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Greater NW Pride: In Search of a New Home Church for a New Family


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 generation gave birth to mom, dad, grandmas and grandpas (we are all choosing our version of these age-old titles), great grandmas and great grandpas, along with uncles and aunts galore. It is a profoundly moving time in our lives, filled with much gladness because all are well, and growing, and changing, daily if not minute by minute.
So, as a Minister of the Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA), I raised the question with the new family: have you thought about joining a church? A baptism? Baptizing both of my children in a congregational setting (Presbyterian polity), I would savor the opportunity to baptize another generation of this family. A seed is planted.
This led to the next question: which church? And which denomination? Scott was raised in a Congregational church (UCC) and Adrianne was raised in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and United Methodist Church. There are plenty of all three churches representing all three denominations, along with Lutheran (ELCA), Disciples of Christ, and Episcopal Churches as well, to name a few more. And this is where the situation gets awkward. My children were raised in churches that were, by and large, welcoming of all people.  People who are LGBTQ and straight; of various races, ethnicities, nationalities; genders; age; socioeconomic classes; people with disabilities; people from the deaf community and hearing community. We spent time in churches where not only was worship a central part of congregational life, but equally so was education, discipleship, service, and fellowship. As a new grandparent, not only am I committed to do what I can with this political mess we are now in, prompted by this birth to act for a better world, but my hope is that the church they attend will be welcoming of all. My hope is that this will include the United Methodist Church in the very near future.

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!