The ‘fellowship of Churches which accept our Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour’, formally constituted at Amsterdam in 1948. The organization arose from the fusion of two earlier movements, ‘Life and Work’ and ‘Faith and Order’. A provisional organization was established at Utrecht in 1938, but because of the Second World War the formal constitution was delayed until 1948. Representative Assemblies, held at intervals of six to eight years, meet in different parts of the world. From them are elected members of the Central Committee, the Council's highest governing body. The headquarters of the Council is in Geneva. In a reorganization in 1992 its work was gathered into four programme units.
Apart from the RC Church and the Unitarians, the Council includes Churches from all the main Christian denominations, including nearly all the Eastern Orthodox Churches. Since 1961 the RC Church has sent observers to Assemblies; in 1968 it became a full member of the Faith and Order Commission and was thus involved in the production of the 1982 report on ‘Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry’.