The World Council of Churches assembled in Amsterdam on August 22, 1948. This movement brought together the “Life and Work” and “Faith and Order” initiatives. Three hundred and fifty-one official delegates were registered, spanning across one hundred and thirty-five denominations, and forty-four countries. Many Eastern Orthodox churches declined the invitation; only the Greek Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople participated. Many Orthodox communities believed the World Council of Churches was too political. The Lutherans and the Southern Baptist Convention, two larger Protestant denominations in the United States, also rejected the invitation. The Roman Catholic church issued a warning to all communicants, urging them not to attend the assembly.[1]

The provisional constitution laid forth by the WCOC, restricted membership to those denominations who accepted Jesus Christ as Savior. Countries who participated in the assembly are as follows: Australasia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Burma, Canada, Ceylon, China, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, East Africa, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Lithuania, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Philippine Islands, Poland, Rhodesia, Romania, Siam, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Eire, United States of America, West Africa, and the West Indies. Non-National Churches also participated.[2]



[1] Gaines, David P. The World Council of Churches: A Study of Its Background and History. Clinton: Colonial Press, Inc., 1966, 225-230.

[2] Ibid, 225-230.