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.

64 comments

  1. Hey Br Andrew, just wanted to thank you for checking out the poem. It means aot. Also I wish you continued success in the future & beyond. #NOTHINGSMatters, but You!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 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.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 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.

      Liked by 1 person

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

        Like

      • 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.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. 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

    Like

  4. 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.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 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.

      Like

    • Dear warjna, I missed you since I have not visited this page for some time. I feel you have not become lost nor have deserted because hierarchical practice is not for most of us. I am sad to say that due to my wife’s health and a disagreement with our small hierarchy I have left the new wave, and so no longer have a Parish. Jessica and I attend the Hope Uniting Church in Maroubra Junction because it is only 10 minutes away and it gives her the people contact she was missing. I have two Preaching engagements coming up with members of one of the new Communities which is close enough to get Jessica and her wheelchair to it.

      Like

  5. 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

    Like

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