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John Webster Grant was a United Church clergyman, an editor, and an academic. He was born in Truro, Nova Scotia, the son of William P. Grant and Margaret Dorothy Waddell. He married Gwendolyn Margaret Irwin in 1944. Gwendolyn died in 2002.
Grant was educated at Pictou Academy (1931–35) and Dalhousie University in Halifax where he received a B.A. in 1938 and an M.A. in Philosophy in 1941. He attended Princeton University, New Jersey, on a foreign scholarship for graduate studies in Politics (1938–39), Pine Hill Divinity Hall, Nova Scotia, where he received a Certificate in Theology (1939–40, 1942–43), and Oxford University in England where he received a D. Phil. (1946–48).
Grant was a minister in West Bay, Nova Scotia in 1943, in Chelsea, Quebec from 1943 to 1945, and in Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1949. He served as Director of Information to non-Roman Catholic Churches, Wartime Information Board between 1943 and 1945 and was a Chaplain in the Royal Canadian Navy in 1945 and from 1952 to 1959. He was Editor-in-Chief, Ryerson Press from 1960 to 1963. Grant was appointed Sessional Lecturer in Systematic Theology at Pine Hill Divinity Hall (1945–46), Professor of Church History at Union College, University of British Columbia (1949–59), visiting Professor at United College of South India and Ceylon during a sabbatical (1957–58), and Professor of Church History at Emmanuel College, Victoria University, Toronto (1963–84). As a member of the United Church of Canada he served on several committees, including the Committee on Worship and the Committee planning Hymn Book for Anglican Church and United Church. He was a member of several university departments and committees at the Toronto School of Theology, the University of Toronto, the Centre for Religious Studies and Victoria University. He also was a member of several associations and other organizations, including the Canadian Society of Church History, the Canadian Historical Association and the Association of Theological Schools. He received a number of awards, including Honourary D.D.’s at Union College, British Columbia (1961), Pine Hill Divinity Hall (1962), and Trinity College, University of Toronto (1981).
Grant has published extensively (articles, introductions, contributions to books), edited several publications, participated in the creation of Calvinism and Work (phonotape: Learning Systems, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) and written/edited the following books: World Church: Achievement or Hope? (1956), Free Churchmanship in England, 1870–1940 (1958), God’s People in India (1959), The Ship under the Cross (1960), George Pidgeon: a Biography (1962), The Churches and the Canadian Experience (1963), God Speaks...we answer: a Handbook for Lay Leaders of Adult Worship (1965), The Canadian Experience of Church Union (1967), Salvation! O the Joyful Sound: the Selected Writings of John Carroll (1967), The Church in the Canadian Era: the First Century of Confederation (1972), Die unierten Kirchen (1973), and Moon of Wintertime: Missionaries and the Indians of Canada in Encounter Since 1534 (1984).