Meet Our Minister & Staff
Rev. Robert Francis Murphy
Our minister is Rev. Robert Francis Murphy. He cares about Florida and its future. Bob describes himself as being one of the ministers in Paradise. He acknowledges that there are challenges in Paradise. Patience, wisdom, and compassion are needed.
"In today's world, families are divided by religion, by generational conflicts, and by all sorts of things. It's the Unitarian Universalist tradition that helps me to help others. Our churches want to affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person."
Rev. Murphy helps people in different faith traditions - and people who are "spiritual but not religious" - with their wedding ceremonies, memorial services, and community gatherings. For more than twenty years, Bob has been an officiant at same-gender weddings.
Bob is a peacemaker but he's a bit unusual. In 2011, Rev. Murphy received a Special Service Award from the national Sierra Club. Our minister was honored for more than forty years of what is now called "environmental justice ministry."
Bob's combination of human rights advocacy with environmental protection work has taken him to Ethiopia, the Middle East, Ireland and England, and to Cuba, and to other places in the world. He helped to launch the Green Sanctuary program during the early 1990s and he worked with Rev. Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley to prepare the Unitarian Universalist "Environmental Justice" statement in 1994.
For additional information, check HERE.
In 1995, Rev. Murphy received his Master of Divinity degree from the Harvard Divinity School. He has a Master of Public Health degree from Boston University. In his community work, Bob has long been involved with child and elder advocacy, disability rights work, and emergency services. During an era of climate change, he encourages young people and older people to work together.
Bob was a circuit riding minister in North Carolina during the 1990s. From the year 2000 to the autumn of 2015, he was a minister on Cape Cod, on the coast of Massachusetts. He received awards from the NAACP and the Red Cross. He joined our congregation in 2015.
Bob is married to Helen (Lyn) Dalzell, who is a physician's assistant with a background in social work. Lyn is a Florida naturalist who has received her training through the University of Florida's county extension program. She has been active in community gardening programs in Dunedin, Tarpon Springs, and other communities.
Bonnie Whitehurst, Music Director
Hello, I'm Bonnie Whitehurst. Let me share with you my journey to this church, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tarpon Springs.
My first introduction to UUism was in Flint, Michigan in the 1970's, where I was invited to perform at a coffee house held in the church basement. I became a regular there and was frequently invited to provide music for the Sunday services. Having been raised Methodist, I found it a very different, intriguing worship experience.
When I moved to Florida in 1979, I met a woman who was a vital part of the Unitarian Universalists of Clearwater. She encouraged my involvement in that congregation's music and religious education programs and I was active there until 1997.
Since that time I have enjoyed being a guest musician and worship leader at many UU churches throughout the state of Florida and every summer I travel to the Southeastern Unitarian Universalist Summer Institute (SUUSI) in Blacksburg, Virginia where I join other musicians to make music for an entire week.
In 2000 I became the music director of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tarpon Springs, FL. It has been a pleasure to work with the ministers over the years. Together we strive to intertwine the message and music to form a seamless Sunday garment that the congregation can put on and take home. I have always been encouraged to be creative, inventive, intuitive, and free in the music I choose each Sunday. It is truly one of the very best positions a musician can have and I hope to continue providing music in Tarpon Springs for years to come.
Rosemary Horn, Administrative Assistant
Rosemary was born in The Netherlands and came to the U.S. at the age of 6. Her career in international sales and at The American School of The Hague until 2013 prepared her for the very enjoyable work for the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tarpon Springs.
Rosemary and husband Lance have three daughters and 4 grandchildren spread out across the U.S. As a UU herself, she still keeps in touch with the Netherlands UU Fellowship (NUUF) in Amsterdam and sings in the UUC (Clearwater) chorale.