Rev. David L. Slater, 77

Beloved pastor, husband, father, brother and friend, the Rev. David L. Slater, 77, died after a fall on the North Pier in St. Joseph late Sunday afternoon. He was taken to the hospital where he died surrounded by his family.

A Celebration of the Resurrection will be at Saron Lutheran Church in St. Joseph, Friday, August 25, 2017 at 11:00. Friends may greet the family at 10:00. Burial will take place on Saturday at 1:00 at the Cook cemetery in Burt, MI. Memorial contributions may be made to Saron Lutheran Church, St. Joseph, MI and First Parish Church UCC, Dover, NH. Those wishing to sign the guest book or leave a condolence online may do so at

David was born April 6, 1940 to the late Leroy and Jessie Slater in Muskegon, MI. On June 19, 1966 he married Constance Cuthbertson. He was educated at Taylor University, the University of Michigan, and New York Theological Seminary. As a Congregational minister, David was pastor to congregations in Manhattan (Broadway UCC), Brooklyn, NY (Cadman Memorial), Holyoke, MA (Second Congregational), and Dover, NH (First Parish). After his retirement he enjoyed several interim ministries, including Zion Evangelical UCC in St. Joseph.

God’s grace found a remarkable home in David. He ministered in welfare offices and courts, in jails and basketball courts. He inspired the young to follow Jesus. He took chances on people, he was a friend to sinners, and he sought the welfare of the communities in which he lived. David was an orthodox Christian thinker but unafraid of new expressions of faith; he was happy to see new light break forth from the Word. He preached with conviction and power.

David’s discipleship went hand in hand with his friendship. He was delightful company. He loved wordplay and games. His house was open to visiting relatives, guests (several long-term) and exchange students. He cultivated a wide and varied circle of friends.  He loved to travel, whether it was a Monday afternoon drive with his wife or a trip to Zimbabwe. He loved late medieval art and his wife’s cooking. He loved his sons and through his love taught them to love. David wrote beautifully, drew with pen and ink, painted marvelous watercolors, and wrote songs, poems and monologues. He was a talented puppeteer. He bequeaths to his wife boxes of old, albeit well-crafted sermons.

His grateful family includes his wife and partner in ministry, Constance; sons, John (Jenna Burton) Slater and Paul (Laurie Chalifoux); grandchildren, Cameron Slater, Vivian Slater, and Benjamin Slater; siblings, Joan (Fred) Sanderlin, Normajean (Gunnar) Carlson, George (Pam) Slater, Phyllis Slater, Clifford (Cheryl) Slater, Sherri Slater (Harry McCully), and Elizabeth Adkins; mother-in-law, Margie Cuthbertson; sister-in-law, Cynthia Cuthbertson, and brother-in-law, Timothy Cuthbertson.  The family is grateful for the pastoral care of the Rev. Joan Oleson of Saron Lutheran Church.

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