e-books from Gannett House

William Channing Gannett
author of "The House Beautiful"

51 Reflections at 51, available July, 2013

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I wrote and refined this collection of reflections throughout my midlife passage, from my mid-30s through my early-50s, completing the project when I was 51 (1998).

A fundamental realization of full midlife is a sense of mortality that puts one’s life into existential perspective. For all of us, the midlife passage highlights a host of issues. It is in midlife that more sober reflection puts Self into a universal context and provides personal perspective.

I hope you will find these 51 great quotes and my reflections on them inspiring—well-considered counsel by a kindred spirit.

"Teaching the World to Die:  Unitarian Universalist Attitudes Regarding Death"

KINDLE edition available July, 2012

From their beginning, Unitarians have reformed American deathways. 

They significantly influenced, intellectually and practically, how the greater culture deals with the overarching reality of the human condition: mortality and death. The means of reform included antebellum innovations of the rural and garden cemeteries, late nineteenth century advocacy of cremation, a mid-twentieth century memorial society movement, and a long evolution of human-centered funeral and memorial services.

Unitarian innovations and reforms cited in this essay
  • served to domesticate death in the name of the universal human condition; 
  • challenged traditions and the supernaturalisms that supported those traditions; 
  • resisted the commercialization of death by a funeral industry; 
  • and lifted up the dignity and worth of the deceased through artful and meaningful “celebrations of life.” 
As a consequence, there is a palpable Unitarian Universalist way for meeting death with humanity,  dignity, and meaning. 

EdwardSearl, a Unitarian Universalist minister, is the author of the UU classic, In Memoriam: Modern Funeral and Memorial Services.