A Peace Light Ceremony has been hosted by the National Capital Area Council (NCAC) International Committee since 2017. It has been held at the Marriott Scout Service Center on the second Saturday of December since 2018. Each year the scout lead ceremony has grown in participation.
Plans for a December 12, 2020 ceremony have been cancelled however due to the COVID-19 concern.
A virtual Peace Light Ceremony will take place on Sunday December 6, 2020 at 9 pm EST. It will be hosted by Peace Light North America. The website is https://www.peacelightnorthamerica.org/virtual.php. The website provides a variety of information including additional history, online registration, resources and FAQs.
The direct link to view the live broadcast will be on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qr5Yjb1tCT0.
Though our local formal gathering will not take place, light or flame transfer stations have been set-up to provide access to those who may still wish to receive the Peace Light this year. The preliminary list of persons who are available to share the light are the following:
Elizabeth Esper – firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeff Lepak – email@example.com
Jay Eidson – firstname.lastname@example.org
Anthony Malone – email@example.com
In 2021, the ceremony is expected to return to the scout center.
Peace Light Overview and History
The Peace Light, symbolic of the Light of Christ especially evident at Christmas, is meant to promote peace, harmony and unity among all people of the world regardless of race, ethnicity or creed. Many churches, Scouting, and associated community organizations use the Peace Light in Advent worship services, parish tree lighting events, and other special ceremonies. Some groups even maintain the Peace Light year-round using the flame to ignite their Sanctuary Lights, Baptismal Candles, and Votive Lamps.
The Peace Light from Bethlehem campaign was originally organized in 1986 by the Austrian Broadcasting Company as part of a large charitable relief mission Light into Darkness, for children in need in Austria and abroad. Since 1986, and especially after the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe in 1989, there has been a growing cooperation between Scouts in many countries allowing the light to travel throughout 30 European nations.
Each year in late November, a child from Austria lights a lantern from the continuously burning candle in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the site of Jesus birth. The light, known as the Peace Light, stored in special explosion-proof lanterns, is then flown with a safety adviser back to Vienna, Austria, where it is shared with delegations from across Europe who distribute it with a message of Peace to their own countries for use at ecumenical services. Scouting organizations then take the light to houses of worship, hospitals, homeless shelters, nursing homes, and places of public, cultural and political importance – to anyone who appreciates the significance of the “gift”.
In early December, Austrian Airlines representatives transport the Peace Light from Austria to New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. A distribution ceremony of about 150 adults and children gather at the airport’s Our Lady of the Skies Chapel to welcome the light of peace and kindle their own flames.
The light’s pilgrimage across the U.S. begins from New York City via volunteers, many of whom are Scouts and Scouters associated with the Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of the USA, transferring and sharing it in their communities. Many other dedicated volunteers meet, share, and move the Light across North America, person-to-person, coast-to-coast. The Peace Light is a sign of hope. It has expanded from a small flame to a sea of lights in a few years and shines with its message to millions of people worldwide.
For several decades, the Scouts around the world have actively promoted global peace and harmony through sharing the Peace Light.
The Peace Light is often used as a Messengers of Peace project. Administered by the World Scout Bureau, Messengers of Peace is a worldwide program aiming to inspire millions of Scouts to work toward peace. In order to earn the Messengers of Peace uniform ring to be worn around the world crest, Scouts must be actively involved in planning Peace Light activities and in sharing the flame in ways that are appropriate to the Scouts age and abilities. Cubs might welcome guests to a candlelight ceremony, hand out programs and candles, and/or be part of a procession bringing the Peace Light into the gathering. Older Scouts could help in planning and implementing the program, speak or lead a song during the ceremony, or perhaps create a display about the history of the Peace Light.
If you have additional questions, would like to be added to the email list or other related interests, please contact Anthony Malone at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to join the NCAC International Committee, please contact Jay Eidson at email@example.com.