7th Swindon Scout Group Carol Service
Monday 17 December
Isambard Community School
We gladly receive the light as a sign of our willingness to be channels of peace, by our words and actions
Now in its 26th year, the Peace Light from Bethlehem campaign was originally organised 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, such that the light is passed on to 30 European Countries and for the past few years, on to North America, Mexico and Canada .
Each year, a child from Upper Austria kindles a flame from the "Eternal Flame" from the Nativity 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 Gorbachev, the former King Hussein of Jordan, EU President Romano Prodi and other members of the European parliament in Strasbourg, the UN Troops in Kosovo and to Ground Zero, New York.
May the kindly spirit of Christmas spread its radiance far and wide,
So all the world may feel the glow, of this Holy Christmastide.
So may this light of peace today that has travelled many miles,
Bring joy and hope to many, and fill each face with smiles.
So may every heart and home continue through the year,
To feel the warmth and wonder of this season of good cheer.
And may it bring us closer to God and to each other,
With every stranger known as friend, whether Sister or a Brother
Scouts and Guides have been involved with the Peace Light since it first came over to these shores, over twelve years ago. Members of each Association along with the Boys Brigade, and other similar groups have acted as couriers, taking back the light to their own places of worship or meeting places. Each year the light is collected from a Service of Dedication in Vienna and then transported across Europe by representatives of the Associations. On its journey it is collected by other members of those countries ie Scouts and Guides to be distributed far and wide, delivering with it the Peace Lights dedication and message of goodwill.