Cathedral of Hope will celebrate its 37th anniversary on Sunday, July 29, during its 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. services.
The church began its existence in 1970 as Dallas Metropolitan Community Church, a member of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, a denomination consisting primarily of LGBT-focused churches. Dallas MCC grew to be the largest primarily gay and lesbian church in the world under the leadership of the Rev. Michael Piazza, who was named senior pastor in 1987.
The church changed its name to Cathedral of Hope in late 1990, and the congregation voted to leave the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in July, 2003. The Cathedral was accepted into the United Church of Christ denomination last year, about a year after former UCC minister the Rev. Dr. Jo Hudson was named senior pastor in 2005. That same year, Piazza retired as senior pastor and established Hope for Peace and Justice Foundation under the auspices of the cathedral.
The church held its earliest meetings in a private home and moved into its first sanctuary, at 3834 Ross Ave., in 1972. The growing church bought the building at 2701 Reagan St. in 1976, staying there until 1990, when the church sold that building to the Resource Center of Dallas and moved into temporary quarters on Maple Avenue while its new sanctuary, at 5910 Cedar Springs Road, was being completed.
The congregation held its first worship service in its new home in December, 1992, but as the congregation continued to grow, church officials in 1995 commissioned world-renowned architect Philip Johnson to design a new sanctuary and church campus for the same location. The John Thomas Bell Wall, an AIDS memorial, was dedicated in July of 2000, and the new Congregational Life Center was completed two years later in July of 2002.
In February of 2005, the cathedral kicked off a capital campaign to build an Interfaith Peace Chapel, the next phase of the Philip Johnson-designed campus.
Hudson, rector and senior pastor of the Cathedral, will deliver the Sunday morning sermon on the topic “Counting on a Miracle.” Dallas actress and cabaret chanteuse Denise Lee will perform with the Sanctuary Choir and Orchestra as special guest vocalist. Lee will sing two songs, Marvin Hamlisch’s “Ordinary Miracles,” made famous by Barbra Streisand, and the gospel song “You Deserve the Glory.”
The anniversary celebration, which began in earnest with the presentation of the church’s “Hero of Hope” award on Sunday, July 22 to the Children’s Defense Fund, also will mark the culmination of a yearlong “Miracle Project.” Accepting the challenge that Hudson made one year ago, the congregation will give a “Miracle Offering” intended to make possible the building of the Interfaith Peace Chapel. The total amount of that offering will be announced on “Celebration Sunday,” Aug. 12, at both morning services.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 27, 2007