The Rev. Dan Hooper serves as Pastor of Hollywood Lutheran Church in Los Angeles, California, after being extraordinarily called to that position in March 2004 by an 82% majority of members voting. Hooper is the ninth Senior Pastor to serve Hollywood Lutheran, a “historic” congregation by California standards, having been founded in 1921.
Hooper was born in Bakersfield, California and educated at California State Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo, California. He studied for his M. Div. at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley. After serving an internship in Long Lake, Illinois, he was ordained in 1974 in the former American Lutheran Church, for which he served congregations in Phoenix, Arizona, and Inglewood, California. Between those two calls, he served as a program director for Lutheran Campus Ministry-Southern California; as Director of Lutheran Olympic Ministry 1984 in Los Angeles; and as interim Executive Director of Ecumedia, the media and public interpretation office of the Southern California Ecumenical Council.
In 1985 Pastor Dan co-authored “A Call for Dialog”-the first major position paper of Lutherans Concerned/North America, which was addressed to the bishops and district presidents of Lutheran church bodies in the United States and Canada. About 15,000 copies of this paper were eventually released. As a result of responses to the paper, he begin writing and researching extensively about celibacy, same-gender relationships and sexual ethics. In 1990 he was invited to address the first ELCA study commission which attempted to draft a statement on Human Sexuality.
Hooper later authored “A Call for Repentance” for LC/NA, and in 2002-04 produced the first release of LC/NA’s CD-ROM resource “Reconciling Ministry Planner” for use in the Reconciling in Christ program. He served on LC/NA’s Bisexual and Transgender Task Force, which published the statement “Being the Body of Christ” in 2003.
Fourteen years after being outed and removed from the Lutheran ministry in 1988, Pastor Dan was admitted in June 2002 to the roster of the Extraordinary Candidacy Project (now ELM).
Pastor Dan met his life partner and now legal spouse Carl Hunter, in June 1976 in Phoenix. In February 2004, with along 4,000 other couples they were married in San Francisco City Hall with a marriage license that was later declared invalid by the court. But in 2008, before the passage of Proposition 8 in California, Dan and Carl again pulled a marriage license and exchanged vows in a full church ceremony at Hollywood Lutheran, and this license has since been deemed to remain valid by the California Supreme Court in spite of Proposition 8.
Long active in Lutherans Concerned, Pastor Dan was a founding member of the Phoenix chapter (1977), helped re-start the Los Angeles chapter (1980), and continues to serve on its Board of Directors. Hooper and Hunter were publicly recognized by Lutherans Concerned/North America in 2004 for their life-long contributions, and awarded honorary life-time memberships.
Pastor Dan is an active member of the Interfaith Gay and Lesbian Clergy Association of Los Angeles, serves on the Lutheran Office of Public Policy Council for California, the Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council (an adjunct of Los Angeles city government), and the Board of Directors of Hollywood Remembers Inc., an HIV/AIDS service and education organization launched in 2008 by members of Hollywood Lutheran Church.
In his spare time, Pastor Dan enjoys gardening and web design, currently maintaining 16 websites. including his LGBTQ blog at www.indwellingspirit.org. Some of his papers and liturgical writings are available at www.danhooper.info.