The Club’s founder, Canon John Albert Douglas, was born in Portsmouth in 1869. Ordained in 1894, he served as an assistant curate in Newark, in Penge and at St Stephen’s, Lewisham. After serving as Acting Chaplain in Constantinople, he became assistant curate of St Benet and All Saints, Kentish Town, before becoming Vicar of St Luke’s, Camberwell (1909-33). In 1931, he was appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of London.
In 1905, with his brother, the Revd Charles Edward Douglas (1870-1955), he founded the Society of the Faith, which was to support the Nikaean Club financially in its early years.
He was one of the founders, in 1906, of the Anglican and Eastern Orthodox Churches Union, which in 1914 merged with the Eastern Churches Association to form the Anglican and Eastern Churches Association. In 1908 he helped to found the Society of St Willibrord, established to foster relations between the Church of England and the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht.
When the Church of England Council on Foreign Relations (the forerunner of the Council for Christian Unity) was established in 1933, Canon Douglas became its first General Secretary, serving until 1945. This appointment was facilitated by a move from his parish in Camberwell to the less demanding role of Rector of St Michael, Paternoster Royal, in the City of London, which he held until 1953.
Canon Douglas was awarded a Lambeth DD in 1939. He died in 1956.