One Spirit...
            Many Containers

About Stacy


Rev. Stacy Lee Goforth’s mission is to build bridges of understanding between people of all faiths so they can develop and experience authentic, open and honest relationships with each other.  She accomplishes this by educating people to the commonalities of the world’s religions, thereby removing the barriers of misinformation and misconception that are often the source of conflict. 

Stacy has been active throughout her life in Christian churches, writing curriculum and teaching Sunday school and adult Christian studies.  She became a Certified Lay Speaker in 2002, developed a spiritual gifts program, wrote and self-published the accompanying workbook, The Divine Plan, and has conducted classes and spoken at United Methodist churches throughout New England.  She recently worked as the Director of Parish Life Ministries for the Gales Ferry United Methodist Church in Gales Ferry, CT. 

After a spiritual awakening, her study broadened to include New Age philosophy, Metaphysics and World Religions.  She attended The New Seminary in New York City, was ordained as an Interfaith Minister in June 2011, serves as an Associate Minister for the Interfaith Temple in New York City and on the worship team for the Interfaith Community International.  She is writing a memoir of her spiritual journey into Interfaith Ministry.

Stacy Goes Forth and Becomes

Interfaith Minister, Reverend Goforth;

Does Inaugural Sermon at LCC!

Article by Dan Weaver

Photo by Bob Goforth

Church Chatter, August 2011, A publication of the Ledyard Congregational Church


May God bless and keep you.  May peace and love fill your heart, and radiate from you to all you meet,

for the glory of the God we serve. Amen.

 — Interfaith Minister, Reverend Stacy Goforth

For three years we’ve known her as our talented, trusted, multi-tasking church secretary, but on June 12th Stacy Goforth joined 33 others in becoming an ordained Interfaith minister by the

ordaining body of The New Seminary and the Interfaith Temple of New York, at the Riverside Church in New York City.  Her husband Bob and son Jahn, along with some 700 other witnesses, beamed during this special celebration.

“Bob has been amazing.  He has stood by me, supporting my whole journey, and giving me space to explore,” she shared.  “These last two years have been

remarkable for both of us; as we’ve made it through his cancer treatments, my school, our son’s Eagle Scout project, high school graduation and college in FL.  This feels like a fresh start for both of us on many levels.  We’ve gone through a lot together in a short time, and I’m proud of him too.”

The new Interfaith Minister, Reverend Goforth loved sharing her milestone with her family. “I just wanted to take it all in and remember everything,” reflects Interfaith Minister Reverend Goforth.  “And of course I don’t; it’s like remembering all the details of your wedding!”   But she does remember how God spoke to her that day.

“It was through a sense of feeling; of completion, of new beginnings, and of being ready.  I felt such a beautiful quietness and peace about me.” During part of the ceremony, the ordinands sang “Here I Am Lord,” and those words kept running through her mind.  “Here I am Lord … I will go, Lord, if you lead me.”

Just two weeks later, she gave her first sermon as an Interfaith minister in our pulpit in a handcrafted stole with symbols representing eight of the major religions of the world.  She chose to talk about her walk with Interfaith Ministry.  Her message, "One Spirit Many Containers," took root from a class assignment this year where she had to create a message around a quote.  She chose an entry from Gloria Karpinski’s book, “Barefoot on Holy Ground:” 

“Religion is a container … that builds a form around the mystical teachings

of an enlightened person who embodies the essence of the teaching.”

She described the containers of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, the Baha’i Faith and Taoism, and how “the golden rules of all those traditions, are all, in essence, the same.  The Spirit of God surrounds and fills all the containers, and the purpose of those containers is to bring people together and help them understand and have a relationship with the Divine Essence.”

The congregation’s “container” spilled over with great praise. “To receive such a tremendous positive response has been overwhelming, and very affirming that this is the time for this message to be heard.  So I thank you for giving me this


Stacy is a nature lover, drawn to calm, peaceful surroundings, with the White Mountains in NH being one of her all-time favorite places.  Besides kayaking, hiking and camping, she relishes reading and is working on a book about her spiritual journey.  On her “to don’t list”?  She doesn’t like to cook – “but I’m told I make a pretty good salsa!”


Teaching Tolerance in a Post-9/11 World

Newly Ordained Interfaith Minister Hopes For a Better World

Article and Photo By Bill Thorndike

October 17, 2011 Article in

The spiritual path that led Stacey Goforth to become ordained as an interfaith minister began when she was a teenager growing up in a Southern Baptist church in Virginia.  And maybe it began long before that. 

“There was always something in me that was a little different,” said Goforth, a member of the United Methodist Church in Gales Ferry and church secretary at Ledyard Congregational Church.

Goforth, whose married surname has a wonderfully evangelical ring, recalls as a teen-ager listening to a sermon on the evils of dancing.  

“I was a dancer. I had taken ballet since I was a little kid,” she said. “And I was also into gymnastics. I was very physical, very athletic. I loved to move my body any way I could.”

Goforth spoke to her pastor about his sermon. “It was the first time I had ever questioned authority,” she said.

It would not be the last time. There were other sermons and other teachings that she found deeply troubling. Eventually, when she was a in college, Goforth said she stopped going to church. She stayed away for 10 years.

When she finally returned, she was married to her husband, Bob, and they had a 2-year-old son, John. Like many young parents, they wanted to raise their child in the tradition they knew. They joined the Methodist Church.

Coming home

In 1995, Bob's job at Newport News led the family to Groton. Goforth remembers shopping for a church. On only their second Sunday they attended the United Methodist Church in Gales Ferry. “We walked in, the choir started singing and I said, ‘that’s it, we’re home.’”

The church offered a class called “spiritual gifts,” which Goforth attended and later taught. “But everytime I taught it I felt something was missing,” she said.

Then, in 2002, Goforth had an experience – she describes it as a vision – in which she found herself in a holy place, standing before a “master teacher.”

“I asked him if Jesus was the son of God, and he said yes, but so are we – we all are God’s children,” she said.

Other visions followed in what Goforth called her period of spiritual awakening. “It was as though God turned on a light for me,” she said. “I became opened to such concepts as reincarnation, which is not part of Christian dogma.” 

It also was during this time that she got the “seminary bug.”

“Every true religion has at its core a belief in loving God and loving each other, in loving and caring for each other and ourselves. All of it has as its root understanding what all this is,” she said, gesturing to the space around and above her backyard deck.

Goforth enrolled in a two-year ordination program at the New Seminary in New York City. She was ordained as an interfaith minister this past summer.

A new calling

Her hope now is to work in hospitals and other settings where an interfaith chaplain would typically work. She said she hopes to provide counsel and comfort to those in need, and to officiate at weddings and funerals.

Especially weddings, and especially with the increasing popularity of interfaith marriages, she said.

Mostly, Goforth hopes to promote tolerance in a post-9/11 world, teaching others by word and example.

“Where there is fear, there is hatred, and where there is hatred there is war,” she said.

“If there is ever going to be peace, we need to realize that we’re all the same, we all are God’s people and we are all seeking God,” she said. “But now I am referring to inner peace. There will never be world peace until people have peace in their hearts.”

Toward that end she said she can help by educating people about other faiths. For example, the Muslim woman we might encounter in a public place.

“How do I get past this woman I see who is covered from head to foot?” she asked. “I think, ‘she’s a Muslim,’ but do I know that this person gets up every morning an hour before dawn to pray and is so committed to her belief in God? 

“And besides,” she added, “she’s a woman and I’m a woman. So there’s another way we can relate.”

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