Reverend Brian D. Hutchison is the senior pastor of Emerald City MCC Seattle. He accepted the post in 2015. At the time, ECMCCS had lacked a settled pastor for several years. His gentle, educational preaching style and dynamic leadership has guided Emerald City through Covid and a change of meeting space while continuing to look outside the walls of the church. He manages a young adult meetup group, he expanded the churches Do Unto Others ministry and embraced its prisoner letter writing ministry. Emerald City MCC Seattle is a small, family-sized church that has done mighty things under his leadership.
Reverend Hutchison was born in 1984 to Dr. Kenneth and Linda Hutchison in Iowa City, Iowa. With his mother coming from Iowa, and his father from Missouri, he was raised with Midwest values. After his father finished his Ph.D. in Iowa, Hutchison, now three years old, moved to Gaithersburg, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C.. He attended multicultural public schools from K to 12 while his father worked as a civilian for the U.S. Navy.
His Childhood Church:
From the time he arrived in Maryland, he and his mother were members of a local United Methodist church. Linda grew up Methodist and Kenneth grew up Christian Church Disciples of Christ (DOC). He was not baptized as an infant because the DOC does not perform infant baptism and his father wanted him to choose to do it if he was ready. Brian chose to be baptized and confirmed when he was twelve years old. In the years before that, he attended Sunday school almost every Sunday and attended Vacation Bible School every Summer. Brian shared that he remembers those times fondly, though he was a pretty shy and awkward kid. In those years, his church was moderate theologically and socially.
When he turned thirteen and joined the United Methodist Youth Fellowship, he had a conversion experience at a retreat and decided to embrace his faith in a more vibrant way. He read the Bible every day and wrote poetry from what he read. From that time until he turned sixteen, he was heavily involved in the church youth group. They went on mission trips and went to huge Christian festivals. Brian also sang with the Praise Team. His music choice was Christian rock music. The pastor of his Methodist church asked him to preach for the main worship services every time a month had five Sundays. He did so from age 13 to 16. He was also involved with an evangelical organization called Chrysalis, which had regular retreats and meetings. This is where he learned fundamentalist theology. At the time, he embraced it and he also joined Youth for Christ and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. As a teen, he was at church more days of the week than not.
His Call to Ministry:
Preaching came naturally for Brian. When a teen, his youth pastor and senior pastor encouraged him to consider ordained ministry someday. Brian said, “I admired the pastors of my church and I wanted to be like them. But beyond their influence, I also felt that God was calling me into ministry. I felt inner warmth every time I thought about my future as a pastor. Soon all of my program-sized church knew that I was the kid that was going to be a pastor someday. I was a bit too radical for that church, so some suggested I may become a Pentecostal.” He would, from time to time, attended a oneness Pentecostal church over those years, which fulfilled his desire for ecstatic worship.
Coming Out as Gay:
Brian said, “I knew I was attracted to boys as far back as I can remember. I had crushes on boys in my neighborhood and school from elementary school to high school. Of course, puberty magnified those feelings and I got to the point when I could not deny them anymore when I was sixteen.” He came out to a few friends, but the news soon spread to his church and high school. He came out to his parents before they could hear it from someone else. His father was crass with his response, but has since accepted Brian’s identity. His mother cried, but she soon accepted it with the help of resources from PFLAG and MCC.
Brian spent a lot of time in the church library as a teen. He read a large portion of the United Methodist Book of Discipline, which to this day prevents the ordination of “self-avowed practicing homosexuals.” He knew from that, once outed, he had no future in the UMC as an ordained minister. When his church found out, he was removed from his duties as a preacher, worship leader, and prayer leader. He was also forbidden to work with children. He was told that, by working with children, he would influence them to be gay. He continued attending worship there out of love for the people in his childhood church. However, he knew he needed to find another spiritual home.
Path to Ordination with Metropolitan Community Churches:
Brian, still in high school, found the gay community within the school and with them, a new circle of friends. They would often take the train down to Dupont Circle, which is the gay neighborhood of Washington DC. There, they would sit for hours at a gay coffee shop called Soho. He would read the Washington Blade, which was the local gay newspaper. In the back of the paper, MCC DC had an ad with the address and worship time. Brian shared, “I was terrified, but I showed up. I was intimidated by the fact that I was the youngest person there, so I began attending youth group at MCC of Northern Virginia.” He also attended Open Door MCC in Boyds, Maryland. These churches formed his early experience of MCC and became committed to service with MCC. Those MCCs fully embraced his call to ministry. They taught him the steps to ordination and exposed him to MCC culture.
After high school, Hutchison attended the University of Maryland, College Park. He served as a Peer Minister for the Episcopal Anglican Campus Ministry. After four years, he graduated with a major in Psychology and a minor in LGBT Studies in 2006.
After his undergrad, Reverend Hutchison attended Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California for three years, graduating with a Master of Divinity degree in 2009. During his seminary, he served a clergy internship at MCC San Francisco and a Clinical Pastoral Education internship at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, CA.
Marriage and Divorce:
Brian met his ex-husband at the beginning of seminary. He was in opera school in San Francisco. From Minnesota, they shared their midwestern culture. At the time, marriage equality was at the forefront, with Proposition 8, the measure seeking to prohibit same-sex marriage in California, on the ballot. They marched the streets of San Francisco for marriage equality before and after the proposition passed. At one marriage equality event, the San Francisco Chronicle took a picture of Brian and his ex-husband together and the picture was on the front page the next day. That left them both feeling like the “posterchildren for marriage equality.” When New York passed marriage equality, they flew to New York City and were married at MCC New York.
After ordination, Brian’s husband took the role of pastor’s spouse seriously. It’s often not an easy role to have. They held together through Brian’s church internship and his first three pastorates. They had a huge drag/leather closet together and performed at the same bars in New Haven, Connecticut, where Brian was pastoring the local MCC. After eight years they grew apart and the marriage ended amicably in 2015. Brian said, “I will always be grateful for my former marriage that included so many formative moments for the both of us.
His Drag Identity:
As an only child, Brian ‘s parents would sometimes go shopping on Saturdays and leave him at home. He shared he would go into his parents’ bedroom and put on his mother’s dresses, jewelry, makeup, and pumps. Brian shared, “It was all so magical to me! I was shamed when my father caught me doing it, but I kept doing it anyway because it was just so much fun.” After he was outed in high school, he went to school in drag a few times. He even performed in drag for a school talent show as Hedwig, from the musical, Hedwig and the Angry Inch. In college, Brian began hosting drag karaoke, which was the first time he was paid to perform. Brian shared, “In seminary, I loved to go out in drag or leather in San Francisco. I did some benefit shows there.”
In high school, Brian called his drag persona Shaquan. In college that name no longer felt right. When he was out with his gay college friends, they would go out to the gay bars and clubs, and flirt with the guys there. One of Brian’s friends would always ask him, “Are you tryin’ to get you some?” And that is when he found his drag name, Trina Getchusum.
Because of Reverend Hutchison’s long connection with MCC Washington DC, where he performed in the choir all four years he was in college, he insisted on being ordained at MCC DC with the choir singing throughout. Rev. Elder Darlene Garner officiated his ordination service on October 4, 2009.
After ordination, Rev. Elder Darlene Garner installed Reverend Brian as Pastor of New Covenant MCC in Laurel, Maryland. Unfortunately, because of a number of problems, New Covenant had to close. As difficult as it is to see your church shutter its doors, it was a profound learning experience for Pastor Hutchison. His next assignment was as Director of Volunteer Ministries for Sunshine Cathedral MCC in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In 2012, he was selected as the Interim Pastor at MCC New Haven, Connecticut. As an interim, his duties were to prepare the church for a new settled pastor. Another very good learning experience. After completing his duties there, in 2015, he accepted the position as senior pastor at Emerald City MCC Seattle.
Every Halloween, Trina Getchusum leads a costume service. Brian leads a young adult meet up group, acts as a mentor to clergy candidates, and serves as a Chaplain at Swedish Hospital in Seattle. He lives in Seattle with his partner, David, and their two dogs, Aura and Kohl.
(This biographical statement written for a Queer and Trans Theologies class at the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities by Megan Maki from interviews with Brian Hutchison and was reviewed and approved by Hutchison.)
Biography Date: March 2023
“Rev. Brian Hutchison | Profile”, LGBTQ Religious Archives Network, accessed March 27, 2023, https://lgbtqreligiousarchives.org/profiles/brian-hutchison.