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A sign on a street near the Lighthouse Pentecostal Church in Island City, Ore. lists its worship schedule on Friday, July 10, 2020. In mid-June, the small-town church in northeastern Oregon became the epicenter of the state's largest coronavirus outbreak when over 200 people linked to the Lighthouse Pentecostal Church tested positive. The left side of the sign reads,

Churches amid the pandemic: Some outbreaks, many challenges

Jul. 12, 2020 7:06 AM EDT

NEW YORK (AP) — Crowded bars and house parties have been identified as culprits in spreading the coronavirus. Meat packing plants, prisons and nursing homes are known hot spots. Then there’s the complicated case of America’s churches. The vast majority of these churches have cooperated with...

Pope Francis delivers his message after the Angelus noon blessing from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, July 12, 2020. In a very brief, improvised remark, Pope Francis, speaking from his studio window overlooking St. Peter's Square, said he is “deeply pained” over the decision by Turkey to change the status of Hagia Sophia, which had originally been built as a Christian cathedral, from that of a museum in Istanbul to a mosque.  (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Pope 'deeply pained' over Turkey's move on Hagia Sophia

Jul. 12, 2020 7:03 AM EDT

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis said on Sunday that he is “deeply pained” over the decision by Turkey to change the status of Hagia Sophia — which was originally built in Istanbul as a Christian cathedral — from a museum to a mosque. In a very brief, improvised remark,...

FILE - In this April 18, 2019, file photo, the Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City is viewed. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has asked all its members in Utah to wear face coverings when in public, a request that comes as confirmed coronavirus infections in the state increase. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

Church asks Utah Mormons to wear face coverings in public

Jul. 11, 2020 7:02 PM EDT

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has asked all its members in Utah to wear face coverings when in public, a request that comes as confirmed infections in the state increase. The Deseret News reports that the Utah Area Presidency sent out the request in an email on...

The interior of the San Gabriel Mission is damaged following a morning fire, Saturday, July 11, 2020, in San Gabriel, Calif. The fire destroyed the rooftop and most of the interior of the nearly 250-year-old California church that was undergoing renovation. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Fire destroys much of 249-year-old church in California

Jul. 11, 2020 7:57 PM EDT

SAN GABRIEL, Calif. (AP) — A fire early Saturday destroyed the rooftop and most of the interior of a Catholic church in California that was undergoing renovation to mark its upcoming 250th anniversary celebration. Fire alarms at the San Gabriel Mission rang around 4 a.m. When firefighters arrived, they saw...

FILE - In this Sunday, April 12, 2020 file photo, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, right, delivers his homily over mostly empty pews as he leads an Easter Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York. Due to coronavirus concerns, no congregants were allowed to attend the Mass which was broadcast live on local TV. The Archdiocese of New York received 15 loans worth at least $28 million just for its top executive offices. St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue was approved for at least $1 million. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

AP: Catholic Church lobbied for taxpayer funds, got $1.4B

Jul. 10, 2020 1:04 PM EDT

NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. Roman Catholic Church used a special and unprecedented exemption from federal rules to amass at least $1.4 billion in taxpayer-backed coronavirus aid, with many millions going to dioceses that have paid huge settlements or sought bankruptcy protection because of clergy sexual abuse...

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Worshipers attend Mass at the Cathedral of Port-au-Prince, marking the reopening of places of worship since the beginning in March of the COVID-19 lockdown, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sunday, July 12, 2020. By order of President Jovenel Moise and the recommendation of Haiti's health authorities, churches reopened after having been closed for months due to social distancing rules to curb the spread of the pandemic. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)

The Latest: French fans allowed back into stadium for soccer

Jul. 12, 2020 1:00 PM EDT

LE HAVRE, France — For the first time since the coronavirus shut down sports and chased away spectators, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe were starring in Sunday's return of fans to elite European soccer. “Now it’s for real ... we’re back,” Mbappe tweeted before the kick-off of Paris...

Panel puts off decision on demolition of closed church

Jul. 12, 2020 12:58 PM EDT

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia Historical Commission officials say they need more time to decide the fate of a shuttered 19th-century church after the New Jersey developer who bought it earlier this year asked to demolish it, saying the crumbling structure faces imminent collapse. After hearing...

Man charged in Florida church arson attack

Jul. 12, 2020 9:59 AM EDT

OCALA, Fla. (AP) — A man accused of setting a Florida church on fire was being held without bail Sunday on charges that include attempted second-degree murder and arson. The Marion County Sheriff's Office charged Steven Shields, 23, on Saturday, hours after detectives say he plowed a minivan through the...

A sign on a street near the Lighthouse Pentecostal Church in Island City, Ore. lists its worship schedule on Friday, July 10, 2020. In mid-June, the small-town church in northeastern Oregon became the epicenter of the state's largest coronavirus outbreak when over 200 people linked to the Lighthouse Pentecostal Church tested positive. The left side of the sign reads,

Churches amid the pandemic: Some outbreaks, many challenges

Jul. 12, 2020 7:06 AM EDT

NEW YORK (AP) — Crowded bars and house parties have been identified as culprits in spreading the coronavirus. Meat packing plants, prisons and nursing homes are known hot spots. Then there’s the complicated case of America’s churches. The vast majority of these churches have cooperated with...

Pope Francis delivers his message after the Angelus noon blessing from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, July 12, 2020. In a very brief, improvised remark, Pope Francis, speaking from his studio window overlooking St. Peter's Square, said he is “deeply pained” over the decision by Turkey to change the status of Hagia Sophia, which had originally been built as a Christian cathedral, from that of a museum in Istanbul to a mosque.  (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Pope 'deeply pained' over Turkey's move on Hagia Sophia

Jul. 12, 2020 7:03 AM EDT

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis said on Sunday that he is “deeply pained” over the decision by Turkey to change the status of Hagia Sophia — which was originally built in Istanbul as a Christian cathedral — from a museum to a mosque. In a very brief, improvised remark,...

The interior of the San Gabriel Mission is damaged following a morning fire, Saturday, July 11, 2020, in San Gabriel, Calif. The fire destroyed the rooftop and most of the interior of the nearly 250-year-old California church that was undergoing renovation. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Fire destroys much of 249-year-old church in California

Jul. 11, 2020 7:57 PM EDT

SAN GABRIEL, Calif. (AP) — A fire early Saturday destroyed the rooftop and most of the interior of a Catholic church in California that was undergoing renovation to mark its upcoming 250th anniversary celebration. Fire alarms at the San Gabriel Mission rang around 4 a.m. When firefighters arrived, they saw...

FILE - In this April 18, 2019, file photo, the Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City is viewed. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has asked all its members in Utah to wear face coverings when in public, a request that comes as confirmed coronavirus infections in the state increase. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

Church asks Utah Mormons to wear face coverings in public

Jul. 11, 2020 7:02 PM EDT

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has asked all its members in Utah to wear face coverings when in public, a request that comes as confirmed infections in the state increase. The Deseret News reports that the Utah Area Presidency sent out the request in an email on...

DA: Man charged with kidnapping Amish woman feared 'harmed'

Jul. 11, 2020 5:56 PM EDT

LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) — A man is charged with kidnapping an Amish woman who disappeared in Pennsylvania several weeks ago and remains missing — but investigators believe she “was harmed following her abduction," prosecutors said Saturday. Justo Smoker, 34, of Paradise was arrested Friday and...

Muslims offer their evening prayers outside the Byzantine-era Hagia Sophia, one of Istanbul's main tourist attractions in the historic Sultanahmet district of Istanbul, following Turkey's Council of State's decision, Friday, July 10, 2020. Turkey's highest administrative court issued a ruling Friday that paves the way for the government to convert Hagia Sophia - a former cathedral-turned-mosque that now serves as a museum - back into a Muslim house of worship. The Council of State threw its weight behind a petition brought by a religious group and annulled a 1934 cabinet decision that changed the 6th century building into a museum.(AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

World Council of Churches "dismayed" at Hagia Sophia shift

Jul. 11, 2020 4:03 PM EDT

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The head of the World Council of Churches has written to Turkey's president expressing his “grief and dismay” over Turkey's decision to change the status of Istanbul's landmark Hagia Sophia from a museum to a mosque. As a World Heritage museum, “Hagia Sophia...

In this photo made available by the South African Police Services (SAPS), confiscated arms and ammunition, foreground, and arrested suspects, background, lay face-down at a church in Zuurbekom, near Johannesburg, Saturday, July 11, 2020. Police in South Africa say five people are dead and more than 40 have been arrested after an early-morning hostage situation at a church near Johannesburg. (South African Police Services via AP)

5 dead in hostage situation at troubled South Africa church

Jul. 11, 2020 10:56 AM EDT

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Five people are dead and more than 40 have been arrested after an early-morning hostage situation at a long-troubled church near Johannesburg, police in South Africa said Saturday. A statement said police and military who responded to reports of a shooting at the International...