As Christmas approaches, many traditions are celebrated including the Bethlehem Peace Light which is collected from a church far way and brought back to Austria for the Peace Light service in Salzburg Cathedral.
In 2020, because of the UK restrictions on international travel, the light will not make its journey onwards to All Saints Church Luton. But Coronavirus did not stop Scouts, Guides and the Church from continuing with their service on Zoom and bringing a virtual Peace Light to the town.
The multi faith service was attended by the Mayor of Luton, Councillor Maria Lovell with contributions from Mr Ramnik Gohil, Community Ambassador from the Hindu Mandir in Lewsey Farm, Maqsood Anwar of the Madinah Masjid in Luton, Mr Sanjeev Kumar MBE representing Guru Ravidass Sangat in Luton, Revd Margaret Newman, the Minister at Beech Hill and Oakdale Methodist Churches. There was a reading by Leagrave Scout Malachi, as well as some wise words from Susan Lousada, High Sheriff of Bedfordshire and a reflection “the light of the world” by Revd David Kesterton and prayers from Revd Jo Burke.
The service remembered Mick Jarman, who passed away this September, with a tribute written by Bedfordshire County Commissioner Martin Wesley and read by Icknield (Luton) Scout District Commissioner Libby Bassam.
Mick became involved with carrying the Peace Light as a member of the Deep Sea Scout Fellowship. From Austria, the light travels the breadth of France, and crosses the Channel, escorted by members of the Deep Sea Scouts. Mick would collect the light first at South Mimms, and later from Dover, every December.
The Peace Light was a World Scout Committee initiative designed to promote and recognise service projects that contribute to world peace.
Scouting defines peace as more than just the absence of war; in terms of the Message of Peace initiative encompasses three dimensions:
• The personal dimension: harmony, justice, and equality
• The community dimension: peace as opposed to hostility or violent conflict
• Relationships between humankind and its environment: security, social and economic welfare, and relationship with the environment.
2021 will bring challenges as each year does but, with hope on the horizon, next year will see the return to our shores of the Bethlehem Peace Light.
Although being able to distribute the Light across the UK, but this clip does give a good idea of what is all about. The Saltsburg Cathedral would have been full of Scouting representatives from across Europe, ready to collect the Light for their own national distribution.
(Please note non Zoom Meeting Pictures are of previous years (Pre Covid-19)