Largest Historically LGBTQ Church in the World Calls Prominent MCC Los Angeles Pastor
The long-awaited announcement of a new senior pastor for an historic mega-church in Dallas, Texas, came on April 12, 2015, after morning church services. Members of the Cathedral of Hope, which has a primary ministry with the LGBTQ community, celebrated after a year-long search culminating in the election of the Rev. Dr. Neil G. Cazares-Thomas, who will begin serving as senior pastor on May 24.
“We congratulate both Cathedral of Hope and the Rev. Dr. Neil Cazares-Thomas,” said the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, moderator of the global Metropolitan Community Churches. “Cathedral of Hope has long been a church where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people could worship God freely. Today, Dallas families worship together at the Cathedral in glorious diversity. Dr. Cazares-Thomas, a member of MCC since he was fifteen, will continue to hold MCC credentials and to provide leadership in MCC as he becomes senior pastor of the Cathedral of Hope. We know it will be a blessing to the whole congregation and the community.”
“I am grateful for the ministry opportunities that I have had in my 25 years of active service in Metropolitan Community Churches — first in Bournemouth, England, and for the past 13 years at Founders MCC Los Angeles,” said Rev. Dr. Cazares-Thomas. “Now I have the gift of being called to serve as the new senior pastor of the Cathedral of Hope, a United Church of Christ congregation. Together, we will embody the partnership between MCC and UCC as we make real God’s love for all people. I will be forever grateful to the people of Founders MCC Los Angeles, who for the past thirteen years have taught me, nurtured me and allowed me to be their Pastor. The future of congregations who welcome everyone is bright.”
Dr. Cazares-Thomas has served MCC as Chair, Board of Ordained Ministries (European District), as a member of the Elder’s Task Force on Education, European District Committee, and board member of Samaritan College in Europe; he was a supervising pastor, and the MCC Ecumenical Officer. More recently, he served on the Moderator’s Advising Team and consultant to the MCC Office of Formation and Leadership Development. In 2010, he was honored by the Metropolitan Community Churches with the 2010 Ecumenical Award.
Dr. Cazares-Thomas recently served as the President of California Faith for Equality and as an adjunct professor at Claremont School of Theology. Until June 2010, he was president of the Los Angeles LGBTQI Clergy Council, and that same year, he was awarded the Harvey Milk Award by Christopher Street West.
Rev. Dr. Cazares-Thomas is married to Isaiah Thomas-Cazares, and they have an infant daughter, Sofia, 8 months old.
Founded in 1968, Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) has been at the vanguard of civil and human rights movements by addressing issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, economics, climate change, aging, and global human rights. MCC was the first to perform same-gender marriages and has been on the forefront of the struggle towards marriage equality in the U.S. and other countries worldwide.