Susanna Stefanachi Macomb, ordained interfaith
artist, wife and mother.
Pioneer of personalized, interfaith, intercultural ceremonies.
high powered sales and merchandising executive in the fashion
industry began a search for inner peace. She was not looking for God
or religion. In a stressful, chaotic, and competitive environment
she simply wanted an everyday access to peace.
young woman was me.
began that search 30 years ago by studying the universal and
mystical aspects of various religions. I identified with the
commonality taught by all the religions. The universality and
oneness of the mystical experience struck me heart and soul. Through
spiritual and artistic study, my inner life became luminous and my
outer life began to change. I worked less in the office. I followed
my bliss. For me the spiritual process and the creative process
overlapped. My paintings are an embodiment of my spiritual
experiences. I began exhibiting my paintings in galleries, cultural
centers and universities. People began collecting and commissioning
a combination of mystical experiences and serendipitous events, I
was led to The New Seminary and later to the All Faiths Seminary. At
the time, I felt no desire to become a minister. The New Seminaryís
president, Rabbi Gelbermanís message to me: "It will be revealed to
you." It took a leap of faith. I was following the signs.
my ordination ceremony in February of 1996 at The Cathedral of Saint
John the Divine, the holy books of all the traditions were
ceremoniously carried down the aisle and placed upon the altar. My
paintings of four archangels flanked the altar. Two days after my
ordination, I performed my first interfaith, intercultural wedding.
Looking back, it seems as if invisible hands set it all in
motion. Since then, I have been privileged to work with hundreds of
couples and families from an amazing variety of backgrounds, often
in the most challenging situations. Basking in the presence of love
that doesnít know the boundaries of skin color, religious creed or
nationality fills me with such joy and brings me to my knees. It has
enriched and expanded my life. It makes the heart sing!
ministry began through simple word of mouth. Then I was interviewed
for a feature article in a bridal magazine. This led to other
articles. I became inundated with phone calls from people
throughout the world. People wanted to know how they could
create meaningful interfaith, intercultural and interracial
ceremonies that reflected who they were, and would not offend
their families. They wanted ceremonies that remained true
to themselves, had meaning and did not exclude anyone. Often
same-faith couples were simply searching for a unifying spiritual
perspective. Many just wanted advice or sample ceremonies.
Many asked me to officiate at their weddings, bless their
children, and help mourn their loved ones. Others wanted spiritual
counseling. It was evident: There was a need for interfaith
and a rapidly growing one at that! My response to that need
was to create a website. What followed was my book, Joining
Hands and Hearts, Interfaith, Intercultural Wedding
Celebrations, A Practical Guide for Couples
(Simon & Schuster). Joining Hands and Hearts
is considered by many as the primer from creating interfaith
and intercultural wedding services. It is the first book to
feature the beliefs and wedding traditions of 14 religions
and dozens of cultures. In 2013 I wrote Bless This Child, A Comprehensive Guide to Creating Baby Blessing Ceremonies. It is the most complete guide for interfaith and non-denominational baby ceremonies in existence. Both books are ground breaking with regard to interfaith services. My work has been featured in
(but not limited to) The Associated Press, Publishers Weekly, The Readerís Digest,
The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, New York Magazine,
The Huffington Post, Florida Sun Times, San Diego Union-Tribune, San Mateo Times,
Modern Bride, Martha Stewart Weddings, Brides, Brideís, The
Knot,, The New Etiquette for Today's Bride, New York Weddings,
Washington Weddings, Boston Weddings, California Weddings,
For the Bride, Wedding Bells, Getting Remarried, Manhattan
Bride, Pregnancy Magazine, TIME OUT NY, Downtown Express, AIMS Magazine UK and Personal Journey,
Your Path to a More Spiritual Life. and on local and national
television including MSNBC's The Ethical Edge on Interfaith
Relationships, The Ananda Lewis Show, The Party Planner
with David Tutera, A Wedding Story featuring a Catholic/Protestant
American and Buddhist/Taoist/Chinese union that took place
in Grand Central Station.
teach, give seminars and write articles. Click here to read
my article on Celebrating
Diversity in the U.S.
one person, I am limited to the number of ceremonies I can perform.
It is my prayer that my book, Joining Hands and Hearts, will
help all those that I cannot reach. The book is offered in the
spirit of peace.
at the core of my life, are my husband and son, my heart and wings.
It is my daily interaction with them that fuels much of the
inspiration for my work. I cherish them beyond words. Currently, I
am working on my next book and my next canvas!
heart to yours,
To read feedback about Susanna's work, please
baby ceremony testimonials
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Rev. Susanna Stefanachi Macomb of New York City
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