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Forrest Church's spiritual odyssey

Biography reveals moving model for spiritual growth.
By Kay Montgomery
Spring 2012 2.15.12

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Forrest Church

The Rev. Dr. Forrest Church. (Mitchel Gray)

Being Alive and Having to Die: The Spiritual Odyssey of Forrest Church. Dan Cryer. St. Martin’s Press, 2011; $27.99.

The Rev. Dr. Forrest Church was, arguably, the best-known Unitarian Universalist minister of his generation and certainly the most quoted. He was viewed with awe by many of his colleagues and followers for his ability to make theology accessible, for his wit, his intellect, his self-deprecating humor, and his warmth. The press loved him. He was also, sometimes, viewed with envy, suspicion, and, at one point, harsh judgment. Dan Cryer’s new book, Being Alive and Having to Die: The Spiritual Odyssey of Forrest Church, details Church’s life, public and private, but, more important, it captures what the subtitle offers: a spiritual journey. Eloquent, it neither lionizes nor carps at Church. Readers will find that even the bigger-than-life among us can offer a moving model for spiritual growth.


Browse Forrest Church’s writing for UU World; read a review of his final book; sample his biographer Dan Cryer’s writing for UU World.

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