When Colleen Slater’s pastor, Bob Postma, went on a three week vacation from the First Presbyterian Church in Hoquiam in the early 1980s, Slater stepped up to take his place writing her first lay sermon. She led the congregation for one week and two other members, a teacher and a businessman, each took the remaining weeks. This set a precedent for Slater in in a direction of developing her own a personal spiritual teachings.
Slater was born in Gig Harbor, but her parents lived in Vaughn. Other family members resided on the Key Peninsula. When her husband Frank retired in 1989 the couple returned to Vaughn to be close to family.
Her spiritual connection continued here when they joined the Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church in Gig Harbor and they became involved in the ministry at the Washington Corrections Center for Women in Purdy. She recycled and shortened some of her prior lay sermons and wrote one new one for them.
Grace Presbyterian New Church Development was their next move. The church began with lay pastors, and Slater recycled and added a sermon there. The last lay sermon she wrote was for them in the mid-nineties.
When their current worship home, Historical Vaughn Bay Church, began worship services, the fledgling spiritual center asked Slater to preach until they located visiting pastors. Her sermons were recycled for the third time. She used some lay sermons in this setting until a roster of visiting pastors was set up.
Although some of the sermons were used in all four places, at least one was only used once. Included are some of the prayers used with the sermons.
In addition to her collection of sermons, she has accumulated a variety of other writings including six essays, most published as columns in the Peninsula Gateway.
“All of the pieces have been edited to some extent, and if I were to present them at a future date, I would likely make more changes,” Slater said. “However, these reflect the knowledge and understandings I had at the time, some of which have changed a bit over the years between.”
She wanted to get them printed for her family. L is for Leaping, is the title of one of the sermons. Local artist Kathryn Bronstad designed the cover.
Colleen is a staff writer for the Key Peninsula News and columnist for the Gateway. Her first book, nonfiction from the Images of America series of Arcadia Publishing, is entitled The Key Peninsula.A four-generational poetry book Blue Deer from Plicata Press came out in 2011.
Slater is working on publishing a nonfiction historical collection of writings from her Key Peninsula Pioneers columns in the KP News.