Reverend Samantha Gonzalez-Block is thrilled to be a part of this vibrant IFFP community! Samantha grew up in a multicultural, multilingual, Jewish-Christian home in Montclair, New Jersey. Her interfaith upbringing helped to ignite her desire to wrestle with deep spiritual questions and to walk alongside interfaith families. These passions led her to major in religion at Barnard College (with a minor in education) and to focus on interfaith engagement while pursuing her Masters of Divinity at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. It also inspired her work in religion, advocacy and education in the United States and abroad. Along with her rich church-work experience, some of her other roles have included serving as a middle school teacher in New York City, an academic advisor at New York University, an advocate for women’s rights in Chile and at the United Nations, and a guest lecturer about interfaith identity on the college level.
An ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA), with specialized training in interim ministry, Samantha comes to IFFP after serving as Associate Pastor for six years at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Asheville, North Carolina. Samantha delights in the many hats she wears as a pastor, such as: presiding over meaningful life-cycle events and gatherings, preaching and teaching, facilitating innovative retreats and groups, collaborating with community leaders and interfaith ministry partners, and accompanying people through life’s most vulnerable moments. She seeks to be a compassionate listener, conversation partner and cheerleader to interfaith individuals, couples and families as they discern momentous decisions and navigate spirituality in today’s world.
Rev. Sam loves bringing people of all ages and backgrounds together through salsa dance and storytelling. She also enjoys performing slam-poetry, and is part of an all-clergy improv group. Samantha appreciates exploring new outdoor places and museums, playing music and board games, and spending quality time with her husband, Matt and their infant son, Javier.
Samantha is published in Journal for Preachers, Uncommon Bonds: Women Reflect on Race and Friendship and The Porch Magazine. She is the recipient of the Auburn Seminary Maxwell Fellowship for promise of excellence in parish ministry.