School to close for church ceremony featuring AR-15 rifles
A Bushmaster AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and ammunition is seen at the Seattle Police headquarters in Seattle, March 27, 2006. (AP / Ted S. Warren)
The Associated Press
Published Monday, February 26, 2018 12:17PM EST
NEWFOUNDLAND, Pa. - A Pennsylvania school district says it's cancelling classes at an elementary school because a church down the street is hosting a ceremony featuring AR-15 rifles.
World Peace and Unification Sanctuary in Newfoundland is encouraging couples to bring their AR-15 rifles to a commitment ceremony. The church believes the AR-15 symbolizes the "rod of iron" in the biblical book of Revelation.
The superintendent of the Wallenpaupack Area School District says "there is no direct threat." But he wrote in a letter to parents that given concerns about parking, traffic and the "nature of the event," students will be bused to schools about 15 miles (24 km) away.
The church is a breakaway faction of the Unification Church, which has distanced itself from the event and says its ceremonies and theology do not involve weapons.