Nancy E. Krody was born in 1939 in Cincinnati, Ohio. She received a B.A. in political science and sociology from Ohio State University in 1960. She subsequently completed two years of course work toward an M.A. degree in sociology, but did not write the thesis. During this time, Nancy was very active in the Baptist-Disciples Student Fellowship and in a statewide ecumenical student group.
In 1962, Krody enrolled in Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania. Martin Luther King, Jr., had graduated from Crozer only a few years earlier. She was the only woman student at Crozer and ranked academically at the top of her second-year class. During Holy Week of 1964, she came out to a faculty-student group that was planning Crozer's upcoming centennial. Following this revelation, Krody was told to move out of student housing and to live off campus. Although she took a couple of courses the following year, she did not complete the academic program at Crozer. She notes that she could not afford to go to probably the only seminary that would have welcomed her at that time--Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
Krody then spent nine years working as a secretary in the national setting of the United Church of Christ (UCC) and joined a UCC local congregation in the mid-'60's because of its justice and ecumenical stances; thereby leaving the American Baptist Church of her birth. She was the first woman elder and consistory president of the congregation. She became very involved with racial and economic justice issues through the Philadelphia Association of the UCC and the wider church.
Upon hearing of Bill Johnson's ordination in the UCC as an openly gay man, Krody contacted him in 1972. Bill and Nancy, along with a gay layman and a straight woman ally became the public face of the newly formed UCC Gay Caucus at the UCC General Synod in the summer of 1973. Bill and Nancy served as co-coordinators for a time; She handled the newsletter and treasury. Krody preached her "coming out" sermon in her home church. In those early years, She notes that all of the leaders of gay and lesbian Christian groups knew one another, since there were so few persons able to be publicly identified. Krody was often the lesbian invited to speak to other gay religious groups to help them understand why lesbians were not breaking down the doors to get in. Or she was invited to speak to national church meetings because other lesbians and gay men were unable to be publicly visible for fear of losing their jobs.
During this time, Krody was also involved in radical gay politics, particularly through the Susan Saxe Defense Fund and her trials. She also published Genesis III, the newsletter of the Philadelphia Task Force on Women in Religion, an interfaith group supporting women's roles in churches and synagogues, and, ultimately, lesbians' roles as well.
The UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns subsequently moved on to other leadership, and Krody turned to other pursuits with a partner who did not support her involvement in gay/lesbian movements. Her involvement with the church continued at all levels--local congregation, Association, Conference, and national boards and committees.
In recent years Krody has re-engaged in LGBT religious movements. She has been the co-coordinator of the Pennsylvania Southeast Conference chapter of the UCC Coalition since its beginning in the 1970s--encouraging congregations to become Open and Affirming and representing LGBT concerns at Conference meetings. Ecumenically, she has been active in the YES! Coalition, which grew out of the first ecumenical LGBT Christian conference (WOW 2000) and which subsequently helped host the second WOW Conference in 2003. She serves on the Council of the YES! Coalition as treasurer. She is also on the planning group for Out and Faithful, an interfaith program of the William Way LGBT Center in Philadelphia.
Krody was honored with "pioneer" awards at the 1991 General Synod of the UCC and and at the UCC Coalition's Gathering in 2004. For professional employment, Krody has been the managing editor of the Journal of Ecumenical Studies at Temple University since 1973. Since 1999, her life partner has been Pat Szabo, M.D., with whom she lives in Springfield, Pennsylvania. They were married on December 27, 2014.
(This biographical statement provided by Nancy E. Krody.)
Biography Date: March, 2006
United Church of Christ/Congregational Church | Johnson, William Reagan | Open and Affirming in the UCC (ONA & formerly UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns) | Activist (church change) | Gay Liberation Movement | Women and Religion | Pennsylvania | Philadelphia