LAS VEGAS (AP) – An Episcopal panel will ask the denomination’s top legislative body to express regret for the church’s past support for slavery in the United States and to authorize research about whether reparations should be made to black Episcopalians.

The Executive Council, which oversees the work of the church between national policy conventions every three years, approved the resolutions during a meeting in Las Vegas last week.

One resolution would ask the next General Convention to express its “most profound regret” that the church “lent the institution of slavery its support and justification based on Scripture” and supported “de facto discrimination” even after slavery was abolished.

Catholic diocese, cancer group split

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – The Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston and Bishop England High School have broken ties to Race for the Cure because the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Foundation which benefits from the event gives money to Planned Parenthood in other cities.

The race, expected to attract 6,000 participants Saturday, will start in front of the school as in past years, but school computers that had been used to tabulate results will not be used. Race organizers said some Bishop England students will participate but will not receive community service credit for doing so, as they had in the past.

Steve Gajdosik, a diocese spokesman, said officials chose to change the policy this year because they had just learned of the Komen foundation’s links to Planned Parenthood.

“Since the church always supports the dignity of the human person and that person’s right to life, to support an organization from which moneys would be going eventually to a pro-abortion organization would be inconsistent,” he said.

Proceeds from the race are required to go toward breast cancer screenings for low-income women.

Emily Callahan, spokeswoman for the national Komen foundation, said affiliate offices around the country have their own boards that review grant applications and award funds, and that the money is restricted to breast health services. In 2004, affiliates allocated just over $40 million in community grants, 1.2 percent of which went to Planned Parenthood offices throughout the country, she said. Planned Parenthood does not have a clinic in Charleston.

First rabbi to serve Krakow since the Holocaust takes up post

WARSAW, Poland (AP) – The first rabbi to serve Krakow full time since the Holocaust has taken up his post, guiding a revival of Jewish life and helping a growing number of people rediscover their Jewish heritage forgotten through decades of communism.

Rabbi Avraham Flaks, a 38-year-old Russian-born Israeli, has been getting to know members of Krakow’s small Jewish community over the past few weeks, but officially begins leading the community during the weeklong festival of Sukkot, which began Monday.

“This is a joyous festival coming just a few days after Yom Kippur, a solemn day of atonement, so it seemed like a fitting time for him to start,” said Michael Freund, chairman of Shavei Israel, an organization sponsoring Flaks’ work.

Freund said his group hopes the new rabbi will be able to “keep the flame of Judaism alive” in Krakow, a city with a rich Jewish past whose community was nearly wiped out during the Holocaust.

There are about 200 people registered with the community, but an estimated 1,000 Jews are believed to live in Krakow – most of them people who only recently discovered their Jewish roots following the fall of communism in 1989, Freund told The Associated Press.

“Now that Poland is a vibrant democracy, many of these people feel free about coming out of the closet and openly identifying as Jews,” Freund said.

During the communist era, some Jews hid their religious identities, even from their children, to avoid facing discrimination. Many fled the country in 1968, following a government-sponsored anti-Semitic campaign.

More than 1,000 Muslims protest outside Coptic Christian church over “offensive” play

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) – More than 1,000 Muslims protested outside a Coptic Christian church in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, saying a drama being presented in the church was offensive to Islam.

City authorities dispatched about 200 police to St. Gergis church in a poor Alexandria neighborhood to keep the demonstrators from entering and disrupting the play last week.

The production features a poor Christian university student who converts to Islam when a group of Muslim men promise him much-needed money. When he becomes disenchanted with his decision, the men threaten him with physical violence to prevent him from returning to his original faith.

DVDs of the performance, entitled “I Was Blind But Now I Can See,” were being distributed.

Abdel Moneim Mahmoud, a Muslim in Alexandria, said that he had watched a recording of the play and found it insulting.

“It tells you how Muslims are all terrorists and how they deceive Christians to convert to Islam either by force or money,” Mahmoud said.

Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s overwhelmingly Muslim population of 70 million. Church officials could not be reached for comment.

The play and the protest reflect the charged atmosphere between Muslims and Christians in Egypt, where accusations of forced conversions are routine. Last December, angry Copts protested in Cairo for four days and clashed with police when the wife of a priest fled her home in the south to convert to Islam. She later returned home and resumed practicing Christianity.

Methodist church to be sold on eBay to benefit Katrina victims

REDKEY, Ind. (AP) – A Methodist congregation plans to sell its vacant former church on eBay to raise money for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Bidding on the former North Meridian United Methodist Church is set to start at $1 and will run through Oct. 27, the Rev. Randy Davis said.

Davis is pastor of Redkey United Methodist Church, which was formed in December when members of North Meridian and Main Street United Methodist churches voted to combine.

The new congregation uses the larger Main Street building in the town of about 1,400 about 15 miles northeast of Muncie.

Church members recently voted to sell the old 7,000-square-foot church on the online auction site. They will donate the proceeds to the United Methodist Committee on Relief.

“I don’t think many people have tried something like this,” Davis said. “But we just thought this is the way to go. It’ll widen the market for us.”

Some of the old church’s furnishings, including pews, will be auctioned separately.

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