Peace Light- From Bethlehem to Minnesota

Boy Scout Troop 113, from Bayport Minnesota, is planning a rather amazing project this holiday season. Scouts are taking part in an International Scouting program to distribute what is called the Peace Light that originates from the grotto manger where Jesus was born in Bethlehem to the rest of the world.

The Peace Light is something the Transatlantic Council in Europe started several years ago. They transport the flame from Bethlehem to Vienna, Austria where it is distributed throughout Europe. A few years ago, the Catholic Committee on Scouting of the Diocese of Brooklyn & Queens, & International Committee, Greater New York Councils (GNYC) BSA & Units of the Transatlantic Council BSA, found a way to bring the Peace Light flame from Vienna to New York City.

This last summer some of Troop 113 Scouts attended the International Scout Jamboree in Iceland where they met a few people from Europe who are involved in the Peace Light program. Since then, they have been planning to be a part of the flame distribution between New York City and Saint Paul, Minnesota. The Peace Light flame is scheduled to arrive at JFK in New York City on December 10, 2008. Two Scout Leaders from Troop 113, Roger Knuteson and Joe Reding, are driving to New York City to meet the flame. On the way back they are planning to stop at the Boy Scout Councils in State College, Pennsylvania; Toledo, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; Madison, Wisconsin; and finally Saint Paul, Minnesota, so they too can distribute the Peace Light flame to other Scouting Units.

On Friday, December 12th, 2008 from 1:00 – 2:00pm, the Peace Light flame will be present at Glacier’s Edge Council’s Madison Service Center, 5846 Manufacturers Drive, Madison, WI 53704.

On December 14, 2008 the Peace Light flame will be available for distribution from 12:00pm to 4:00pm at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 490 4th Street, Bayport, Minnesota 55003. Everyone is welcome to come to Bethlehem Lutheran Church where the flame will be shared and distributed. If you wish to take the Peace Light flame away with you, a vessel is needed to transport the flame. Small candle lanterns will be available at Bethlehem Lutheran Church for purchase. Special arrangements for Peace Light distribution may also be accommodated.

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”.

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Scouts of Mexico are in pealignt proyect. Two scouts get the peacelight in Chicago when Minnesota Boy scouts passed in their trip from NYC to Bayport. Then they started the long trip to Mexico City. Now they are in Laredo TX to get Nuevo Laredo in Mexico. They will get Mexico City on Monday 15 at night.

Thanks to BSA from Minnesota and Chicago for your support in this important project. It is the first time that peacelight of Bethlehem comes to Mexico and to Latinamerica.

By Raul Sanchez Vaca on December 15th, 2008 at 1:51 am

My name is Roger Knuteson and I am the Committee Chair for Troop 113 in Bayport, MN. Our Troop is involved with the distribution on the International Peace Light flame that originates from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem Israel. The Peace Light flame has been spread across Europe every Christmas since 1986 and North America since 2003.
Three blast proof miners lamps are lit from the lamps in the grotto of the Nativity in Bethlehem Israel and flown to Vienna Austria by Austrian Air. From there the Peace Light is carried throughout Europe by Scouts and Guides including Scouts of the BSA Transatlantic Council. The light is also flown from Vienna to New York, where it spreads across North America. The Peace Light is a little like the Olympic flame as it starts somewhere and is continuously maintained, but unlike the Olympic flame it doesn’t pass by, it is shared.

This year Joe Reding and I will be picking up the Peace Light in New York’s JFK on Friday December 4th, 2009 and distributing it along I70 and I35 on our way back to Minnesota.

We are looking for a Peace Light Coordinator. A job description can be found here: Thousands of people’s lives in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Mexico were affected by the Peace Light last year. See here for our report on last year’s trip:

The Peace Light means different things to different people, but virtually everyone who sees it is affected in some way. We would very much like to share it with you, we just need someone to work with. If you would like to learn more about the Peace Light and where it is going in 2009, please visit our web site at

By Roger Knuteson on November 23rd, 2009 at 8:03 pm


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