Date: 26 September 1997
To: RichMailList
Subject: [RichMailList 168]: Memorial - Nashville, TN

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From: Scott Rice
Subject: Nashville Memorial Service
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 1997 14:09:51


First of all, let me just say thanks for all of the messages I have
received as part of the Rich Mailing list.  I really appreciate all of
the information you have shared, and appreciate the long hours you have
spent creating the memorial page (which by the way is incredible).  I
know Rich would have been pleased and honored.

I first heard about Rich's passing on the lawn of Christ Pres. here in
Nashville at their annual Festival of the Arts, so it seems appropriate
that this would be the place where his memorial service was held and
where I could say goodbye.  I thought you would like to know that the
Christian Music "family" (as Gay mentioned in her comments) was well
represented.  It is easy to see the impact Rich had on his profession
and those he came in contact with, and I think if anything can be
brought out of this tragedy, it would be for the CCM community to
re-examine its priorities and remember that its purpose is something
higher than to just "make a few bucks off of Jesus" (as Reed Arvin so
wonderfully put it).

This is a brief rambling summary of the service.  Its really
unorganized, but I tried to record my impressions as soon as I could.

Lots of Music, some by Rich, some about Rich, some that was a favorite
of Rich.  The service began with Samuel Barber's 'Adagio for Strings".
Then Michael W. Smith led the congregation in "Awesome God" and "Step by
Step".  Afterwards, Jim Schmidt (sp) shared some memories and opened the
service.  Terry Hemmings then read some favorite scripture of Rich's
(Isaiah 43 and Isaiah 60 are the two passages I can remember now,
although there were a few more).  Jim Chaffee then spoke of Rich's
"closet Catholicism", and asked the congregation to kneel on the
kneeling benches attached to the pews as he lead the opening prayer, at
the close of which "Amazing Grace" was played on the bagpipes.  Ben
Pearson spoke of taking that gorgeous photograph of Rich in the
sunflower field holding his dulcimer.  Bernie Sheahan lovingly read some
prose that Rich had written for a promotional version of The World As
Best As I Remember It (which by the way I had dug up this morning before
the service and thought was just perfect to remember Rich by).  Gay
Quisenberry very lovingly shared some memories.  Ashley Cleveland made
it through "Elijah", which I'm sure was incredibly difficult.  Then the
Ragamuffins (or at least some of them) read a piece of prose Rich had
recently written called "Scared of the Dark".  Rick Elias sang "Man of
No Reputation", a song he had written that he said Rich had often asked
him to sing.  Phil Madeira read a poem he had written for Rich entitled
"Cruel Mystery".  The congregation then sang "It Is Well With My Soul"
(which really brought back a lot of memories for me.  The last time I
saw Rich in concert was here at the Ryman with Ashley Cleveland and
Carolyn Arends, and he ended the concert by having the whole crowd join
him on this hymn.  It was one of the most moving things I have ever
experienced, and it was even more meaningful today).  One of the Kid
Brothers of St. Frank (I'm sorry, I can't remember his name) then told a
little bit about the organization and its goals, and how Rich tried to
be a living example of Franciscan Spirituality.  Reed Arvin eloquently
read from Orthodoxy by G.K Chesterton, and shared some powerful
impressions of Rich.  Amy Grant was scheduled to sing "Double Good To
You", but sang her own "Somewhere Down The Road" from her latest album,
which I thought was much more appropriate ("Why, Why, Why, does it go
this way?. . . . "Somewhere down the road there'll be answers to the
questions"  very moving).  Alyssa Loukota from Compassion and Kathy
Sprinkle then shared some memories, and Phil Keaggy played "Hold Me
Jesus".  At the end of the service, a video screen played the video for
"Creed" as well as some comments Rich had included on that video.  It
gave me Goosebumps to hear that song and the comments that Rich had
recorded before it loudly reverberating through the sanctuary.  The
passion and commitment in his voice still reverberate through the words
and music, even though he is not here to sing them himself.  I never met
Rich Mullins, but I knew him.  His words and music still echo through me
to the very depths of my soul, and I felt this service was a very
fitting tribute to his memory.

"May the angels of his presence keep your heart"

Scott Rice

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