Roland Reimer remembered for work as district minister

Retired SDC district minister and pastor known for his wisdom, encouragement


Roland D. Reimer, retired Mennonite Brethren minister, died Jan. 25, 2019, at the age of 85. Reimer and his wife, Lois, who survives, were in pastoral ministry for 40-plus years.

Reimer served as the Southern District Conference minister for 13 years, retiring in 2003 after traveling an estimated 350,000 miles in that role. As the district minister, Reimer helped lead the SDC into a time of increasing organization, programs and resources. He worked hard to connect churches in the district and to build a sense of community among the pastors.

Tim Sullivan, current SDC minister, remembers Reimer for his compassion for pastors and their families and his regular visits when Sullivan was a new pastor. “Roland’s experience gave him wisdom that I didn’t have for certain things, so he often served as a counselor for me,” Sullivan says.

“He was also fiercely loyal to the larger community of Mennonite Brethren and encouraged pastors and churches to engage in the larger family, something that I’ve come to value increasingly through the years,” says Sullivan. “He was also well-connected within the larger U.S. and Canadian churches and leadership. That allowed him to bring a broader view to things.”

Reimer was born on a farm in southern Nebraska and attended Tabor College for two years where he met his wife. After their marriage, Reimer did his alternative military service and a short stint in agricultural work before being called to ministry. He returned to Tabor College to finish his degree and then moved his family to Fresno, Calif., where he attended MB Biblical Seminary (now Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary), graduating in 1964.

With Lois an integral part of his work, Reimer pastored churches in Topeka, Kansas, and Denver, Colorado, returning to California to earn his doctorate from Fuller Theological Seminary. After his graduation, the couple went back to Kansas and Reimer taught at Friends University, Wichita, before assuming the pulpit of First MB Church in Wichita.

Reimer was involved in marriage enrichment programs and ministry to fragmented families. He was involved in the Recovery of Hope counseling program.

Deeply involved in the larger church throughout his career, Reimer served in numerous national conference positions and was a frequent member of district and joint U.S. and Canadian boards of faith and life. Reimer also served on the boards of Mennonite Health Services, Prairie View, a mental health facility in Newton, Kansas, and Tabor College.

He was a member of the Center for MB Studies advisory board at Tabor College, serving since 2007.

“Roland had a long and faithful career among Mennonite Brethren at many levels of our conference,” says CMBS director Peggy Goertzen. “When Roland spoke, we listened. His words carried weight and influence, because he drew his words from Scripture and experience.”

Reimer is survived by his wife, children Karen and David, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Reimer’s memorial service was held Feb. 2, 2019, at Buhler (Kansas) MB Church.


  1. My connection with Roland was very brief. I learned to know him as a 24 year-old while serving with a summer project in Denver, Colorado with MDS in 1974. On Sundays some of our team congregated with the Garden Park believers, the church he pastored. I have been reminded of him over the years remembering him as kind man who because of his caring demeanor made one want to listen carefully to his words, either from the pulpit or in private conversation. His legacy lives on, just as God plans it for the good and faithful servant.

  2. Roland was a wise and caring voice in our conference. He led my ordination service as I became General Director for MBMSI in 1991. I always respected his counsel.

  3. Roland was the mentor that directed me to the new opening for a “president in training” at MB Foundation back in 1996. I appreciated his support as I served on staff at Belleview Acres Church, his coaching as I explored re-entry into paid ministry, and working alongside him in the District the first 7 years at MB Foundation. I valued his life and friendship very much.


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