Liechty, Ruth Conrad Papers
Span Dates: 1935-2009
Volume: 4.5 linear feet
The personal papers of Ruth Marie Conrad Liechty include her journals, school work, writing projects, family correspondence, correspondence related to the Welcome Committee and the issue of homosexuality, and family papers related to her parents Louetta (Kauffmann) and Daniel Conrad.
Ruth Marie Conrad Liechty was born to Daniel and Luetta (Kauffman) Conrad on December 17, 1931, in Wayland, Iowa. She had three siblings, Edwin, Willard, and James. On August 17, 1959, she married Stanley Liechty of Orrville, Ohio, and together they had three children: Jonathan, Jeanne (Michael Dickens), and Jered.
Ruth graduated from Goshen College with associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in Elementary Education (1952 and 1958). From 1952 to 1956 she taught in a one-room school in rural Iowa along with Bible and Sunday school classes at her home congregation, Sugar Creek Mennonite Church. She earned a master’s degree in Elementary Education from Indiana University in 1968. Later in life, she completed seminary coursework at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana.
Ruth and Stan were active in several Indiana Mennonite congregations over the years, including Waterford Mennonite Church, Mt. Pleasant Mennonite Church, Holdeman Mennonite Church, and Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship (BAMF). During this time, Ruth was also active in the broader Mennonite Church and contributed writing to denominational publications for children. At BAMF, Ruth served as elder and office administrator. She later held administrative positions at AMBS with the Institute of Mennonite Studies and the Pastoral Studies Distance Education program.
According to her pastor, Ruth was a theologian at heart who “read widely, thought deeply, and engaged others about important theological questions.” In the 1990s, she became a founding member of the Welcome Committee, one of the first organizations in the Mennonite community to advocate for the full inclusion of LGBTQ people in the life of the church. In the following years, she edited a booklet series called “Welcome to Dialogue” as a resource for Mennonite congregations exploring the intersection of faith and homosexuality. Ruth died on March 23, 2009, at the age of 77.
A brief online finding aid is available.
This collection is at the Mennonite Historical Society
3145 Benham Ave.
Elkhart, Indiana, USA 46517
Activist (religious institutions) | Ally | Mennonite Church USA