W-MCP6-1.385 TO THOMAS B. MCQUESTEN from Rev. Beverley Ketchen
Jan 1 1946 [estimated date]1
I appreciated your letter very much even if it was a bit dictatorial with a touch of Stalin-like firmness. I hardly know how to reply. When the time comes it is going to be a terrific wrench. More than half of my life has been spent among you--an almost incredibly patient and generous lot of people.
And I must say that I never enjoyed writing sermons more than I do to-day--but I do not feel like facing all the demands of congregational activity. And I do not want to stay on till people begin to feel that I am slipping.
I often feel myself that I must have grown stale to a good many of the members, judging by their irregular attendance and apparent indifference. They are not all like you.
There is not much doubt in my mind that an energetic young man with a young wife would stir things up a bit for a while at least.
Rumours seem to be flying around. Even today the Spectator called me up, saying that they heard I was retiring, and they would like to make an interesting story out of a 40 year ministry.
Personally, I have not spoken much about it, but I understand that the managers have discussed it, suggesting a committee to look out for a successor. And I think I should bring the Session in on it or they would feel slighted.
I am not in a great hurry and I'll not quit until you have had plenty of time to look around but I don't want to go on indefinitely. You know how old I am and I would like to do a lot of reading and a bit of writing.
I should never be far away--would always be "on call" if wanted and would never cease to be keenly interested in MacNab.
I appreciate your kindly attitude--I must say that I can scarcely understand it. I have had an almost incomparably happy ministry. (If I had not been in MacNab Street I might have been out of the ministry long ago.)
I shall always be deeply grateful for the wonderful loyalty of yourself and your family I can hardly imagine what life will be like away from this old desk at which there has been a good deal of sweat (without the blood and tears).
I have no intention of leaving the Congregation in the lurch as it were but when you do come across the right man (I should like to see my young cousin Ross [Cameron?] here). I'll be glad to throw on his shoulders the mantle.
Thanking you again for your generous letter.
I Am Yours Sincerely,
1 The date for this letter has been estimated based on the knowledge that Rev. Beverley Ketchen served as minister for MacNab Street Presbyterian Church from 1905 until 1946. For more on the Ketchens, see W5359.