This is a list of Anglican and Eastern Orthodox supporters of the URI; since the story was written, Bishop Grew of Ohio and Bishop Ingham of New Westminster, Canada have also joined the list.

Anglicans, Eastern Orthodox, and the United Religions Initiative (URI)

By Lee Penn


This story lists the publicly-identified Anglican and Eastern Orthodox supporters of the URI and its end-of-year "cease fire."

Conditions of use:

This story is an extract from a book-length manuscript by me titled "False Dawn, Real Darkness: the Millennial Delusions of the United Religions and the New Age Movement." You may re-distribute this story by hard copy or electronically, and you may abridge or quote from this story - IF you give credit to Lee Penn as the author, and IF you include - in the body or as a footnote - the following statement:

"Excerpted from "The United Religions Initiative: Foundations for a World Religion" (Part 2), to be published in the fall of 1999 by the Journal of the Spiritual Counterfeits Project. You may order the complete story from the Journal, or subscribe to the Journal, by calling (510) 540-0300, or by writing to the Spiritual Counterfeits Project, Post Office Box 4308, Berkeley, CA 94704, or by visiting the SCP web site,"


Anglicans: some high-ranking supporters, no public opponents

Neither of the two leading Anglican primates, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the U.S. Presiding Bishop, has expressed a public opinion about the URI. There was no official action - either for or against - regarding the URI at the 1997 General Convention, the most recent national meeting of the Episcopal Church in the US. (221) No Anglican bishops in communion with Canterbury have publicly opposed the URI.

Three prominent Anglican bishops favor the URI. Bishop James Ottley, (222) who was Anglican Observer at the United Nations until March 31, 1999,(223) openly supports the URI. (In his resignation from the UN post, Bishop Ottley cited "a 'deterioration' in support from the Archbishop of Canterbury.") (224) Anglican Bishop Samir Kafity, (225) Bishop of Jerusalem, and the Nobel laureate Archbishop from South Africa, Desmond Tutu, also espouse the URI.(226) By endorsing the URI global cease-fire resolution at the 1998 Lambeth conference, 800 Anglican bishops from around the world gave tacit backing to the URI, and URI literature now proclaims this endorsement.(227)

Current and former Episcopal cathedral rectors who publicly approve of the URI include James Parks Morton, former Dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, Alan Jones, Dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, and Sanford Garner, former Dean of the Episcopal National Cathedral in Washington DC.(228)

Protestants: liberal support, Evangelical absence

Many liberal Protestants are participating in and supporting the URI. No prominent Evangelicals, and no prominent black Protestants, are doing so.

Eastern Orthodox Church and the "Churches of the East": scattered support

No Eastern Orthodox bishops are currently active in the URI. In 1996, Bishop Swing received a statement of support from Shenouda III, Pope of the Coptic Church, and from a bishop of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church. (229) His Beatitude Mesrob II, Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul and All Turkey, supports the URI "global cease fire" project. (230)



NOTE: Internet document citations are based on research done between September 1997 and August 1999. Web citations are accurate as of the time the Web page was printed, but some documents may have been moved to a different Web site since then, or they may have been removed entirely from the Web.

221 August 5, 1997 e-mail from Doug LeBlanc, a journalist for Episcopalians United, who covered the Episcopal Church's 1997 General Convention on-site 222 Telephone interview by Lee Penn of Bishop James Ottley, April 24, 1998; also, Anglican Communion Office at the United Nations, "Ministry Update - June 1997," Internet document,, p. 1 223 "Callings," Pacific Church News, June/July 1999, p. 14 224 "Callings," Pacific Church News, June/July 1999, p. 14 225 Bishop William Swing, "The United Religions Initiative," document issued in April 1996, pp. 5-6 226 Bishop William Swing, The Coming United Religions, United Religions Initiative and CoNexus Press, 1998, ISBN 0-9637897-5-9; foreword, p. 6 227 URI News Update, "URI in the world," Fall 1998, p. 6 228 Washington DC United Religions Initiative, "Renewing the Spirit of Community," leaflet provided by the Washington DC URI for the San Francisco URI gathering in June, 1997; Internet document,, p. 1 229 Bishop William Swing, "The United Religions Initiative," document issued in April 1996, pp. 3-4, 5 230 United Religions Initiative, "Some Early Supporters ... ," Internet document,



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