Cover photo for Ronald Wayne Sebring's Obituary
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1943 Ronald 2024

Ronald Wayne Sebring

May 14, 1943 — March 8, 2024

Independence

Ron “Preacher” Sebring was born in Moberly, Missouri, on May 14, 1943, and departed this life with a smile at 6:20 pm on March 8, 2024. It’s not that he was happy to leave; he very much wanted to stay, but after living with prostate cancer for the last 20 years and with no new bodies readily available, he knew it was time to go. He had lived the life he wanted, the way he wanted, and was grateful for each moment. Years of study, meditation, martial arts, and spiritual practice kept him present and peaceful until the very last moment. Surrounded by loved ones, he smiled, talked, and discussed everything from Tai Chi and art to spiritual contemplations and new writing ideas. 

During his professional life, Preacher served as a minister (hence his wife Connie’s nickname for him) in Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and California. The last church he served in was Northbrae Community Church in Berkley, Ca. from 2000 to 2011 before leading a congregation as interim minister in Vallejo, Ca. for two years. He retired in 2013, returning with his wife to Independence, Mo., in 2014. 

His formal education includes a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Divinity (M.DIV.) from Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma, and a Doctor of Ministry (D.MIN.) from San Francisco Theology Seminary. During his life, he wrote extensively about many topics, filling notebooks with thoughts, ideas, and contemplations. Some of these ideas, along with stories about the people around him, made it into his Sunday morning sermons, while other ideas reached discussion groups or students or stayed on the page for his eyes only. 

He authored one book, Inner Peace, about the Lord’s Prayer. But he did more than seek the wisdom of the mind. Under that contemplative veneer and meditative calm, beat the heart of an avid martial artist. For many years, he ministered to the congregation during the day, but in the evening, he would strap on pads and don his Gi, trading words for punches and kicks. All that training led to a black belt in Judo, a black belt in Shotokan Karate, a brown belt in Aikido, and the masterful flow of Tai Chi movement, which he loved to practice and teach. 

Through his humble manner and calming smile, it was hard to see the skill and wisdom Preacher carried. That is, until sitting down for a chat or spiritual guidance (as so many have). His light touched countless souls during his time on Earth. He was a teacher, a life-long learner, and a lover of knowledge with a great appreciation for all the sensei he studied under. A voracious reader, he curated an extensive, overflowing library reaching back half a century (literally flowing out of his office like a flood into the basement, storage spaces, and various nooks and crannies at home, in churches, and temples). Preacher studied psychology and the theology of consciousness. Beyond his love of learning, his greatest passion was teaching with a special emphasis on mysticism and world religions. To stay connected with his center, he enjoyed spending time in nature, meditating and communing with the trees, creatures, and Earth.   

Ron’s memory will be carried by friends across the country, and he is survived by Connie, his wife of 35 years; his brother Dave (Lynn); his children, Daniel (Melonie), Rhonda (Anthony), Christy (Kevin), and Shannon (Cassie); and his grandchildren, Madison, Ella, Wyatt, Meadow, Collin, and Brendon. In lieu of flowers, Preacher asked that donations be given to the Southwood United Church of Christ. And if you are so compelled, spend a few quiet moments observing one’s own mind, settling into one’s own peace, and smiling at the consciousness all around us.    

“To open the heart, clear the mind, relax tension from the body—herein lies a subtle but profound secret. It’s not the books one reads or the things one knows. It’s not how many Bible verses one can quote or how articulate one is in explaining beliefs. Emptiness is the first step toward approaching God. Attend. Love quiet.”            – Ron “Preacher” Sebring


Friends and family are invited to a celebration of life to be held at Southwood United Church of Christ at 7904 Raytown Rd, in Raytown, Mo., on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at 2 pm.


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