The Rev. Daniel M. Hooper was born in Bakersfield, California, in 1947. Hooper was educated at California State Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo, California, and studied for his M. Div. at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, where he was involved in the first (secret) caucuses of lesbian and gay seminarians less than a year after the Stonewall rebellion in New York.
After serving a year of internship in Long Lake, Illinois, he was ordained 1974 by the American Lutheran Church, and served congregations in Phoenix, Arizona, and Inglewood, California. Between those assignments, 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. During these years, he also helped to found a private international support group for gay/lesbian Lutheran church professionals and published its newsletter.
In 1985 Hooper co-authored “A Call for Dialog”—the first major position paper of Lutherans Concerned/North America, which was addressed to the Lutheran church bodies in the United States and Canada. As a result of response to that paper, he begin writing and teaching extensively about celibacy, relationships and sexual ethics. Hooper later authored “A Call for Repentance” for LC/NA, and in 2002-04 produced the LC/NA CD-ROM resource package “Reconciling Ministry Planner 1.0” for use in LC/NA’s Reconciling in Christ program. This resource is still available through Lutherans Concerned/North America (www.lcna.org).
Fourteen years after being outed and removed from the Lutheran ministry in 1988, Hooper was admitted in 2002 to the roster of the Extraordinary Candidacy Project, a credentialing authority which parallels that of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (except that it lacks the ELCA’s requirement of celibacy for LGBT candidates and pastors), and helps to supply qualified LGBT candidates to ministries partly supported by Lutheran Lesbian & Gay Ministries.
Hooper met his life partner and husband, 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 has since been declared legally invalid but is has been contested in a California Supreme Court case.
Hooper has long been active in Lutherans Concerned, was a founding member of the Phoenix chapter (1977) and helped re-start the Los Angeles chapter (1980) and presently serves on its Steering Committee. Hooper and Hunter were publicly recognized by Lutherans Concerned/North America in 2004 for their life-long contributions, and awarded honorary life-time memberships.
That same year, Hooper returned to active parish ministry when he was elected to serve as pastor of Hollywood Lutheran Church in Los Angeles, a Reconciling in Christ congregation which has hosted several other LGBT community organizations for many years. As a result of its selection of Hooper as Pastor (who is not on the ELCA Clergy Roster) the congregation was disciplined by Southwest California Synod and its Bishop Dean Nelson. The ELCA does not recognize Hooper as a validly-called pastor but considers the Hollywood Lutheran Church pulpit to be “vacant.”
Hooper is an active member of the Interfaith Gay and Lesbian Clergy Association of Los Angeles.
(This biographical statement provided by Adrian Ravarour.)
Biography Date: January, 2007
Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) | Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM) | Reconciling Works (formerly Lutherans Concerned) | Activist (church change) | Ordination/clergy | California | Los Angeles