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Renaissance Unity Leader Resigns

September 3, 2002

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WARREN, Mich. (AP) _ A best-selling author says she will step down as spiritual leader of the Renaissance Unity church.

Marianne Williamson announced Sunday that she is leaving the more than 2,300-member church, formerly called the Church of Today. Williamson, spiritual leader at the church since 1998, plans to leave by the first of the year.

``It’s time for me to change my relationship with this church,″ she told The Macomb Daily of Mount Clemens.

She said stepping down was a difficult decision. ``Something in my heart told me to come here, and something in my heart is telling me to leave now,″ she said, without citing a specific reason.

She said she will remain active with the church and host seminars and come in for guest speaking engagements.

Williamson, 49, is an author and lecturer best known for her lessons of ``A Course in Miracles,″ often used in teachings for recovering addicts. Her first best-selling book was ``A Return To Love,″ and she’s now writing her sixth book, due later this year.

In 1991, Williamson married Elizabeth Taylor and Larry Fortensky, the actress’ seventh husband, at the home of Michael Jackson.

She has drawn thousands of new members to Warren, along with a host of well-known media, political and entertainment figures, including Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler. Tyler surprised the congregation by showing up at a service last year.

Church officials said they will launch a search for her replacement.

___

On the Net:

Association of Unity Churches, http://www.unity.org/

Church of Today, http://www.churchoftoday.com

A Course in Miracles, http://www.acim.org/

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