Former bishop of Central Newfoundland remembered for message of kindness and hope

Bishop Edward Marsh is remembered by colleagues for his optimism, respect for others even during a disagreement and his advocacy for radical faith in Christ's mission. Photo: provided by the Diocese of Central Newfoundland
Published August 17, 2023

A former bishop of the diocese of Central Newfoundland has died at age 87. Bishop Edward Marsh led the diocese from 1990 to his retirement in 2000, after which he continued to serve the diocese in various parishes on a fill-in basis. He died in Gander June 28. 

During his career, Marsh held incumbencies in parishes across Newfoundland, did mission work in Africa and India and served in numerous volunteer appointments, including as president of the International Order of St. Luke the Physician, an interdenominational organization focused on the ministry of healing. 

Donald Young a now-retired bishop of Central Newfoundland, worked alongside Marsh for more than 10 years, from 1990 to 2000. He remembers Marsh for his calm and intentional presence, ministry to the elderly and sick and his compassion and composure, even during a disagreement. These qualities were vital, he said, during a tenure that saw contention between liberals and conservatives in the diocese. 

“I’ve never seen him get disrespectful or even get upset. He always listened,” said Young. 

Marsh would bring parties to life playing the piano and never forget the name of someone he had spoken to, he said. 

In the early 2000s, Marsh and his wife Emma spoke on a conference call to the Order of St. Luke, preserved on the order’s website, in which they spoke on the issues then facing the church, which included the rise of a culture of cynicism and doubt, the decline of church membership and the scattering of efforts across numerous plans to reclaim the relevance of Christian ministry. In that speech, Marsh articulated a message of hope for the Order of Saint Luke, and for the application of Christian love in ministry. “Could it be, my friends, that we need to ask more difficult things of God?” he asked. “Are we afraid to ask too much, fearing it would change our ministry and life too much?” 

The critical thing for ministry work, he said, was to cast off distractions and keep the vision of Christ’s mission fixed in mind.  

“The essential vision has varied from age to age, but it is always available to be renewed.” 

Marsh is survived by Emma, their two daughters and six grandchildren.  


  • Sean Frankling

    Sean Frankling’s experience includes newspaper reporting as well as writing for video and podcast media. He’s been chasing stories since his first co-op for Toronto’s Gleaner Community Press at age 19. He studied journalism at Carleton University and has written for the Toronto Star, WatchMojo and other outlets.

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