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.


  • Russ Cowher

    This is an expression of religious freedom, a little in your face expression maybe but it’s everyone’s right to do so. If someone wants to complain about something important why not confront Fetula Gulan who lives on a 25 acre, armed compound in Sailorsburg. He has been described as the most dangerous Muslim Brotherhood leader in the world by some and is the leader of Gulan Schools in the U.S. which are probably teaching radical Islamic beliefs. Oh wait we can’t do that because he is financially supporting Senator Robert Casey and who knows what other polititians!

  • Mike De Fleuriot

    If people have a problem with this, might I suggest that the local D&D group offer the following, as a balance…
    1st-level enchantment
    Casting Time: 1 action
    Range: 30 feet
    Components: V, S, M (a sprinkling of holy water)
    Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute
    You bless up to three creatures of your choice within range. Whenever a target makes an attack roll or a saving throw before the spell ends, the target can roll a d4 and add the number rolled to the attack roll or saving throw.

    At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, you can target one additional creature for each slot level above 1st.
    Categories: Enchantment:Cleric Spells:Paladin Spells:Concentration:Life Domain (Cleric) Spells:Divine Soul (Sorcerer) Spells

  • Turd Ferguson

    Why stop there? Might as well etch “God is great” on the barrels too. Ride around in pick up trucks patrolling your town…

  • SmashingTheFash

    We in ANTIFA have been doxing these right-wing fascists for years. We know their home addresses, their social circles, their places of employment, and their hobbies. They do not know who we are, thus they will never see us coming. We are actively fighting overseas in Syria and Turkey against fascist’s theocratic based armies and right-wing regimes; notably splinter groups of ISIS and Tahrir al-Sham in Syria, and Turkish fascist forces fighting against our Kurdish revolutionary comrades. We will ensure that the right-wing fascists in the US are marginalized back into the caves from which they spawned.

  • feckless

    Mr. tRump claimed he was going to end this American carnage. Do you know when he will get around to it?
    Is someone else president for Chicago?
    Answer to your question: Its not even news when those children are killed in 1’s or 2’s. Do you think their parents don’t cry and have their cries ignored because the body count was too low (or the victim was a non-white)?
    The guns that killed your hypothetical 17 Chicago kids most likely came from Indiana, and entirely republican state. interstate public health hazard is exactly why we have a federal government, eg tRump.
    By your count 34 kids are dead last week, just in Chicago and Florida, but the thing that sets you to typing is that your self styled opponents are inconsistent?
    I wonder if you had to spend 5 minutes in a room with the dead and their parents if you could argue this line of reasoning to someone’s face.

    Your apparent lack of empathy makes me suspect you are a Russian Bot. Nu? Yope Vas, tovarish.

  • Carol Martin

    I always thought that churches that support killing people were hypocritical, and that’s the one and only purpose of AR-15s. They serve absolutely no other purpose than killing as many people as quickly as possible. Civilians shouldn’t be allowed to buy them.

    • black rifles matter

      I guess I’ve been using mine wrong then all these years by shooting at targets. Thanks for clarifying what it was made for.

  • BubbaJ

    @Gun owners show their true colors on comment boards
    “Free” men do not ask permission to bear arms.
    AND Having a gun makes you a killer like standing in a garage makes you a car.

  • Jack Kennedy

    WOOOOOW……a lot of STOOOOOPID people are willing to take my rights away……….cuz they be skeeered AND yet these same STOOOOOOPID people want to brimg more jihadis into MY COUNTRY to murder them and their kids

  • Steve

    All the mass shootings with high kill rates seem to be in no gun zones like schools. (Soft targets) maybe all the libs could pass out stick on targets to wear on the children’s back packs. How many more BS laws that criminals can break do you need? Maybe the libs ought to look in the mirror and see the real problem. The cultural rot their policies have brought into our country.

  • Assylum Hole

    Wrongo buddy boy! It’s the LEFT that is first to get violent. ALL THE TIME! Think Antifa! Think all the crazy psycotic lefties beating up on ANYONE who doesn’t think like they do or won’t bow down and believe all the wako things they do. It’s simple. Liberalism is a DISEASE!

    • Ajax Rasputin

      And we in ANTIFA will be watching every person who attends this little gun nut fest. Doxing for a rainy day when you least expect it.

  • gun owner

    The people who argue to do away with guns are idiots. Usually the people who argue to support gun rights are even bigger idiots that are obsessed with guns. This is all Trump’s fault!

  • Jim

    You guys know this whole Sanctuary Church thing is a front group for Kahr Arms. The real mastermind is his older brother, the owner and founder of Kahr. That old boy bought the church, the pastor’s palace, and is pushing his guns like nobody ain’t seen b4. And all those “church-goers” are falling for it!

    • Joe Farnakle

      They are part and parcel of the same group. They are a cult that splintered off of the Unification Church (otherwise known as the Moonies). It’s a cult that mixes in some elements of Christianity but they are not Christian.

    • Drue H. Marshall

      You so eloquently distilled this ‘god-damned’ debate, down to its sleazy, duplicitous, ‘Dogma Crappy’ core! #excellent !!! ;-)

  • Myron

    You fools ain’t got an idea of what’s happening there do ya’ll? They are not “Blessing” the weapons, they’re getting the “Blessing” The “Blessing” is there word for a marriage ceremony. At this mass-marriage, they been told to bring there personal crowns and guns. There are numerous people there who might be crazier then a coo coo bird at a barmitzfa, especially the King.

  • Pierre

    This ceremony is not a blessing of guns. It is a marriage blessing and a renewal of vows. The crowns and the rod of Irons accouterments are symbols of Kingship and sovereignty with Christ. I think that it will good for Christians to read their bible deeper. Even the press need to read the bible so they can understand what is going on. The government is in a position of servant to the citizens. This is a country by the people and for the people Citizens need to be responsible and not think that somebody will do it for them. In Florida, we see that the FBI failed and the government created gun free zones. Is the school in Newfoundland a gun free zone. That is what the parents should be concerned about.

  • III%

    You cannot invade mainland America there would be a rifle behind every blade of grass……. Admiral Isoruko Yamamoto, The Japanese Imperial Navy, 1941

  • trucker

    Right on! Those kids being killed in chicago might look bad for the DNC machine that runs the city and launched B. Hussian Obama’s political career

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