Poconos Coal

Church ceremony involving AR-15 rifles causes controversy

A controversial church in Wayne County held a blessing ceremony on Wednesday morning involving AR-15 rifles.

Members of Sanctuary Church say they're following God's will to honor the Second Amendment.

An AR-15 was used to kill 17 people in a school shooting in Florida two weeks ago and critics said the church's timing was in poor taste.

The mass marriage and blessing ceremony was led by Pastor Sean Moon.

He and his followers believe the AR-15 symbolizes the 'rod of iron' in the Bible's book of Revelation and Moon encouraged his followers to bring their guns to the service.

Reverend Moon told 69 News in a previous interview that the church was going to great lengths to make sure the ceremony was safe.

Church members zip tied all guns at the door and no ammunition was permitted inside.

“Christians just feel they have to arm themselves for protection. The way the world is going today, it’s just a form of protection for us. We're not out to harm anyone or cause any chaos or anything,” said church member John Gidney who traveled with his family from West Virginia for the ceremony.

The ceremony prompted Wallenpaupack Area School District to move students at a nearby elementary school to other campuses.

A handful of protesters gathered outside the church to condemn the blessing involving guns.

"The rods of iron, according to them, just according to them, are the AR-15's. Really? When the Bible was written? You've got to be kidding me,” said Kathryn Dalton.

Sanctuary Church said about 600 people attended the ceremony.

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