June 26, 2012, 12:01 AM
The URI Star was created by an 11-year-old, Walter Gray, at the first Global Summit of the United Religions Initiative in 1996. While the adults spent hours debating the proposed structure for the fledgling organization, Walter passed the time practicing his origami.
When he had finished and after an adult had finished speaking, Walter stood up and asked to speak. He held up a colorful origami octagon with an open center. This is how things are now, he said. The religions don’t talk with each other, and no one comes together.
But, if we could only begin talking with each other, things will change, Walter explained. He began moving the sides of the octagon. Little by little, we come closer together, he said, until we touch in the center, and something that never existed before is born – a new star, the United Religions!
Walter’s origami star became the model for URI’s logo – a star of many colors that represents people of diverse religions, spiritual expressions and indigenous traditions uniting to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence and to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings.
"On 26 June 2012, we will celebrate the 12th anniversary of URI’s Charter Signing," said the Rev. Canon Charles Gibbs, Executive Director of URI. "I invite all URI members to find a meaningful way to observe this important anniversary, and I invite you to share moments that were inspiring for you in URI’s first twelve years, as well as your hopes for URI’s future."