Our Pastors and Staff
The Reverend Dr. Neil G. Cazares-Thomas is 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.
In 2015 he has been granted Privilege of Call in the United Church of Christ.
Prior to his arrival at Cathedral of Hope, Dr. Cazares-Thomas served as Senior Pastor of two Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC); MCC Bournemouth, England (1989-2002) and Founders Metropolitan Community Church, Los Angeles (2002-2015), 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, 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. 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.
Dr. Cazares-Thomas is a sought-after speaker and contributor to local, national and international conversations around the intersectionality of faith, color, gender, gender-identity and sexual orientation.
EDUCATION: 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.]). San Francisco Theological College (Presbyterian) Doctor of Ministry (D. Min) October 2009.
PUBLISHED: 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). Our Witness: The Unheard Stories of LGT+ Christians (Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd., UK and Cascade Books, USA, 2017). He has also been featured in several journals relating to queer theology and ministry to the LGBTQ community.
Dr. Cazares-Thomas is married to Isaiah Thomas-Cazares and they have a daughter.
AWARDS AND RECOGNITION:
- 1981 Abbey Life Essay Writing Competition (CSE Category) Third Place
- 1991 Founder’s Award, UFMCC
- 1998 HRH Queen Elizabeth II, Garden Party
- 2002 Servant Leader Award, European District, UFMCC
- 2005 Aid for AIDS
- 2005 Creative Business Award in Civic/Community Service, California State Assembly
- 2005 Creative Business Award in Civic/Community Service, City of West Hollywood
- 2010 “Gay Heroes”, City of West Hollywood
- 2010 Harvey Milk Award, Christopher Street West, LA Pride
- 2011 Embracing Diversity of GLBTQ Youth, Penny Lane Centers
- 2012 Rev John Jose Award, UFMCC
- 2012 Leadership Award, California Faith for Equality
- 2016 Crystal Hope Award, AIN (AIDS Interfaith Network)
- 2017 Partners for Equality Award, Lambda Legal
- 2017 Diversity and Inclusion, AT&T League
- 2017 Legacy Community Advocate, Legacy Counseling Center
- 2017 The Shalom Award, Temple Shalom Brotherhood
- 2018 Grand Marshall, The Alan Ross Dallas Pride
- 2018 Justice Seeker of the Year, The Dallas Peace and Justice Center
Erin is a Southern California native. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Literature from U.C. Santa Cruz, she worked at a variety of jobs that included public school teaching, larger church ministry and non-profit work.
Her church adventures included growing up in a small Episcopal Church, spending her teenage years in a mid-range sized Presbyterian Church, being in volunteer leadership with InterVarsity during her college years, and finally working at a very large Congregational Church in Pasadena. She lived overseas for a year in England to study the Bible in her late 20s, which led to not only an increased love of the Bible but also a love of adventure and travel, which she still has to this day.
In college she was introduced to cross-cultural & inner-city outreach which culminated in spending a summer in Cambodia teaching ESL and working with local organizations on health issues and human trafficking in 2008. She has been a guest podcaster on Homebrewed Christianity, led AIDS outreach ministry workshops, been a part of a creative Downtown Los Angeles church plant, co-led various youth camps in the Southern California Nevada Conference of the UCC, and been a keynote speaker for the South Bay Interfaith Thanksgiving Service.
In February 2009, she accepted her first call and became the full-time Associate minister at Manhattan Beach Community Church. As Minister to Youth and Families for seven years, Erin cared for the spiritual journeys of our young families, teens and children by coordinating a variety of ministry programs that challenged and enriched the life of this vibrant congregation.
In 2006 she received her Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. She was ordained into the United Church of Christ in January 2011.
Rev. Dr. Michael Diaz is a Texas faith leader, passionate about recognizing the sacred value and inherent dignity of every individual, especially the most marginalized in society. Although ordained in Metropolitan Community Churches since 2008, he initially shied away from congregational ministry, viewing the church as an ineffective agent for societal change. After working with immigrant communities in graduate school, he began to experience just how empowering faith traditions can be on a personal and societal level. Journeying with immigrants, refugees, and queer communities awakened him to a deeper spirituality, evidenced by divine love and radical inclusion.
Rev. Diaz has served congregations in Massachusetts, Florida, and Texas, most recently serving as the Director of Connections at Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church in Houston. At Resurrection MCC, he led the planning and implementation of visitor integration and engagement strategies for a dynamic community, specifically in first impressions, volunteer development, congregational care/counseling, and leadership development areas.
Previously, he served as the Director of Religious Education and Volunteer Ministries at the Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale, FL, a Metropolitan Community Church affiliated with the Center for Progressive Christianity. At the Cathedral from 2007-2010, he uncovered a newfound love for connecting congregants to volunteer service opportunities and oversaw the transition of the Cathedral’s religious education arm from Light University to The Samaritan Institute at Sunshine Cathedral.
Rev. Diaz also worked as a labor and interfaith community organizer in Boston, MA, guest lectured at local universities on sexual ethics and queer Latin@ theologies, co-coordinated and spoke at the International New Thought Alliance’s 95th World Congress, presented at the 2011 Victory Fund Gay And Lesbian Leadership Conference and the 2014 NGLTF Creating Change Conference. He also participated in the 2010 Walk for Tolerance, the first ever public-wide HIV/AIDS March in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Rev. Diaz was honored to be named the 2016 Jennifer Justice and Carlos Chavez Young Adult Award recipient in UFMCC. He is a two-time recipient of the Faith Leader of the Year FACE Award in Houston, and holds an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from The Samaritan Institute at Sunshine Cathedral. In Boston, he garnered awards recognizing his excellence in biblical exegesis and for his commitment to peace and justice work.
Rev. Diaz holds a bachelor’s degree from Oral Roberts University and a master’s degree from Episcopal Divinity School (EDS). He earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from EDS in 2012, focusing his research on developing biblical reading strategies for queer Latin@s. He most recently earned an MBA from Hult International Business School in Boston where he learned how to incorporate sustainable solutions for maximum social impact.
Currently, Rev. Diaz serves on the Board of Directors for AIDS Foundation Houston and as an advisor for the Organización Latina De Trans en Texas, the first trans Latinx rights group in the state. In November 2016, Rev. Diaz joins the leadership team of the Cathedral of Hope, a Dallas congregation of the United Church of Christ, as Associate Pastor.
Rev. Andria Davis moved to Dallas from Phoenix, Arizona where she most recently served as Acting Senior Minister at Church of the Beatitudes, UCC. Rev. Andria comes to CoH with an Master of Divinity degree and a certificate in LGBTQ Studies and Theology from Chicago Theological Seminary. She is a graduate of Smith College (Northampton, MA).
Deeply committed to the local church, Rev. Andria applied for and was accepted to the UCC’s Next Generation Leadership Initiative, a selective 10 year fellowship for clergy in their 20s and 30s who seek to be innovative and transformational leaders for the church of the future.
Called to work for justice, Rev. Andria has served on the boards and committees of numerous organizations, including Rebel & Divine UCC, a church in the Phoenix area serving primarily homeless LGBTQ youth and young adults.
Rev. Andria brings to CoH her passion and love for creating spaces where all people feel welcome, safe and excited to grow in their faith.
During her free time, you might find Rev. Andria enjoying a craft beer at a local brewery or at the ball park enjoying a game!
Minister of Youth and Young Adults
Alan received a B.A. in Mass Communication from Wright State University in Dayton, OH, and is currently a Master of Divinity student at Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX, with less than a year to go. He is in the ordination process with the United Church of Christ.
Alan previously served as Youth Minister at South Hills Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Fort Worth, where he was instrumental in establishing youth activities, with a network of other churches, focused on service, learning, worship and fun. He also founded a Sunday breakfast club Bible study for youth, engaged youth through a variety of learning types with the curriculum and was the Lead on the area youth retreats team for Junior and Senior High youth.
Director of Ministry & Volunteer Development
Anita joined CoH in October, 1991. In 1993 she began serving as a volunteer in the New Member Ministry and joined the church staff full-time in 1996 as the coordinator for Membership and Volunteer Services.
As her management responsibilities increased over the years, Anita has continued to effectively meet each challenge with a blend of determination and compassion that has made her a respected and beloved church leader.
Although her gifts of hospitality and laughter are what bless our members initially, it is Anita’s level-headed wisdom and vision behind the scenes-in process analysis, people management and directing and working with teams-that helps our church run smoothly and meet the day-to-day needs of our congregation. Anita currently serves as Director of Ministry & Volunteer Development where she uses her skills and expertise to assist in the creation of new ministries, the development of existing ministries and placement of volunteers.
As the accountant of Cathedral of Hope I am privileged to assist in maintaining the financial accounts of this institution. It has been an absolute honor to have the opportunity to serve cathedral of hope in its accounting department. Having this opportunity has propelled me to grow in multiple ways but in all, it has given me the tools to grow professionally. Being given such extraordinary responsibilities and tasks gave me the building blocks to reach a new potential in my professional life, it gave me the experience and knowledge to know what it entails to maintain an organization financially. In addition, my employment with Cathedral of Hope has given me a clearer understanding of faith, respect, and love. I am immensely thankful for both the professional and the personal faith growth I experience each and every day.
Reciptionist – Evening
Assistant Director of Music and Worship
Chris’ dynamic way of leading worship has been experienced in churches across the country, including locally where he is the contemporary music leader for our Wednesday night PULSE service. He has a passion to connect people into the presence of God and to create a sound and style that crosses cultural and generational barriers. Chris and his band are featured weekly at Alexandre’s in Dallas, and will soon be featured on the Coca-Cola stage daily at the State Fair of Texas . A talented composer as well, Chris has recorded and performed many new pieces adopted by churches and inspirational groups worldwide. He has performed with the world-renowned Turtle Creek Chorale, Shirley Cesar, Grammy winner Israel Houghton’s New Breed, as well as many other artists and groups across the US. Chris has been called “an energetic and thrilling performer who never fails to inspire and motivate audiences and congregations wherever he performs.”
Digital Experience Manager
Hardy has spent a lifetime in Advertising, Marketing and Entertainment. He has been a member of Cathedral of Hope since 1995 and is delighted to bring his experience to the church to revitalize and expand our digital presence. He and his partner Patrick Ryan have been together for over 23 years.
Admin Assistant – Accounting
Minister for Children & Families
Dan has been our Minister for Children and Families for over 17 years and was a volunteer in the Children’s Ministry before that. He is also one of the founders of the CoH Order of St. Francis and St. Clare and the staff steward and frequent contributor to our Daily Devotion Ministry. Educating children, both at church and through outside endeavors, has always been his joy and his calling. Dan’s background is in the animation and film production business, having been an animation director and character designer for clients such as Sesame Street, Chuck E. Cheese and the Disney Channel. Dan received his theological education from Brite Divinity School. He and his art business partner, Charlie Rose, write and illustrate all of our ministry’s progressive, gender-balanced curriculum and are the creators of over one hundred illustrated PowerPoint lessons, books and educational wall décor that are used weekly in Children’s Church. Dan is also a frequent contributor to our Youth Ministry curriculum and adult education programs.
Director of Music and Worship
David Moldenhauer has been on staff at Cathedral of Hope since 2002. His passion for worship, love of choral and instrumental music, and enthusiasm for working with volunteer musicians are a great fit for his position at CoH, which includes planning worship services, preparing and directing the Sanctuary Choir, arranging and orchestrating music selections, playing organ for most traditional services, and overseeing logistics for the Wednesday evening Pulse worship.
The son of a Lutheran pastor, David grew up in Wisconsin, and was a Lutheran music director in the Milwaukee area for 17 years prior to moving to Dallas. In addition to his church work, David has extensive experience as a choral accompanist and singer, music director for community theater, and buyer/salesperson in retail print music. He and his husband David Gorman have been together since 1994, and are the proud parents of three rescue dogs, Hope, Dexter, and Norman.
Rev. Susan Perry
Susan Perry is a commissioned minister. She is commissioned in the South-Central Conference as a feminist theologian. Her work involves support of the Cathedral of Hope and as a teacher and preacher on feminist interpretations of the Bible. She is a trained feminist and has been researching, teaching, studying, and writing feminist theories (especially in her Ph.D. work and seminary) for decades as an English professor and continues her work in the church. She is interested in encouraging people, especially women, to read the Bible as an inclusive document that includes many women who make important theological points both in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.
She has been an active member of the Cathedral of Hope for thirteen years, serving on many committees.
Minister Winner Laws is spiritually called to make a difference in the lives of others through her gifts and talents. Since 2000, she has been a member of Cathedral of Hope (CoH) UCC. As a UCC Licensed Minister, she wants all people (Black, Hispanics, LGBTQ) to know that God loves them unconditionally.
Minister Winner performs sacred occasions including weddings, home blessings, and counseling. She enjoys being a part of the evolving spiritual development of people. Originally from Houston, she currently resides in Plano, TX. Her passions include faith development, leadership, family, and golf.
Director of Media
John has been a member of Cathedral of Hope since 1991. He shares his musical talent weekly in CoH’s orchestra! He is an established leader with over 25 years of experience within the travel industry serving as Director and Project Manager. He brings a demonstrated management skillset that balances the needs, goals, and vision of an organization, it’s members, and stakeholders. John’s entrepreneurial spirt coupled with a proven commitment to support CoH will help us connect, care and grow our community.
Director of Facilities
Lynn has been with CoH since 2011. She has been in facilities management since 1995 and was a contract administrator for a demolition and abatement company for 3 years.
She is married and has 2 children and 4 more that call her mom, 3 grandchildren and 2 more on the way in 2015. She loves the country life, gardening and cake decorating.
Minister of Generosity
Rev. Patricia (Patsy) Bjorling, began her work at Cathedral of Hope on November 1, 2016. She has a Master of Divinity degree from Dubuque Theological Seminary in Iowa and has spent 13 years helping local churches with stewardship on the staffs of UCC Conferences (Hawaii and Connecticut) and an Episcopal Diocese (Virginia). Her professional career prior to seminary includes a couple of decades of work in nonprofit fundraising and development in the realms of higher education, a museum, and national health agencies. Patsy has two millennial-aged sons, Sam and Carl, one of whom lives in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and the other in Tishomingo, Oklahoma. She is passionate about generosity, care of the environment, art, baseball, good food, justice, and trying to truly practice Gospel love each and every day.
I have been attending COH since August 1984 and became a member in March 1993. I retired from UPS in January 2010 and started volunteering in April doing various administrative duties. In February of 2014, I was contracted to work 8 hours a week working on other data entry jobs along with my volunteer work. Working at COH keeps me active and around many people I call family.
“And remember, the truth that once was spoken, to love another person is to see the face of God” Les Misérables
Coordinador de Ministerios Hispanos
Originario de Empalme Escobedo Guanajuato México. Desde pequeño se interesó en la vida religiosa, por lo cual durante su juventud perteneció a una comunidad de vida consagrada. En 2008 llego a los Estados Unidos, donde vivió alejado de toda religiosidad, hasta el momento que escucho habla de Cathedral of Hope. Salvador es miembro de CoH desde mayo de 2015. Actualmente se desempeña como coordinado de ministerios Hispanos, actividad que lo llena de entusiasmo y dedicación.
En la actualidad realiza sus estudios en, Texas University of Teology, para obtener una certificación Pastoral
Scott works as an accountant in financial area. He is a CPA and holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration – Accounting from the University of North Texas. With over 40 years of public accounting experience providing services for churches, non-profits and ministers, he brings a wealth of knowledge in accounting, budgetary compliance and reporting to the Cathedral of Hope.
Executive Assistant to the Senior Pastor
Scott Stout is the Executive Assistant to the Senior Pastor of the Cathedral of Hope. In this role, he assists the Senior Pastor in managing all of the Senior Pastor’s personal appointments during the week and provides support and assists with whatever is needed before, during and after each worship service. In addition to serving as the Executive Assistant, Scott is also the Office Manager of the church and is responsible for coordinating all of the components for keeping the internal workings moving as smoothly as possible. Previously, Scott served as the Event Coordinator who handled all weddings and special events at the church.
Associate Director of Music and Worship
Sean is Associate Director of Music and Worship at Cathedral of Hope in Dallas where he leads the orchestra and choir for Sunday services and special events.
Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Sean attended Oklahoma Baptist University where he studied choral conducting with Dr. Nancy Hill Cobb, and received a bachelors degree in music education and trumpet performance from the University of Central Oklahoma. At Oklahoma Baptist University, Sean was a two-time winner of the annual university-wide concerto competition and student conductor of the OBU Chorale.
Sean received a master of music degree in instrumental conducting from the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University where he was named outstanding graduate conducting student. At SMU, Sean served as Assistant Conductor of the world-renowned Meadows Wind Ensemble, studying with Dr. Jack Delaney and Dr. Paul Phillips.
For four years, Sean was Artistic Director and Founder of the Camerata Chamber Winds. As the only professional ensemble dedicated to the highest quality chamber wind repertoire in the North Texas area, the Camerata Chamber Winds performed for audiences at the Coppell Center for Performing Arts and other local arts venues. Sean has served on the adjunct faculty at the University of Dallas, and he has served as guest conductor for numerous ensembles in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. He is a member of ACDA.
Manager/Buyer for Sources of Hope Gifts & Books
Sue Schrader has been a staff member of Cathedral of Hope since November 1981. She started as the church Secretary, changed to the position of Administrative Assistant, was the Director of Programming, the Director of Outreach, the Director of Church Resources, and is currently the Manager/Buyer for Sources of Hope Gifts & Books. She graduated from the University of Indiana with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and English and from Southern Illinois University with a Master of Science in Physical Education. She taught for six years in public schools and for 11 years at the university level. Most of her university experience was in administration and developing various recreational programs for adults.
As Manager/Buyer for Sources of Hope Gifts & Books, she has brought the bookstore from a two-display case, one-bookshelf corner in the Fellowship Hall of a previous church building to a 550 square foot store with over 2,000 different items currently stocked.
Rev. Yinessa Romero