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Church leaders accept apology after flap over blackface skit

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GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) -- Seven Gaston County church leaders say they've accepted an apology from the pastor of a Gastonia church where a blackface skit upset local black leaders.

The Reverend Antwonn Lynch of Greater Mount Hebron Baptist Church in Gastonia says the churches are united, not divided. Lynch says there's " no white church or black church. There is only one church."

A Charlotte representative of the Reverend Al Sharpton's organization had asked Gastonia's Pilgrim Baptist Church for an apology.

Pastor Thomas Holbrooks Junior issued an e-mailed apology this week to those who "have been offended." He has insisted the church meant no harm with the skit in May, calling it a tribute to gospel music history.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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