Sometimes, a profound inner longing beckons us to embark on a quest for something beyond the ordinary. It may be a desire to forge a deeper connection with the Divine, or a yearning to serve others in a more meaningful way. In my case, it was a call that resonated from the depths of my being, a gentle yet compelling voice that guided me back to my spiritual roots. I did not choose the path of ministry—it chose me. From an early age, I found myself pondering the purpose of existence. Growing up without any formal religious or spiritual framework, I embarked on a personal odyssey to unravel the mysteries of life.
My childhood abode was adorned with shelves filled with books on theosophy, indigenous cultures, and sacred mystical teachings. It was through the written word that I began to explore the vast tapestry of human beliefs and experiences. Yet, it was music that truly became my conduit for connecting with the Source of all creation. Through the power of melodies and harmonies, I experienced glimpses of the transcendent. Music became the vessel through which I entered some of the world’s most awe-inspiring churches and sacred spaces, where I could feel the palpable presence of something greater than myself. In those moments, I sensed that I was on a pilgrimage—a sacred journey that would eventually lead me to a deeper understanding of my own purpose and relationships.
When I first became interested in ministry, I had just separated from my partner and found myself raising two young children on my own. My son was non-verbal at the time and on the autistic spectrum. We were invited to attend a Buddhist meeting where hundreds of people of all different backgrounds were chanting together. My son began chanting along and continued to chant when we got home. This led me to enroll in The New Seminary for Interfaith Studies, a two-year ordination program studying and reflecting on the major religions and spiritual paths of the world. I had been drawn to their ads for a year and I felt it was a message that I was being called to serve. As I delved deeper into my studies, I suffered the tragic loss of a young friend to suicide, my mother being diagnosed and quickly passing from liver cancer, and then my aunt’s passing a month following my ordination. Here I believed I had chosen this path of enlightenment, yet everything around me was completely falling apart and my life would never be the same. What was I being prepared for? It became clear to me that ministry was not confined to the walls of a church or the rituals of a specific tradition; it was a calling to be a vehicle of compassion, love, and healing for those seeking solace and meaning in their lives. I realized that my own spiritual exploration and personal hardships were preparing me for this sacred vocation, equipping me with the tools to guide others on their own transformative journeys.
The path to ministry is not without its challenges. It requires unwavering dedication, a willingness to confront one’s own doubts and uncertainties, and a deep reservoir of empathy and understanding. It demands that we hold space for others as they navigate their own spiritual terrain, offering support and guidance without imposing our own beliefs. Ministry is a ministry of presence—a sacred act of being fully present to the joys, sorrows, and struggles of others, without judgment or agenda.
For me, awakening the soul and embracing the call to ministry has been a painful, yet profound transformational journey. It has been a pilgrimage of the heart—a pilgrimage that has connected me to the universal thread that unites all of humanity. Through this sacred vocation, I have witnessed the incredible resilience and strength of the human spirit and the transformative power of love and compassion.
Today, as I now stand in the role as the Associate Director for The New Seminary and the Minister of Music for our ordaining body, The Interfaith Temple, I never could have imagined in my wildest dreams that this would be my path. As I am mentoring ordinands, sharing words of inspiration, and offering spiritual guidance, I am reminded of the sacred responsibility that comes with this calling. Each encounter is an opportunity to bring comfort, hope, and light to those who find themselves on this path. It is a privilege to witness the process of healing and growth in others, as they awaken to their own divine spark and discover their unique place in the tapestry of existence.
Rev. Dr. Samora Smith is a highly accomplished individual with a diverse range of roles and achievements. As the Associate Director for The New Seminary for Interfaith Studies, she plays a pivotal role in promoting interfaith understanding and cooperation. In addition to this, she serves as the Minister of Music for the Interfaith Temple, using her musical talents to enhance spiritual experiences. Dr. Samora is also recognized as the Director of the Spiritual Coaching program, where she guides individuals on their spiritual journeys, offering support and guidance. Her expertise extends to the field of sound and vibrational healing, as she holds the title of Master Sound & Vibrational Healing Specialist. Through her knowledge and skills in this area, she provides therapeutic and transformative experiences to those seeking healing. Furthermore, Dr. Samora is a Certified Hypnotherapist & NLP practitioner, utilizing these techniques to facilitate personal growth and positive change in the lives of her clients. Her commitment to celebrating love and unity is evident in her role as an award-winning wedding and ceremonial minister. Over the course of her career, as the founder of Common Ground Ceremonies in New York City, she has officiated more than 2,800 ceremonies, creating memorable and meaningful experiences for couples. Driven by a deep sense of justice and compassion, Dr. Samora is a Certified Human Rights Advocate. She actively supports struggling communities and contributes to the advancement of native healing organizations and cultural exchange as a board member and active performer. Additionally, she is a staunch advocate for LGBTQ rights, promoting equality and inclusivity in all aspects of society. Rev. Dr. Samora Smith's multifaceted background and unwavering dedication to interfaith understanding, spiritual coaching, healing practices, and social justice make her a remarkable and influential individual in her field.