The Peace Light from Bethlehem campaign was originally organized by the Austrian Broadcasting Company - ORF (Linx) - 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 co-operation 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 and 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".
The Aim of the Campaign
is to address as many people as possible, to bring them the Light and the Peace Message, which encourages everyone, but especially Scouts and Guides, to active create peace in their environment. The Austrian Scout movement became involved when they were invited to act as couriers of the Light once it had reached Austria, in the hope that they could spread the Light throughout Europe.
After many years of successful cooperation with the different Scout movements the Light has been spread into Croatia, The Czech republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, United States of America, Ukraine, Bela Russia and Russia.
The Berlin Scouting community would like to distribute a special gift of Peace, the Peace Light flame and symbol, as a present from the Scouts to the American and international communities in Berlin.
The Peace Light from Bethlehem in Austria was created as a charitable relief mission for children in need. Since 1986, it has co-operated with Scouts in many countries allowing the light to travel throughout Europe. Each year, the Austrian Scouting community organizes a trip to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem to light the first Peacelight lantern from the eternal flame burning in the Church Grotto and brings it back to Austria for distribution at a service of dedication to delegations from across Europe. The light has been presented to such dignataries as Pope John Paul II, Mikhail Gorbatshow and former King Hussain of Jordan.
The main Peace Light service took place at the Marienkirche in Mitte at 14:30 on December 14, 2008. The Peace Light arrived at All Saints on Sunday, December 21st during Mass.