STOW — The Great Trail Council will serve as a home for a flame that has made its way to this area all the way from Bethlehem.
The Great Trail Council will have the flame available at its Scout shop at 4500 Hudson Drive in Stow. The Council also is looking for other places that can host the Peace Light.
"This is the third year for bringing the Peace Light to the Great Trail Council," said Mike Kupec of the Great Trail Council. "Previously before the merger at the end of 2016, the former Greater Western Reserve Council out of Warren, Ohio had been bringing the Peace Light to Northeast Ohio for five years back then. It has now been in the area for eight years. The members of the Great Trail Council are happy to share this message of peace to all our communities in hopes to brighten the holiday season to everyone and share this historic flame from the site of Jesus’ birth."
The Great Trail Council serves Cub Scout Packs, Scout Troops, Venturing Crews & Explorer Posts in Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Summit, Trumbull and Northern Wayne counties.
The Peace Light began more than 29 years ago, and starts in the grotto where the Christ child was believed to have been born. It is delivered by a young Austrian child to the Austrian Airlines where it is placed in two blast-proof miners’ lamps and flown from Tel Aviv, Israel to Vienna, Austria. Here the light is then distributed throughout 20 European countries and overseas, including North America, via land routes and the Austrian Airlines as a symbol of peace. The 2019 Bethlehem Peace Light arrived at JFK International Airport in New York City on Dec. 6, and was transported to the Great Trail Council Dec. 7.
Anyone with the capability of transporting a flame may request it, Kupec said.
"There is no process to apply to receive the Peace Light," Kupec said. "You just need to indicate that you want to receive it and, in our case, make it available to others to share with families and friends. Precautions need to be taken as with any live flame. Protect it from pets. Some people move the lit candle to the kitchen sink at night. Some people use a oil lamp to burn the flame. Paraffin oil found at most hardware stores, is the best oil to use since it is smokeless and there is very little odor. People can re-light their pilot lights with the Peace Light flame in order to maintain the flame throughout the year."
Kupec said that the Council recommended people bring an oil lantern to collect and transport the flame.
"It will protect the flame from wind as well as easily being able to handle and transport it," Kupec said. "It is best to have two people so one is making sure that the lantern is safe. If alone, a person needs to make sure that the lantern won’t tip over and is secure."
Some people may opt to do an Infused Peace Light Candle, Kupec said.
"This is where a new candle is lit with the Peace Light flame for a few minutes and then put out so that a person can send the candle and message of peace to loved ones and friends far away where it will be unsafe for them to transport the live flame," Kupec said.
There are many ceremonies that can be incorporated for receiving the flame and for using it, Kupec said. For details, visit http://peacelight.org/.
How long the person maintains the flame is strictly up to them, Kupec said.
"There are no set guidelines," Kupec said. "It is up to a person’s faith. Some keep it just for the holidays. Others keep it lit through Epiphany and Orthodox Christmas. Others will maintain it as long as they can."
The Peace Light flame will be available to anyone during normal business hours through Dec. 21. Scout Shop hours can be found at the Great Trail Council website at www.gtcbsa.org.
Contact Kupec for information, questions or to offer to host the Peace Light at 330-519-3988 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Peace Light details and more information can be found at www.peacelight.org or the Peace Light – North America Facebook page.
Reporter April Helms can be reached at 330-541-9423, email@example.com, or @AprilKHelms_RPC