Reverend Soni Cantrell-Smith is the founding Minister of Ahava Center for Spiritual Living, in Lexington, Kentucky. She graduated from Holmes Institute in 2006 with a master’s degree in Consciousness Studies and she was ordained in 2011. Formerly the Music Director and the Director of Pastoral Care and Outreach, at Namasté Center for Spiritual Living, Rev. Soni is steeped in the principles of Science of Mind and considers herself a lifelong student of the philosophy.
Rev. Soni began her Religious Science studies in 1992 at the Huntington Beach Church of Religious Science, under the leadership of Rev. Mary Murry Shelton. From the moment she walked through the doors of the Huntington Beach church, Soni knew she was home. She soon began taking classes and she was licensed as a Practitioner in 1999. She helped Rev. Kristin Hawkins with the start-up of Namaste Center for Spiritual Living in Long Beach where, in addition to serving as Music and Pastoral Care Director, she served as assistant minister for three years before moving to Kentucky to start her own center. When Soni received the call to ministry, she attended Holmes Institute at Agape International Spiritual Center under the direction of Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith. She graduated, and was licensed in 2006.
Meet Rev. Soni Cantrell-Smith
It was Rev. Soni’s dream to return to her roots and open a spiritual center in Kentucky. With the help of a core group of people in California and Kentucky who held the vision with her, Rev. Soni moved to Kentucky in June, 2009 and the doors to Ahava opened in July 2009. Ahava is a thriving, vibrant, expanding spiritual community.
In addition to serving her Ahava community, Rev. Soni believes it is important to take the tenets of Religious Science and New Thought into the world. Rev. Soni teaches spirituality classes at the Hope Center for Women, an intensive residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation program for women re-entering society after being released from incarceration. She is a co-founder of the Rainbow Bluegrass Faith Communities, a coalition of faith leaders dedicated to making their faith communities open and affirming to all.
Music has always been an important part of Rev. Soni’s life and she has been fortunate to be able to marry her love of music with her passion for new thought. She is proud of Last Call, a musical written by Rev. Soni, John Kito and Margo Buchanan, which was successfully performed (under the name The Enlightenment) in Long Beach, Seal Beach and Monterey California, Denver, and Lexington. Last Call takes place at a twelve-step meeting. Through the lens of Science of Mind Philosophy, Last Call offers hope for those who still suffer with addiction.
Rev. Soni is proud to call Kentucky home.