Our Interesting Person of Grass Lake this month is Den Slattery, of the Grass Lake United Methodist Church located at 449 E. Michigan Avenue.
After being introduced to God’s word while serving in the Marines during the Vietnam war, Den would study the Bible in the daytime but still lived like the devil at night.
While home on leave, he heard of a free concert in Ella Sharp Park and after hearing the praise and singing by The Good News Circle, he answered the call to come forward and give his life to Christ.
Den felt called to become an Army Chaplain but was told he did not have the education or training. He left the service still determined to serve the Lord in uniform. He enrolled in nearby Spring Arbor College and while working on his degree in psychology, met a beautiful young woman named Karen. The two hit it off right away, and in 1979 became man and wife. She wanted to continue her education at Ball State University in Indiana. Den enrolled at nearby Anderson School of Theology and earned a Masters in Psychology and a Masters of Divinity.
For his Master’s Thesis on demonic possession, he interviewed thirty five psychology professors at various colleges in the state of Indiana area. Most of them discounted the belief of demon possession, even though none could site empirical evidence to support their claims. He recalled a number of unusual and evil incidents that happened even as he worked on that project.
As he and Karen were continuing their education, Den was part of the Army Reserves. With his degree in psychology, he was qualified to work at a VA Hospital on the mental ward, which he enjoyed very much. However, he soon discovered that he was not eligible to be a Chaplain Candidate while serving in that capacity.. He finished his two year commitment and then applied with the Army National Guard and in 1982, became a Chaplain Candidate.
Karen and Den welcomed their first daughter, Kristen soon after. Following graduation from seminary, Den entered Fort Monmouth, New Jersey’s Army Chaplain School. He was on his way to one more of his goals.
Soon another daughter, Darcy Joy arrived and two years later, a son, Derek James (DJ).
The family was now in Michigan and Den was pa storing two churches and in the National Guard when he felt called to go active duty. He applied to the US Army, was accepted and soon the family was on their way to Fort Hood, Texas.
This assignment was a real blessing for the family. Den was a Battalion Chaplain and loving it, Karen and the kids were making friends and life was great.
Yet almost two years into his stint Den learned that the Army was cutting back and that a number of the seventy plus chaplains at Ft. Hood would be asked to take an ‘early out’ of the service. He prayed for guidance and soon was impressed that he was to leave and earn a doctorate at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois.
A series of events that could only come from God made it possible and the family left Texas for Michigan. Den earned his Doctor of Ministry degree in 2001.
Dr. Slattery turned to another item on his “”Bucket List” as he published his first book, “From the Point to the Cross” in 1992. That book became the basis for two other books, “Changed by War” and “Transformed by Christ” both are selling well around the country. Den has since published ten more books and has taught other people how to get published at writer’s conferences.
In 1998, Major Slattery retired from the military after 26 years of service. Then in 2012, Den retired from the Methodist ministry, but his journey with God around the world and our country wasn’t completed. Soon he was asked to come back and take over the ministry of the Grass Lake United Methodist Church. “God has worked miracles in my life, almost daily, and His Spirit can do the same for everyone,” he concluded.