Edward Echlin died on 23 December. His funeral is at 12.30pm on Wednesday 15 January – which would have been his 90th birthday. The funeral Mass is at his local church, St Martha’s RC Church, Cooden Sea Road, Bexhill TN39 4SP. The Service will be led by Fr Rags Hay-Will, parish priest at Eastbourne, GC member and long time friend of Ed and Barbara.
After the Mass everyone is invited to St Martha’s church hall for refreshments.
No flowers please by request; donations are invited for the League of Friends of Bexhill Hospital or GreenChristian. Visit : https://edward-echlin.muchloved.com/
Ed was a prolific writer and speaker, and pioneering figure of the Christian environmental movement. Ed was born in Detroit, Michigan in the United States and was ordained as a Jesuit. In his early years he was at the leading edge of the revival of the permanent diaconate after Vatican II, seeing in it a model of humility from which the Church had much to learn. It was a foretaste of the prophetic and distinctive voice which he was to develop after leaving the Jesuits and marrying Barbara, his wife of 45 years.
He wrote his first book, The Anglican Eucharist in Ecumenical Perspective in 1968, plus many articles. When the permanent diaconate was restored he chaired the US RC Bishops Committee on the theology of the diaconate and wrote his best selling book The Deacon and the Church, Past and Future (1971).
From the eighties onwards he focused all his efforts on relating Jesus Christ to the Earth. He wrote The Cosmic Circle: Jesus and Ecology and Climate and Christ: a prophetic alternative (Columba Press, 2004 and 2010 respectively), and his early manifesto Earth Spirituality: Jesus at the centre (John Hunt, 1999). He was a frequent contributor to The Catholic Universe and journals such as Third Way and Spirituality- plus numerous articles in both academic and popular journals and magazines.
He was Chair Emeritus of Catholic Concern for Animals, Honorary Research Fellow in Theology, University College of Trinity & All Saints, Leeds and Visiting Scholar at Sarum College, Salisbury. He was a member of Green Christian, Garden Organic, Soil Association and other environmental NGOs. He had a passion for fruit trees and in the past year inspired the planting of 24 apple and pear trees, in church grounds, schools and individual gardens.
Edward and Barbara lived in Ripon in the 1980s and 1990s, then after that at Bexhill, growing lots of organic fruit and apple varieties in their garden at both places. They joined Green Christian – under its former names of Christian Ecology Group and then Christian Ecology Link. They formed Ripon Christian Ecology Group – Green Christian’s second local group – in the late 1980s. Barbara Echlin is now Green Christian Vice-Chair and Administration Group Convenor.