Rev. Dr. Neil G. Thomas, born April 16, 1966, is the senior pastor of the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, Texas, the world’s largest progressive Christian church with a primary outreach to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. He is known as a prominent social leader and commentator on the intersections of faith with color, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation. He is a former senior pastor of the Founders Metropolitan Community Church in Los Angeles, California.
Thomas and Cathedral of Hope were featured on W. Kamau Bell’s United Shades of America on CNN in 2019. He has also presided over several high-profile funerals and weddings, such as the memorial service for Muhlaysia Booker and the wedding ceremony for stars of Real Housewives of Dallas. He is a regular contributor to The Dallas Morning News Viewpoints page.
Thomas is known for his social activism, having been instrumental in developing feeding programs for the homeless, night and day shelters, safe sex initiatives, establishing relations with police, challenging discriminatory laws and providing LGBTQ youth services, including his "Over the Rainbow" initiative, a drop-in center founded during the AIDS pandemic offering counseling, support and information. He has served as chaplain to the Mayor of Bournemouth, the Sanctuary (an HIV/AIDS hospice), a women’s refuge and five drug and alcohol rehab houses. He is a past president of California Faith for Equality and the Los Angeles LGBTQI Clergy Council. He is active in the Interfaith Council of Dallas.
A native of Bournemouth, England, Thomas was born into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but his family left the church in his early years after his mother was denied permission by the church’s bishop to marry a man outside the faith. On his fifteenth birthday, he joined the Metropolitan Community Churches, an international movement of churches primarily reaching out to the LGBTQ community. He attended St John’s Theological College, La Saint Union and King Alfred’s College and graduated with a BA.
Following ordination, Thomas served as the senior pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church in Bournemouth for 12 years, helping found churches in Southampton, Brighton, Dorchester, and Torquay during that time. In 2002, he moved to Los Angeles to serve as senior pastor of Founders Metropolitan Community Church. In California, he fought for the repeal of Proposition 8 and presided over 100 same-sex marriages. He graduated with a Doctor of Ministry degree from the San Francisco Theological Seminary in 2009 and was later appointed an adjunct professor at the Claremont School of Theology. On April 12, 2015, Thomas was elected senior pastor by the 4,500-member congregation of the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, Texas.
In 1998, Thomas was invited by Queen Elizabeth II to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in recognition of his work in the Bournemouth community. In June 2010, he was presented with the Harvey Milk Award and was honored by his denomination with the Ecumenical Award in July of that year. In Dallas, he is recipient of the 2017 Legacy Community Advocate, Legacy Counseling Center; 2017 The Shalom Award, Temple Shalom Brotherhood; 2018 Grand Marshall, The Alan Ross Dallas Pride; and the 2018 Justice Seeker of the Year, The Dallas Peace and Justice Center, to name a few honors.
Thomas is a contributing author of Daring to Speak Love’s Name (Penguin Books, 1993), From Queer to Eternity (Cassell, 1997), and The Queer Bible Commentary (SCM Press, 2006). He is contributing a chapter for a book entitled Jesus Acted Up: Then and Now. He has been featured in a number of journals relating to queer theology and ministry to the LGBTQ community.
(This biographical statement provided by Neil Cazares-Thomas.)
Biography Date: April, 2007; rev June 2021
MCC | Clergy Activist | Latinx | EXHIBIT Rolling the Stone Away | United Kingdom | Dallas | Texas | Author/editor
“Rev. Dr. Neil G. Thomas | Profile”, LGBTQ Religious Archives Network, accessed January 18, 2022, https://lgbtqreligiousarchives.org/profiles/neil-g-thomas.