One chapter ends, another begins for Toronto's Dr. Rev. Brent Hawkes

Community Oct 12, 2017 by Joanna Lavoie Beach Mirror

After 40 years of service, the time has come for one of Canada’s most well-known and well-respected human rights leaders, Dr. Rev. Brent Hawkes, to spread his wings.

Hawkes, who has served as the senior pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto since August 1977, announced his retirement earlier this year. He’ll deliver his final sermon in this capacity at Roy Thomson Hall on Dec. 24, 2017.

“It wasn’t really a tough decision because it was the right time for me, and the right time for the church,” Hawkes shared during a recent interview.

“I feel very honoured to have been head of this church for 40 years, to see the changes in society and the church and to have played a role in that.”

Hawkes, who is 67, said he’s excited about the next decade and the time and effort he’ll now be able to devote to confronting what he described as “religious-based homophobia” on a much wider, yet grassroots, level.

“I’m retiring as the senior pastor here, not retiring as an active clergy person,” he smiled, adding he does plan to do some writing, gardening, and golfing during his “retirement.” Hawkes also plans on visiting his relatives on the east coast.

When it comes to his next steps, Hawkes pointed to a sabbatical he took a number of years ago where he met and developed strong contacts with LGBTQ people of faith in Washington, New York, and Geneva, Switzerland. Moving forward, his plan is to work closely with those individuals and organizations to help strengthen the rights of LGBTQ people on an international scale, through a religious lens.

“My work will be change hearts and change minds,” he said, noting his goal is to help equip people and groups from around the world with the tools they need to develop stronger religious-based responses to religious-based homophobia.

Hawkes, who is originally from Bath, New Brunswick, had an incredible career as MCC Toronto’s senior pastor.

Among countless achievements, he officiated the world’s first-ever legal marriage of a same-sex couple in 2001 and presided over the state funeral of former Toronto-Danforth MP and federal NDP leader Jack Layton in 2011. 

Hawkes said some of his proudest moments at MCC Toronto were his first Christmas Eve service at Roy Thompson Hall, his long-run as the presider of Church on Church, as well as his involvement and support for the Triangle Program, Canada’s only alternative high school for LGBTQ+ youth. This unique joint venture is the result of a partnership between the Toronto District School Board that MCC Toronto both financially supports and houses.

Hawkes, who was awarded the Order of Canada in 2007, also said the work he’s been able to do to help refugees persecuted for their sexual orientation is something he holds very close to his heart.

On Thursday, Oct. 19 from 6 to 9 p.m., Hawkes' illustrious 40-year career along with his many accomplishments will be fêted with a retirement celebration and fundraiser at The Carlu, 444 Yonge St. Visit http://www.mcctoronto.com/senior-pastor/brent-tribute/ for more details.  

One chapter ends, another begins for Toronto's Dr. Rev. Brent Hawkes

Hawkes served as the senior pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto for 40 years

Community Oct 12, 2017 by Joanna Lavoie Beach Mirror

After 40 years of service, the time has come for one of Canada’s most well-known and well-respected human rights leaders, Dr. Rev. Brent Hawkes, to spread his wings.

Hawkes, who has served as the senior pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto since August 1977, announced his retirement earlier this year. He’ll deliver his final sermon in this capacity at Roy Thomson Hall on Dec. 24, 2017.

“It wasn’t really a tough decision because it was the right time for me, and the right time for the church,” Hawkes shared during a recent interview.

“I feel very honoured to have been head of this church for 40 years, to see the changes in society and the church and to have played a role in that.”

Related Content

Hawkes, who is 67, said he’s excited about the next decade and the time and effort he’ll now be able to devote to confronting what he described as “religious-based homophobia” on a much wider, yet grassroots, level.

“I’m retiring as the senior pastor here, not retiring as an active clergy person,” he smiled, adding he does plan to do some writing, gardening, and golfing during his “retirement.” Hawkes also plans on visiting his relatives on the east coast.

When it comes to his next steps, Hawkes pointed to a sabbatical he took a number of years ago where he met and developed strong contacts with LGBTQ people of faith in Washington, New York, and Geneva, Switzerland. Moving forward, his plan is to work closely with those individuals and organizations to help strengthen the rights of LGBTQ people on an international scale, through a religious lens.

“My work will be change hearts and change minds,” he said, noting his goal is to help equip people and groups from around the world with the tools they need to develop stronger religious-based responses to religious-based homophobia.

Hawkes, who is originally from Bath, New Brunswick, had an incredible career as MCC Toronto’s senior pastor.

Among countless achievements, he officiated the world’s first-ever legal marriage of a same-sex couple in 2001 and presided over the state funeral of former Toronto-Danforth MP and federal NDP leader Jack Layton in 2011. 

Hawkes said some of his proudest moments at MCC Toronto were his first Christmas Eve service at Roy Thompson Hall, his long-run as the presider of Church on Church, as well as his involvement and support for the Triangle Program, Canada’s only alternative high school for LGBTQ+ youth. This unique joint venture is the result of a partnership between the Toronto District School Board that MCC Toronto both financially supports and houses.

Hawkes, who was awarded the Order of Canada in 2007, also said the work he’s been able to do to help refugees persecuted for their sexual orientation is something he holds very close to his heart.

On Thursday, Oct. 19 from 6 to 9 p.m., Hawkes' illustrious 40-year career along with his many accomplishments will be fêted with a retirement celebration and fundraiser at The Carlu, 444 Yonge St. Visit http://www.mcctoronto.com/senior-pastor/brent-tribute/ for more details.  

One chapter ends, another begins for Toronto's Dr. Rev. Brent Hawkes

Hawkes served as the senior pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto for 40 years

Community Oct 12, 2017 by Joanna Lavoie Beach Mirror

After 40 years of service, the time has come for one of Canada’s most well-known and well-respected human rights leaders, Dr. Rev. Brent Hawkes, to spread his wings.

Hawkes, who has served as the senior pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto since August 1977, announced his retirement earlier this year. He’ll deliver his final sermon in this capacity at Roy Thomson Hall on Dec. 24, 2017.

“It wasn’t really a tough decision because it was the right time for me, and the right time for the church,” Hawkes shared during a recent interview.

“I feel very honoured to have been head of this church for 40 years, to see the changes in society and the church and to have played a role in that.”

Related Content

Hawkes, who is 67, said he’s excited about the next decade and the time and effort he’ll now be able to devote to confronting what he described as “religious-based homophobia” on a much wider, yet grassroots, level.

“I’m retiring as the senior pastor here, not retiring as an active clergy person,” he smiled, adding he does plan to do some writing, gardening, and golfing during his “retirement.” Hawkes also plans on visiting his relatives on the east coast.

When it comes to his next steps, Hawkes pointed to a sabbatical he took a number of years ago where he met and developed strong contacts with LGBTQ people of faith in Washington, New York, and Geneva, Switzerland. Moving forward, his plan is to work closely with those individuals and organizations to help strengthen the rights of LGBTQ people on an international scale, through a religious lens.

“My work will be change hearts and change minds,” he said, noting his goal is to help equip people and groups from around the world with the tools they need to develop stronger religious-based responses to religious-based homophobia.

Hawkes, who is originally from Bath, New Brunswick, had an incredible career as MCC Toronto’s senior pastor.

Among countless achievements, he officiated the world’s first-ever legal marriage of a same-sex couple in 2001 and presided over the state funeral of former Toronto-Danforth MP and federal NDP leader Jack Layton in 2011. 

Hawkes said some of his proudest moments at MCC Toronto were his first Christmas Eve service at Roy Thompson Hall, his long-run as the presider of Church on Church, as well as his involvement and support for the Triangle Program, Canada’s only alternative high school for LGBTQ+ youth. This unique joint venture is the result of a partnership between the Toronto District School Board that MCC Toronto both financially supports and houses.

Hawkes, who was awarded the Order of Canada in 2007, also said the work he’s been able to do to help refugees persecuted for their sexual orientation is something he holds very close to his heart.

On Thursday, Oct. 19 from 6 to 9 p.m., Hawkes' illustrious 40-year career along with his many accomplishments will be fêted with a retirement celebration and fundraiser at The Carlu, 444 Yonge St. Visit http://www.mcctoronto.com/senior-pastor/brent-tribute/ for more details.