Meet the Currys
Eric Curry starts soon as First Free’s Director of Contemporary Worship. We spoke with him and his wife, Tarah, about their upcoming move from Greenwood, Indiana, and what they look forward to here in Rockford.
Jim Killam
September 13, 2023

Eric Curry starts soon as First Free’s Director of Contemporary Worship. We spoke with him and his wife, Tarah, about their upcoming move from Greenwood, Indiana, and what they look forward to here in Rockford.

Both are natives of Greenwood, Indiana, a south suburb of Indianapolis, though they went to different schools. They met at church seven years ago and quickly realized they belonged together.

“We met, dated, got engaged and married in one year,” Tarah says.

Eric has been a worship leader in the past and worked other church staff jobs including facilities management and videography. For the past year he’s been working in construction.

“God has gifted me with two things,” he says with a smile. “Music and I can move stuff.”

Tarah, meanwhile, works at a nonprofit organization that serves the aging and disabled populations of central Indiana. She works in human resources — “So I serve the people who serve people.” After their move to Rockford, she’s keeping her job on a part-time, remote basis.

The Currys plan to close on their house and move to Rockford the last week of September and Eric hopes to be at rehearsal Thursday night that same week.

What appealed to you guys about the opportunity at First free Rockford?

Tarah: It has undeniably been the Lord in this whole process. Everyone that Eric has met and talked with, like Pastor Luke and Steve, they just get it. Our hearts are very aligned with the heart of who First Free is and what they do and how they serve. I think that’s who we are. Especially with my background and working with aged and disabled populations, and knowing that First Free is directly tied to that, that was a big lightbulb thing for me.

Eric interviewed with them earlier this year and they decided to go a different direction. And we were like, “OK we are at peace with that. That’s great.” And then they kind of circled back and said, “Actually, we want to keep talking.” We had been at peace with not proceeding with the process, but just because we were so drawn to First free — not what you guys do, but how you do it and how you steward everything that the Lord has blessed you with.

Tell me a little more about that. What were you drawn to?

Tarah: We have always wanted to be bridge builders in any community that we’re in. And we feel like First Free is very present in Rockford. 

Eric: I was the contemporary worship director at her childhood church. They had a traditional service and a contemporary service there, too. Because I was never raised in a church, it was just a cool experience for me to have all the traditional aspects of the church. I just love all that. I love old theologians, old hymns. And I love the Bible. I love how Pastor Luke will open up whatever book he’s teaching and just go through it. I don’t have anything against topical preachers. I just prefer to open up the book and studying it as a congregation. So I felt like there was a lot of richness there.

Tarah:  And also, ministry is hard. So in these conversations with them, hearing their heart for boundaries and balance and caring for families being such a priority, that was huge for us. We’ve done this before and we know it’s not an easy feat. So that drew us in.

Everyone’s been incredibly welcoming, too.

Eric, what is your approach to worship music and what might that look like in your new position?

Eric: I would say lyrics first, then melody. Is this a singable song for anybody between the ages of 10 and 100? Not everyone is a trained singer. There are worship songs out there that don’t really work that great in a congregational setting. So that’s usually where I start.

And it’s songs that glorify Jesus. Sometimes I feel like there are songs out there that are more focused on us than they are on God. I don’t necessarily think that’s always a bad thing. If we read the Psalms, David would always talk about his experiences good, bad and ugly. But I do think there is a value to keeping the focus on God during worship. It’s such a different experience that only Christians can understand. You are entering the presence of God. It’s a special thing, so I try to keep that in mind. I think of Hebrews 12 where it says our God is a consuming fire—so I try to worship him with a sense of reverence and awe. Not just, “Oh, we’re singing songs to Jesus. He’s our friend and he loves us.” Yes, but he’s also the God that holds everything in his hand.

There’s a worship music industry as well. What is your take on that, and how basically three or four churches are writing most of the worship music right now?

Eric: You know, it’s weird.

Tarah: We talk about it often.

Eric: There are songs out there. I don’t try to get tied up with who wrote it and what church they are affiliated with. I try to let the song speak for itself. But it is an industry. Do I believe that God can be glorified through it? Yes. But I also think that there are better ways. I’m a fan of churches that have songwriting groups if they have the resources for that. One thing that I love is writing and singing original songs. God has blessed me with a bunch of amazing friends who also are worship leaders, and they all love writing and worshiping.

(At this point in our Zoom conversation, the Currys’ dogs launched into what Eric described as a WWE-style wrestling match on the floor in front of them.)

Tell me about your dogs.

Eric: They are psychos. We have Lucy, who’s a mutt. Mabel is a Great Dane and Cas is an Australian shepherd. Cas is short for Caspian, from the Chronicles of Narnia. Lucy can’t make that claim—she already had her name when we got her. We also have some cats, and a ferret.

And are they all coming with you?

Eric: They are.

What would you both say you have learned in the last few months as this has played out?

Tarah: I feel like I knew this, but it’s different when it is in practice. If the Lord is calling you into something new, you can’t stop it, you can’t start it on your own and you can’t slow it down. 

Eric: Through this whole thing I have just felt this outrageous generosity from God. I feel so unworthy for it all, to even receive half of these blessings that he’s pouring out on us right now. I was reading a prayer in my devotional the other morning, and it said: Generous God, help me to believe that you are a Father who enjoys giving gifts to his children, and rewards to his children when they are living in loving obedience to you. And I was just on the verge of crying. I don’t think of it as being grudgingly obedient. I’m excited for it—God, I want to get back into this. And we’re both in a place where we can do it in a healthy way in a way that we can both enjoy. Ever since we said that, it’s just like he said, OK, let’s go.

Tarah: Our family and friends and all of that were here. So even when we entered into this kind of process, we were certain the Lord wanted to do it and we felt peace that it was the time—but we didn’t expect it to look like us relocating out of Indiana. We were open to it. We told the Lord we will go wherever you want us to go. We just didn’t know that he would want to transplant us away from here. 

(Eric first interviewed for the First Free position a few months ago. When things didn’t work out, he and Tarah were fine with that, and took it as confirmation from God that they should stay in Greenwood. Then Pastor Luke Uran recontacted him—but they had just made plans to stay at their jobs.)

Eric: I said we’ve made this commitment and felt peace about it, so we’re just going to stay here. … I think we were letting our own fears answer for us in the moment. It had felt like a shut-door answered prayer, and we were at peace with that. 

We got to build some amazing friendships and relationships during that time when we were planning on staying. We were intentional about wanting to grow our roots down here even further. 

Tarah: But those are the communities that are cheerleading us about leaving, because they know it’s an act of obedience and they can see why. We had support initially, but now it’s even bigger and more incredible. 

That has to give you a lot of confidence as you take this big step.

Eric: It really goes along with how God has been moving this whole way. He is opening all these doors and it has just been crazy.

Tarah: But in the best way.

Jim Killam
Jim Killam is a journalist, author, teacher and terminal Cubs fan. He and his wife, Lauren, live in Rockford and work internationally with Wycliffe Bible Translators.


  1. Avatar

    Thanks Jim for putting together the Currys story; it was well done.

  2. Avatar

    Thank you for this beautiful story. My son Eric and his precious wife Tarah will be an asset to your church family. They have such amazing spirits that exude Gods love. I am so proud of the loving man Eric has become, I will miss them both. We are looking forward to many visits to Rockford , and watching the live streams!


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