Dr. Joseph Fischer Ryan (“Skip”) is the Chancellor and Professor of Practical Theology at Redeemer Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas. Redeemer is an innovated educational setting designed to train for Christian ministry and to provide training in Christian themes for those whose vocations lead them to many other professions. Redeemer focuses particularly on the Christian formation of its students, seeking to develop in them capacities for devotion, integration of life experiences and a deepening sense of their own callings, all in a biblical and reformed context.
Dr. Ryan graduated from Harvard College and also studied at Union Seminary in Richmond and at the L’Abri Institute in Huemoz, Switzerland. He earned his Master of Divinity at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and was awarded the Doctor of Divinity from Westminster in 2000.
Dr. Ryan was ordained to the ministry in 1976. From 1976 until 1992, he was the founding and first Senior Minister of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, Virginia, a congregation that grew to 1800 where a third of its participants were faculty, graduate students and undergraduates at the University of Virginia.
From 1992 until 2006, Dr. Ryan was the first Senior Minister of Park Cities Presbyterian Church in Dallas, which was founded in May of 1991, and currently has 5,500 members and a staff of nearly 100.
During a sabbatical leave following his ministry at Park Cities, Skip was the Executive Vice-Present of Whitney International University in Dallas, Texas, which assists universities in the developing world through state-of-the-art technologies to educate people in their countries for whom post-secondary education has been previously inaccessible and unaffordable. These technologies are to be used at Redeemer Seminary.
Skip has been active in world mission ministries for many years. He has been the chaplain to the board and staff of Asian Access, an innovative mission agency serving in twenty countries in Asia. He has taught at the Japanese Institute for Church Growth in Tokyo and has traveled to the Far East, Africa and Europe to teach on numerous occasions. Most recently, Skip and his wife, Barb, spent five weeks in Bundibugyo, on the Congolese border of western Uganda.
In 1986, Skip took a leave of absence from Trinity Presbyterian Church in order to serve on the South African Working Group of the United States Department of State in Washington, D.C.
Skip and his wife, Barbara, have a son, Christopher, recently graduated from Stanford University, a daughter, Carey Elizabeth, just graduated from the University of Virginia, and Rebekah, a special needs daughter in high school.