Dr Edward P Echlin


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.


Edward Echlin adds water from the Yorkshire dales to the crab-apple tree to be planted at Wesley’s Chapel, London, on the occasion of the Christian Ecology Link (now Green Christian) Millennium Conference on 21 October 2000

Read the Tribute by Paul Bodenham (former Chair of Green Christian) printed in the Tablet on 7 Jan

Read the Tribute by Ellen Teague in the independent Catholic News on 2 Jan



Author: Paul Bodenham | Date: 31 December, 2019 | Category: News | Comments: 12

Comments on "Dr Edward P Echlin"

Paul Bodenham:

June 19, 2020

Thank you George, he was well loved by us all.

George Wray:

June 18, 2020

I knew Ed Echlin well. We both were in training with the Jesuits. He was a year ahead of me. We were great friends. I left before he did. Often visited his Mom and Dad.in Detroit Ed had a keen mind and a very personable spirit With The passing of time and the Jesuit forced separation We lost Communication many Decades ago. This Good morning , for no reason, I woke with the idea that I should check on him. Found this notice of his passing on the internet. He was well loved by me.


February 11, 2020

he was a lovely gentleman .his books were easy to read. I had the pleasure of meeting him at dick Richardson's funeral .blessings to his family .gaynor


January 15, 2020

So sorry to hear this, I didn't know him but wished I had. I would like to read his books, could anyone tell me if they are suitable for an everyday read or are they more for theologians

Ed Dovey:

January 6, 2020

Dear Barbara, So very sorry to hear of your loss. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Anthony roper:

January 6, 2020

A sad loss Barbara. What can I say. Ed was one of the good guys, he saw long before it crossed my radar that the earth, our home, needed help. I trust and pray that God will give you the peace and strength to make it through this difficult time. Kind regards Tony Roper

Stephanie Lodge:

January 4, 2020

Dear Barbara and family, Green Christian and Friends, We are very sorry to hear that we've lost a friend when Edward died, and what an unfortunate time when the season of the joy of birth is upon us. We also lose another valued environmentalist. We pray for the repose of his soul and the knowledge that his work continues. We wish you peace and justice and pray the world will be a better place for those who walk in peace to serve our Saviour Jesus Christ. God bless you all, Stephanie and Jim

Louise and Bob Summers:

January 4, 2020

We loved Ed for his practical and spiritual wisdom, his dedication to the earth, and his warmth and good company. No-one could talk about apples like him!

Martin Davis:

January 3, 2020

May Ed rest in peace! A good man who combined meekness of manner with strength of intellect.

Jerry Barr:

January 2, 2020

So sad to hear this news. Ed has been an inspiration to me since we first met over 20 years ago. It was a privilege to have had the opportunity to work with him at he Pentecost event in Cheltenham in June 2000 and to have shared time and thoughts since. His books are an important part of my library. Sue and I will be holding Barbara in our prayers. Jerry Barr

Elizabeth Heather Mugan:

January 2, 2020

What a wonderful person, and so aware and active in his work to awaken people to the link between Christ and the care for our living planet earth and our duty to cherish and guard it.

Mary Grey:

January 1, 2020

What a loss! I deeply appreciated Ed as scholar, friend and a wise resource for nature, the environment and all living things. Sadly missed and deeply mourned. Mary Grey

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