On Sunday, Sept. 16, The Rev. Jon M. Richardson will be installed as the seventh Rector of The Memorial Church of the Good Shepherd on The Oak Road in East Falls. He succeeds The Rev. Robert C. Smith, who retired in July.
Father Jon Richardson most recently served as priest-in-charge at St. Paul’s Church in Bergen, Jersey City. A native of Louisiana, Fr. Jon moved to New Jersey in 2004 to study at the Theological School at Drew University. Before that, he earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA. While at Drew, Fr. Jon studied abroad in Ghana (African Indigenous Roots of African American Spirituality), France (The Monastic Community at Taize’), and Jerusalem (Orthodox Liturgies of Holy Week and Easter). He is a 2006 graduate of the Episcopal Preaching Foundation’s Preaching Excellence Program and has studied Benedictine spirituality practices as they are used in local congregations. Additionally, Fr. Jon earned a certificate in Anglican Studies from the General Theological Seminary in New York. He has served as Director of Youth and Family Ministries at St. Peter’s in Morristown and as Associate Rector at St. Paul’s in Chatham, and continues his current ministry through August as priest-in-charge at St. Paul’s Church in Bergen, Jersey City.
Fr. Jon volunteers extensively with IntegrityUSA – an organization within the Episcopal Church supporting the full inclusion of LGBT Episcopalians in all aspects of the church – and currently serves as its Vice President for National Affairs. He has also been active on ministerial and ecumenical boards and commissions in the Diocese of Newark, and was representative to Diocesan Council.
Additionally, Fr. Jon has been very active in the Diocese of Newark, having served on the Board of Cross Roads Camp and Retreat Center, on the Board of the Gertrude Butts Fund, on the Commission on Ministry’s Committee on the Laity, on the diocese’s Ecumenical & Inter-religious Commission, and as the District 6 (Hudson County) representative to Diocesan Council.
Father Jon is eager to begin his ministry with Good Shepherd in the community, and looks forward to exploring East Falls and Philadelphia after he takes up residence in the Rectory next to the church. His sermons, theater reviews (which he does for fun), and other posts and observations can be read on his blog at www.JonMRichardson.com.
Father Smith’s eight-year ministry as Good Shepherd’s sixth rector was characterized by an ever-growing spirit of openness and fellowship. He instituted monthly healing services, sponsored seminars and study groups, and greatly increased the parish’s adult education offerings. He led the vestry into an innovative cooperative renovation agreement with William Penn Charter School which now holds its pre-K program in the restored church basement. With the imaginative leadership of his wife Lorene Cary, he welcomed and supported the renewal of the children’s ministries and Sunday School.