Greater NW Pride: Welcome to Greater NW Pride Blog: Storytelling


Greater NW Pride: Welcome to Greater NW Pride Blog: Storytelling


7/12/2018

   

Welcome to Greater NW Pride, the blog post for me, the LGBTQ Advocacy Coordinator of the OR-ID United Methodist Church Conference. I started in this position in late February 2018, and this has been a fascinating time to re-enter the UMC. As an out, open gay Presbyterian clergy in the Presbyterian Church (USA), and in a position that is totally funded by the Collins Foundation of Oregon, I am in the novel position of being in but not of the UMC system. But first things first: a little introduction to who I am.

     I was born in Brooklyn, NY to parents who were Baptist (mom) and Congregational (dad), and instantly thrown into a theological question: believer’s baptism or infant baptism?  The Congregationalist won, and I was baptized as an infant.  We soon moved to Maplewood, NJ, and joined Morrow Memorial Methodist Church. I sang in choirs, attended Sunday School with perfect attendance, and found my niche in the life of the Church. 
            
     When I was 12 years old, my family made a move to Portland, OR, in which we joined First UMC of Portland, where I was confirmed when I was 13 years old, and finally allowed to participate in Holy Communion. It was also the year (1968) that the United Methodist Church was born. However, in the height of the Viet Nam War, my parents transferred to Valley Community Presbyterian Church in Portland, OR, and my enthusiasm for all things related to the church moved over to the Presbyterian Church (USA). And during this entire time, I was learning to construct and live in a closet of my own making as a young gay boy who had no idea of what to do with his attractions and desires, hopes and dreams, as the message was clear from the system and culture—family, friends, school, church, youth groups, media, movies, tv shows—that formed me that being a “homosexual” was “bad”, and being a “heterosexual” was “good”.  That was the binary choice: homosexual vs. heterosexual, bad vs. good. Sadly, to this day, this very message is still being rolled out not only in the US, but around the world, continuing to make an impact upon the very lives of young people in our families, schools, churches, and youth groups today.  

 

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!


 

 


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Brett Webb-Mitchell

Rev. Dr. Brett Webb-Mitchell is the LGBTQ+ advocacy coordinator for the Oregon-Idaho Conference.

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