Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes is a native of Bath, New Brunswick and a graduate of Mount Allison University.
Rev. Hawkes has been the Senior Pastor at the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto for 35 years. As the Pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, Rev. Hawkes has been at the forefront of ministry to the Gay & Lesbian Community in Toronto. He serves as spiritual leader to a faith community of more than 600 congregants at regular Sunday worship. As well, he has served the community at large with distinction, championing several Human Rights initiatives, especially benefiting the Gay & Lesbian Community.
In 1994, Rev. Dr. Hawkes received the City of Toronto Award of Merit, the highest civilian award given by the City of Toronto. In 1995, he received a Global Citizen Award from the United Nations Toronto Association, for his work in advancing human rights in Canada. Rev. Hawkes has also received the Distinguished Service Award from the Metropolitan Community Churches.
On January 14th 2001 Rev. Hawkes officiated at the first legal marriage of a gay or lesbian couple in the history of the world. The province refused to recognize the marriages, so the church sued the city, the province and the federal gov't. Ultimately these court cases would be successful, making Canada the first county in the world to have had a legally wedded gay and lesbian couple.
In 2007 Rev. Hawkes was appointed to the Order of Canada by the Governor General of Canada for his stand on Social Justice and Human Rights within the L.G.B.T. communities. In 2009 Rev. Hawkes was presented with an award from the American Psychological Association for exemplifying the values of freedom, fairness and equality under the law and clarity of leadership in advocacy for LGBT people and their families. The New Brunswick Human Rights commission bestowed the honour of "Pioneer of Human Rights Award", In 2009 York University presented Rev. Hawkes with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws degree, In 2010 he was presented with an honorary Doctorate of Laws from Mount Allison University, and in 2011 received an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity from The University of Trinity College.
On August 27, 2011 Rev. Hawkes officiated over the state funeral for the Honourable Jack Layton, Leader of Canada's Official Opposition and head of the NDP, at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto. He spoke highly of Layton who had touched the lives of millions of Canadians and had been a vocal supporter of AIDS initiatives and LGBT rights.
In the fall of 2012 mate magazine out of Amsterdam and berlin named rev. Hawkes as one of the 500 most influential gay men in the world ever.
Rev. Hawkes lives with his husband of 31 years, John Sproule, in Toronto, Canada.