Rev. Elder Jean White was born in South London (England) in 1941 and grew up in a Brethren family. She received her training as a State Registered Nurse at the London Teaching Hospital, Whitechapel, London. Later she received training as a Midwife in Bristol and at the Elsie Ingles School of Midwifery in Edinburgh, Scotland and undertook a course in Tropical Diseases at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Liverpool.
In 1963 and 1964, White studied at the International Bible Training Institute in Burgess Hill, Sussex, and in Stockholm, Sweden. She obtained diplomas in general theological subjects; Old Testament, General Old Testament Exegesis, New Testament Exegesis, Greek, Early Church History, Christian writers course, History of Missions, Ethics, Non-Christian Religions and Mission principles and practices. In 1964 she went as a medical missionary to Macao, Southeast Asia. She served as a missionary in Asia from 1964 to 1970. Three of those years were spent under "compound arrest" in the "no-man's area", between Macao and the mainland of China, during the Red Guard uprising.
In 1970 she returned to England, worked as a Midwifery Tutor, undertook further Nursing management and administration courses, and remained working in a Senior Nursing Management position until 1981.
In 1972, the gay Christian group she was attending became a study group in the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches. Jean served on the Board of Directors, became a Deacon, then worship coordinator and later an Exhorter (student clergy). She applied and received licensing and ordination and became the Pastor of the London Metropolitan Community Church. She also served as Church Extension officer for the European North Sea District before they obtained District status.
At the Los Angeles General Conference in 1979, she was elected to the Board of Elders, becoming first Elder from outside the United States. She was reelected again in 1981, 1985 and 1989. She worked for the Fellowship as the Executive Secretary for World Church Extension and as Chair of the WCE Board overseeing Churches in Europe, Africa, New Zealand, South Pacific and Hispanic Americas. She retired from the Board of Elders in 1993 and stayed on as pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of South London.
Jean White died on Monday, November 8th, 2010, after an extended illness, survived by her partner of 20 years, Mary Smail.
(This biographical statement compiled by Frank Zerilli from info in MCC General Conference programs with some additional information taken from the Jean White Archive.)
Biography Date: March, 2010
MCC | Clergy Activist | London | United Kingdom
“Rev. Elder Jean White | Profile”, LGBTQ Religious Archives Network, accessed September 27, 2023, https://lgbtqreligiousarchives.org/profiles/jean-white.