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Reflections from Rev. Alan Taylor

Becoming a People of Intention
Rev. Rev. Alan Taylor, Senior Minister

What better theme to begin 2018 than the theme of intention? As this first month of 2018 is a time for new resolutions, what resolutions are calling out to you?

The beginning of the year is an ideal time to reflect on what habits we want to intentionally cultivate and which habits we want to change. The challenge with resolutions is that they are so easy to break. The trick is how to make a resolution and stay with it. Setting our intentions is about being proactive, identifying how we want to live, and making a promise to ourselves, others, or the spirit of life.

Our lives tend to be filled with busy-ness. Our world is filled with chaos and confusion. As people of faith, we are called to center down enough so that we begin shaping our lives rather than letting all of life’s craziness shape us. Intention is only made possible when we cultivate a practice to center down.

Martin Luther King, Jr., was a master of living with intention. He spent his adult life clarifying the gap between the world as it is and the world as it ought to be—as his God calls it to be. He listened to people’s stories, was touched by their struggle and inspired by their humanity. He had deep ambition to change the world but he took on one issue at a time. He set his intention on what he wanted to get out of each specific action that was strategically carried out to realize his ends.

On January 15, I encourage you to join me, members of UTUUC, and members of many other churches for the Martin Luther King Faith in Action Assembly. It will be at Old St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in downtown Chicago. We will join dozens of other churches rallied by Community Renewal Society for a Governors Candidate Forum, in which all the gubernatorial candidates have agreed to participate. In addition, Chicago alderman will be asked to make public commitments of support to police contract reform.

If you are someone who seeks support in centering down, I encourage you to attend our Mindfulness Meditation on Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m. in Unity House (Unity Temple). The Buddhist reflections are all about becoming better at attending to what’s going on in ourselves and in our world so that we can respond to it with more intention. In this way we cultivate what the Buddhists call “skillful means.” For me, that is why we are called to become people of intention.

If music supports your spiritual walk and the setting of intention, our music program is hosting three significant events:

Twelfth Night Concert, January 7, at 4 p.m., choirs of five local congregations perform at Unity Temple. A free will offering for Thrive Counseling Center will be accepted.

Activism Through Song Workshop, January 14, 2 to 4 p.m. Vocal activist Melanie Demore will join us. Suggested donation is $20, or $10 for students.

Schubert Festival, January 27, 3 to 9 p.m. Hosted by our Music Ministry Team. Tickets available, find details at

May 2018 be a meaningful, engaging year full of laughter, deepening connections, and solidarity for the kind of world we so value.