Bishop William Swing is the president and founder of the United Religions Initiative. He had the original vision of URI in 1993 in response to an invitation from the United Nations, which asked him to host an interfaith service honoring the 50th anniversary of the signing of the U.N. Charter. Bishop Swing served as the Episcopal Bishop of California from 1980 until his retirement in 2006. In that capacity, he was a national and international leader in response to the AIDS crisis, co-founded Episcopal Community Services to address San Francisco’s homeless problem, and co-founded Community Bank of the Bay to support local businesses and the economy.
Swing is the author and co-author of several books, including The Coming United Religions (1998), Building Wisdom’s House (1997), and the recipient of many honorary doctoral degrees, including Jesuit-sponsored University of San Francisco. In 2008 Swing had the honor of having the Bishop Swing Community House, a permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless adults in San Francisco’s downtown South of Market (SoMa) district, dedicated to him.