School to close for church ceremony featuring AR-15 rifles

NEWFOUNDLAND, Pa. (AP) -- A Pennsylvania school district says it's canceling classes at an elementary school because a church down the street is hosting a ceremony featuring AR-15 rifles on Wednesday.

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.

MORE: Pennsylvania church to bless couples toting AR-15 rifles

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 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.

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