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Rev. Laura Bethany Buchleiter is a pastor, speaker, writer, advocate, and consultant. She has over 25 years of experience in various Christian ministry settings. She speaks on topics ranging from gender identity and sexual orientation to self-care and wellness. In all her work Laura Beth draws heavily on her own experiences with PTSD, gender dysphoria, suicidal ideation, and the challenges that come with those when working in faith communities.
Laura Beth currently makes her home base in Indianapolis, Indiana, while traveling the country wherever she is needed as an interim pastor. She has lived all over the USA, including Puerto Rico. In addition to writing, speaking, and working with local faith communities, she keeps herself busy as an artist, musician, parent, and grandparent.
Laura Bethany Buchleiter was born and raised in a Christian, Military family. Her move to Indianapolis in 2018 was move number 28 to locations coast to coast in the United States and few years in Puerto Rico. She was baptized into the Methodist Church in Albuquerque, NM, confirmed in that tradition at a church in Chesapeake, VA. Was active in Young Life and leading worship for a Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) in Williamsburg, VA, studied Bible and Communications at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL, earned a BA from Dallas Baptist University and has worked in a wide variety of ministry positions and organizations.
Her life took a major turn when she came out as a Transgender Lesbian Woman in 2014. After nearly ten years in therapy and being told God would “fix” her gender identity, and following an attempted suicide, she began to see that the only thing that needed to be fixed was the limits she had put on God’s creativity. After coming out, she was also diagnosed with an intersex condition – further demonstrating that God has more in mind for our bodies than the traditional understanding of male/female genders. Since then she has been reshaping her understanding of God, church, and scripture.
Laura Beth was a member of the 2016 Leadership Development Cohort with the Reformation project and has presented workshops on topics ranging from understanding Gender and Intersex in a spiritual context to recovery from spiritual abuse. She planned and participated in the inaugural Free Mom Hugs Tour to Stonewall Inn in 2017. In the fall of 2016, she self-published a book entitled “Shattering Masks: Affirming My Identity and Transitioning My Faith.” The book is a collection of stories highlighting her journey toward living authentically.
She calls Indianapolis, Indiana where she recently earned a Masters of Divinity at Christian Theological Seminary. She was also ordained as a Minister of the Gospel by University Baptist Church in Bloomington, Indiana, aligned with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Along with Ordination and graduation, May of 2021 also marked the release of her first album, “The Seminary Sessions: More Than a Melody,” a collection of music written and recorded during her three years in seminary.
Laura Beth plans to spend the next several years working as an interim pastor both with churches facing challenging seasons of change and transitions and filling in for hard-working pastors taking much-needed sabbaticals. During this season when our nation – and our churches – are more divided than ever, she has a long-term vision for incorporating work as a spiritual director, artist, and pastor, with others in the fields of therapy, mediation, and wellness in a ministry centered on peace and reconciliation. Faithful, flexible obedience is the ultimate goal, embracing all the adventures that may come about.