Contributed photo 

Hyung Jin Moon and his wife Yeon Ah Moon make an appearance in New York City in 2012.

Students relocated because of gun presence

NEWFOUNDLAND, PA — In a story that has appeared in newspapers around the country, the students at a nearby elementary school will be moved to a different building on a day set aside for couples to bring guns to a church.

The Sanctuary Church, which is headed by Hyung Jin Moon, son of the late Sun Myung Moon, had invited couples from all over the world to come to the church on February 28 for a blessing ceremony and also to bring semi-automatic guns.

The guns are part of the church’s teaching that to exist as “Cheon Il Guk,” or Kingdom of Heaven, the church needs, “people, land (property) and sovereignty. Sovereignty means that we are able to defend ourselves against an aggressive satanic world, when we are threatened.”

As it happens, the Wallenpaupack Area South Elementary School is located fairly close to the church, and school officials decided to move the students to other facilities in the district on the day of the blessing.

A letter sent from the district to parents on February 28 said, “there is no immediate threat to the school community,” but the district wants to be “prudent and proactive,” in the words of Superintendent Michael Silsby.

Students in grades Kindergarten through second will go to North Elementary School for the day, and those in fourth and fifth grades will go to North Intermediate School. The letter said that the district would respect the decision of parents who choose to keep their children home on that day, and students who do stay home will be marked “excused.” 

The church says the weapons brought to the church will not be loaded. The church president said in an email, “All of the weapons in the ceremony will be checked to make sure they are unloaded, with a zip tie so that no bullets can be inserted.” He added that to ensure safety at the event, the church is inviting state and local police to the church.

The church considers semi-automatic weapons such as AR-15s to be the “rod of iron” reference in the Bible.

The related press release on the church’s website reads. “Attending the blessing, either with an AR-15 or alike or without, is valid, but to attend with an AR-15 would be a substantial ‘perfection stage’ blessing.”


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