Revisiting the 50th Annual Christmas Peace Pilgrimage
December 10th, 2010 posted by Kim Lilly
Tomorrow is the 51st Annual Christmas Peace Pilgrimage in Lehigh Valley. It’s a 10-mile walk from Nazareth to Bethlehem, two of the most historically relevant towns in local Moravian heritage.
According to my mom, who did the “peace walk” last year, the purpose is to encourage peace rather than violence in a non-political setting. With a friend from church by her side, Mom drove to Bethlehem to meet the bus that would take her to the starting off point for the pilgrimage at Nazareth Moravian Church in Center Square. Then as the clock struck noon, Mom and 240 other “pilgrims” began their walk along Route 191toward Bethlehem.
The thing about Mom is she’s a very active person, so she probably could’ve walked the full 10 miles without a break. But since the Peace Pilgrimage is for everybody – regardless of age or fitness level – they stopped several times along the way to take a breather, get a drink of water and talk about the 50 year history of the walk and its purpose. (Check out the 2005 mayoral proclamation about the event on the Christmas Peace Pilgrimage website.)
Just as it was getting dark, each person was given a candle as they made their way into historic downtown Bethlehem. Flickering candles in-hand, the group made their way to Central Moravian Church to sing Christmas carols before ending their journey with supper and an inspirational speaker. (This year’s speaker is Nancy Tate, coordinator of the Lehigh Pocono Committee of Concern, the oldest continually active peace organization in Lehigh Valley.)
Will you participate in the Christmas Peace Pilgrimage this year?