Cathedral of Hope on Cedar Springs has been doing what you might call God's work for 40 years now, ministering to the spiritual needs of LGBT Christians who have historically been shunned by mainstream churches. In 1993, CoH cobbled together a makeshift TV studio and eventually began broadcasting the sermons of then-pastor Michael Piazza. In 2001, the videos went online, expanding the church's reach even further.
"People always write and say 'I'm so glad you offer this,'" says Phoebe Sexton, CoH's communications director. She runs through a list of recent emails from Ohio, Las Vegas, Alaska, rural Texas. "We heard from Turkey I think this week."
The church is especially proud of its ability, through online video, to reach rural areas where the community doesn't always embrace pronouncements of homosexuality. It's saved lives. You can see a bit of that in the video above.
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The church's video equipment, however, hasn't quite kept pace. Most of it was purchased when the broadcasts launched some 19 years ago, and most of that was purchased used. Obsolescence aside, the stuff is simply falling apart, Sexton says. That means lots of duct tape, lots of MacGuyvering. "At one point, one of the control panels had a binder clip that was a very integral part of the functioning of the lever."
Which is a roundabout way of saying the church needs a whole lot of very expensive stuff very soon. An anonymous donor is pitching in $400,000 worth of equipment, but CoH is still looking for an extra $150,000 to complete the upgrades.
"We're trying really hard to turn the 21st -- even the 20th century."