Wednesday, March 21, 2007

"God has a tremendously great sense of humour"

Texas is home to the "world's biggest gay church."
They say everything is bigger in Texas.

But the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas makes one Texas-sized claim that few would expect in the conservative Bible Belt state -- it says it is the world's biggest gay church.

"I think this shows that God has a tremendously great sense of humour," said senior pastor and rector Jo Hudson.

On a more serious note, she says the church, affiliated with the United Church of Christ, is a spiritual refuge for gay people of faith in a region associated with more conservative brands of Christianity.


Hudson estimates that over 90 percent of the Cathedral's 3,500 members are gay, lesbian or transgender.

Founded in 1970 by a dozen gays and lesbians who gathered in a home and decided they wanted a safe and tolerant place to worship, it has grown into a large and affluent institution centred on a cavernous church that can seat up to 900.

Last year it became part of the United Church of Christ, which claims 1.3 million members in 5,725 U.S. congregations and traditions of diversity and pioneering action on social justice.


Members of the congregation said that while the church was a place of spiritual comfort for gays, its focus was on ministering to the wider community, especially the poor.

"We don't talk much about gay stuff here," said Coy James, who has been attending the church for almost 30 years.

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