Br Andrew efo


Pastor and religious serving in the Blue Mountains Franciscan Church in Springwood Winmalee
Rev Br Andrew Blair Efo

I am 62 years of age and have been a clergyman and religious brother for the past 12 years. I entered the Ecumenical Franciscan Order on July 13 2003, made my simple Profession the following year on the evening of 3rd July and was Ordained Deacon in the Ecumenical Catholic church of Australia the following day.

My birthplace was Sedgley in the U.K where I lived until I was a girl of 12 and 11 months before migrating to Australia with my family. After a marriage spanning 1972 – 1999 I divorced being part way through sexual reassignment surgery which was completed in 2001. My  husband and I had two sons, now grown, one with four children of his own.

In May 31st 2003 my wife Jessica and I were married at the Pro- Cathedral of Sts. John the beloved and Mary Magdalene at Francis Street East Sydney NSW Australia.

I have always lived with a close connection to the various churches to which I have belonged, serving as Chorister, Lector, catechist yet it was at the age of 9, well before any of this began that I first realised my difference.

When I was 14 I became a born again Christian in the Baptist Union Church in Lawrence in the far north of NSW and right away I began to be presented with overwhelming realities of me that needed accepting and reconciling. I questioned God as to why, when I had just given my life to him had this released itself from the depths of me to torment me until I was 46 years old.

Things are different now. The Ecumenical Catholic Church of Australia is a refuge for those living on the margins, the rejected, the abandoned, the falsely treated and for all whose lives have taken them beyond the canons of the Catholic church.

Likewise the Christian Community of the Holy Redeemer is an exciting, non-denominational space for people to reconnect with the Jesus who walked beside us and to learn from him.

End note – the Ecumenical Franciscan Order parted company with the ECCA to found the Blue Mountains Franciscan Church Inc. another  exciting, non-denominational space for people to reconnect with the Jesus who walked beside us and to learn from him.

We began functioning as a Community on 4th October 2015 and I was Ordained Priest that morning.

63 thoughts on “Br Andrew efo

      1. Just sending my thanks. As for my absence, the early part of the year is always a doozy, for me. Plus I’m taking the blogging course, a was contemplating starting over.

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  1. Your story fascinates me. I once held fast to Evangelical Christianity and would have told you nothing could shake the foundation of my faith. Yet, events occurred, awakenings were had and I emerged a better and more complete person once I’d shed the too-tight skin of a faith that was silencing me. It sounds like your faith has evolved and deepened as you have.

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    1. Yes Amy but there were many times that I walked in darkness. I had to change most of my fundamentally held beliefs about the Almighty and about the meaning of Scripture. Even now I find myself in dark places and having Bipolar disorder + clinical paranoia – yes I just read your post – mine is the variety where at times i fear my truest friends are about to stab me in the back or abandon me or falsely accuse me. Since they are all Christians – I suppose I could say that sooty foot is about.

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      1. Your transparency is refreshing. I don’t remember experiencing that in my Christian community. It’s quite a testimony. You have tremendous courage.

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      2. I am sorry that you didn’t Amy, though I am not surprised, sometimes it is very difficult for people to stay ‘churched’ when so much is going on in their lives and minds. Even as Christians we care too much what others’ think and if they express their thoughts it can be too much for some of us to cope with. I used to belong to a Mental Health Support Group called GROW which is a 12 Step programme, it helped me deal with my physical and mental issues and though we were not supposed to be particular about our Higher Power most of us were Christians.

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  2. Hello Br Andrew,

    Thank you for checking out my blog…

    I converted to Catholicism in 1994 with the intention of joining the Order of Conventual Franciscans.

    I was accepted into the order but decided against it at the last minute.

    I still have faith in the Franciscan mission.

    Good to see your blog and to learn of your work…

    I look forward to reading more…

    Rob Goldstein

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    1. Thank you Bob, it’s great to get to know another Franciscan. I became a Catholic in 1984 but now work as a Non-denominational Pastor – Ordained by a Celtic catholic Priest – we have a Community that is a mixture of Catholics and Protestants. The Church Community is a Mission of our Franciscan Order

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  3. What an amazing path your steps have taken! Your faith shines through it all, and I honor you for it.
    It is very difficult to remain faithful to your beliefs and your self when the Church of your faith ignores, marginalizes, or even condemns you for it. I left the Catholic Church over 40 years ago because I saw its message changing to something with which I could not agree. I have hope for the Church now that Francis is its leader, but I have changed enough that the Church is no longer for me.
    This does not mean I do not have faith; it only means my view of the Power that guides us has changed. I have expanded my viewpoint and the underlying sources of my belief and moral code. To paraphrase a quote, one does not need to be a (insert organized religion here) to be a good and moral person.
    I am glad your journey has led you to a place you consider Home, and to a work you feel is worthy.

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    1. Our Faith is the gift of God and doesn’t depend upon our denomination, it doesn’t need to be expressed in a ‘kosher’ environment to be true and real. God liberated me and you from the walls of denominational bricks and mortar, our faith shines through from within and isn’t put on like a cloak as we step into the doorway of ( insert organized religion) it doesn’t follow rules of engagement but is led by the Holy Spirit.

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    1. Yes, there are two orders of Ecumenical Franciscans – there is the Order of Ecumenical Franciscans of the USA and there is us – the Ecumenical Franciscan order of Australia aged 13 on 3rd July this year, we are Ecumenical because one can belong to any denomination, we have Romans, Anglicans and swinger who has florid Mania and is sometimes Roman and sometimes Baptist.

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      1. The differences are that we accept all humans and their lovers and spouses and we arrange for the ordination of women in our church. Also any othe r human with a vocation, GLBT etc
        franciscansonthemountains.WordPress. com

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      2. Dear Robert – The Order was founded by an Independent Catholic Bishop whose Apostolic Succession comes via the Old Catholic Church – our Orders are Valid but irregular, therefore the Order has quasi status within the Roman Church; Our Mission Church The Franciscans of the Blue Mountains belongs to the Southern Cross Association of Churches which is a world wide Association that gives us our own denominational status.So the Order has status within an International Association of Churches and the Order is accepted by some Mainstream Anglican Franciscan Chapters and not others.

        That is for those for whom this matters elseways we are considered heretics.

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      3. In Australia I am not sure whether if anyone who whent through the R.C.I.A. through Acceptance Australia would be accepted – I suspect yes, because here Acceptance (equivalent of Dignity) is Accepted by the Australian Catholic Church and the priests who provide Mass are approved by the Diocese.

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      4. My baptism was done through St Boniface Cathedral and it was performed by an Ordained Minister.

        I did find it interesting that I was accepted into the Order even though I was openly gay–but there were alot of openly gay men in the Order…I guess chastity was more of an issue…

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      5. I guess they did when I went through my conversion. Because, to be honest, I’m asexual and have been for decades. I do have a partner and we love each other very much–but sex is not important to us.

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      1. It was hard for me to write about the person in that photo from an ‘I’ perspective. I wonder, though, if most adults look at pictures of their teen selves and feel as if they are looking at other people. I’d love to know.

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      2. Strange – perhaps, even surprising but not alien, at that time I was temporarily more concerned with passing exams and in 1972 I had the weird idea that Marriage would solve things – well of course not.

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  4. Dear Br. Andrew, I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. See my blog for more details, if you’d like to participate. best, EnglishLitGeek

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    1. Hi, I am in two minds, I have been nominated before for this award and also owe Robert M Goldstein the work for another. I’ll give it another go – sorry to sound so half hearted, last time I came across so many award free blogs among my regulars.

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      1. No obligation whatsoever. Awards are good for sharing and also a way to encourage my readers to visit blogs I love to read. Peace.

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