Retired California bishop to discuss ‘holy wars’


The former Bishop of California, Rev. William Swing, will speak at 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19 at the Cuvier Club, 7776 Eads Ave., as a guest of St. James-by-the-Sea church.

The Bishop will discuss whether it is the nature of religions to fight each other, and whether peace among varying faiths is even possible. Swing is the president and founder of the United Religions Initiative (URI).

Swing served as Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California, headquartered in San Francisco at Grace Cathedral, for 27 years, where he was a pioneer in responding to the HIV AIDS epidemic and to homelessness. Prior to this appointment, Swing served as a parish priest in Washington, D.C., as well as in West Virginia, where he also started a congregation at Waterford Park Race Track.

In the past decade, prior to his retirement, Swing founded the United Religions Initiative, an non-governmental organization (NGO) which has gained notoriety due to his original leadership in the drive to establish a United Religions body parallel to the United Nations.

Swing has traveled extensively in China, Japan, Korea, India, the Middle East and Europe seeking guidance and commitment from leaders of many of the world’s religions, including the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, the Shankaracharya of Kanchipuram, Islam’s Grand Mufti in Cairo and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Swing is the author and co-author of several books, including “The Coming United Religions” (1998) and “Building Wisdom’s House,” (1997) and is also the recipient of many honorary doctoral degrees, including one from the Jesuit-sponsored University in San Francisco. Swing has served for more than two decades on the Board of the American Foundation for AIDS Research, and was active in his hometown of San Francisco on a daily basis with alcohol and drug rehabilitation, Latino immigrant ministries, care for the elderly and homelessness.

In 2008 the Bishop Swing Community House, a permanent supportive housing facility in San Francisco for chronically homeless adults, was dedicated in his honor.

Light refreshments will be served. RSVP by calling (858) 459-3421.

--Staff Reports