SF Bethel AME rejects pastor

SAN FRANCISCO – Leaders of San Francisco’s Bethel AME Church have rejected a troubled pastor from taking the pulpit at the home of the city’s oldest black congregation.

The Rev. John J. Hunter was recently transferred from the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles to lead the San Francisco church.
But in an unprecedented move, church leaders drafted an emergency resolution barring him from taking control.

Hunter’s eight years in Los Angeles were sullied by a sexual harassment lawsuit, a federal tax investigation and the questionable use of church credit cards. The Los Angeles Times said Hunter was headed for the pulpit on Nov. 4 when church officials demanded to see the assignment declaration from Bishop T. Larry Kirkland. Hunter didn’t have a copy and was blocked from taking the pulpit.

FBI joins church graffiti probe 

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. –  The FBI joined an investigation after a suburban Detroit church that served as an Election Day polling place was spray-painted with anti-black graffiti.The vandalism happened at Divine Restoration Ministries in Mount Clemens. The graffiti included pictures of babies and an anti-black slur.

Bishop-Elect James Richard Evans Sr. has said he believes the graffiti attack was made because of the election.The Macomb Daily reported that FBI Special Agent Jeffrey Eberle spoke to a crowd of about 100 people on Thursday night at a special meeting on racial equality held at the church. He said federal agents are working with the Macomb County sheriff’s department to help solve the case. At the meeting, many residents spoke of working together to rid the community of racism.

Fla. church to fugitives: Surrender

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A central Florida church encouraged fugitives to turn themselves in this week. Greater Friendship Baptist Church in Daytona Beach on Tuesday hosted Operation Safe Surrender, an alternative to police coming to the door unexpectedly, church officials said.

Those who surrendered were to have a first appearance hearing at the church via closed circuit TV before a county judge. The public defender’s office was to have 10 attorneys present. The Daytona Beach News Journal reported that clergy also would be available for spiritual counseling. It is the third time the church has partnered with law enforcement and the courts to hold the event. Officials also reminded suspects who have been charged with nonviolent felonies or misdemeanors that surrendering could lead to dropped or reduced charges.

Pope resurrects Latin studies

Pope Benedict XVI issued a decree Saturday creating a new pontifical academy for Latin studies to try to boost interest in the official language of the Roman Catholic Church that is nevertheless out of widespread use elsewhere.

Benedict acknowledged Latin’s fall from grace, saying future priests nowadays often learn only a “superficial” appreciation of Latin in seminaries. The new academy, which is part of the Vatican’s culture office, will promote Latin through conferences, publications and instruction in Catholic schools, universities and seminaries.It’s yet another olive branch to traditional Catholics, who have long lamented the modernizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council which replaced the Latin liturgy with Mass in the vernacular. Benedict in 2007 relaxed restrictions on celebrating the old Latin Mass.

China slams Dalai Lama; Tibetan self-immolates

BEIJING – China accused the Dalai Lama on Monday of allying with Japanese right-wingers in an island dispute as a way of attacking China and blamed him for glorifying a wave of self-immolations among Tibetans. The comments came as another Tibetan set himself on fire to protest Chinese rule, Tibetan exiles and a rights group said. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the Dalai Lama’s comments in Japan on the island dispute showed his “reactionary nature” and determination to split China apart under the guise of religion.

“To achieve his separatist goal, he associated with the Japanese right-wing forces. Chinese people despise him for what he did. We are firmly opposed to any country’s providing a stage for him,” Hong said. Chinese media have said the Dalai Lama called the islands by their Japanese name during a news conference in Yokohama last Monday but an Associated Press review of a tape of the event showed he referred to them only as “the islands.”