Local/National Faith Briefs

Pipestone Zone spring rally is April 29 in Luverne

The Pipestone Spring Rally will be Saturday, April 29, at St. John Lutheran Church in Luverne. The event begins with registration at 9 a.m. The speaker is Gary Thies, who is the LCMS counselor at Mission Central in Western Iowa. The rally will emphasize the need for all of us to “Tell the Story” of Jesus love for all.

Roman Catholic church backs soda tax in New Mexico

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Roman Catholica Church is endorsing a proposed tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in New Mexico’s state capital city.

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe threw its support Wednesday behind a soda tax of 2 cents per fluid ounce that would go toward expanding prekindergarten programs. Santa Fe voters will decide on the local tax May 2.

In a news release the archdiocese says municipal governments are being left with little choice other than to fund their own early childhood education programs because of a lack of state funding.

Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester previously criticized state lawmakers this year for not approving a proposed constitutional amendment to fund early childhood education with money from a state sovereign wealth fund.

California woman admits hate crime in bacon left at mosque

DAVIS, Calif. (AP) — A California woman faces up to six years in prison after admitting that she broke windows and left bacon at a mosque near Sacramento.

The Yolo County District Attorney’s Office said 30-year-old Lauren Kirk-Coehlo of Davis pleaded guilty to all charges on Wednesday.

They include two counts of vandalizing the Davis Islamic Center in January and causing more than $400 in damage by destroying six windows and two bicycles.

She also admitted to a hate-crime allegation.

Officials say she put bacon strips on door handles. Muslims are prohibited from eating pork products.

Her defense attorney, Steve Sabbadini, wouldn’t comment.

Her sentencing is set for June 16, with possible penalties ranging from probation to 6 years in state prison.

Alabama church closer to getting its own police department

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama lawmakers are closer to allowing a church to form its own police force.

The House Public Safety Committee approved a measure Wednesday that would allow Briarwood Presbyterian Church to establish a police department.

The Birmingham church says it needs its own police officers to keep its school as well as its more than 4,000 person congregation safe.

Critics say a police department that reports to church officials could be used to cover up crimes. Constitutional experts have also said the move would be for a legal challenge.

The state has given a few private universities the authority to have a police force, but never a church or non-school entity.

The bill has already passed the Senate and now moves to the full House.

Seminary leader named bishop of Davenport Diocese

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — The Vatican has selected the rector of St. Piux X Seminary in Dubuque as the next bishop for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport.

Monsignor Thomas Zinkula will be replacing Bishop Martin Amos, who is retiring.

Officials said Tuesday that the 60-year-old Zinkula received a law degree from the University of Iowa in 1983 and worked for several years as a civil lawyer. He then entered the Theological College of the Catholic University of America in Washington and later earned a degree in canon law from St. Paul University in Ottawa, Canada. Zinkula was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Dubuque in 1990.

Amos has led the diocese since fall 2006. The diocese covers 22 counties in southeast Iowa and has 78 parishes.

Longtime Des Moines church treasurer pleads guilty to theft

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A woman accused of embezzling up to $70,000 from a Des Moines church has taken a plea deal.

Online court records filed Tuesday said 70-year-old Carol Padgett pleaded guilty to theft and credit card fraud. Prosecutors dropped several other counts in return for her pleas. Her sentencing is scheduled for May 31.

Prosecutors said Padgett took up to $70,000 from Unity Lutheran Church over the past seven years while serving as treasurer.

The plea agreement said Padgett will be paying restitution.