Parents Concerned Over Church Blessing Involving Assault Weapons

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DREHER TOWNSHIP -- Parents are expressing concern after a church announced it will hold a ceremony next week, and worshipers are encouraged to bring assault weapons with them, and the ceremony will be just down the road from an elementary school.

The ceremony in Wayne County was planned before the mass shooting at a high school in Florida last week.

Church leaders still plan to go ahead with the blessing ceremony, which has some parents of elementary school students on edge.

Sanctuary Church and Rod of Iron Ministries are one in the same, run by the Moon family from South Korea who started the controversial Unification Church.

Church leaders tell Newswatch 16 that state police wanted to know what the ceremony next week involving AR-15-style rifles is all about.

At 10 a.m. next Wednesday, church leaders expect up to 600 people for a blessing ceremony, and many of those people are expected to be armed with AR-15s, the gun used in recent mass shootings across the country.

"This will be a big thing for us. It's a new stage for us because it incorporates the rod of iron, as it is in Revelations. Revelations talks about the returning Christ ruling with the rod of iron."

Tim Elder sat down with Newswatch 16 to explain the beliefs of the church, led by the Reverend Sean Moon.

Moon is the son of the late Sun Myung Moon, who founded the controversial Unification Church that drew national attention in the 1970s and '80s. The Rod of Iron Ministries is an offshoot of that religious organization focusing on what it believes is the right of families to defend themselves with assault weapons.

"This rod of iron is the AR-15, in today's terms."

The Moon family also owns Kahr Arms, a gunmaker that moved to Pike County a couple years ago. Newswatch 16 was at the opening ceremony at that time in Blooming Grove Township.

Church leaders say the AR-15s will not be loaded for the ceremony next week and safety zip ties will be used. However, state police are involved. Elder says troopers have reached out for more information.

Just down the road from the church is Wallenpaupack South Elementary School with 280 students, plus teachers and staff. In light of recent gun violence at schools, the planned ceremony with assault weapons is concerning for parents.

"It's something I would consider keeping my child home. It's scary," said Liz Zoccola.

"I wish they wouldn't have it at all. I don't think there's a good time to have it, especially this close," Kendra Hanor said.

The ceremony was planned before last week's deadly rampage at a high school in Florida.

Wallenpaupack Area school officials are deciding what, if anything, the school will do next Wednesday in response to the ceremony down the road.


  • God and guns do not belong together

    No i have known about Islamberg for 22 years and have worked with their people . nothing to google. try again. Nothing to be scared of. By the way, it is Binghamton and Islamberg is near Deposit, PA border

    • trucker

      Agree 100%, I wounder if they send an email to the “troll farms” like Share Blue media before or after the post the story.
      Share Blue types show up quick wanting attention.

  • trucker

    The russian orthodox church that is in the same town is gonna get a surprise went the rent-a-mob gets lost.
    Rent-a-mob will not get the irony of renting trucks from Home Depot to drive to protest “violence”

  • Lloyd Schmicatelli

    You know another thing I can add to this conversation that isn’t discussed much is who of us here that own guns and know owners of guns that would hand them over simply because the legislators deemed them illegal.

    “Oh ya sure, Nancy Polish, you can have my priceless 30-30 that my grandfather gave to me for my birthday when I was 10. The same one he used for hunting for 60 years on the family farm. Sure, here you go, take it. I was planning on giving it to my grandchild and passing that legacy down. But I guess since you made them illegal you can just have my priceless family heirlooms.

    Would you like my grandmothers eariings too?

    How about I just deed over the family farm as well.


    Just because the majority of you zombies are lost and disconnected from your roots doesn’t mean we all are.

    • Lloyd Schmucatelli

      Maybe my deceased uncles pick up truck too. Let’s just go down to the title and tag and transfer it over.

      • Drue H. Marshall

        Your hyperbolic histrionics are so facile as to beg mockery. I don’t hear anyone advocating that you surrender Pappy’s Pop Gun. And don’t try to peddle the olde”slippery slope” chestnut — it’s beyond threadbare. If all of these mass killing sprees were carried-out with “hunting rifles”, then you might be slightly more entitled to irrational paranoia.

    • yay dogs

      Why do people like you get so triggered and angry when someone disagrees?
      I don’t see many people screaming that all guns should be banned or illegal. We want gun reform, stricter background checks, mental health funding, and the whole gist is making sure people who shouldn’t have them aren’t able to legally obtain them. I don’t understand why America has this weird psyche. If you look at Australia, they had a mass shooting and immediately implemented legislation and many people willingly handed in their guns. Our nationalism is terrifying, and I hope you are never affected by a tragedy like this.
      If we don’t do SOMETHING, this will continue to happen. Again, not many people are even calling for a ban, so stop pandering to that.

      • concerned commuter

        Do you have any idea how many gun laws are already on the books? They need to be ENFORCED strictly. The FBI and the cops need to do their jobs and not ignore tips from concerned people. The FBI knew about that nut and never even informed the Miami office. The shooter at the Texas church was allowed to purchase his gun because the AIR Force didn’t inform the background check of his discipline. Chicago has some of the toughest laws on the books and yet you hear about shootings almost on a daily basis. People have changed today from the way they used to be. There is no respect for anyone today. We used to take our guns to school so we could go hunting after classes. There wasn’t one school shooting! Everybody says we need more “common sense” gun laws. I say we need more common sense people, the kind that do the jobs they’re supposed to. Like check out the report that a kid wants to shoot up a school. Nobody in the FBI has lost their job for their screw up. Nobody in the Air Force lost their job for their screw up either.
        We need better mental health care, more CONCERNED professionals and better reporting and follow through. If you know something you need to say something and it needs to be followed up!

      • Kt

        You are correct in that SOMETHING should be done. But how able instead of making more laws that will not stop the real problem ( as Chicago and Baltimore show us, with more murders and more gun laws) but instead allow a preselected and trained portion of the teachers and staff at the schools be allowed to carry concealed guns. This will a allow for an active shooter situation to be meet with a timely response of force and will make future shooters think twice before walking into a school to try and kill people. School shootings are all the more tragic since are children are forced to be there and are not protected by the same government that has security at there airports and office buildings. Walk into any school and see how easy it is to walk into and know that there is not a person there to stop you if you wanted to do harm. Sort more laws are not the answer. The best offense is a good defense.

    • BubbaJ

      @Lloyd Schmicatelli
      One problem with what you said…”How about I just deed over the family farm as well.”
      Well You DON’T OWN THE FAMILY FARM! Ya got that? You don’t own it, Even if it is “paid” for, it still ain’t yours. You only rent it from the government and they can AND will take it when they decide “THEY” want it! Miss the EXTRAVAGANT TAX BILL and they WILL come calling, or just sell it at auction on the court house steps.
      PLUS don’t forget “they” can take the other items with their revenue generating policies i.e “ASSET FORFEITURE” like “them” saying your nephew sold pot to someone on the property while you were not home. Also don’t forget the wonderful city, town and county “ordinances”
      Not trying to rain on your parade, just need to live in the real world of this government today.

  • Tebow

    instead of all of the people complaining below in the comments about all of this, maybe those people should stand out front of the church and see what goes on and actually pray. Guns dont kill people, people kill people. Owning a gun is an Amendment Right, just like Freedom of Speech. We all have opinions, but it is those that state an opinion with no intention of acting on it and just wanna run their mouth like an internet troll riding the bandwagon.
    If you have a problem with whatever this place is doing, then you have two choices: Either stay away from it, or go there and state your opinion and show your human self.
    Put that in your rifle and smoke it

    • God and guns do not go together

      Gtfoh with your praying bs, when it is your time, it is your time. Selfish m.fs………”oh dear god, I pray to you to let me win the lottery. I pray to you to cure mental illness. I pray to you to cure disease” . if God is real he has a lot of duties to fill. Not happening, but keep praying. Do not be disappointed when your prayers are not answered.

      • Gun and god do not go together

        Awwww Joe. Good try. Far from a snowflake liberal and far from a crazy conservative. You really resorted to liberal name calling because I do not believe in praying? Lmao. Too funny.

  • AM Joy Fan

    Aren’t our kids more important than the rhetoric of Russia? CNN recently found out Russian bots are promoting “gun rights” after the tragedy in Florida. Isn’t it time for sensible policies like the one Rep. Nancy Pelosi is advocating? She said “If I had my way sporting guns would be strictly regulated, the rest would be confiscated”. #gunsense #makeourschoolssafeagain

    • Good thing then

      If I had my way Nancy Pelosi wouldn’t be a politician. So it evens out, she doesn’t get her way, I don’t get mine.

    • Lin Karpiscak

      First, I doubt Nancy has ever said anything sensible. Two, if you outlaw guns, only the outlaws will have guns. Case in point: The movie theater shooting several years ago had a no gun policy. 4 people in the theater (who by the way were killed with many others) had concelled carry permits and left their guns in their vehicles per theater rules. If they hadn’t, you can be sure a lot fewer people would would be dead now. When a gun walks into a building on its own power and starts firing without the aid of a person, I will agree to dispensing with our second amendment rights, and not one day before. Guns don’t kill people. People kill people. The day of the Newton shooting, a mass school killing happened in China. The perpetrator used a knife. Shall we also outlaw knives? What about vehicles? More people die at the hands of others by drunk drivers. Why don’t we outlaw cars?

      • Drue H. Marshall

        Your ‘observation’ that: ” The day of the Newton shooting, a mass school killing happened in China. The perpetrator used a knife” is typically lame and utterly irrelevant. I feel like this comment thread must be some sort of masturbatory “competition” to determine which right-wingnut can spew the most idiotic, uber-simplistic twaddle.

    • Tim Neece

      How about the fact that it’s less than a mile from the school that my kids go to. There is no need for this. I am not against people owning guns however NO CITIZEN should have any kind of machine gun.

      • Lloyd Schmucatelli

        They aren’t machine guns. It’s astounding how much misinformation is out there.

        Also, how many homes do you think are within a 1 mile radius of any given school in America? Several to Several hundred.

        Do you think all those homes are gun free simply for being within a mile radius of a school?

        These are facts dude!

        You libs are downright drooling from the mouth fn retarded sometimes.

      • Lloyd Schmucatelli

        Oh, it’s the school your kids go to? Refer to my original comment at the bottom of the page, that is also a fact.

      • The power button

        You know, a machine gun. They’re the ones with the button on them that makes them more powerful than a regular gun. 🙄

      • Assylum Hole

        BS! You don’t know US History at all! In fact average people in the colonies had better rifles than the continental army. Hell prior to the 1968 gun control act you could legally own machine guns. You could order a military surplus tommy gun through the mail. The NRA was one of the groups who PUSHED for the 1968 gun control act – I bet you don’t even know why. Because they wanted to STOP the Black Panthers from being able to purchase guns through mail order. Please do everyone a favor and grab both ears and say POP!

  • Givemeabreak

    This is all about promotion for the church. This has nothing to do with people’s best interest just their best interests.

  • Claude

    That will be the safest elementary school in the country. You would think PSP would leave the church alone and fight the real crime in the Poconos which hasn’t been done yet.

    • Lloyd Schmucatelli

      Sure will be the safest.

      Some people just don’t get that though.

      Not every gun owner is bad, just like not everyone driving a car is drunk

    • 😟

      For once I actually agree with you. Most of these mass shootings that happen involve people who have mental disorders. They don’t get the help they need and the meds they are put on are all trial and error. They have to see what works best for these people and if it’s wrong it’s try another one. The should revise the HIPPA so they can check the mental status of people purchasing any guns. That for sure would help keep the guns out of the hands of people who should not have them.

      • 😟

        How so? I k ow about mental illnes cuz my nephew is schizophrenic. So shut your mouth cuz you’re clueless. You obviously don’t know what really happens when it comes to the meds they give them.

  • Joe Farnakle

    Y’all know this “church” isn’t actually Christian, right? That they are a cult that has been known to brainwash its members, right? Don’t you remember the “Moonies” from a few decades ago? This is a more radical splinter group that split off from the Moonies.

    • joe

      People like you will give up your rights to make you THINK you are safer.
      Religious extremists, how would you know they are, have you been there?
      Have you read about arrests of members for using guns or making threats in the name of their Church?
      Are you afraid to be there?
      That question answers itself just by your paranoia.

      If there’s something below you don’t like, get it changed.

      List of amendments to the United States Constitution

      1st Prohibits Congress from making any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

      2nd A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

      5th Sets out rules for indictment by grand jury and eminent domain, protects the right to due process, and prohibits self-incrimination and double jeopardy.
      nor be deprived of life, liberty, OR PROPERTY without due process of law

      • Joe Farnakle

        You cling to guns THINKING you are safer. The sad truth is that Americans as an armed populace hasn’t done a damn thing to reduce crime and violence. We actually have MORE violent crime than other industrialized democracies that have stricter gun control. That is an absolute fact. In states like Connecticut where they enacted stricter gun control, their rates of violent crime went DOWN. It’s lower in those states than the rate of violent crime in states with very lax gun control, like Louisiana, Alabama and others. That is also an absolute undisputable fact. It’s a false premise to think that you are safer because you have guns. You aren’t.

        As for the amendments, the only relevant one here is the 2nd and you might want to read up on your history. It was about state militias at a time when we didn’t have a standing army, not an armed populace. 2nd Amendment advocates love to pretend it means an armed populace but the fact is, our founding fathers defined exactly what a militia is and isn’t and who is eligible to serve in a militia in the Militia Act which was signed into law within 6 months of ratifying the 2nd Amendment.

  • Archie Beal

    This gathering a disgrace…especially in the shadow of the mass shooting that bad just ocurred…the reality is the 2nd ammendment will soon be greatly restricted and modified… the gun nuts and the useless NRA organization knows it will come to fruition…they put up a great facade but they are not naive…these people have no one to blame but themselves…just listen to how they speak….and they have the nerve to wonder why their privilege to posses firearms is restricted…these people demonstrate why society is not mature enough for this privilege and why it gretly needs to be modified….the government will intervene on this topic and to much of the gun nuts denial…it will happen

    • Tom

      I’m with you, Arch. So too many more reasonable, rational, responsible people across the country. The “gun nuts” will just have to buy monster trucks to compensate. .

    • Jiggly

      Privileges…. Rights you goofball jiggly snowflake….. Rights…. There will be no modifications, simply because the percentage necessary to pass would not be enough.

  • Berzzer

    Any “church” that encourages their congregation to amass instruments of murder is no church of Christ.
    Any “Christian” who thinks their God will bless their weapons in use against his own creation has chosen a diffe path and is no longer following God.

    • Tom

      Hypocrisy in a lot of American “Christian” churches is more the norm than the exception these days. Christ told his followers to turn the other cheek; these churches say shoot the bastard. Big difference.

      • joe

        Please provide the evidence that supports your accusation that the church advocates “these churches say shoot the bastard”.
        Has this happened?
        If it has I missed that story.

      • Joe Farnakle

        This group isn’t a Christian church. They are a radical, extremist cult. And as for what could possibly go wrong, maybe you might want to look up Branch Davidians, Jonestown, Islamberg.

    • Joe Farnakle

      They aren’t Christian. They are a radical splinter group of the Moonie cult. And believe me, I’m not kidding. Wish I were, but I’m absolutely serious. This church is run by the son of Sun Myung Moon and he literally calls himself their king.

      • joe

        Have there been past arrests of members of this church concerning firearms violations in the name of the church?
        Reread the 1st & 2nd amendments. If there’s something there you don’t like, get it changed just so you snowflakes will have a false sense of security.

  • The color of correct

    600 people at 10:00a.m. Wednesday. If this was a Gospel Church . The comments would be ” Don’t these people work “

  • cntrymuzkver

    What does the AR in AR 15 stand for?
    The modern sporting rifle, based on the AR-15 platform, is widely misunderstood. … The AR in “AR-15” rifle stands for ArmaLite rifle, after the company that developed it in the 1950s. “AR” does NOT stand for “assault rifle” or “automatic rifle.” AR-15-style rifles are NOT “assault weapons” or “assault rifles.”

      • Rusty Knyffe

        Sadly, Bill, you (and, your ilk) are wrong. The term, “assault rifle,” is a description of the appearance, not the magazine or caliber. This also excludes “semi-automatic” because any firearm could be construed as a semi-automatic.

        This is the problem, here. People are going on about this matter because they’re afraid. They should be afraid, but not of the people who are responsible and conscientious. Do any of you screaming left-wing-nuts actually believe that these everyday shooters out on the streets of Wilkes-Barre, Hazelton, Williamsport, and every other city in NEPA are using legally owned and registered weapons?

  • Lloyd Schmucatelli

    Hey libs, want to know a little secret about what’s going to happen at this event?

    So, if all the big scary guns in one place at one time doesn’t lead to catastrophe, your “Ban guns!” Argument is FINISHED!!

    It’s over. Undermined. Done.

  • Brian Snyder

    “This will be a big thing for us, it’s a new stage for us because it incorporates the rod of iron, as it is in Revelations. Revelations talks about the returning Christ ruling with the rod of iron.” Right, so Christ will rule with a rod of iron. That doesn’t mean you will or should.

  • warningfakenews

    The 2nd amendment isn’t about hunting, target practice, or collecting- it’s to make it very difficult for tyrannical thugs to force their will on what was once a free people.

    • yay dogs

      Please tell me more about your interpretation of history. We have never been “free”. So long as we can be drafted, we aren’t a “free” people. So long as we have to pay our bills and get on with the American Dream, we aren’t a free people. Take notes from Australia as well. You sound like a crazy person pandering to those who do not understand the implications of their actions.

    • Drue H. Marshall

      So, I guess by saying that the 2nd amendment was written: “to make it very difficult for tyrannical thugs to force their will on what was once a free people.” you must mean the Native American population… the one that fine, white, ‘civilized’, Christian hoards systematically murdered, in order to steal all of North, Central, and South America from them! Tell us more.

    • Drue H. Marshall

      Of course they “announced it”… They think they are Holy Warriors — heralding the imminent return of their lord jebus. In other words; they are brainwashed religious zombies, wasting their lives for the biggest hoax that “mankind” ever foisted on its self. Sadly, these particular LOONEY Moonies also worship the false idol of the UN-holy assault weapon. What could possibly go wrong? Guess what… when their asinine attachment to guns threatens MY freedom FROM religion, I (and rational, True Patriots everywhere) will call ‘BS’!.
      The shills spouting their NRA mantras here need to come out of their hysterical ‘mass delusion’ long enough to realize that sane citizens will NEVER allow OUR Democracy to be hi-jacked and turned into a twisted, tyranical Theocracy!

      • Robert Pickell

        ‘Our Democracy’ ?????? What a sad thing to say. This show how ignorant you are and also how much you desire to be a tyrant to others. America was NEVER conceived as a Democracy. Actually that idea was discussed and rejected during the Constitutional Convention because it always leads to mob rule and then Dictatorship. They chose a Republic for the very fact they did NOT want the ‘majority’ to rule over ( over rule ) fundamental rights given by our creator (God) based on their group think whims and emotions …. which is what you are attempting to do right now.

  • Stand With Me

    OH, PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! People just STOP. The instruments that will be “blessed” have been acquired, legally. The one used in the mass shooting was NOT.

    Please, oh, please. This has got to end. Once the 2nd Amendment is gone, the rest will fall, as well. Then, woe to all who are law-abiding and responsible.

    • Any real men left?

      Silverfish – they don’t even know how to change wiper blades or a spare tire. A few years ago I took notice that ‘younger’ men were driven around by their ladies. I guess this is the beginning of the end of manhood, relinquishing their man card to be driven around like Miss Daisy. Are there any real men left? John Wayne and Steve McQueen are spinning in their graves, Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson are shaking their heads. God help us.

    • Taco Salad

      Real Men Left- I’ll bet you “took notice” of younger generations of men.
      With all your fantasies about tough and rugged machoism of old Hollywood elites, you’re probably finding it hard to find a young “man’s man” looking for a submissive bottom.

      • yay dogs

        As stated, the child who bought the gun should have never been able to obtain it legally. Nor is a weapon designed to kill mass amounts of humans a good idea to have readily available. That is what it is made for. It is not a hunting rifle or a protective handgun. It is designed to kill and to kill MANY.

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