William E. Swing

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Right Reverend

William Edwin Swing

Bishop of California
ChurchEpiscopal Church
In office1979-2006
PredecessorC. Kilmer Myers
SuccessorMarc Andrus
Ordination20 December 1961
Consecration29 September 1979
by John Allin
Personal details
Born (1936-08-26) August 26, 1936 (age 82)
Huntington, West Virginia, United States
ParentsWilliam Lee Swing & Elsie Bell Holliday
Alma materKenyon College

William Edwin Swing (born 26 August 1936) is a retired bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States. He was the Bishop of California, based in San Francisco, from 1980 to 2006.[1]


Born in West Virginia, Swing received a A.B. and D.D. from Kenyon College in 1958 and 1981, a M.Div. and D.D. from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1961 and 1980, L.H.D. from the University of San Francisco, 2005, D.D. Church Divinity School of the Pacific in 2007, a D.H.L from the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology in 2009. He was appointed curate of St. Matthew’s Church in Wheeling, West Virginia from 1961–63; vicar of St. Thomas’ Weirton, and St. Matthew’s Chester, West Virginia from 1963-69. Elected rector of St. Columba's Episcopal Church from 1969-79. Swing is the recipient of many honorary doctoral degrees including the Jesuit sponsored University of San Francisco.

Priest and Bishop[edit]

Swing was ordained a deacon at Huntington, West Virginia, on June 11, 1961; he was ordained a priest at Wheeling, West Virginia, on December 20, 1961, and consecrated as the seventh Bishop of California at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, on September 29, 1979. He is the Founder and President of the United Religions Initiative (URI), an international NGO working to promote interfaith cooperation. He is an author and inspirational speaker and has received numerous awards for his commitment to service.[2]


During his time as bishop, Swing was a pioneer in responding to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and to homelessness. He served for over two decades on the board of the American Foundation for AIDS Research and was active in San Francisco on a daily basis with alcohol and drug rehabilitation, Latino immigrant ministries, and care for the elderly and homeless.

Swing founded the United Religions Initiative as a model to the United Nations.[3] In 1996 he traveled to China, Japan, South 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 of Egypt, and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

In 2008 the Bishop Swing Community House, a permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless adults, in the South of Market, San Francisco was named after him.

See also[edit]


A Bishop's Quest (2015), Xoxox Press

A Swing with a Crosier (1999), Episcopal Diocese of California

The Coming United Religions (1998), CoNexus Press

Building Wisdom’s House (1997), Addison Wesley Longman, co-authored with Rabbi Stephen Pearce, John Schlegel, S.J., and Bonnie Menes, KahnPublisher


  1. ^ Banerjee, Neela (5 May 2006). "Episcopalians Divide Again Over Electing Gay Bishop". The New York Times. p. 16. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
  2. ^ Beyond Tolerance: Searching for Interfaith Understanding in America by Gustav Niebuhr
  3. ^ “We’re Trying to Change World History” published by Fast Company Magazine, November 2000