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William Grant – Growing Up to Work in the Church

My name is William Grant. Most people call me Bill and the Guyanese community call me W.G.

I was born in the bauxite mining town of Mackenzie, Guyana, South America. I was brought up in the Anglican denomination as a strict Anglo-Catholic with the smells and bells (lots of incense,) an altar boy at the age of eight and confirmed at the age of 10. At 15 I was a Sunday school teacher and superintendent at 18. I was the youngest member on the vestry and representative to the diocesan synod. At my first synod meeting, the bishop presented me with a certificate as a sub deacon at what was called then, “High Mass.”

I worked in the bauxite industry in the electrical department where my father was the general foreman. That did not go too well, so I left and went away to another part of the country where there was a vocational school for the priesthood. There were five of us. From Mondays to Fridays three of us taught at the church school and the others worked in the hospital. One left for Codrington College in Barbados and continued his studies to the priesthood and is now an arch deacon in Montreal, Canada.

Three went to England. Two continued their nursing career and one got a job at the Society of Propagation of Christian Knowledge Book Store (SPCK) and I went back to my home town to get a job at the Bauxite Aluminum Division where I was head of the chemicals store.

I did some traveling during that time and once, when I was visiting this country, my brothers and sisters who attended different universities tried their best to persuade me to stay, but I did not. In 1976, I then decided to migrate here, to the U.S. and did a course in nursing, in New Jersey.

I came to California in 1978 – couldn’t get a job, and eventually through the church I was offered the job as caretaker of St. Athanasius, which is now at the Cathedral Center of St. Paul.

I attended mass at St. Francis, because there were two groups. The low church and the high church- which I affiliated with and held positions of Secretary, People’s Warden, and Bishop’s Warden, as he was in charge, until the closing of the chapel in 2016.

I volunteered to do an after-school program at the chapel for 12 years and was awarded a certificate of appreciation by the late Bishop Borsch. For four years, I also did voluntary teaching in English to refugees, and helping in many ways for food programs, training of acolytes, and getting groups together for retreats at Mt. Calvary at the closing of the chapel. I received another certificate of thanks from Bishop Bruno.

I would encourage young people to get involved in the workings of the church. Know what it is to be a “disciple of Christ.” We call ourselves Christians, but there are times when we do not show it.