[Note at top]: Please return both letters.Box 12-631 TO REV. CALVIN MCQUESTEN, B.A. from his mother, Mary Baker McQuesten
Feb 20 1913
To: Calvin McQuesten 'The Manse' Bracebridge, Ontario
My dearest Calvin,
Your letter has not come yet, but I will begin mine. Last week was a busy one, as I wrote you, besides entertaining for Dr. McKellar,1 I had to go to the Annual Pres. of W.H.M.S., as Mrs. Joe [Thomson] specially invited me to luncheon, at Knox church, it was a very poor one, very different from the one the ladies at Welland provided and the supper very limited, but they are a poor crowd down there, in more ways than one. They have now disgraced themselves by voting to recall Dr. Nelson, the managers recommended it and tho' a large minority opposed, the call has gone to Presbytery. It is said he was here canvassing as soon as he heard of Mr. M.'s resignation and then a letter came that he and Mrs. N. would like an opportunity of redeeming the past, implying they had not done what they might have done. It is said the minority will leave if he comes.
W. H. McLaren is chairman of the managers, they should just be ashamed of themselves. Tom gave W. F. Evans secretary a good dressing down, for it means nothing else there that they think he will draw a crowd by his sensational style and bring in a collection.
Now I am going to tell you something, which I have not told the family, and what you have to say, you must write on separate paper. For some time or perhaps I should say for several sermons, Mr. K. [Ketchen] has given us nothing but what he calls practical sermons, no gospel teaching at all, no help whatever for sinners. Well, a week ago Sunday night, he gave us another one on practicing goodness, illustrating it by the necessity in all the arts of life of practicing, he was very amusing too (altho' Tom who has insisted that Mr. K. not be criticised [sic] remarked that he was "bored to death"). I have been bored for many a day. Well, with a string of celebrities he coupled Christ as a pattern, quoting from all the noted infidels on Christ's superiority as a man, but not the slightest reference to Him as a saviour from our sins and a Redeemer. It was simply terrible and all the time no doubt thinking he is doing finely. Mrs. Thomson waited for me after church and she was just desperate, she was afraid to speak because she might not say the right thing. Well I hated to begin criticising him, because in a way I feel he is not equal to any thing better, he does not seem to know how to teach the doctrines of the Bible. Well, then I saw Mrs. Joe [Thomson] on Thursday and she was just desperate too about every thing, between the Knox people & our minister so useless. I scarcely slept at all that night for it seemed laid upon [me] to utter a warning for one of the elders had said any Unitarian could preach that sermon, & some wondering if Mr. K. believed in the atonement at all. I prayed continually for guidance, & I couldn't get away from it for it seemed to me I must throw off the responsibility and I must warn him for the sake of the numbers of people who come to hear him & for the sake of his after life & ministry. So I enclose a copy of the letter & his reply. He took it so nicely that I feel much relieved and long all the more to get him right. Sunday night he came out with an open declaration of the atonement, so I wrote him again thanking him and am hoping & praying he will keep on. Tho' I am sorry that lately he has been reflecting on the old way of keeping the Sabbath, which is a great mistake for a minister and also referring to dancing in the same way. All I know is, that if the work of the church was left to the dancing portion he would find out how many workers he had.2
In the middle of all this strain, Mary had grip but Dr. A. [likely, Arnott] gave her something which cured her completely with a couple of days in bed, so she is looking better now than for months. H. [Hilda] is still in Toronto, Tom is very busy talking I fancy for he tells me, settling the wage question & the hospital board &c. He had a letter from Miss Oates saying Licent Oates was a cousin of theirs. That wretch Duncan Chisholm came in & told Tom Capt. Scott was son of a Scotch whaling skipper, they claim everything those Scotch.
I can't remember the name of Dr. Jowett's book I gave you. Would it be a good plan for me to send that to Mr. Ketchen. Send one card with name if you have already written. Must close now, with best love.
Your affectionate mother
M. B. McQuesten
1 For more on Dr. Margaret McKellar, see W6853.
2 For Rev. B. Ketchen, see W5359.