Pennsylvania-based church to host ceremony featuring AR-15s

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
By Associated Press

NEWFOUNDLAND, Pa. — A Pennsylvania-based religious group is scheduled to host a blessing ceremony for couples that will feature their AR-15 rifles.

World Peace and Unification Sanctuary in Newfoundland believes the AR-15 symbolizes the "rod of iron" in the biblical book of Revelation, and it is encouraging couples to bring the weapons to a commitment ceremony Wednesday morning. The AR-15 is the gun used in the Florida high school massacre.

The service is expected to draw hundreds of couples, prompting an elementary school down the street to cancel classes for the day. Students are being bused to other schools in the district.

The church is a breakaway faction of the Unification Church, which often is described as a cult. The Unification Church says it doesn't condone the Pennsylvania event.

A parishioner with the Sanctuary Church holds onto her AR-15 during a blessing ceremony at the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary in Newfoundland, Pennsylvania on Feb. 28, 2018.Jim Lo Scalzo / EPA