During the Depression years of the late 1930s, the Council went without executive leadership. In 1941, as the economy began to recover, George Walker Buckner was named executive director on a part-time basis. His primary responsibility outside the Association was editor of World Call magazine. Buckner made significant contributions to the formation of the World Council of Churches by service on its Provisional Committee. He also was instrumental in the formation of the National Council of Churches in the USA. He retired in 1961.

George Walker Buckner, Executive Director for the Association for the Promotion of Christian Unity, 1941-1961