Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Her Faith in Texas: It's Difficult to Be a Liberal Gay Church in Dallas, Says Cathedral of Hope Pastor Jo Hudson, but She's Happy to Take on the Challenge

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Her Faith in Texas: It's Difficult to Be a Liberal Gay Church in Dallas, Says Cathedral of Hope Pastor Jo Hudson, but She's Happy to Take on the Challenge

Article excerpt

Lesbian pastor Jo Hudson was "awed" to be selected as leader of the nation's largest and most prominent gay church. On March 20 she became the first female pastor in the 35-year history of the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, which is now the largest church in Texas with a female leader.

Hudson, who came to the cathedral from the United Church of Christ, succeeded the church's longtime pastor Michael Piazza, who resigned in 2003 amid a high-profile split from the predominantly gay Metropolitan Community Churches. Claiming some 3,500 local members, plus an additional 10,000 who tune in to the church's weekly online ministry, the Cathedral of Hope has ambitious plans to build a huge new Philip Johnson-designed cathedral and to expand its reach into the conservative community surrounding it.

Hudson, who is single and has no children, recently spoke to The Advocate about her new job.

Congratulations.

Thank you. It's wonderful to be in a city with so many people of liberal Christian thought and GLBT people of faith together in this congregation.

I'm surprised you're the first female pastor of the Cathedral of Hope.

The church has only had three or four pastors in its history, and Michael Piazza was pastor for 17 years, so it's not so unusual.

How does being a lesbian inform your role as pastor?

I was closeted for quite a while. When you come out and have to let go of all the dreams you may have had for yourself, you understand what it is to be alone and afraid. That experience helped me be more compassionate, more aware. It informs how I read scripture and how I understand God.

How do you deal with the conservative evangelicals in Texas?

It's not easy to proclaim yourself a liberal Christian church in any part of the country right now, but especially in this part of the country. We focus on our faith. They say you cannot be gay and Christian, and we show that you can. …

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