“THANK YOU” FROM WALT MCCANLESS

June 1, 2021

Dear Congregation and Friends of Providence,

Gratitude is no small thing, and especially after last Sunday’s reception, and gifts, and love offering (Oh, do I ever feel loved!), and the nice comments folks made along with the decorum, civility, politeness and niceness people exercised comments not made. Thanks to all who planned, set up, prepared food and the “Presbyterian Margaritas. ” Thanks to Beverly, Deb, Chris, Bob, Lal, Todd and the choir for such a nice program. Kathie and crew threw a fabulous reception, and to see so many of you in person was a truly wonderful gift, one I sincerely hope all of you will be able to enjoy with one another ever more frequently and safely.

Gratitude is no small thing when I think of the 25 plus years you have allowed me to pastor and preach and grow with you here at Providence. I am awed by this congregation. The creativity, ingenuity, dedication, courage, care, compassion, and this list can go on and on. We like to say that Providence is a special place, a sort of place apart in the midst of a very busy South Charlotte But Providence is also, and most importantly, a special people, a congregation set apart by and for the goodness of the Lord. I am so grateful for what you have taught me about faith, hope, love, community, mission, and well – about being church. I’ve done seminary, been to seminars, taken courses, attended conferences, and read a lot of books….. by the way, anyone need any books?……. but you have taught me far more about what it means to be created in God’s image, created for community, and created by and for love. Thank you for being such wonderful professors.

Gratitude is no small thing when I look at the piles of cards and letters I’ve received from you, some reminding me of times we shared together, others reminding me of some rather inane thing I did that stuck with you (I am donating the orange bathrobe I wore to lead the 8 am Thanksgiving Day worship service to the PPC Historical (hysterical?) Artifact Room). I am grateful for the thoughts, memories shared, well-wishes, calls, emails, texts, and visits, and prayers.

And gratitude is no small thing when I begin imagining what comes next. Yes, for me, but also for you. I believe that my wildest imaginations (and there are some pretty wild ones, fortunately Annie steps in before I can sell everything so we can live on a houseboat, cannot come close to the care ministries, small groups, Bible studies, missions near and far, worship opportunities, music, liturgical dance (we lifted holy arms to ordain officers last week, could this be next?). And imagine the community impact, the force for justice and compassion, the open arm welcome to all, the ‘green’ efforts (solar?), all of this and more Providence may well become in the near future. I’m so grateful that I will get to celebrate PPC being all that God calls her to be.

So much to be thankful for, and gratitude is no small thing, and I am so grateful to be grateful for you.

With more thanks than I can fully express,
With prayers for God to always bless,
And hope I’m not leaving too big a mess,

-Walt

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March 25, 2021

Dear Congregation and Friends of Providence,

Time flies when you’re having fun! And time has flown for me.

I’ve been at Providence for over 25 years, baptizing, preaching, teaching, marrying and burying and Lord, doing way too much administrative work! Sure, there have been ups and downs, but far more ups than downs, and even the downs often got miraculously turned upward in service of Christ and for strengthening our unity. I have loved it here. I know of no other church that would put up with me for this many years and I am so very grateful to have grown with you and grown close to you. Providence is family to me, as I know she is to all of you, and that makes us kinfolks! And, in Christ, we’ll always be kin.

But families get “extended,” and sometimes find certain family members living across the country. They may not be “together,” but they are still family. And though I’m retiring and we won’t be “together,” I will always think of Providence as family.

Thank you for the years of worshiping and serving together. Thank you for the open armed welcome and continued kindness you’ve shown to me. Thank you for the challenges we’ve taken on and met together. Thank you for making this 25 year journey a joyous one. Thank you that we can always be family.

God’s blessing on you all, and may the providence of Providence be filled with God’s goodness, mercy, and love.

With gratitude,

-Walt