Franciscan Servants Ministries

Our chapel of Saint Francis in Jackson, NJ is the center of our ecumenical ministries, including free nursing home ministries,  free Christian counseling,  and ministries to the homeless, as well as weddings, funerals and music ministries on a free will offering basis. Unfortunately, our building is in a residential zone and due to its size does not meet the public requirements for tax exempt status as a Church.

     The property taxes have more than doubled in the last 10 years and currently cost $7500 annually.  Since Fr. Davidson is retired, his fixed income puts him well below the poverty level. The irony of the situation is that Franciscans typically spend most of their time ministering to the needy, and rarely have wealthy friends. While there is no monthly mortgage payment , the tax arrears are currently threatening to cause a foreclosure, forcing  us to forfeit our property, his home, and consequently, access to the various ministries to which we have been called in our community for many years.

   Please help us pay the property taxes so that we may continue answering God's call to minister to the poor and needy in Ocean  and Monmouth Counties, and tell your friends about us.

If you have been blessed by God through the ministries of Franciscan Servants of God's Grace, please share your experiences with us.

I have known Fr. Richard for 3 years now. He is holy man of God, and he needs our help. He has been invaluable to me and I don’t know what I would do without him. He has taught me to trust in God and not focus on myself, and I know he has helped a lot of other people, too. He has never charged me or turned me away because of an inability to pay. In my current financial condition I could not afford to pay for therapy through traditional means, and I certainly can’t afford to pay his taxes, but honestly, if I had it, I would give it to him.

   He ministers to whoever God calls him to help, and never gives a thought to money. Unfortunately, this means he usually ends up giving away his considerable expertise for free. As a result, he is a far better priest than a businessman, and even though he has almost nothing, he continually gives away his resources to those he perceives to be in need, to the neglect of his own needs.

If we don’t help him now to show our appreciation for what he has done for us, I don’t know what will happen to him.

John Capuano

About 3 years ago Fr. Richard and I were singing at a Christmas Eve service at Trinity in Red Bank. After the service it was about midnight and we were both hungry. We found that the only place open was the Irish pub about a block away. We went in together looking for something to eat, me in street clothes and him in his habit. The place was doing a brisk business. We didn't get as far as the bar before someone stopped him and asked him for some advice. I sat at the bar waiting for him and within minutes the man next to me began to confide in me that he was going through some difficult times and was really in need of some emotional support and some good advice . Not being religious, that man wouldn't have gone to clergy with the questions he was asking me, and the one who had approached Fr. Richard probably didn't even notice that I was there. I have seen on many occasions that when the two of us are together, God shows up. Divine appointments, he calls them. We were just looking for some food and found that it was really important for us to be there when we were there, because two people really needed us there at that moment for them.

Miracles. They have become commonplace to me. I have learned to expect them. I have also learned that perhaps the most effective way to minister for God is to just get out of the way. I have grown spiritually more under his tutelage than from all the Bible classes in all the Churches I have ever been in. Although many would look at my life and see failure, I have learned, like Paul, to be content in whatever circumstance I am in, and also that the things I have are worth far more than the things I lack. The greatest joy I have known is having the sense of being used by God in miraculous ways, and He has given me eyes to see. It is difficult to know what to say that would help others understand the importance of the work that Fr. Richard does, but I know what it has meant to me. I can only say that in my view there is no cause more worthy of your financial assistance than his.

In Christ,

Greg Hartline

               Father Richard is someone whom I have known for less than a year now, and yet in this short time I have developed a deep level of respect and admiration. We met after either a rehearsal or the performance of a “God and Country” patriotic concert led by Nancy Scharff at King of Kings church in Middletown. We met again several times throughout the summer by the fact that we were both participating in the annual Choir Fest on God’s green acre in Ocean Grove, NJ. We both share a love of singing to the glory of God, especially when surrounded by over 900 voices. Our acquaintanceship developed into a friendship through a mutual friend, and as the months went by we have performed together more frequently, and I have had the honor to witness Father Richard in his element, sharing the gifts that God has given him with all whom he comes in contact.

               While I am not currently a regular member of the choir at Trinity Episcopal Church in Red Bank, NJ, I have sung there several times this past winter.  Father Richard sings there and has an additional gift which he shares in his musical ministry with his skill as an organ builder, particularly in voicing the organ for optimal sound quality. He has retired from the profession of organ building and yet freely gives his time and skill in organ voicing, working with the resident organist Allan Robinson, to assure that the music heard during services is at its optimal best to enhance the worship experience of the attending congregation and visitors. This gift he has given freely has saved that church thousands of dollars, and it brings joy to the organist and the choir to hear the fruits of his labor in the voicing of the organ.

               “People watching” may sometimes have a negative connotation, but having the opportunity to watch Father Richard interact with others is inspiring and meaningful. He is such a kind and loving person. Despite his physical limitations, he always smiles and shares his humor with everyone. He is always willing to counsel anyone in need at the drop of a hat. Whether it’s while grocery shopping, going to the bank/ post office, at a restaurant, or after services, it doesn't matter. These divine interventions happen daily. Many times he finds himself at the right place and time to help someone desperately in need, and it’s amazing to see that it usually happens in places he hadn't planned to visit. But he was meant to be there to help those whom he has helped with compassion and prayer. His gift of counseling has been shared with the community in His time and when they were in need.

               It is difficult for me to put concisely into words, all of the things I have seen in the time I have known Father Richard, but I will say that no other friend of mine gives so freely of himself to help others. I know of no one else within whom the spirit moves so evidently. In everything that he does for those in need around him, he asks for nothing in return. I know of no one else more deserving of help with the taxes so unjustly mandated. Please pray about it, and if you are able, ask God to help you find an amount that you can contribute to help this wonderful servant of God’s grace.

In Christ’s Love,

Holly Hartline

I have known father Richard for at least 18 years. He is  a wonderful man.   He's a good Christian.   He helps people when in need and he's been there for me when      I needed help.  He's also helped other people in his ministry.   He's passionate and understanding.  I'm begging when people read this message that you please help him because he's a man of God and he's doing the Lord's work.   Again please help him so we can keep his ministry going please.  Donate whatever you can.  
Thank you .

Roger Downing

       I have known Fr. Richard Davidson for more than 20 years. When I first met him, he was a lay member of an Episcopal church. I watched him respond to the call to become a Franciscan and observed the changes in him as he began, more and more, to live Franciscan spirituality.  I was there when he was ordained a deacon. The presence of the Holy Spirit was not only palpable to me but evident to almost everyone who attended. Many remarked upon it. I was present at his subsequent ordinations as well. I did nursing home ministry with him for a number of years at Country Manor Nursing Home in Toms River (now defunct). I served as his lay reader, altar server, and prayer partner.  Fr. Richard served several other nursing homes as well.  Although nursing homes have become a smaller part of his ministry, he still continues to do nursing home ministry on a monthly basis.

               Fr. Davidson is a Franciscan priest and founder of Franciscan Servants of God’s Grace.  Although he says he is retired, he continues to give all of his strength and energy to whatever God  calls him to.  Except for building church organs and loudspeakers, every other ministry he does is at his own expense.  Fr. Davidson was ordained in the Anglican tradition by Bishop David Guthmiller, a bishop in the Holy Ecumenical Anglican Catholic Church.  Two other bishops – a bishop with Roman Catholic apostolic lines and a bishop with Eastern Orthodox apostolic lines – laid hands on him at his ordination.  With Bishop Guthmiller’s permission, he was subsequently ordained a minister in the free Baptist tradition.     I attended all three ordinations – deacon, priest, minister.

               Why so many ordinations? It became obvious as soon as he began nursing home ministry that Fr. Richard has been called to an ecumenical ministry.  Most of the residents who came to the services we conducted were Roman Catholic.  However, when Fr. Richard invited one resident to come join us, she said, “Oh no, I can’t.  I’m Presbyterian.”  After hearing that he was a Baptist minister   as well as a priest, she came to the service and quickly became one of our regulars.

               Fr. Richard is a gifted counselor.  I know some of the people he has counseled and have observed the growth – and, in some cases, the major transformation – in their lives, through the grace of God poured out through this man.  When my mother was in her final illness, he traveled out of state with me several times to visit her in various hospitals.  For decades, she had sought the divine in Eastern religions and Native American spirituality.  I had tried for years without success to introduce her to Jesus.  Fr. Richard explained the gospel to her in a way that broke through all the            bad theology and misconceptions that had driven her away from Christianity.  From what she said to  me before she died, I am convinced that she died a Christian.

               Fr. Richard is also a talented amateur singer who sings weekly with a church choir. He also sings special concerts, throughout the year, with various other choirs and choral groups.  You may have seen him at Choir Fest in Ocean Grove.

               Fr. Richard exemplifies the lack of materialism  for which the Franciscan order is known.  He lives frugally.   Although his income puts him below the poverty line, he doesn’t hesitate to share his meager resources with friends or strangers who are in need.  He has repeatedly opened his home to people who otherwise would not have had a roof over their heads.  He has allowed them to live with him for months and, in several cases, years.  In this increasingly secular world, he is a truly counter-cultural figure – a man for whom no part of his life is secular but all, to the best of his ability, offered to God.  Fr. Richard is the real deal.

               I am grateful for my longstanding friendship with Fr. Richard.  I am amazed by his many talents and in awe of the ways God uses him in so many ministries.  I was a candidate in Franciscan Servants of God’s Grace but realized that the life of a Franciscan sister was not for me.  Yet, having tried to live as a Franciscan, I can see more clearly than most how much the vow of poverty has become central to Fr. Richard’s life.  Although I have given him what I could and will continue to give as I am able, I cannot pay his taxes.  I hope that you who read this will help to do so.  If Fr. Richard loses his home, his ministry will have to cease, to the detriment of many people.  You can help prevent this.

 Yours in Christ,
Janet Birckhead

It was several years ago when I met Fr. Richard at a Steve Lonegan campaign rally, when Steve was running for the Senate in New Jersey.  As a Secular Franciscan, I was impressed to learn that he was a Franciscan priest and was involved with the Coalition of Judeo-Christian values:  Faith, Family, and Freedom and several other organizations that I was very interested in myself. 

After campaigning for Steve Lonegan, we worked together on many various religious and political events – including celebrating the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity; the National Day of Prayer; participating in a monthly prayer meeting for the state government of New Jersey at the Trenton State House; and many other similar programs. 

Fr. Richard has demonstrated many times how his deep love and faith in God has moved him to take action to assist in reforming our political system and culture to the ideals set forth in the Bible.  He is very passionate, zealous and dedicated to the work God has given him.  As a Franciscan Servant of God’s Grace, Fr. Richard never puts limits on what God asks him to do.  For Fr. Richard serving God is not a 9-5 job, not a business proposition. He is on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Fr. Richard is a tireless worker in the Lord's vineyard, always ready and willing to serve.   

Fr. Richard has opened his home to the homeless on several occasions, at great inconvenience to himself. He welcomes anyone that God puts in his path and offers the Gospel message of love, mercy, compassion, kindness, faith and hope to all. 

He is doing God’s work and puts his own needs last. He is now forced to confront his own needs because the bank is threatening to foreclose his home. He is reaching out for help at this urgent time. Please be generous to Fr. Richard, a servant of God who needs help to continue his divine mission.

Pax et bonum,
Dorothy O’Reilly, OFS

   I am writing this proclamation of truth in regard to what I know of Father Richard F. Davidson, my friend, mentor, and Father in the faith. Is he a great teacher, is he holy and pure, does he follow Christ?   If you don’t know there is not any need in reading this. All of the things I have stated above I shall prove in my following statements. We shall see if the above be true as well. It should be true in all Servants of God!

   Father Richard was put to test in all aspects of the faith before me in my two years of residence in his home while recovering from a near fatal attack of complete neuropathic nerve failure, TSD, herniation’s of 1/3 of my disks and severe intestinal dysfunction caused from parasites picked up from foreign countries.

   He began to teach me not by reading or quoting, but by living. He lessons were humility first in dealing with a totally sick man in his private residence. Him being a very private man since the passing of his wife had become a “Franciscan Servant of Gods’ Grace.” Now a very injured, dysfunctional and sick man had entered his world. I observed him to be always busy with PEOPLE, counseling those not of his parish, but anyone who called and needed to talk. To the wee hours of the morning I listened as he patiently imparted courage, hope and faith over the phone to a number of different people who were desperate or just plain lonely.

   He would rise early in the morning and be off to either be finishing an organ system he would build from scratch, even the electronics and making his own cross-overs to insure the sound was exactly matched to the system and the house of worship. Occasionally he would even do work for greedy self-centered organizations, which to my liking are as phony as the day is long, and then not be paid his hard labors. He loved building these sanctified machines of magnificent sound. I would go over with Brother Ron to listen to their finished product. Ron is a well accomplished organist and friend of the Servants of Gods’ grace.

   He teaches all by his actions of love faithfulness and kindness. I have read in the Holy Word of God that perfect love casts out all fear. That love covers a multitude of sins. I have learned by Father Richard that perfection and Holiness come from a love, I believe, Americans have forgotten. Greater love hath no man than that he lay down his life for his friends. Does this mean one time or is it greater to have laid down your own desires to love your friends and family every day?

   Father Richard allowed me to store my things in his house and take a spare bedroom to continue the editing of all the film I had shot while with CNN, ESPN, TURNER, WMCN, and more to make DVDs that would be a help to veterans and others in developing their inventions. First I was hospitalized at the VA Hospital in East Orange, New Jersey and ridded of the parasites, then later had obtained a drink called Nopalia that enabled me to walk on my feet again. I began to walk more and more until I was getting around much better. The winter would torture me such that I could not sleep. He never put a yoke of tension or what I should do on my shoulders, which may have killed me. The VA only now, five years later after letting me suffer and even once again leaving me for dead, is taking notice! I began to come back to life enough to be able to move to Florida while seeking what I was entitled to 40 years ago.

Have mercy as we have been shown mercy. Father never required either I pay rent or be thrown to the street. Did he sit with me and gossip about his friends and speak all manner of evil about them?  No, we talked about science, his latest project, politics, current events, his latest TED Speaks video, engineering, language and religion. He made his friends my friends and I was healed emotionally on a first round. I learned it is not the church congregation, but the heart of those where you are.

   I ask you now, if you have been moved in your heart to help support the continuing ministry of Fathers counseling, trips to the hospital, nursing home ministries,  volunteering in the Ocean Grove Choir, the Trinity Church Choir, and the Garden State Philharmonic Chorus.   Please contribute what you can.

Yours in Christ,

Richard R. Langley
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FrRichard Davidson Fsgg 
Jackson, NJ
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