Reading from Isaiah The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. Thou hast multiplied the nation, thou has increased its joy. They rejoice before thee as with joy at the harvest, as men when they divide the spoil. For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”.
Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. Upon the throne of David, and over this kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righeousness from this time forth and for evermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Let there be peace on earth
Let there be peace on earth
Distribution of the Peace Light
“We gladly receive this light as a sign of our willingness to be channels of peace, by our words and actions”.
We Sing, to the tune Edelweiss, the Hymn as a link with the Austrian Scouts and Guides and Scouting Friends in the Transatlantic Council, BSA who will begin the distribution of the Peace Light in Europe at a ceremony in Vienna.
Come, O Lord, be with us
May the peace of God and the love of mankind guide us throughout this special day and let out light so shine that men will see our good works and glorify God.
We are met in the spirit of thanksgiving and joy, for the Peace Light from Bethlehem is in our presence.
May the peace symbolized by this Light touch each person who carries it and each who receive it. It is through this sharing of the light of Christ that we pray for the peace of God be spread to all, this Christmas time and always.
Said by All
The Grace of One we call Lord
The Love of God
The Fellowship of his kindly spirit
Be with us all evermore
Best Wishes for a Safe Peace Light Experience. You are encouraged to send messages about where the Peace Light has traveled, dates of Peace Light Distributions, photographs and news articles to: Paul D. Stanton, International Representative, Greater NY Councils BSA. PDStanton@aol.com or PaulDStanton@msn.com
History of the Peace Light
The Peace Light, symbolic of the Light of Christ especially evident at Christmas, is meant to promote peace, harmony and unity among the people of the world regardless of race, ethnicity or creed. For several years, the International Scouting movement, Boy and Girl Scouts, have actively promoted global peace and harmony through the distribution of the Peace Light.
Now in its 23rd year, the Peace Light from Bethlehem campaign was originally organized by the Austrian Broadcasting Company - ORF (Linz) - and was part of a large charitable relief mission - Light into Darkness, for children in need in Austria and abroad. Since 1986, there has been a great deal of cooperation between Scouts and Guides in many countries which has allowed the light to travel throughout Europe, such that the light is passed on 23 European Countries and for the past few years on to America . Each year, a child from Upperaustria fetches the light from the grotto in Bethlehem where Jesus was born. The light is then flown to Austria from where it is distributed at a Service of Dedication to delegations from across Europe who take it back, with a message of Peace, to their own countries for use at ecumenical services throughout the Continent. Scouts and Guides can then take the light on to other churches, hospitals, old people homes, prisons, and places of public, cultural and political importance - to anybody that appreciates the significance of the “gift”. In past years the light has been presented to Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, Mikhail Gorbatshow, former King Hussain of Jordan, EU President Romano Prodi and other member of the European parliament in Strazbourg, the UN Troops in Kosovo and to Ground Zero, New York
The Catholic Committee on Scouting of the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens again has the privilege of welcoming the Light to the United States following its long journey from Bethlehem to Vienna, Austria and across the Atlantic Ocean. Special thanks to our friends in Austrian Scouting and Austrian Airlines for making this possible. This year, along with the reception at Our Lady of the Skies chapel we will also sponsor Peace Light distribution at various locations in the Diocese in order to promote peace and harmony at the local level. Please note that while Scouts are bringing the peace Light to the United States, it can benefit people from all walks of life, everyone from youth ministry to senior citizens. To accomplish this goal the Light, will be available for distribution to parishioners, parish groups and neighbors in many States between now and New Year’s Day 2010.
Boy Scout Troop 113, in Bayport Minnesota, is planning a rather amazing project this holiday season. Scouts are taking part in an International Scouting program to distribute what is called the Peace Light that originates from the grotto manger where Jesus was born in Bethlehem to the rest of the world. The Peace Light is something the Transatlantic Council in Europe started several years ago. They transport the flame from Bethlehem to Vienna Austria where it is distributed throughout Europe. A few years ago, the Catholic Committee on Scouting of the Diocese of Brooklyn & Queens, & International Committee, GNYC BSA & Units of the Transatlantic Council BSA, found a way to bring the Peace Light flame from Vienna to New York City. This last summer some of the Troop 113 Scouts attended the International Scout Jamboree in Iceland were they met a few people from Europe who are involved in the Peace Light program. Since then, they have been planning to be a part of the flame distribution between
NYC and Saint Paul Minnesota. The Peace Light flame is scheduled to arrive at JFK in NYC on December 10, 2008. Roger Knuteson and another Scout Leader Joe Reding from Troop 113 are driving to NYC to meet the flame. On the way back they are planning to stop at the Boy Scout Councils in State College, PA; Toledo, OH; Chicago, IL; Madison, WI and finally Saint Paul MN so they too can distribute the Peace Light flame to other Scouting Units. On December 14, 2008 the Peace Light flame will be available for distribution from noon to 4:00 PM at Bethlehem Lutheran Church 490 4th Street North Bayport, Minnesota 55003. Everyone is welcome to come to Bethlehem where the flame will be shared and distributed. If you wish to take the Peace Light flame away with you, a vessel is needed to transport the flame. Small candle lantern will be available at Bethlehem for purchase. Special arrangements for Peace Light distribution may also be accommodated. The Peace Light from Bethlehem campaign was originally organized by the Austrian Broadcasting Company - ORF (Linz) - and was part of a large charitable relief mission -Light into Darkness, for children in need in Austria and abroad. Since 1990, there has been a great deal of cooperation between Scouts and Guides in many countries, which has allowed the light to travel throughout Europe. Each year, a child from Upper Austria fetches the light from the grotto in Bethlehem where Jesus was born. The light is then flown to Austria from where it is distributed at a Service of Dedication to delegations from across Europe who take it back, with a message of Peace, to their own countries for use at ecumenical services throughout the Continent. Scouts and Guides can then take the light on to houses of worship, hospitals, homeless shelters, old people homes, prisons, and places of public, cultural and political importance - to anybody who appreciates the significance of the “gift”. http://www.batesgd.supanet.com/.
The tradition of the Light of Friendship & Peace started in Austria in the late 1980’s. The “Peace Light” campaign was originally organized by the Austrian Broadcasting Co. and is still part of a great charitable mission for handicapped children and people in need.
Every year, during the weeks before Christmas scouts distribute the light to now more than 30 European countries. The light is given from one person to another as a symbolic gift with reference to the meaning of Christmas and the wish for peace and forgiveness among human beings.
Worldwide, communities seeking international friendship and peace is a special concern of all Boy & Girl Scouts here and abroad. According to the ideals of Scouting, we want to encourage everyone, all nations and peoples, through personal contacts to actively create Peace and fear-free living in their environment by being tolerant towards different ethnic, cultural or religious groups.
The Light of Friendship & Peace was first introduced to the United States in the year 2000. It was flown over from Oslo, Norway with a brief stopover in London, England before landing in Bartlesville, Oklahoma the headquarters of Phillips Petroleum Co., the sponsors of the flight. The light quickly spread to six states in the heartland of America.
It would be a great pleasure to all of us if the Scouting movement helped to bring this new Christmas tradition to the people of each state in the United States of America. Take part in the distribution of the Light of Friendship & Peace. Use the Peace Light or perhaps pass it on to someone you know, please consider yourself invited and accept our best wishes. Use the light however, and bring a little light “...and peace to all people on earth.
We of Saint Stephen’s Scout Group today, December 14, 2002, received the light from Paul D. Stanton, International representative of the Greater New York Councils and will place it on the alter of our parish. We have also passed it on to burn in a Methodist church in Rockaway, New Jersey. The light will burn on the alter until the first day of 2003 in the hope that we can carrying the flame of Peace & Understanding into the New Year.
‘In Vienna it was distributed to national delegations. Slovak scouts received the light in Vienna and brought it to the Polish Slovakian border. Polish scouts received the light just last Sunday from our Slovak friends. Now we will bring the light to the countries to the east of Poland. This is very important to us to be part of this chain of spreading the message of peace to our neighbor countries: Russia, Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine.’
For Polish scout Adam Staroniek the light symbolizes peace, family, warmth, and the good that is in people:
‘This light comes from the Nativity Grotto in Bethlehem. Just before Christmas we take this light and give it to all the people. It symbolizes family warmth and peace. It is supposed to be an occasion for all of us to sit by this fire, because as one of our songs says, everything that’s evil seeks darkness, and what is good, comes out into the light. This is why we spread this light.’
Earlier this year it was feared that there might be problems collecting the light from Bethlehem because of the turmoil in the region. However, due to a peace agreement in August, the tradition can still be practiced.
‘This year will be the first time that the fire will arrive in Russia before December 25 in order to bring light to the believers of Catholic, Protestant and other non-Orthodox parishes for Christmas,” said Vyacheslav Chernykh, initiator of the initiative and an officer at the Russian Scout foundation, according to the press service of the Russian Conference of Catholic Bishops.’
In the past, the light of peace has been presented to Pope John II, Pope Benedict XVI, Mikhail Gorbatchow, former King Hussain of Jordan, EU President Romano Prodi, and troops in Kosovo and to Ground Zero, New York.
The International Peace Light Website
Posted by Neil at 1:54 PM
As I reflect on another Christmas season, a time near the end of the year when us ‘task oriented’ types can be run off our feet, I am warmed by this story of the Peace Light Campaign. No matter what complaints we have with the commercialization of Christmas, or the new political correctness that drops Christ out of everything, we can find some glimmer of light that reminds us that Christmas does indeed belong to Christ.
Enjoy this story and your own story of Christ’s birth in your neighborhood. by Neul Ostrander, International Teams Canada CEO
[Singing] ‘The light from Bethlehem will give the world a new hope, let us all warm in the light of peace.’
The Nativity Grotto Peace Light campaign is a two-decade-old tradition. Every year a child from Austria fetches the light from the place in Bethlehem where Jesus Christ was born. Then the light travels to Austria where it is distributed to delegations from different nations at a special ceremony. Back in their home countries, messengers take the light to churches, hospitals, old people’s homes, prisons, schools and other institutions.
Polish scouts take part in the tradition for the 16th time this year. Ewa Lachiewicz, head of the international office of the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association.
‘The message of the campaign of the light of Bethlehem is to spread peace. For the scouting family peace is the most important value. We believe that this is our aim living here on Earth, that we should try to build friendship with all other people. We perceive the Peace Light of Bethlehem as something very important for scouting.’
The Nativity Grotto Peace Light campaign originated in Austria as part of a charitable mission organized for children in need. It was very quickly spread as an international peace campaign. Since its onset 20 years ago, scouts from many countries have gathered together to help the light travel throughout Europe and recently even to the United States. Polish scouts have collected the light of peace from their Slovak counterparts and will pass it on to Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania and Russia. Ewa Lachiewicz of the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association again: