“The body becomes numbed and painful as its losing battle to contain the expressive impulses of the life force.”
Aligned, Relaxed, Resilient, p. 73
“Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.”
Agnes de Mille
“The way back home to the reclamation of our full identity is through the discarded sensations of our body.”
I am an ordained Interfaith Minister, currently living in St. Paul, Minnesota, graduating from The New Seminary in New York City in 2006. I enjoy serving as a guest minister, facilitating chant services, and helping create any ceremony or ritual you would like—from weddings to funerals, to baby namings, pet blessings, or transition rituals. I specialize in helping you personalize and create your own ceremony that reflects your values and beliefs. Rates vary depending on the occasion and amount of assistance needed.
What is Interfaith?
Interfaith is a spiritual philosophy that honors and values the fundamental beauty and wisdom in all religious traditions. It respects the many paths to and names of the Divine.
As an Interfaith Minister, I don't have my own church. I provide ceremonies for anyone who would like them in a way that's fitting for them. Your beliefs, values, and needs are the guiding principles for any ceremony we create together.
Why Choose an Interfaith Ceremony?
A Minister from a specific religion might have restrictions on what they can offer. The ceremony may have to:
Be in their church, mosque, or temple
Have a particular structure or include content such as church doctrine or formal prayers
Use specific language for the Divine, such as the word "God."
In an Interfaith ceremony, there are no restrictions on where your ceremony is held or what you want to say. I do my best to create a ceremony that incorporates your beliefs and values.
Are Interfaith Ceremonies Legally Binding?
Only a wedding ceremony has a legal component. In the USA, each state and county has a different set of procedures. My ordination enables me to register as a legal officiant in any state. You will also have to follow the procedures required in your particular county in order to complete your marriage license.
If my partner and I are from mixed religious and cultural backgrounds, how will that work in the ceremony?
Interfaith ceremonies are perfect for just this case as we can customize your ceremony to include appropriate rituals and words that honor any faith tradition. Your ceremony can reflect your different beliefs, as well as your shared ones, while honoring the needs and expectations of your families.
Do we have to be religious?
You don't have to "be" anything you are not! I can help you create a ceremony that reflects who you are whether you consider yourself to be religious, spiritual, an atheist, or anything in between! I enjoy getting to know you, finding out what is important to you, and including this in the ceremony.
There are so many ideas out there I am confused as to where to start to create our ceremony. Can you help?
Yes! I have collected a vast array of resources for ceremonies-from music, to vow creation, to poetry and readings, to ritual elements, and other practical things to think about to make sure the event goes smoothly. These days the internet also offers many wonderful resources for ideas, as well.
I love working with you to help you create a ceremony that reflects your beliefs and values to help you celebrate this important time of your life.
I serve as a Worship Associate at Unity Unitarian Church in St. Paul, which means that I am involved in choosing readings, helping to create the through-line and form for the topic, crafting a Call to Worship, and sometimes creating the sermon. I also serve as Worship Leader when the occasion arises, both at Unity and as a Guest Minister in other churches. I have found this process to be extremely rewarding. I love to help create a service that will invite the listener into a supportive space where they feel welcomed and safe to explore meaningful material that will help them to lead a more loving life of integrity.
"Sweet and urgent."
"I love your voice. I could listen to you reading a phone book!"
—Anonymous Comments from October 3rd, 2010 Sermon
"I appreciate the association with you, and your clear and calm spiritual direction. I was so impressed with your sharing and presentation skills. It is your ability to help people see beyond what they can currently see; to feel beyond what they can currently feel.by building a bridge there that is easy to cross. I look forward to hearing you speak in the future!!"
—Hal Freshley, Worship Associate Coordinator, Unity Church Unitarian
"Whether her topic is non-Western philosophy, Enneagram personality types, or spiritual aspects of human relationships, Katy brings humor and humility into the mix. No saint herself, she openly shares her own blind spots, limitations and continuing journey. Her honesty and good humor about her personal challenges are absolutely terrific, creating a disarming environment in which all participants find it possible to embrace their own unique, challenging and beautiful human natures."
—Elizabeth Alexander, Composer
Listen to a few of Katy's Sermons
July 28, 2013: What's Up With the Goddess?
How does the resurgence of teachings focused on the Goddess have relevance for us today? As Sobonfu Somé clarifies, these are not "new age" teachings, but "ancient age" teachings. Katy Taylor and Worship Associates Joan and Segundo Velasquez explore how the qualities and manifestations of the Goddess are necessary for living a balanced and whole life today. (Readings included Joy Harjo's Remember, Pablo Neruda's O Earth, Wait for Me, and a poem by Maria Wemrell.)
June 24, 2012: Awakening Life
There's a lot of talk in different traditions about Awakening — awakening to what? If we're awakening, doesn't that imply we've somehow been asleep? Katy Taylor and Worship Associate Steve Harper explore what it might look like to awaken to the natural, life force energy in all of us and how that awakening not only fuels our passion, but helps us to find our innate balance. (Readings included Louise Gluck's Snowdrops, Ellen Bass's Want Life, and Dawna Markova's Wide Open.)
July 10, 2011: With One Smile
Sometimes opening to suffering is what awakens us to joy, the heart is cracked open to the depth and breadth of life. Another way to awaken to joy is to cultivate the soil in which it grows and is nourished, and we can begin at any time with one smile! Katy Taylor and Worship Associate Jeanne Barker-Nunn take delight in playfully exploring the art of savoring and welcoming all of life.
August 22, 2010: The Lost Art of Namaste
We are often invited to bow to each other during Worship. Why acknowledge each other in what some might call a subservient, and others a reverent, manner? What is the deeper meaning of "namaste"? Katy Taylor and Hal Freshley explore how inviting this often overlooked orientation into our lives can support the unfolding of the Beloved Community.
October 3, 2010: Longing For the Beloved with Rev. Janne Eller-Isaacs
In many religious traditions, experiences of mystical longing are expressed through metaphors of human relationship. For Mevlana Rumi it is the friend, human and cosmic, to whom he speaks to express "A fluctuation, an exchange of being with Being." Janne and Worship Associate Katy Taylor will explore this kind of longing for the Beloved.
I give the middle of three Reflections (10:55-16:32 minutes), in addition to offering the readings in the 1st and 3rd Reflections.
As a professional singer and Interfaith Minister, I enjoy creating chant services that weave music and spoken word together to create a meditative, participatory, and welcoming atmosphere. I can draw on my own database of readings to work with a theme and can sing solo or lead a group in participatory chant. For group chant, I gravitate toward simple, repetitive melodic lines that allow the singers to surrender to the sound and notice how it moves in their bodies as prayer. I like to incorporate chants in languages other than English to allow the left brain to take a break so that a deeper knowing can arise. See also Singing Meditation.
Regarding a Chant Service for the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly, June 2010
"Thank you for your excellent time and attention! I think it was a very peaceful and restorative service and many of the ministers told me how much they appreciated it."
—Rev. Jann Halloran, Prairie Unitarian Universalist Church of Parker, Colorado
Your wedding is a service to celebrate your commitment of love with one another. While love is something we all get a chance to experience in our lives, ideally your wedding will reflect the individual expression of your love. If you would like, I can help you weave the story of your love into your ceremony, by providing questions to guide your exploration, and then incorporating your words and expressions into the ceremony. In enjoy engaging in an interactive process with you in which I provide drafts of the wedding based on your choices and words until we arrive at a final version that reflects, honors, and affirms your love the way you want it to. Weddings can be short and sweet or longer depending on what elements you would like to include.
"Thank you again so much for creating our wedding for us. This is even BETTER than I could have ever imagined the service would go. I was worried at first that I would not be able to find someone that allowed us to have a more spiritual service rather than a religious service and that we wouldn't find someone that would fit for John as well. I never dreamed I would find myself in a situation where I am actually allowed to choose so much of the service...This is turning out to be such a beautiful and accurate representation of John and me as individuals and as a couple, and I just can't tell you how grateful and happy I am to have found you. Everything is feeling so genuine and true...You are worth so much more than we are paying you. Thank-you again for all you are doing."
"Thanks also for all your aid for our wedding. You were so fantastic to work with and made the ceremony so real and special. And—all the guys thought you were a 'cool pastor'...lol."
"The ceremony was beautiful. We continue to get lots of compliments. You did such a great job of the ceremony and before. We both felt like we were in good hands. Thank you so much."
—Jacob and Susan
A baby blessing welcomes your new baby into a life surrounded by loving family and friends. We incorporate symbols into the ceremony that mean something to you, blessing your baby with all four elements, and welcoming the baby's amazing new life into the world and into the love of your embrace. Usually included is an official bestowing of the baby's name and its significance. Baby Blessings are usually shorter—15-20 minutes.
"This is so great Katy. You do such great work! The service is so beautiful; I know there will be tears, and not just from me. You are so good at what you do; you are worth far more than what you charge. It's perfect. So perfect and I couldn't imagine anything more perfect for my son. Thank you so much for doing this for us. You are such a blessing in our life and I am so, so thankful that Pam brought you to my life."
"Thank you so much for being a part of Reed’s special day. The ceremony was just perfect and I appreciate all your help to make it just perfect for our family.”
Seasonal and Transitional Rituals
Celebrating the turning of the year and of our lives is an important way to mark seasonal and life changes. Setting time aside to settle in, to contemplate what we.ve learned from a certain time in our lives, and to look forward to what we are moving into helps us to know ourselves and the earth.s rhythms more intimately. I facilitate a Winter Solstice Celebration annually at Unity Unitarian Church here in St. Paul, and will be beginning a Summer Solstice Celebration this year (2011). I would be happy to help you create any seasonal or other transitional ritual (coming into woman- or man-hood, pregnancy, new home, divorce, entering elder years, etc.)
"Loving gratitude to you my dear, for your facilitation of the Winter Solstice Celebration. I am so deeply moved by your presence in my life. Keep on shining."
"I just have to write to extend my appreciation for the great Solstice Service last night. Katy Taylor and the other organizers did a great job. As I looked back over the last year, I realized I did not attend Unity Unitarian as much as I wanted to and as a result, I felt a "hole" because of that. I decided that the Solstice service would be my re-entry back to Unity. It was a wonderful service and ritual. I brought my almost 2 year old and she loved it as well (and was very relaxed by the meditation portion and loved the animal walk). I found the service to be meaningful and great for families. Thanks again!"