History of GreenSpirit Magazine

This article was written especially for our magazine by GreenSpirit Council member Chris Holmes, to coincide with the magazine’s 25th Anniversary Year.


Spring 1999 saw the publication of the first GreenSpirit magazine (it was then known as a journal) and thus 2024 marks its 25th anniversary. It has maintained a consistently high standard throughout its seventy plus editions and though I may be thought biased I truly believe it to be one of the best of its genre. Given that GreenSpirit is a small charity with but one part-time coordinator, this is quite an achievement and speaks to the passion inspired by the GreenSpirit movement.

While the longevity of such a magazine is naturally dependent on the quality of articles and the overall management of the enterprise, there is another very important aspect, the spiritual dimension, which is integral to its past, present and future. Reader’s lives can be touched and transformed by an article, a poem, an illustration; indeed, my experience is that the whole magazine may be a comfort and a consolation. Just knowing that others feel as you do is so energising – it is so good to know that we are not alone, that one belongs to a community of fellow seekers. For those who contribute articles or other items to the magazine, there is the sharing of one’s knowledge and experience and the excitement of new things emerging as one engages in the creative process. This particular contribution of mine focuses on the editorial teams who, over the years, have invested so much of their energy and skill. Producing magazine after magazine is a very creative process involving a great deal of hard work and considerable managerial ability. This is not the place to detail the process of publication (surely an article in itself) but suffice to say that a great deal of planning and execution is required across a range of disciplines; it is much more than collating, reading and, if necessary, suggesting changes to the various contributions!

A word of apology, dear reader, before you move on. I have tried to include as many names as possible in this article but if I have left out anyone with close association to the magazine then please forgive me. There have been so many wonderful contributions over the years and the GreenSpirit website shows a sample of the well over 500 articles which have appeared in the 70 plus publications – all available to membership. The website also includes my personal view of the overall history of the movement which gives the wider context for the history of the magazine.


The roots of the magazine lie back in the 1970s when Guy Dauncey produced and edited ‘Interchange’. I have not seen any of these early issues but I believe the main inspiration was the French Jesuit palaeontologist Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) who did much to bring science, religion and mysticism together, resulting in almost constant difficulties with his Order and with the Catholic church hierarchy. His influence is still very much with us today. ‘Interchange’ initially ran from 1976 to 1983 and was a popular and well thought of publication.

The 1980s were years of rapid growth in Creation Spirituality and the visits of Matthew Fox to the UK in 1987 and 1988 gave much inspiration to the fledgling movement. His book ‘Original Blessing’ (1982) had proved very influential and had synchronised with the rapid expansion of the environmental movement and some radical social movements such as eco-feminism. In 1989 Interchange was revived, with Petra Griffiths as editor and in the first issue of the re-launched magazine Guy Dauncey commended it enthusiastically.

Petra wrote in this first issue that it had “largely grown out of activities taking place between July and September 1988, many of which took place at St James’s Piccadilly which provided a home for Creation Spirituality and some vital funding during its early years”. GreenSpirit has much to thank St. James for and in particular its then Rector, Donald Reeves, who invited Matthew Fox to speak and gave strong encouragement to the emerging movement. Donald contributed a number of articles to Interchange.

In Autumn 1997, the then editor, Alex Wildwood addressed in his editorial “the vexed question of a possible name change as part of clarifying our identity and focus.” That Autumn, at the AGM of the ‘Association for Creation Spirituality’ (which is still our charity name) the name GreenSpirit was chosen; around this time a number of organisational changes were made which put the movement on a sounder financial footing. The late Chris Clarke (who was Professor of Applied Mathematics at Southampton University) was Chair during this critical period. Apart from his contribution to the movement overall, he also wrote many excellent articles for the magazine.

In the summer 1998 issue Alex Wildwood wrote that “Whilst seeking to be true to the foundational work of Matthew Fox and others (particularly Thomas Berry), we must also reinterpret Creation Spirituality for our situation and cultural historical context”. Soon after the change in name went a change of office, moving out of St. James to the home of Ian Mowll, the new coordinator, in Stratford East London.

In Winter 1998 the final edition of Interchange was published with Alex and Jane Horton as editors. Looking towards the new millennium they asked, “Will it truly be an earth millennium honouring all members of our sacred earth community?” The jury is still out!

Interchange was a journal of a high standard, always containing radical and thought provoking articles, still relevant three decades on. However, change was afoot, and this followed on from the changes that were happening in the wider movement.

The magazine in its older format, from Spring 1999 to Winter 2009.

Into the New Millennium

The first edition of the ‘GreenSpirit’ was published in Spring 1999. The editor was Jean Hardy, Michael Colebrook was the production editor and Ian Mowll was responsible for producing the newsletter pages. As previously mentioned, in these early years it was referred to as a journal, a word which matched the flavour of Jean’s background in academia. From the beginning the articles and appearance were of a high standard and the editions from these early years seem full of wisdom and still very relevant in their subject matter.

There were three editions each year, which given all the work involved meant that the editorial team had very little ‘down time’. Fortunately Jean had a wide circle of people keen to write articles and was the type of editor who had no problem in rejecting or ‘correcting’ material which she considered inadequate! After five years Jean decided that it was time to lighten her load and set up a system of sharing editorial duties. In the Summer 2004 journal, Jean wrote that Marian McCain, Don Hills and herself would make up a new editorial team, with Michael Colebrook continuing as production editor. Ian Mowll would turn the ‘Events’ pages into a more informal eight page news sheet specialising in organisational news and events, thus freeing up space in what was still termed the Journal. This became known as ‘Graffiti’ – the first issue was in September 2004 and it ran until May 2010. By this date the use of email was widespread and given the costs of running six printed publications each year it was decided to move GreenSpirit news to a monthly online newsletter.

Jean retired as editor in 2006, having given seven years service and a huge amount of energy to the publication. GreenSpirit was indeed blessed by her presence; her last editorial was in the Winter 2006 edition. However, any concerns there might have been about the future of the magazine were soon put to rest by the excellent editorial qualities exhibited by Marian and Don and the continuing guiding presence of Michael. Jean Hardy’s place in the team was taken by Jean Boulton, a physicist and an expert in complexity theory. Jean was an editor for 4 years and contributed many excellent articles.

The winter 2009 magazine was Michael Colebrook’s last as production editor; he turned 80 in November of that year and had given marvellous service for all 33 editions. Page 5 of Winter 2009 was dedicated to some very moving tributes to Michael, a marine biologist who combined his scientific expertise with a profound understanding of spirituality. Turning over the page of that edition we find one of Michael’s many articles for the magazine, ‘Symbiotic Fungi and the Soil’, a perfect example of his making good science and its spiritual dimension accessible to a wide audience. With his wife Erna he also wrote a number of booklets and it was Michael who was responsible for the GreenSpirit logo, the spiralled shell of the nautilus mollusc.

Michael’s role was taken over in 2010 by Steve Wollaston, aka Santoshan. Steve (I use the present tense because he is still very much part of the team) is a professional designer and has been vital in helping create the superb visual appearance of GreenSpirit. Steve has contributed several articles, edited a number of wonderful books, and written one for GreenSpirit publications.

The magazine in its new format, from Spring 2010 to the present.

The ‘Teen’ Years

The next few years saw some comings and goings in the editorial group. Jean Boulton left the team in 2011 and Victor Anderson, author of a number of articles and booklets, joined. In 2012 Don Hills retired from the team due to some health issues. I have a ‘soft spot’ for Don as he was the first GreenSpirit member I ever met (following a talk given at St. Mary’s Balham by Joanna Macy) and he was persuasive in a very pleasant way. I had no hesitation in joining GreenSpirit, a movement I have felt at home in for a quarter of a century.

Following Don’s departure the magazine saw a period of several joint editors. With the closure of Graffiti Ian Mowll had returned to the main editorial team and by the Winter 2013 edition there were six joint editors listed – Katie Hill, Mirella Ferraz, Fiona Tilley and June Raymond, plus Ian and Marian, both of whom had now completed eight years. Ten years on and Marian and Ian are still editing! Perhaps this is the right place to express GreenSpirit’s indebtedness to both. Marian who with her many book publications (notably GreenSpirit: Path to a New Consciousness, 2010) and her work on Council apart from the magazine has had a profound influence on the GreenSpirit movement. Ian has performed myriad roles within GreenSpirit and we are blessed with a first-class administrator who has also made a major contribution to the magazine over more than two decades. Sister June Raymond who joined the team in 2013 (and was later Chair of GreenSpirit) has continued to write wonderful articles.

The present editorial team consists of Marian McCain, Ian Mowll and Joan Angus (a long-time member of GreenSpirit and author of a number of novels) with contributions from Piers Warren and Steve; the quality of articles remains as high as ever. There are now two issues a year rather than three, as so much more is now available on the GreenSpirit website. The superb GreenSpirit calendar, produced by Steve, Ian and Piers, has in part replaced the third issue.

The magazine is available both in print and computer file format. In 2017, GreenSpirit changed its printers to Anglia Print. GreenSpirit is delighted to use these printers as they are environmental pioneers and a shining example for the UK printing industry with numerous external certifications.

Current GreenSpirit Publications Team: Ian Mowll, Marian Van Eyk McCain, Piers Warren, Joan Angus, Steve Wollaston/Santoshan.


My sense is that when the magazine began there was, despite all the emerging evidence, a societal scepticism and no shortage of hostility regarding the importance of green issues and associated spirituality. Twenty-five years on and while green issues are now ‘mainstream’ there remains much to be done. Resistance to the radical societal change required to shift the consciousness of humanity runs deep and while many organisations and institutions profess green credentials, much of this seems to be on the surface. Change is not easy!

Reading editions from over three decades of the magazine and its predecessor, Interchange, has been an enormous pleasure. Writing in a different context, Teilhard de Chardin used the phrase ‘a look out point on the Universe’ and that is what the history of the magazine feels like to me. Both the Universe without, our outer ecology, and the Universe within, our inner ecology and showing how these are held together.

Sadly, some of those associated with the early days of the magazine are no longer with us: Michael Colebrook died in 2012, Jean Hardy in 2017 and Don Hills in 2018. I believe they would be very pleased with today’s publication which continues to explore the spiritual paths essential to the transformation required by humanity.

Pdf: Reflections on the Magazine from the Publications Team (from the 25th Year Anniversary issue).