Dr. Kerr first conceived the notion of World Communion Sunday during his year as moderator of the General Assembly (1930). World Communion Sunday grew out of the Division of Stewardship at Shadyside. It was their attempt to bring churches together in a service of Christian unity—in which everyone might receive both inspiration and information, and above all, to know how important the Church of Jesus Christ is, and how each congregation is interconnected one with another.
The idea of World Communion Sunday slowly spread from that first service to the world wide practice of today. With its roots in the Second World War the spirit caught hold. World Wide Communion symbolized the effort to hold things together, in a spiritual sense. It emphasized that we are all one in the Spirit and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Celebration of World Wide Communion Sunday was adopted as a denominational practice in the Presbyterian Church (US) in 1936. Churches in other denominations were invited to celebrate with us from the beginning, but it wasn’t until 1940 when the Department of Evangelism of the Federal Council of Churches (a predecessor body of the National Council of Churches) promoted extending the celebration to a number of churches around the world that the practice became widespread. Today, World Communion Sunday is celebrated around the world by many denominations.