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Meet Hannah Gyovai of Grace Ceremonies in Northampton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hannah Gyovai.

Hannah, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Grace Ceremonies started with a calling – literally. During a meditation in September of 2009, a voice whispered straight into my innermost heart, “Your purpose is to be a minister.” The voice I heard was definitely inside me – I opened my eyes to see if anyone else had heard it! – but it wasn’t my own. Receiving my calling was the most intimate, most uncomfortable and profound moment of my life.

Since I didn’t believe in God in any traditional sense and had no interest in leading a church, I had no idea what to make of the experience. I spent about two months trying to pretend it hadn’t happened, and when that didn’t work, refusing to think it could have any meaning for me.

No matter how hard I tried, though, I couldn’t shake that voice, and eventually, I just…surrendered. I remember the moment I finally accepted my calling: I was meant to be a minister. I felt my heart open and a flood of tears flowed from a place within me I hadn’t even known was there. It’s hard to describe how tremendous it was. It was like letting out a breath I’d been holding my whole life. I sensed I was somehow coming home to my true self; that my life was forever changed.

And it was.

I discovered Interfaith ministry and after attending a two-year seminary in New York City was ordained as an Interfaith minister in 2012. I launched Grace Ceremonies in January of that year as a way “ministering” without a church, to people with a wide range of beliefs (and also non-belief). I also offer Reiki, completing my Third Degree Master Level this spring, and, after three years of training, I just earned my certification as a Psychosynthesis Practitioner (a spiritual psychology) this fall.

Has it been a smooth road?
I have been on this journey for eight years now, and though some things have taken a little longer than I might have imagined – I also met my husband, got married, bought an old farmhouse and had a daughter during that time – the path has been incredibly smooth.

I say almost every day that I have the Best. Job. Ever. I feel so grateful I received a calling to this work. I still don’t know who or what gave me my sense of purpose, but it has continued to guide me with a deep and abiding internal clarity.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Grace Ceremonies – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
My work creating custom rituals and ceremonies allows me to share incredibly significant moments with others – marriages, births, deaths, and more – and to offer people an experience they might not otherwise have as someone outside a faith community.

This year I have written and officiated 38 personal, one of a kind ceremonies for everything from a ten-year vow renewal to a Catholic-Nepalese Hindu wedding to a blessingway ritual to a memorial service for a stillborn child.
It’s hard to imagine anything more fulfilling than to be part of these extraordinary moments and milestones.

As a Certified Psychosynthesis Practitioner, I am really excited to build on my seminary training in pastoral care by offering spiritual guidance sessions and my new Premarital Conversations package, giving couples a place to explore their relationship in a fun, relaxed and collaborative process.

I think my calling to this work is pretty exceptional. I feel I am truly doing my ministry as an officiant. I’m serving people (the word “minister” in Latin means “servant”) by offering something deeply heartfelt, beautiful and meaningful to their lives and families. My work is part of who I am, and if I’m lucky enough, I will be doing this work for the rest of my life.

Contact Info:

© Sandra Costello 2016

Image Credit:
Sandra Costello Photography, Love & Perry Photography and Films, Four Wings Photography, jBagz Photography, b.lovely photography, Angela Dimock Photography ,Christopher Murphy Photography, Geneve Rege Photography, Erin Long @erinlongphotography

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