- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Mission group identifies 3rd American with Ebola

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - The president of a missionary group says a third U.S. aid worker sickened with the Ebola virus decided to return to Liberia after the other two people became ill.

SIM President Bruce Johnson said at a news conference Wednesday that Dr. Rick Sacra returned to Liberia about a month ago after another doctor and a missionary became ill with Ebola. Both survived after treatment at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

Johnson says the 51-year-old Sacra lives in the Boston area. He says Sacra wasn’t caring for Ebola patients but was delivering babies in the SIM hospital’s obstetrics unit.

He says it’s not known whether Sacra will return to the U.S. for treatment.

The missionary who survived Ebola, Nancy Writebol, said at the news conference that she believes an experimental drug, her medical care and her faith helped save her.


Ebola survivor: I felt like I was going to die

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) - A U.S. doctor who survived after contracting Ebola while doing missionary work in Liberia says he’s “very close” to the doctor most recently diagnosed with the disease and has spent time in “tearful prayer” for him.

Dr. Kent Brantly also told NBC News that he feared his own death, telling a nurse at one point he had “no reserve and I don’t know how long I can keep this up.”

NBC News released a portion of its interview with Brantly on Tuesday, the same day officials from the North Carolina-based missionary group SIM said a third U.S. aid worker had contracted the disease.

Brantly and missionary, Nancy Writebol, recovered in isolation at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Both were released last month.


American Muslim group denounces latest beheading

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Council on American Islamic Relations is expressing “horror, disgust and sorrow” at the new video purporting to show the beheading of U.S journalist Steven Sotloff by the Islamic State group.

CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad says no one who believes in the Islamic tradition of peace and justice would kill an innocent civilian.

In the video distributed Tuesday and titled “A Second Message to America,” the militant who performs the beheading says it’s retribution for continued U.S. airstrikes against Islamic State fighters in Iraq.

Awad insists there’s nothing Islamic about the extremists, despite their claim to be establishing a Muslim caliphate in Syria and Iraq.

He says some young Muslims who have joined the Islamic State group have been horrified by what they’ve seen, but can be killed themselves if they try to leave.


After more than a century, beloved church to close

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - A San Antonio church known for its inclusiveness is set to close this month.

When a group of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics was banned from a nearby parish, Beacon Hill Presbyterian Church opened its doors. The neighborhood association, artists and recovery groups also used the space.

But the San Antonio Express-News reports Beacon Hill will hold its last service after 117 years this weekend. Over the years its congregation has dwindled as have the funds for covering the church’s operational costs.

Church lay leader Sally Lewis says it’s sad that the church will close but the congregation has become too small for the space.

Longtime Beacon Hill congregant Betty Smith likens the church’s closure to a death.


Settlement in dispute between Florida temple, city

MIAMI (AP) - A settlement has been reached between a South Florida city and a Jewish temple in a long-running dispute pitting religious freedom and property rights against historic preservation.

Temple B’nai Zion attorney Keith D. Silverstein said Tuesday the agreement keeps in place the Sunny Isles Beach temple’s historic designation but allows some valuable new development rights. The temple also is being paid $175,000.

The temple had claimed in the four-year legal fight that Sunny Isles Beach was improperly using its historic designation powers to prevent any changes. The lawsuit was dismissed once by a Miami federal judge but reinstated by a federal appeals court.

The settlement also allows a Jewish congregation currently leasing the temple to continue occupying the structure and holding services.

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