about reverend Doctor brent hawkes
Rev, Dr. Brent Hawkes CM is a native of Bath, New Brunswick. Brent has been the Senior Pastor at the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto (MCCT) for 38 years.
As the Senior Pastor of the MCCT, Brent is one of the spiritual leaders of Toronto’s LGBTQ community, ministering to more than 900 congregants at regular Sunday worship. He has also served his larger community with distinction, fighting for improvements in human rights, especially those benefiting the LGBTQ communities.
Early in his career, Brent took a leadership role in opposing the notorious bath house raids in Toronto. His hunger strike prompted the Bruner Inquiry into this infamous attack on the LGBTQ community. Brent was also prominent in the fight for legal recognition of same sex couples, condemning the defeat of Bill 167 in Ontario and playing a leading role in the fight for equal marriage.
Brent has received numerous honours and awards for this fight for social justice and human rights. In 2007, he was appointed to the Order of Canada by the Governor General, the first openly gay man to receive Canada’s highest award. In 2011, he officiated at Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall over the state funeral for the Honourable Jack Layton, Leader of Canada’s Official Opposition and head of the federal NDP. During that ceremony, he spoke highly of how Layton had touched the lives of millions of Canadians and had been a vocal supporter of AIDS initiatives and LGBT rights.
Brent Hawkes earned Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Education degrees from Mount Allison University, and Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Trinity College, an Anglican institution at the University of Toronto. After his graduation from Mount Allison, Brent resided in the Annapolis Valley from 1973 to 1976. He moved to Toronto in 1976 and has lived there since then. York University presented Brent with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws in 2009 for his continuing work in activism and human rights for all in Canada. In 2010 he was given an honorary Doctorate of Laws from Mount Allison University, and in 2011 received an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Trinity College.
In 1994, he received the City of Toronto’s highest civilian award, the Award of Merit. In 1995, the United Nations Toronto Association gave him its Global Citizen Award for his work in advancing human rights in Canada. The New Brunswick Human Rights Commission named him a “Pioneer of Human Rights Award” for his historic contribution to the advancement of human rights.
Brent was also presented with an award in 2009 by the American Psychological Association for exemplifying the values of freedom, fairness and equality under the law and for the clarity of his leadership in advocacy for LGBT people and their families
Brent lives in Toronto with his husband and companion of many years, John Sproule.