Cathedral of Hope (Dallas)

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The Cathedral of Hope (CoH), a member congregation of the United Church of Christ, is an historically and predominantly LGBT congregation located in the Oak Lawn area of Dallas, Texas (United States). The Dallas Cathedral of Hope is said to be the world's largest inclusive "liberal Christian church with a primary outreach to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons",[1] with a membership of over 4,000 local members.

The Postmodern cathedral was designed by Philip Cortelyou Johnson and was built after five times revision from the first design by the architect at the request of Reverend Michael Piazza. Donald Bruce Kaufman was consulted for the painting of the exterior. The building is ten story high and complimented with a 78-foot bell tower commemoration of HIV/Aids victims. The physical building is symbolic to the liberal Christian faith that hosts and is found in a considerably conservative area. The main building was completed in 2002, at a construction cost of approximately 20 million USD, and can accommodate up to 2,200 worshippers at once.[2] Rev. Piazza was the senior pastor for nearly twenty years between the late 1980s and 1990s. He oversaw the largest growth in the church's history, from 250 members to more than 3,000, while ministering through the AIDS crisis.

Other campuses are located in Houston, Mid-Cities, and Oklahoma City. Its national outreach program reaches a further online audience nationwide. The Cathedral of Hope joined the United Church of Christ in February 2007, having previously been the flagship congregation of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches.[3] In November 2009, construction was commenced on the Cathedral of Hope's Interfaith Peace Chapel,[4] designed by the prominent architect Philip Johnson (Alan Ritchie Architects). Dedication of the building was on November 7, 2010.[5] Reverend Neil Cazares-Thomas has been the cathedral's senior pastor since May 2015.


On July 30, 1970, a group of twelve people gathered at a home at 4612 Victor Street in Dallas to discuss establishing a Metropolitan Community Church congregation. In May 1971, the Rev. Richard Vincent was elected as the first pastor of MCC-Dallas. The group worshiped in homes for the first year and a half, using a coffee table as an altar.

In 1972, MCC-Dallas moved into its first church home at 3834 Ross Avenue. The building had been originally built as a small private hospital in the 1920s. In 1974, the Rev. James Harris was elected as the church’s second pastor. On October 4, 1976, MCC-Dallas purchased a former Church of Christ building at 2701 Regan, Dallas.

In November 1977, the Rev. Don Eastman was elected as the church’s third pastor. At this time, the membership had grown to almost 400. The Rev. Michael Piazza was elected senior pastor in November 1987 bringing in new members attracted by Piazza's preaching.[6] Membership grew to 600.

In late 1990, MCC-Dallas became the Cathedral of Hope MCC to reflect a new broader mission to reach out LGBT people everywhere with a message of hope. The church began its "Pink-Period" quest to build a larger church to accommodate a growing congregation. This new home was completed in 1992. That same year, the Christmas Eve service was broadcast on CNN. The congregation now approached 1,000 members. During 1993 the cathedral grows by a record 300 members.

The Cathedral of Hope in 1995 commissioned the prominent architect Philip Johnson to design a new cathedral campus.

Membership grew to over 2,300 by 1998 and the cathedral served a rapidly growing congregation of more than 3,000. In 1999, CoH-TV begins hosting live Internet worship services via the cathedral’s website.

In 2000, the Cathedral of Hope began the "Century of Compassion" by donating more than one million dollars in direct assistance and volunteer community support annually. On July 30, 2000, the John Thomas Bell Wall, a National AIDS Memorial, was dedicated. The church saw more than 1,500 AIDS funerals and memorial services.[7]

On August 6, 2000, nearly 100 people attended the inaugural worship service at the Cathedral of Hope – Oklahoma City.

On July 28, 2002, the newly completed 22,000-square-foot (2,000 m2) Congregational Life Center was dedicated. It featured new classrooms for children and youth, renovated office space for the Hope Counseling Center and expanded office space for cathedral staff. The close of 2002 saw a local and national membership of nearly 4,000.

In 2003, a group calling themselves the Cathedral of Hope Reform was formed, led by church member Terri Frey. In April 2003, Frey filed a complaint with MCC that prompted the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches to open an investigation against Michael Piazza. In July 2003, believing the investigators had overstepped their bounds, the church's board called for a vote to disaffiliate from the denomination, which passed with 88 percent support,[8] effectively ending the UFMCC investigation.[9] Piazza took a three-month sabbatical after the vote. Half of those who voted to remain affiliated with the MCC denomination formed their own church known as MCC of Greater Dallas with pastor, the Reverend Cindi Love.

On February 6, 2005, the Rev. Jo Hudson was elected as senior pastor of the Cathedral of Hope. The Rev. Michael Piazza became dean of the cathedral. In 2005, the church celebrated 35 years of ministry and activism. It launched a capital campaign to build the next phase of Philip Johnson’s campus design, an interfaith peace chapel. The church launched a new non-profit organization, Hope for Peace & Justice, with the Rev. Michael Piazza as president.

In October, 2006, the Cathedral of Hope was granted standing by the North Texas Association of the United Church of Christ (UCC) as a member congregation, becoming the fourth largest congregation in the denomination.

The Cathedral of Hope's Interfaith Peace Chapel began construction in 2009 and was completed in November 2010.

In July, 2010 the Cathedral of Hope's 4000 members celebrated its 40th anniversary.[10]

The Rev. Jo Hudson resigned to pursue other ministry opportunities on May 19, 2013.[11] The Rev. Jim Mitulski became the interim senior pastor on August 1.[12]

After a year long search process, the Rev. Neil G. Cazares-Thomas became the new pastor on May 24, 2015,[13] after active service in the Metropolitan Community Church of Bournemouth, England, and Founders MCC, Los Angeles.

In July 2015, the Cathedral of Hope celebrated its 45th anniversary.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ideas & Trends; Bias Against Gay People: Hatred of a Special Kind", October 30, 1994, pg. 16. ISSN 0362-4331. ProQuest document ID: 116533500. (1400 member in 1994)
  2. ^ Caniglia, Julie (December 1999). "Cathedral of Hope". Out. Here Publishing: 46. ISSN 1062-7928. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Dallas Chapel Brings to Life Johnson's Final Design". Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Dallas News
  8. ^
  9. ^ Caldwell, John (2003-09-30). "When the rainbow isn't enuf: a disagreement over its gay focus splits the world's largest GLBT denomination from its biggest church". The Advocate. Liberation Publications, Inc. Retrieved 2010-08-20. 
  10. ^ Dallas News
  11. ^ "Cathedral of Hope in Dallas rocked by loss of senior pastor, other key staffers". Dallas Morning News. 3 May 2013. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  12. ^ "Women's People Helping People Project". Archived from the original on 2016-01-18. Retrieved 2013-10-16. 
  13. ^

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Coordinates: 32°49′42″N 96°49′59″W / 32.828466°N 96.833056°W / 32.828466; -96.833056