Brett Webb-Mitchell



Rev. Dr. Brett Webb-Mitchell is an openly gay Presbyterian pastor in the Portland area serving as the part-time LGBTQ+ advocacy coordinator for The Oregon-Idaho Conference of the UMC. He can be reached at brett@umoi.org. Become a subscriber to the Greater NW Pride blog to get Greater NW Pride in your email box!

Blog Posts


Children’s Literature, LGBTQ+, and Church - 5/14/2019
Children’s Literature, LGBTQ+, and Church               I am preparing for a trip to visit my granddaughter on the east coast in the coming weeks and started to shop around and see what I might bring with me in my new role as the grandfather who spoils his grandchildren. On one of the websites I scan daily, mombian.com, there was a new book that made me smile: A Plan for Pops! by Heather Smith and Brooke Kerrigan. It is one of the first gay grandparent books that I’ve seen publicized, and also...

Greater NW Pride: Schism - 5/9/2019
Schism   The word, “schism,” means “division or disunion, especially into mutually opposed parties” (dictionary.com). Schism is a theological or “church” term, used to describe those groups that break away with a church and establish a rival church. According to Britannica.com, the term originally referred to those divisions that were caused by disagreement over something other than basic doctrine. “thus, the schismatic group was not necessarily heretical. Eventually, however, the distinctions...

Greater NW Pride: From Toxicity to Grace - 5/3/2019
From Toxicity to Grace               The contrast couldn’t be greater when looking and reading the two groups of stories on Facebook this morning. The first set of stories reflected the current toxicity within The United Methodist Church, in which many out-LGBTQ+ and allied clergy are facing charges for simply being out and LGBTQ+ or supporting LGBTQ+ members of their respective churches. The first story in the Tampa Bay Timescovered the Rev. Andy Oliver of Allendale United Methodist Church, ...

Greater NW Pride: Coming Out Pilgrimage - 4/24/2019
Coming Out Pilgrimage "Seventeen years ago I awoke early one morning and began my coming out pilgrimage. Though I had long imagined what it would be like coming out, the very act of coming out of my closet brought both unbridled joy and literally scared me to death. It was these polar opposite feelings that effectively stopped me from leaving the closet’s narrow, loathsome confines. I was paralyzed emotionally, wanting to embrace the emotional, relational, intellectual, spiritual, and physical...

Greater NW Pride From Closet to Resurrection - 4/17/2019
From Closet to Resurrection     In a recent Facebook posting (April 16, 2019), from “Friend of Dorothy Book,” there was an entry called “Reasons not to stay in The Closet: 1. It’s dark; 2. It smells; 3. It’s lonely; 4. It’s only big enough for one person; 5. It’s exhausting to lie all the time; 6. You might end up in Narnia." https://www.facebook.com/FriendofDorothyBook/photos/a.343204645768504/2110528405702777/?type=3&theater   On “The Rachel Maddow Show” on April 15, 2019, in Rachel’s ...

Greater NW Pride: Publicity! How to Affirm LGBTQ+ People in Our Churches - 4/10/2019
Publicity! How to Affirm LGBTQ+ in Our Churches   In a recent article published on-line in The Advocate, Sam Brinton, who works with the Trevor Project, wrote an interesting article about the difference of being a “welcoming” community of faith, which simply “welcomes” those of us who are LGBTQ+ , and nothing more. Meanwhile, an affirming church affirms that God created us all—male, female, and non-binary, LGBTQ+ —in God’s image. In other words, God is not only male, female, and non-binary, but...

Greater NW Pride: Transgender Visibility Day and Other LGBTQ+ Days - 4/4/2019
Transgender Visibility Day and Other LGBTQ+ Days   Happy Transgender Visibility Day! After seeing all the rainbow bunting, flags, t-shirts, and stoles on so many United Methodist Church websites, Facebook posting, and Instagram accounts after the vote taken by the UMC General Conference in February 2019, I thought it would be helpful to share with those UMC churches who are supportive of LGBTQ clergy, lay leaders, and lay members other ways of supporting those of us in the LGBTQ+ community. I...

Greater NW Pride: What Does it Mean to be an “Ally” in the LGBTQ+ Movement? - 3/25/2019
What Does it Mean to be an “Ally” in the LGBTQ+ Movement?   From time to time, in and among my LGBTQ+ friends, we joke about getting our “membership card” when we come out of our respective closets, receiving a list of what is the “gay agenda,” in which we strive for ultimate world power, somewhere between waking up, coffee brewed, showering, going to work, work, lunch break, take over the world, work some more, coffee break, and going home to make a “fabulous” meal before we turn in and go to...

Greater NW Pride: What Does LGBTQ+ Mean? A Primer - 3/21/2019
What Does LGBTQ+ Mean? A Primer   Language matters. And naming and labeling matters. One’s “sexual orientation” is a social construct and context dependent, which we all use to identify and self-identify just one part of our life. So, I am a gay, cisgender, white, male, Christian, who prefers the personal pronoun “he/him/his;” I am able bodied and hearing. Our gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, age, ability, hearing, being deaf, disability, socioeconomic class, and religion also matter and ...

Greater NW Pride: Beyond the Rainbow Flag - 3/12/2019
Beyond the Rainbow Flag (Or “Once the Rainbow Flags Are Down, Then What?”)   Since the vote taken by the delegates at the United Methodist Church’s (UMC) specially called General Conference, my Facebook page with other UMC contacts exploded with images of rainbow flags, banners, bunting, pics of whirligigs, candles, hats, pins, ribbons, hair bows, and tassels. Everywhere I looked on various UMC websites, there were more rainbow memorabilia, with banners draping church signs, rainbows flags ...

Greater NW Pride: What St. Harvey Milk Has to Say to Queer UMC Folk - 3/7/2019
What St. Harvey Milk Has to Say to Queer UMC Folk   Above my desk in my office space in the OR-ID United Methodist Church Conference Center is a modern-day icon of St. Harvey Milk, one of my heroes in the LGBTQ movement, painted by the local artist Chris Haberman. In this moment of change within the United Methodist Church, I’ve asked myself, “What would Harvey do?” After all, he was in the nexus of change in modern American society, and his story, like many other stories of LGBTQ people in ...

Greater NW Pride: Solidarity in Love for and with LGBTQ+ United Methodist Clergy and Members - 2/26/2019
Solidarity in Love for LGBTQ+ United Methodist Clergy and Members   In Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church, the pastoral part of Paul talks about the incredible nature of the body of Christ in terms of the interconnectedness and solidarity we are to practice with one another. What came to mind as I watched the decisions being made by the delegates of the United Methodist Church’s General Conference (UMC-GC), are these verses: “But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to ...

Greater NW Pride: Prayer, Patience, and Perseverance - 2/21/2019
Prayer, Patience, and Perseverance In the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA), the lead up to our amending our Constitution (Book of Order) in 2011 to welcoming and affirming LGBTQ people as out and ordained as Ministers of the Word and Sacraments, Ruling Elders, and Deacons, was dramatic, long in coming, and drawn out. Our process of amending the Book of Order begins with an amendment beginning from a church’s session, followed by its approval by a Presbytery Committee (Conference), followed by ...

Greater NW Pride: Who's Going to Get It Right? - 2/18/2019
Who’s Going to Get This Right?   Something amazing is going on concurrently involving the LGBTQ community and the Church. More specifically, something is going on this week in both the Roman Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church and their respective relationship with LGBTQ people, having to do with the matter of including and integrating us into their largely cisgender and straight faith communities. In the Roman Catholic Church, columnist Frank Bruni of the New York Times focused on...

Greater NW Pride: Valentine’s Day in the LGBTQ+ Community - 2/14/2019
Valentine’s Day in the LGBTQ Community   My partner Christian and I celebrated Valentine’s Day early this year because he was going to be in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Valentine’s Day, and I was going to be in Portland. It was also our first Valentine’s Day as a couple! I surprised him with chocolate, red wine, a card, and an orchid, and he gave me a card last week, along with numerous gifts of shirts, meals out, and love! The card was huge, as he said to me after I opened his card to me, “I usually ...

Greater NW Pride: Inclusion, or Who is Including Whom into Which Community? - 2/6/2019
Inclusion, or Who is Including Whom into Which Community?   “Inclusion.” Noun. Mirriam-Webster on-line dictionary defines inclusion as the act or state of being included.  “Include” is a transitive verb. It means to enclose; to shut up; to take in or comprise as a part of a whole or group; to contain between or within.   In the previous blog, I focused on the act and art of hospitality, of welcome. To act hospitable, or to welcome is the first move towards inclusion and, finally, integration. ...

Greater NW Pride: Hospitality: Welcoming People with Disabilities and LGBTQ+ People in the Church - 1/31/2019
Hospitality: Welcoming People with Disabilities and LGBTQ+ People in the Church In the Rule of St. Benedict, we read that “all guests who arrive (are to) be received like Christ, for he is going to say: I was a stranger and you welcomed me (Matt. 25:35), and to all let due honor be shown, especially to those who share our faith (Gal. 6:10) and to pilgrims…In the reception of the poor and pilgrims, the greatest care and solicitude should be shown, because it is especially in them that Christ is...

Greater NW Pride: Separate and Not Equal - 1/24/2019
Separate and Not Equal: People with Disabilities and the LGBTQ+ Community   There is no secret in the community of people with disabilities that, up to and through 1990 with the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, life in modern American society has been “complicated,” to say the least. Through the 1950s and 1960s, people with disabilities—which then included the deaf community; people who were visually impaired or blind; people with physical disabilities of various kinds; people ...

Greater NW Pride: From Separate to Welcoming, Inclusion, and Integration: Parallels Between the Community of People with Disabilities and the LGBTQ Community in the Church - 1/18/2019
  Since assuming the role as the LGBTQ+ Advocacy Coordinator, and attending local churches and Reconciling meetings, regional Annual Conference of the OR-ID UMC Conference, and attending the national Reconciling Convention, I’ve been inundated by the use of words like “separate,” “welcoming,” “inclusion,” and “integration,” wondering if everyone was on the same page about using those terms, and where the movement towards full integration of LGBTQ+ people was headed in a largely oppressive ...

Greater NW Pride: A Kiss - 1/8/2019
A Kiss   A few weeks ago, sailor Bryan Woodington came home to Jacksonville, Florida, after seven months at sea on the USS Sullivan, and kissed his husband Kenneth, dipping him, like the iconic V-J Day kiss in New York City’s Times Square in 1945. The photograph, which showed both on Facebook and a local television network news feed, while garnering much praise, also drew critics and negative responses by those who were offended by two gay men kissing. All this, because two men kissed, and the...

Greater NW Pride: New Year’s Resolutions in 2019 - 1/3/2019
New Year’s Resolutions in 2019    In an article from Psychology Today, “Why We Really Celebrate New Year’s Day,” writer David Ropeik writes that New Year’s Day is, logically, simply the movement of the clock, from Monday to Tuesday. However, we put special, symbolic, and emotional charge to it, making one day “2018” and the next day, “2019.” The reason we celebrate New Year’s Day is something that is ubiquitous, tied to something intrinsic to or in our DNA as human beings, in which we give all...

Greater NW Pride: Forward Together, Not One Step Back in 2019 - 12/31/2018
Forward Together, Not One Step Back in 2019   In the Raleigh (NC) News and Observer newspaper, one of their traditions is to identify a citizen of NC who is “crowned” as the Tar Heel of the Year. This year, 2018, the Tar Heel of the Year is the Rev. William Barber of Goldsboro, NC.  He is also well-known for his work with the Moral Monday movement, in which many of us—myself included—participated in ongoing rallies in Raleigh, the capitol of NC, protesting against the Tea Party Republican ...

Greater NW Pride: Re-Hearing the Magnificat as a Gay Pastor - 12/20/2018
Re-Hearing the Magnificat as a Gay Pastor   This coming Sunday, Dec. 23rd, is the fourth Sunday of Advent. The Gospel reading is Luke 1:39-55, in which the latter part of this reading (vs. 46-55) is the famous Magnificat. The passage opens up with Mary setting out and, “with haste” makes it out to a Judean town in the hill country, where she has fled to the house of her relative, Elizabeth. These two women—both outsiders to the dominant culture because of their gender—share joy in their ...

Greater NW Pride: Baptismal Affirmation and Transgender People - 12/13/2018
Baptismal Affirmation and Transgender People   The Church of England recently issued rules to their priests on ways of being “creative and sensitive” as they welcome transgender people into the Church. Benjamin Fearnow wrote that the Episcopal Church’s “House of Bishops approved the pastoral guidance document that advises Anglican clergy to address trans individuals by their chosen names, rather than their birth names.  The move to welcome more transgender individuals into the church, the BBC ...

Greater NW Pride: World AIDS Day 2018 - 12/6/2018
World AIDS Day 2018   December 1 was World’s AIDS Day. Dec. 1 was founded as World AIDS Day in 1988. We have had 30 years of World’s AIDS Day, in which this is a day to unite against HIV, with people showing their support for people living with HIV, as well as to commemorate those people who have died. Currently, there are approximately 34 million people who have the virus, which was first identified in 1984. Over 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS.    These are the facts.   Then there...

Greater NW Pride: Reflecting on Thirty-Five Years - 11/27/2018
Reflecting on Thirty-Five Years   The invitation: “The Presbytery of Boston invites you to a celebration of joy and peace as Brett P. Webb-Mitchell is ordained as a Minister of the Word and Sacrament at Valley Community Presbyterian Church on Sunday, Nov. 27, 1983, at 10:30 am…and installation as Assistant Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of East Boston, Sunday, Nov. 4, at 2:30 pm.” On the outside of the invitation was a small boy in a too-large Genevan gown, with these words from the ...

Greater NW Pride: LGBTQ+ People and the Caravan - 11/21/2018
Being LGBTQ and the Caravan   With Thanksgiving before us, focusing on the religious pilgrims who sought freedom to practice their religion, and their first harvest meal in October 1621, that we now honor as a nation with a federal holiday. 90 native people and 53 settlers attended the first harvest festival that became our Thanksgiving. In light of this holiday, as a nation we are also aware that more settlers are on the border of California and Mexico, as a caravan of thousands of people ...

Greater NW Pride: "Boy Erased" and the Church - 11/14/2018
    At the center of the book and movie, “Boy Erased”, written by Garrard Conley, is the so-called conversion or reparative therapy. Conversion or reparative therapy is the dangerous psychological practice of “attempting” to turn a person who self-identifies as LGBTQ to being “straight,” with the underlying misnomer that “straight” is normal and good, and same sex attraction is evil or bad. The 19-year-old college student, Jared (who is really Garrard) is sent to an ex-gay Christian ministry, ...

Greater NW Pride: In Search of a New Home Church for a New Family - 11/8/2018
In Search of a New Home Church for a New Family   I am writing this blog with a new title in my life: I am a grandpa, or as I am calling myself, “Pops.” My daughter Adrianne and her husband Scott are celebrating the birth of their daughter, Edie! The news of the pregnancy was a note of coming attractions. The actual arrival of the child gave “birth” a whole new and dramatic shift in the tectonic plates of my family’s life. Upon Edie’s delivery into this world, new titles “birthed” too. The next ...

Greater NW Pride: Lessons from the Life of Mathew Shepard - 10/31/2018
Lessons from the Life of Matthew Shepard   In 1998, outside of Laramie, Wyoming, two men—Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson— beat up and robbed Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old college student who happened to be gay. Matthew was pistol whipped and left for dead for 18 hours, tied up to a fence on a remote Wyoming prairie outside of Laramie. He died five days later without regaining consciousness. For two decades, Shepard’s parents—Judith and Dennis—kept their son’s ashes near their home in ...

Greater NW Pride: Changing the Definition of Gender Matters to LGBTQ+ People - 10/25/2018
Changing the Definition of “Gender” Matters to LGBTQ People               In 1941, there was the creation of a scientific definition of “mental retardation” by Edgar Doll that was approved by the national body known as the American Association on Mental Deficiency (AAMD), and the federal government.  This definition considered a person “mentally retarded” based on social incompetence due to mental subnormality, which has been developmentally arrested, which obtains at maturity is of ...

Greater NW Pride: The Rule of St. Benedict, Hospitality, and LGBTQ+ People - 10/18/2018
What the Rule of St. Benedict, Hospitality, and LGBTQ+ People Have in Common



Greater NW Pride: In Search of a Connection with a Community of Faith - 9/27/2018
In search of a connection with a community of faith.

Greater NW Pride: Colonialism, LGBTQ+ People, India, and the Church - 9/20/2018
Colonialism, LGBTQ+ People, India and the Church   In the last two weeks I had an opportunity to be on pilgrimage in India.  When I arrived there on Sept. 4, 2018, “homosexuality” was considered a criminal act under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which banned any “carnal intercourse against the order of nature.” In other words, even as a gay man on a pilgrimage in India, it was best that I not say anything about being gay. That all changed on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, when the India ...

Greater NW Pride: Lessons from Camp Hope - 8/23/2018
Lessons re-learned about advocacy with people with disabilities and Camp Hope.

Greater NW Pride: The UMC It Gets Better Campaign - 8/15/2018
What would a UMC "It Gets Better" Campaign Look Like?


Greater NW Pride: More of my story, more of our story - 8/1/2018
In his second installment of his blog, Rev. Dr. Brett Webb-Mitchell dives deeper into his own personal story, while thanking those who have had the courage to be "out" in a sometimes unwelcoming church environment.

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