling Press. He spent ten years touring and recording with Emmylou Harris and The Hot Band in the 1980s and has recorded with many artists throughout his career.

Holly Tashian (rhythm guitar and vocals) has recorded with folk singer Nanci Griffith and bluegrass singer Delia Bell. She has written songs for The Nashville Bluegrass Band, Jody Stecher, and Kate Brislin and others.

Ross Sermons: Ross plays upright bass and is from western North Carolina. He played bass in Jimmie Buffet's Band, and recorded on various projects. His latest recording is "Summer Villa," a collection of country/bluegrass songs by various artists recorded live at his home place in North Carolina.

Amanda Mathis: Amanda plays the fiddle and is from eastern Tennessee.

For more information, visit Tashian Music.

Reported by John Melski.