Local/National Faith Briefs

Lunch is served Thursdays at St. Ann’s

Court Queen of Peace is serving lunch during Lent from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursdays at Divine Mercy Hall, St. Ann’s Church, Slayton. The menu includes a barbecue sandwich, salads, assorted desserts. Take-outs are available by calling 507-227-3068.

Dinner, raffle are Sunday in Tracy

The St. Mary’s Tracy parish dinner is from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday in the parish hall. The menu includes roast beef, roast pork, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole and pie. Take outs available and deliveries in city limits by calling 629-3841. Adults are $10, K-sixth are $5. A raffle will take place at 1 p.m. with a silent auction from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Leader says Mississippi law requires religious item removal

SALTILLO, Miss. (AP) — A northeast Mississippi school superintendent said the district is not limiting free expression despite a recent order to remove crosses, Scripture and other religious items after a complaint.

Lee County Superintendent Jimmy Weeks told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal that while the school cannot display Bible verses or religious items on the walls, teachers and students can wear clothes or jewelry expressing religious beliefs. Weeks says items on teachers’ desks may be displayed in areas not facing students.

He said a public institution cannot express religious beliefs.

Following a complaint made by the Freedom from Religion Foundation shortly before spring break, religious personal items and décor were removed from Saltillo Elementary School. Some teachers expressed frustration on social media about the order.

Georgia House approves Bible electives for public schools

ATLANTA (AP) — Public high schools in Georgia could soon have greater freedom to offer courses on Christianity under legislation approved by the state House.

Passed by a vote of 122-44 Tuesday, the proposal would allow schools to teach electives on the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.

Previously, schools could offer courses on the “History and Literature of” the Old and New Testament eras. Schools wouldn’t be required to offer any courses.

The underlying bill passed the Senate in March. But it must go back to the Senate to consider House changes, including additional language about an unrelated scholarship program.

Sen. Jeff Mullis, author of the original bill, says it’s about giving schools options and flexibility.

Critics worry that crafting the law around one certain religion violates neutrality standards.

Police probe possible hate symbols at Arizona synagogue

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Flagstaff police are investigating what they say appear to be hate symbols at a synagogue.

Officers responded to the Chabad of Flagstaff on Monday and found multiple rooms damaged.

Police said paint smeared on windows and carvings in a wall appeared to be swastikas. The symbols aren’t well-defined in photos released by the Flagstaff Police Department.

Rabbi Dovie Shapiro said the Jewish community is shocked and disturbed by what he called an act of hate.

Police said the damage occurred sometime between Friday and Monday when a construction crew working at the site was off-duty.

Police spokesman Sgt. Charles Hernandez said officers have collected fingerprints, biological evidence and video footage to try to determine who is responsible. He says the damage is at least $1,000.

Police don’t believe anything was stolen from the property.

Former Wichita church leader sentenced for embezzlement

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The former executive director of Inter-Faith Ministries in Wichita has been sentenced to probation for embezzling more than $100,000 from the church.

Sixty-six-year-old Garland Egerton, of Wichita, was sentenced Tuesday to five years of probation, with an underlying prison sentence of 32 months.

Egerton pleaded guilty in February to one count of theft.

District Attorney March Bennett said in a news release that Egerton’s lack of criminal history and a request from the church were factors in granting him probation.

Egerton also was ordered to pay $129,556 in restitution, to have no contact with the Unity of Wichita Church and to attend a theft offender class.

An audit found that $120,000 went missing from the church between 2013 and 2018. Egerton was the church’s bookkeeper at the time.

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