SCOTTSDA — The Western district of the Methodist church has elected an openly gay bishop despite the denomination’s ban on same-sex relationships.

The Rev. Karen Oliveto was elected last week at a meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona, of the church’s Western Jurisdiction. Oliveto is pastor of Glide Memorial United Methodist Church in San Francisco. She is the first openly gay bishop in the 12.7 million-member denomination.

The United Methodist Church is deeply divided over LGBT rights. Church law says same-gender relationships are “incompatible with Christian teaching.” But several regional districts are openly defying the prohibition by appointing gay clergy and allowing same-sex weddings in churches.

SALT LAKE CITY — Mormon missionaries in Russia will now be known as “volunteers” to comply with a new anti-terrorism law that puts restrictions on religious practices.

Church spokesman Eric Hawkins said this week that the change is the first step as leaders determine how to keep several hundred missionaries there while obeying a law Russian President Vladimir Putin signed earlier this month.

The rules dictate that religious work can only be done in houses of worship and other related religious sites.

MOSCOW — The Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia says it does not mind people playing the smartphone game “Pokemon Go” around synagogues and other cultural buildings. The Jewish community’s governing body said in a statement that it is not against the game as long as it is not disturbing the congregation.

Associated Press