Photo by David Brenneman.
Roberta Showalter Kreider is a remarkable woman, now in her 70s, who called Chi Rho Press one day out of the blue. She said, "I am a 71 year old woman, married to a retired Mennonite minister in rural Pennsylvania and I want you to publish my book."
We were skeptical at first, but became captivated by Roberta's energy, faith, and vision. She believes that people's minds will be changed about homosexuality by getting to know lesbian and gay people of faith and hearing their stories. Her first book was a compilation of faith stories of LGBT people and we were proud to publish From Wounded Hearts: Faith Stories of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered People and Those Who Love Them, (now out of print).
Here is what Roberta writes about herself:
Roberta Showalter Kreider was born during a huge snowstorm on April 3, 1926, in a farmhouse near the small town of Inman in McPherson County, Kansas. Her three older brothers remember that they were sent upstairs to play and when they came down they had a baby sister. Two young cousins took a team and wagon across the fields to meet the doctor and bring him the remainder of the way. Roberta arrived before the doctor did.
She attended a two-room country elementary school near Yoder, Kansas. Her father was president of the small town bank and her mother was a homemaker. In 1943, Roberta graduated from a Mennonite high school in Hesston, Kansas.
Her preacher brother, who later became a psychologist, often asked her to teach summer Bible school in several states, including Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama, beginning after she was a freshman in high school.
There was a shortage of teachers during World War II, and after one semester of college, Roberta was granted an emergency certificate to teach. She and a friend boarded with a local family and taught in a two-room country school near Meade, Kansas. The first year she taught grades one through four and the second year she moved to grades five through eight, so another friend could teach the lower grades. As the upper grade teacher, she also served as principal. Janitorial services were shared by both teachers.
In April 1946, Roberta married Harold Glenn Kreider, a farmer's son from Palmyra, Missouri. He was ordained to the Christian ministry in the Mennonite Church in 1950. Harold finished college and seminary when their children were in elementary and secondary schools. The couple served in pastorates at Palmyra and Hannibal, Missouri, and Osceola and Goshen, Indiana. Harold served two terms as interim pastor in a team ministry at Perkasie Mennonite Church in Pennsylvania.
In 1983, they moved to rural Sellersville, PA, where they remodeled an old stone house with their daughter Evelyn and son-in-law Nelson Martin. The Kreiders live in the first floor apartment and the Nelsons and their three children live in the two floors above.
Roberta has always enjoyed books. When Harold was in seminary she worked part-time in the seminary library and after they moved to Pennsylvania, she worked part-time in the Resource Center of Franconia Mennonite Conference for seven years. Homemaking has always been a top priority for her. The couple has three daughters, four grandsons, and one granddaughter.
In their retirement years, Roberta and Harold are involved in seeking justice for their lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered friends and enjoy the many friends that God has brought into their lives.
Roberta's first book, From Wounded Hearts: Faith Stories of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered People and Those Who Love Them, an anthology of 49 stories, was published by Chi Rho Press in 1998.
Her second book, "Together
In Love: Faith Stories of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Couples" is
currently available from Chi Rho Press.
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