In the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem there are 15 oil lamps that have been burning continuously for over a thousand years. This is the Peace Light flame. Now in its 27th 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 co-operation between Scouts and Guides in many countries which has allowed the light to travel throughout Europe.
On Tuesday November 26, 2013 Michael Weixlbaumer, a 12 year old volunteer firefighter from Kematen an der Krems in Austria, lit his lamp from one of these eternal flames. His lamp was used to light two blast-proof miners lamps which will be flown from Tel Aviv, Israel to Vienna, Austria for the 27th time by Austrian Air, where the light is maintained for distribution.
For 25 years the Austrian Boy Scouts and Girl Guides have been distributing the Peace Light throughout Austria. From Vienna it spreads to more than 20 European Countries.
On December 14th the Peace Light will be available at the Votive Church in Vienna, Austria.
Austrian Airlines has been flying the Peace Light on to New York City since 2001. It arrives at JFK international airport on Wednesday, December 4th, and is carried from there across the United States and to Canada. Austrian Airlines will also be flying the Peace Light flame to Toronto, Canada on December 9th. Two maps are available on the PeaceLight.org web site. The first shows all of the locations where the Peace Light will be available this year. The second will track the locations where the Peace Light has been reported as having been received this year.
Through the efforts of many Scouters the Peace Light will travel as far north as Winnipeg, Ontario, Canada and as far west as Los Angeles California. After arriving in Warren from Reedsville, PA, it will next be transported to St. Vladimir’s Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral near Cleveland.
For the third consecutive year, the Greater Western Reserve Council is bringing the Peace Light flame to northeast Ohio; Scouts, Scouters and friends have accepted the challenge to become channels of peace by receiving the flame and passing it on to others in their communities and beyond.
The “Peace Light” flame will arrive on Thursday, December 5th, approximately at 2:30 pm and be officially received by the Boy Scouts and community leaders at the Greater Western Reserve Council, Boy Scouts of America headquarters, located at 4930 Enterprise Blvd., NW, Warren, OH,44481.
In past years many groups and people have taken the Peace Light back to their churches and homes to deliver a message of peace. Jason Wolf, Scout Executive of the Greater Western Reserve Council commented that, “People appreciate the opportunity of spreading the message of Peace in their communities.” People of all faiths are welcome to come to the Boy Scout Headquarters and receive the light and a wish for peace. Candles or lanterns are good tools to take home the light but are not provided, so please bring them with you.
The Peace Light will be available through December 23rd at the Scouting headquarters open Monday through Friday, 8:30 am till 5:00pm and on Saturday December 14th from 9:00 am until 1:000 pm. For questions, please call the Greater Western Reserve Council office at 330-898-8474 or by firstname.lastname@example.org.
For current information about its travel across North America, check out the Facebook page, “Peace Light – North America”.