Peace Light shines in Lewistown

Pastor invites community to share flame that originated in Bethlehem

LEWISTOWN — A flame originating in Bethlehem has found its way to Mifflin County.

Rev. Helen Kester, of Highland Park Presbyterian and West Kish Presbyterian churches, acquired the Peace Light from her synod in Camp Hill.

“We used the flame to light our advent candle last Sunday morning, then used it for a children’s activity in the evening,” Kester said.

The Peace Light originated in 1989 with an Austrian relief mission, Light into Darkness, that helps children in need.

Every year, an upper-Austrian child journeys to Bethlehem, in the village where Jesus was born, to acquire the Peace Light’s flame. Then, the flame travels to a Service of Dedication, where leaders from all over Europe are able to light their own candles or lanterns with the flame, ultimately bringing the Peace Light to their own country.

It was designed to symbolize the light of Christ and to promote peace, harmony and unity among all people of the world.

Typically, Boy and Girl Scouts are the ones to distribute the flame to places such as churches, senior living homes, prisons and places of public importance.

“The Peace Light isn’t necessarily religious,” Kester said. “It does originate in the grotto of Christ in Bethlehem, but it passes to Muslims, Christians and everyone.”

Housing the Peace Light is a sign of acceptance of all people, and many churches use the flame to light advent candles.

Kester has transported the Peace Light flame to West Kish Presbyterian Church.

She is welcoming anyone interested in obtaining the Peace Light to one of the churches, either to take home or to take to another church.

The flame for 2017 will be extinguished at Kester’s churches after the Christmas Eve service.

For more information, or if interested in the flame, call the Highland Park Presbyterian Church at (717) 242-0176.