Church Vitality

Greater NW Pride: Moving the Needle

Brett Webb-Mitchell


Moving the Needle   When I was first hired to be the LGBTQIA+ Advocacy Coordinator of the OR-ID UMC Conference, Paul, one of my close friends, said that my job was “to move the needle.” What needle? On the “gauge” of LGBTQIA+ justice and equality in life, on one end of the gauge it might read “empty” or “few,” as in separation or segregation and exclusion of LGBTQIA+ people, and on the other side of the dial is “full” as in all The United Methodist Church congregations in the OR-ID UMC ...

Greater NW Pride: Is God Gay?

Brett Webb-Mitchell


Is God Gay?   My answer, as the blogger, is yes.    This is not the view of any official theological position of any denomination, including The United Methodist Church or Presbyterian Church (USA), which is the denomination in which I am ordained.  And my response to this rhetorical question is yes. God is gay.   Background. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the increased use of non-gender specific language in society and in the Church (universal) in terms of how we address one another.   Many ...

Greater NW Pride: Recognizing NBHAD (National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness DAY)

Brett Webb-Mitchell


Recognizing NBHAD (National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness DAY)   February 7th was NBHAD, National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.    As Drs. Stephen Tang and Giffin Daughtridge wrote on, it “is a day to highlight the disproportionate impact of HIV on Black communities, to celebrate the work of Black HIV advocates, and to support Black people living with HIV in America. We also celebrate the efforts of our local and federal partners, the HIV workforce, and community advocates who have ...

Greater NW Pride: “My Name is Pauli Murray”

Brett Webb-Mitchell


“My Name is Pauli Murray”   For over twenty-five years of my adult life, I lived in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. My Ph.D. came from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (UNC-CH), in special education with a focus in the humanities. My doctoral studies were split evenly between UNC-CH and Duke University in Durham, NC. I got to know the “Tobacco Mile,” as the road was called between the two campuses, well.  I lived in Durham, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Pittsboro, NC. ...

Greater NW Pride: LGBTQIA+ Young People and the Church

Brett Webb-Mitchell


LGBTQIA+ Young People and the Church   “When did you know you were gay?” is a question I am often asked in this work as the LGBTQIA+ Advocacy Coordinator. As I’ve said before on this blog and in many conversations in many church groups, I was either in the second or third grade at the time. I simply found myself more interested in young boys my age rather than young girls.    Here was a pseudo-test for figuring all this out. Many people are asked when they kissed or wanted to kiss a person ...

Greater NW Pride: Symbols Matter

Brett Webb-Mitchell


Symbols Matter   Symbols and signs in our culture matter. They are indicators of what direction a people and a culture are taking. The difference between a symbol and a sign is that “a symbol can convey a deeper and more complex meaning than a sign. A sign is an indicator or marker for something very specific, very concrete and, in general, unambiguous in meaning. ... A symbol conveys a message of deeper meaning and is open to interpretation.”   Another way of saying it is that symbols, more ...

Greater NW Pride: Inclusive Language: Update (Again)

Brett Webb-Mitchell


Inclusive Language: Update (Again) When I was born, and during my early, formative years of life, the Bible that I read, and the society in which I lived, used words such as “mankind” and “men” as all-inclusive words.  "Father God" was normal language. Even in 1969, the astronaut Neil Armstrong uttered the phrase on the moon: that’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” And women were to feel included in such phrases.  The idea of anyone being non-binary gender was not on ...

Greater NW Pride: Landmarks

Brett Webb-Mitchell


Landmarks In a recent, year-end, issue of Portland’s alternative newspaper, Willamette Week, there was a review of the changes in Portland in 2020 since the arrival of the COVID 19 pandemic. New leaders sprung up around the city. New habits we have picked up (masks, anyone?). New issues came to the light of day that had long been hidden. And landmarks around Portland had closed. One of those landmarks is well-known in the Portland LGBTQIA+ community: CC Slaughters.   Reporter Shannon Gormley ...

Greater NW Pride: Pondering

Brett Webb-Mitchell


Pondering   In the Gospel of Luke, the word, “ponder” is used twice in the first two chapters. The first time is when the angel Gabriel visited Mary, saying, “’Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greetings this might be” (Luke 1: 29). The second time was after Mary was visited by the shepherds who came with a message from the angels, in which “Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart”(Luke 2:19)....

Greater NW Pride: The Ten Year Anniversary of the Repeal of DADT

Brett Webb-Mitchell


The Ten Year Anniversary of the Repeal of DADT   On December 22, 2020, we as a nation, especially in the LGBTQIA+ community of US citizens, will have something to celebrate. We will celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the repeal of the dreaded, awful, Rube Goldberg-inspired, compromised and compromising DADT policy in the US armed services.   What is DADT? For those not familiar with this abbreviation it stood for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” It is an historic practice that was evil.   A bit of ...

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