The Rev. Dr. Neil G. Cazares-Thomas is currently the Senior Pastor of Cathedral of Hope of Dallas, called and elected by the 4,500-member congregation on April 12, 2015, following a year-long search. He began his tenure on June 3, 2015.
Dr. Cazares-Thomas served as the Senior Pastor of Metropolitan Community Church, Bournemouth following his ordination, serving in this capacity for 12 years. He was instrumental in founding churches in Southampton, Brighton, Dorchester, and Torquay, (England). In 2002, he answered a call to ministry in Los Angeles where he served as Senior Pastor of MCC Los Angeles, the founding church of the Metropolitan Community Churches. Well-known for his social activism he has been instrumental in feeding programs for the homeless, night and day shelters, safer sex initiatives, establishing relations with police and LGBTQ communities, Over the Rainbow, (a drop in center offering counseling, support and information), LGBTQ youth services, as well as challenging laws that continue discrimination and intolerance. He also served as chaplain to the Sanctuary (an HIV/AIDS hospice), five drug and alcohol rehab houses, Women’s Refuge and the Mayor of Bournemouth. He also served as Chair of Relate (Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch)--a relationship counseling organization.
In 1998, Thomas was honored by an invitation from HRH Queen Elizabeth II to attend a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in recognition of his work in the Bournemouth community. He is a contributing author of Daring to Speak Love’s Name and From Queer to Eternity. He has also been featured in a number of journals relating to queer theology and ministry to the LGBTQ community.
Prior to his arrival in Dallas, Texas, Dr. Cazares-Thomas served for 13 years as the Senior Pastor of the Founders Metropolitan Community Church, Los Angeles, the founding church of Metropolitan Community Churches, an international movement of churches reaching in and beyond the gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning, and inter-sex community.
A member of Metropolitan Community Churches since 1981, having joined the church on his fifteenth birthday, Rev. Neil has served in numerous denominational positions including Chair, Board of Ordained Ministries (European District); Member, Elder’s Task Force on Education; Member, European District Committee; Member, Board of Samaritan College in Europe; Supervising Pastor, and Ecumenical Officer. More recently he has served on the Moderator’s Advising Team and consultant to the Office of Formation and Leadership Development.
As a native of Bournemouth, England, Dr. Cazares-Thomas was born into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. His family left the Mormon Church in his early years. He attended St John’s Theological College (Church of England), La Saint Union (Roman Catholic) and King Alfred’s College, and graduated with a BA (M. Div [USA equiv]). In 2002, he enrolled in the Doctoral program at San Francisco Theological College (Presbyterian) He graduated with his Doctor of Ministry in October 2009.
Dr. Cazares-Thomas holds credentials in both the United Church of Christ and Metropolitan Community Churches.
Dr. Cazares-Thomas is a contributing author of Daring to Speak Love’s Name (Penguin Books, 1993), From Queer to Eternity (Cassell, 1997), The Queer Bible Commentary (SCM Press, 2006) and is currently writing a chapter for a new book entitled, Jesus Acted Up: Then and Now. He has also been featured in a number of journals relating to queer theology and ministry to the LGBTQ community.
Dr. Cazares-Thomas served as president of California Faith for Equality, an interfaith coalition that built a strong voice in bringing about Marriage Equality in California; president of the Los Angeles LGBTQI Clergy Council; and served Metropolitan Community Churches on the California Council of Churches.
Dr. Cazares-Thomas is married to Isaiah Thomas-Cazares and they have a daughter.
(This biographical statement provided by Neil Cazares-Thomas.)