Peace Candle

Peace candle burning at TPPC.

Every week before our Sunday morning worship service, the Takoma Park Presbyterian Church lights a Peace Candle and prays for peace. In doing so, we join many other churches around the world who do the same.

In 1986 a group of American Christians visited Russia. After a service in a Russian Orthodox Church in Odessa, an elderly woman pushed three roubles into the hand of the minister leading the party. She asked him to buy a candle and light it in his church as a symbol of peace.

When he returned home the minister duly bought a candle in a glass holder and placed it on the communion table in the First Presbyterian Church, York, Pennsylvania. This candle is lit at every service of worship. Later that year the church decided to buy a supply of candles and holders, inviting members of the congregation to send them to other churches with which they had contact. Two members of the congregation had previously been members of a United Reformed Church in England, and they sent a candle to their former church. That church decided to do likewise... and now candles are being sent far and wide.

The Rev. Laura Collins, a former pastor of TPPC, received a peace candle from the Presbyterian Home when she did a service there. Now each pastor who does a service in our church, as well as visitors who request one, gets a peace candle to bring back to their congregation, to spread the message of hope started by an elderly woman in Odessa those many years ago.

Universal Prayer for Peace
Lead us from death to life,
from falsehood to truth.
Lead us from despair to hope,
from fear to trust.
Lead us from hate to love,
from war to peace.
Let peace fill our hearts,
our world, our universe.
Let us dream together,
pray together,
work together,
to build one world
of peace and justice for all.

Photograph : Christopher Monsell