Hello! My formal name is the Rev. Dr. Ronald L. Farmer, but please, call me Ron. I began my ministry at Oakland Christian Church on July 1, 2017, and I thoroughly enjoy serving as the minister of this warm, caring community of faith. Allow me to introduce myself.
Raised in a wonderful Christian family, I grew up on the High Plains of the Oklahoma Panhandle—quite a different landscape than Mid-Missouri! Being something of a science nerd, everyone, myself included, assumed I would go to medical school. But during my senior year of college, I experienced a call to prepare for a career in ministry instead.
After seminary and graduate school, I served for ten years on the faculty of the religious studies department at the University of Missouri. (Funny how life has brought me full circle, back to Columbia!) In addition to teaching biblical studies courses at MU, I also served as a campus minister. The next stop on my career journey was Cincinnati, Ohio, where for five years I served as co-minister with my wife, the Rev. Patricia Adams Farmer, of the Walnut Hills Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). While in Cincinnati, I also helped to create and then chaired a program in religious studies at the University of Cincinnati.
We next moved to California where for the next fourteen years, I had the privilege of serving as the first Dean of the Wallace All Faiths Chapel as well as an associate professor of religious studies at Chapman University. I was charged with creating an interfaith program that could serve as a model for the 21st Century. I also led in the design and construction of the award-winning Fish Interfaith Center, Wallace All Faiths Chapel, and Wilkinson Founders’ Chapel, a stunningly beautiful sacred space for all religions.
Needing an extended sabbatical, my wife and I sold everything—house and possessions—and moved (with our two cats and six suitcases) to the coast of Ecuador, one of the most ecologically diverse locations on the planet. For five years, we immersed ourselves in the stunning natural beauty, enjoyed the warmth of the Ecuadorian people, read widely, and wrote essays and a couple of books. To help support our extended sabbatical, I taught online classes for Brandman University, a member of the Chapman University System.
At the end of 2015, we moved back to the States—to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to be near family. After many months of much needed family time, we felt God’s call to return to ministerial service. Responding to that call that led us back to Columbia, where we both now serve as ministers of Disciples congregations. (Patricia is the minister of the Millersburg Christian Church in Millersburg, Missouri.)
I look forward to meeting you soon at one of our worship services, Sunday school classes, Wednesday evening prayer meeting and Bible study, or fellowship events. I know you will experience a warm welcome from our church family.