Rev. Linda Slabon

Minister Emerita

On July 16, 2017, Rev. Linda Slabon retired after 26 years as minister at UUFD. On that same day, the congregation bestowed upon Rev. Linda the title of "Minister Emerita," in honor of her many years of faithful service to our congregation. We are grateful for Rev. Linda, and to her spouse Toni Tollerud, who served for 26 years as our music director, for their leadership and dedication over these many years.

Here is a selection from Rev. Linda's goodbeye message (see the full message in our June/July 2017 Pathfinder), which explains what it means to be minister emerita:

In March I wrote, “I am not being a good minister if I hide from feelings or pretend that the status quo will just keep rolling along. It won’t.  What comes now are Sunday services where I talk about the transformation ahead, meetings with leaders and members as I beat the drum of transition even though you may not like it, and rituals that bring us together even as we think about letting go.” 

It is incredibly hard to accept that Toni and I have only 3 Sunday services left at UUFD.  How did this leaving come upon us so fast?  I have raised the issue for two years and I set goals at the May 2015 Congregational Meeting that I indicated as my priorities.  These goals included the completion of the Building Our Future Campaign, holding a social justice focused WomanSpirit Conference that raised money for UUFD, celebrating the four young adults who completed the UUFD Bridging & Coming of Age program on May 14 when they gave their CREDO statements, and increasing our UUFD lay staff salaries up to recommended UUA Fair Share guidelines.  Many, not all, of my goals have been reached.  What lays before you now is how you will continue the ministry of this congregation into the future – both lay led and professional ministry. 

I have been consulting a book titled, On Retirement, A Guide for UU Retired Ministers, and it provides wise advice for the retired minister and for one who may receive the title of Emeritus/a.  It notes: “The title Minister Emeritus/a is granted to honor long and meritorious service to a congregation where the minister has given devoted and competent ministerial leadership.  Due to our congregational polity…only that congregation can bestow this title.”  Should I have the honor to receive this status from UUFD, there are significant responsibilities I must abide by:

  1. A formal covenant shall be developed between the Minister Emerita, the new interim, contract or settled minister, and the congregational leadership that spell out mutual relationships for the future. Decisions about reentry into the congregation need to be stated.
  2. Pulpit, rites of passage, or any other ministerial privileges need discussion and clarity.
  3. As Minister Emerita, I shall be useful in ways my successor may request and any services I provide shall be solely at the request of my successor.
  4. My initial commitment is to loosen our bonds so that UUFD might prepare for their next settled minister.
  5. I will never participate in any type of behavior that might be harmful to my former congregation. 

Finally, I hope you will think well of me and continue to be there for each other.  I hope you will forgive me if I hurt you and especially if I am unaware of that truth for you.  No one wants their worst action or statement to define them.  Perhaps you caught me at a time of frustration, or crabbiness, or sadness, or anger, or when I was feeling driven or disconnected and not paying attention to you.  I hope you will not think that that is all who I am.  Again, I hope you will forgive me and I hope you will forgive one another.  Our human beingness and becomingness is who we are.  Together we have tried to grow and strengthen UUFD and to serve our congregation well. 

It has been an honor and privilege to serve you, and it has been one of the greatest joys of my life. 

In the Spirit of Life,  Rev. Linda

Rev. Linda's Writings

Title Date
Test December 26, 2013