The Officiants at Church of Ancient Ways
Church of Ancient Ways was given 501c3 non-profit status by the Federal Government in 1997 as an Interfaith Religious Organization. All of our wedding officiants are 100% legally empowered to perform marriages on Long Island, in New York State and beyond. We do not employ officiants who are ordained online or through ULC.
We endeavor to embrace all Philosophies, Religions, Beliefs and Scientific Principles. Our mission is the pursuit of goodness and we are grateful to use the work we do as a vehicle for celebrating our common ground as human beings. As Pastor April used to say when the organization was just formed…
“Do the best you can all the time. If you find yourself doing less than your best, knock it off and start over.”
The Officiants at Church of Ancient Ways are a team of seasoned professionals and are spot-on when it comes to details and organization. We’re creative and well-versed in everything from ‘Short and Sweet’ to Traditional, from Fusion to Pop-Culture, Art, Literature and everything in between. More than anything else, we love telling your personal Love Story… Are you more a minimalist? We can do that too. Whatever your desire is, it’s our mission to say, “Absolutely!” instead of “Oh… I don’t know about that…” There are a myriad of themes possible for a myriad of dreams, all of which become real with that first kiss… And only one of them is yours.
Founded by Pastor Marie April Gismondi in 1997, The Officiants at Church of Ancient Ways are an award-winning team of joyful, seasoned, and professional Pastors, Ministers & Rabbis, recommended by many of Long Island’s most amazing venues. All of our officiants hold Church of Ancient Ways ordinations and are 100% fully legal to perform marriage ceremonies in all jurisdictions of New York State and beyond. We primarily serve Long Island and the greater NYC Tri-State area, but destination wedding requests are welcome too!
Check our our team bios, social media, and individual Vimeo video page links below.
Reach out to Pastor April or Rev. Joe for more information and let us bring you vision to life!
Pastor Marie April Gismondi
Pastor April has performed nearly six thousand ceremonies. As a writer, her talent for using rich and descriptive language to mirror her couple’s own thoughts, backgrounds and emotions is unparalleled. As a public speaker, she is warm and engaging; eliciting laughter and happy tears in all of the right places. Yet, it is her professionalism and vast knowledge that have made many countless couples happy; serving as the bench- mark that all of us at The Officiants at Church of Ancient Ways strive to achieve.
Reverend Joe Iadanza
Rev. Joe Iadanza served on the Board of Directors at the seminary where he trained and was ordained as an Interfaith Minister. Raised an Italian Catholic, he is an actual family member to Saint Padre Pio. Yet, with a focus on individual spiritual growth, music, and meditation, Rev. Joe is just as comfortable in the secular as in the spiritual. As someone with a performance background, he brings a heart-centered and joyful perspective to every ceremony while remaining detail-oriented, on-point and professional.
Reverend Aviva Sala
Rev. Aviva Sala was trained by Pastor April herself and has been working exclusively for The Officiants at Church of Ancient Ways for over a decade. Aviva is a great speaker who is lauded for her listening and writing skills. From traditional ceremonies to off-beat creations, she is truly at the top of her game right now. Aviva’s creativity and humor have made her a particular favorite of our non-traditional couples who seek her out for her ability to wrap their love stories around pop-culture themes; creating masterpieces that are recalled long after the final, “I do’s”.
Minister Brenda Santana
Minister Brenda Santana’s background in singing, acting, and performance, richly informs her work as a celebrant. In addition to writing meaningful ceremonies that touch hearts, Brenda has a presence and delivery that are quite-simply exceptional. Did we mention that her family hails from Puerto Rico and that she’s fluent in Spanish too? It’s true! She moves fluidly between English and Spanish without a trace of accent in either. Brenda is known for her gentleness and flexibility from first introductions right through your wedding day.
Reverend Lorili Henry
Rev. Lorili Henry has been officiating for over twenty years. With an uncompromising presence, radiant delivery and elocution, she is brilliant at, not just her craft, but also at being truly joyful in the moment. As a seminary trained culturally Jewish Interfaith Officiant, Lorili is comfortable working with many faiths. She’s also a life-long yoga teacher and has a beautiful way of attending to all of life’s sacred moments, whether in a religious context or a secular one.
Reverend Catherine Smith
Reverend Catherine Smith was trained by Rev. Joe Iadanza himself and comes to Church of Ancient Ways with over twenty years of background as both a writer and performer. Her writing is lauded for its open-hearted and celebratory spirit, while her sweetness and attention to detail is a comfort to her couples from their first calls, right through their big day.
Rabbi Mark Getman
While Mark’s roots and congregation are in the Jewish community, his time in Military and current service in the National Guard as a Chaplain gave him the opportunity to serve in an Interfaith capacity. He is well versed in world religions and is happy to serve couples with a secular spirituality. He has a background in theatre, and currently has a recurring role as the Rabbi in the Marvelous Miss Maisel. So his performance skill are first rate.
Reverend Deb Viola
Rev. Deb Viola has been performing ceremonies for almost as long as Pastor April has and she is amazing! Her nature is warm and welcoming, her demeanor soothing; which is reflected in how relaxed her couples are on their wedding day. Whether using sample pieces from our library or writing fully custom and personalized ceremonies, every couple benefits from Deb’s talented, compassionate style.
Rabbi Sara Shonfeld
Rabbi Sara Shonfeld joined Church of Ancient Ways when she saw that the needs of culturally Jewish couples, and those with a religious background but no temple affiliation, were not being met. Sara is seventh generation Israeli who speaks Hebrew perfectly. As a seminary trained interfaith officiant, she can perform ceremonies that honor any religion, represent multiple faiths, or make no mention of religion at all. Most importantly, Rabbi Sara is truly one of the most joyful human beings on the planet and it shows in all of her celebrations.