World’s Largest Gay Church Joins United Church of Christ
Cathedral of Hope celebrates historic moment
Dallas , Texas – October 29, 2006 – The Cathedral of Hope, known as the “world’s largest gay church,” has been accepted into the United Church of Christ (UCC). In a vote taken Saturday, October 28, 2006 by the denomination’s North Texas Association, the church was overwhelmingly accepted as a member church. A special service of installation, at which the church will officially become a member of the denomination, is being planned.
“This is a historic day in the life of the Cathedral of Hope,” said Rev. Dr. Jo Hudson, Senior Pastor and Rector of the Cathedral. “We are blessed to be a full partner in ministry with the North Texas Association and the United Church of Christ. We celebrate that our values of compassion, inclusion, tolerance and hope in service to the world by following Jesus are consistent with those of the United Church of Christ. We are proud to be a part of such a diverse body of churches and people.”
The Cathedral of Hope began this process many years ago when, in 1997, a congregational vote authorized the exploration of denominational affiliation with the United Church of Christ. Over the years, various lay leaders gathered information on the United Church of Christ and completed preliminary evaluations. The question arose again during 2003 when the congregation was determining whether or not to disaffiliate from the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches and a closer look was given to the United Church of Christ. In January 2005, the church’s Board of Directors instructed the Affiliation and Expansion Committee to resume exploration of affiliation in earnest. The Board desired that the affiliation process be brought to a close by either recommending the process end or calling for a congregational vote to affiliate, which took place on October 30, 2005. At that time, the congregation voted overwhelmingly to seek affiliation with the North Texas Association of the United Church of Christ.
The Cathedral of Hope, based in Dallas, Texas, is the world's largest liberal Christian church with a primary outreach to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Local and national church ministries, outreach programs, pastoral counseling, Internet (www.cathedralofhope.com) and television media touch thousands of lives each day.
Cathedral of Hope contact: David Plunkett 214-351-1901 office, 214-280-4725 cell
United Church of Christ contact: Ben Guess 216-736-2177 office
Words of Welcome from the UCC:
I rejoice to share the news that today, The North Texas Association of the South Central Conference, in it's Fall meeting, voted to welcome and receive the Cathedral of Hope into the United Church - of Christ. The Affirmative vote was by a solid majority,
Interim Conference Minister, South Central Conference
United Church of Christ
I received the news of the approval of the Cathedral of Hope to become a congregation of the United Church of Christ. What great news and great joy. I look forward to welcoming the Cathedral of Hope as a UCC congregation once I arrive and begin my duties as Conference Minister. I look forward to working with you and the congregation as we seek to serve God together.
Please share with members of the Cathedral of Hope UCC my enthusiastic joy at the news of your reception as a UCC congregation. I know that the pastoral leadership and members of Cathedral of Hope will be a blessing to our common ministry and to the work of the UCC in Texas and Louisana.
I will pray for your faithful leadership as Pastor of the Cathedral of Hope and pray for the ministry of the Cathedral of Hope. May God continue to bless your life, work and ministry.
Congratulations! Please convey our most sincere welcome to your church. I am certain that you are already deeply engaged in being a multi-cultural, multi-racial congregation fully engaged in justice issues. We don’t have too many of those around so you can just go ahead and become a leader! I will be glad to help in any way I can to sign up every member of the CoH to the Justice and Peace Action Network.
Rev. Mari E. Castellanos, D.Min.
Public Life and Social Policy Office
United Church of Christ
We all read with great interest the news that the Cathedral had been formally accepted into the UCC. I want you to know that we are all happy to hear this good news. May this affiliation bring you further success and good witness.
I was elated to learn late Sunday from the UCC site that the association had granted standing to the Cathedral of Hope. It is such happy news. For your congregation and the UCC this is so important... and too long coming. Thank you for your patience. Peace to you and all congratulations!
Minister for Public Education and Witness
United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries
I just learned via the UCC website that COH was accepted into the denomination as UCC's newest member church. Congratulations on what I hope was the smoothest affiliation process ever, and I hope all is well with you and yours.
I recently read Bill Royster's news of your acceptance into the North Texas Association--at long last! Praise God from whom all blessings flow! That is the most wonderful news. Every ONA congregation in the UCC has to be overjoyed. Thanks to you and yours for hanging in there in this difficult, important struggle! Once again, every good wish and much joy!
Love and blessings,
As a member of First Congregational Church (UCC), Phoenix, AZ, I have closely followed Cathedral of Hope's efforts to unite with UCC. Just wanted to say congratulations!
Just read about the news of the vote to welcome Cathedral of Hope into the UCC. Congratulations! We celebrate this with you and wish you continued blessings in the life and ministry of your congregation. We have no doubt your presence within the UCC will be a gift to the denomination.
Susan and Julie
It is a joy to welcome Cathedral of Hope into the United Church of Christ! I am thrilled that "God is still speaking," and to know you're part of God's voice. I am pastor of a small, vibrant "Open and Affirming" congregation, First Congregational UCC, in rural Wisconsin north of Madison. I must admit to peeking in on CoH frequently for inspiration in my own ministry and the work of our church! You are a blessing to all of us in the United Church of Christ. My congregation and I are celebrating CoHUCC and looking forward to many years of shared ministry with you!
In Christ's Service,
Rev. Douglas Fauth
Pastor and Teacher
Members & Friends of First Congregational UCC
Peaceful greetings to you on this All Saints Day! Although not surprised, I was thrilled to read of your church's acceptance into the UCC. Especially with all the negativity surrounding the churches that have left the UCC, often supposedly due to the actions of last year's General Synod, how much more important it is boldly and joyously to celebrate the addition to our family of faith of lively, spirit-filled churches like the Cathedral of Hope.
So, WELCOME, sisters and brothers, and thank you for choosing not only to trust the extravagant welcome banner we so love to tout, but also to bless us with your wisdom and experience about what it means to be the church in times like these. It is an honor and a privilege to serve on the JWM Board with you Jo, and I am so grateful to you and all the members of the Cathedral of Hope for infusing your hope and life and love into the "cathedral" of this denomination in ways that help all of us not only imagine, but even believe, that another world is indeed possible!!
With great admiration and deep gratitude,
John M. Gregory-Davis
Greetings from Northern California! As a native of Texas (and Dallas) I welcome all of you to the United Church of Christ. I am delighted that you have chosen to connect with our denomination and I know that we will be stronger as a result of our alliance. I welcome you and delight in our call to serve an inclusive and progressive Christian church.
Rev. Dr. Laura Barnes
Danville Congregational Church
United Church of Christ
Congratulations on guiding the Cathedral of Hope into full standing as a congregation in the UCC. I know that there is not much of a connection between the Cathedral of Hope and Slumber Falls Camp, but I am certainly hoping that we can develop a strong one as we move into the future. Anyway, I just wanted to extend my personal note of congratulations and I look forward to sharing our Outdoor Ministry Program with the folks at the Cathedral of Hope.
Rev. Charles L Stark
Administrator, SlumberFalls Camp and RetreatCenter
New Braunfels, TX
I saw the announcement on your webcast and you were very positive. I hope that the experience on Saturday was as positive for you and CoH members. Congratulations!
Rev. Ed Middleton
First Community UCC
I just read the good news today on the National UCC website of your being officially accepted into the UCC. I want to welcome you and look forward to the continued sharing of the many gifts you bring to us. May we be able to bless you as well! SHALOM.
Conference Minister of Montana-Northern Wyoming Conference, UCC
Chair of the Council of Conference Ministers
Congratulations and welcome to the fellowship of the United Church of Christ. My husband and I are former members of the North Texas Association and have been following the news of your church and your application and acceptance into the UCC with great joy. We now live in Minnesota and I am the Minnesota Conference representative to the United Church of Christ Executive Council. We are honored that your discernment process brought you to the UCC, and look forward to being in ministry with you.
Just heard UCC admitted the Cathedral of Hope to the denomination! God’s speed as you push open doors too long closed. Hope all is well with you and yours. Take care, Pax.
Marcia L. Sadberry
Hallelujah! I read about your Church's joining the United Church of Christ. Welcome, welcome, welcome! I also heard "through the grape vine" about you at the Prayer Chapel that is held every evening on i.ucc on computer. I don't know if any of you folks know about the 9pm interactive service on i.ucc - but it is a way to worship the Lord and meet other UCC people and friends from around the world. And yes, that is a commercial there!
My partner and I attend Malden Road UCC in Mattydale,NY. We have 45 members, so we have some work to do to catch up to you at the Cathedral! I am a student at the New York School of Ministry (NYSOM) which is a non-seminary UCC ministerial training program. It is for women and men who are unable to attend traditional seminary, but are called to ministry. If any of you are interested in such a program, feel free to email me.
I cannot tell you how tickled this Gay ol' Yankee's heart is that you have joined UCC. May God bless the work of your Congregation, and the love of Christ Jesus abide in your hearts always!
Love, Joy, Peace, Laughter,
I read that the Cathedral of Hope is now officially a part of the United Church of Christ. Welcome! Please relate to your members that I'm really elated to know you all have joined the denomination! Have a wonderful, wonderful Christmas!
Susan Smith, Columbus , Ohio
I just wanted to add mine to the chorus of voices welcoming your congregation to the UCC--from one relative newcomer to others. My partner, Sam, and I joined the First Congregational Church of Fort Worth/UCC last year, after searching for a church home more welcoming than the local Episcopal (the domination in which I was raised) or Baptist churches (my partner's background). It was partly due to press coverage of the Cathedral of Hope's interest in affiliating with the UCC that it occurred to us to visit our local UCC congregation, in which we and our daughters were warmly welcomed, and in which we celebrated the sacrament of marriage this past summer. We are grateful for your shared ministry, and look forward to worshiping with you in the near future. So again, welcome!
Marvin Vann, Fort Worth, TX