60 years - Walking for peace
A tradition created over 60th years ago continued Saturday, Dec. 14 as the Christmas Peace Pilgrimage made its way from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Over 90 pilgrims came out to spread the message of world peace as they walked nearly 10 miles from start to finish. Each year the walk starts at Nazareth Moravian Church and finishes at Christ United Church of Christ taking approximately six hours to complete.
Before heading out, the group received a few words from Rick Dow, an organizer who has been walking for a total of 22 years and a member of the planning committee for 17 years. Dow asked new walkers to reflect on what inspires them to walk this year and for returning members to think about what brings them back year after year.
Although many of the pilgrims were first timers, they were accompanied by those who had been participating from anywhere between five to 20 years. Nobody, however, had more experience than the second speaker, Fran Dreisbach, who participated in the first Peace Pilgrimage 60 years ago. Dreisbach spoke about being one of 19 who set out on the first walk and how sharing the message of peace still resonates today.
After Dow and Dreisbach were finished delivering their motivational words, everyone grabbed signs and banners and were ready to head out and start the pilgrimage. With smiles and peace signs held high, the walkers kept a steady pace, with transport vehicles assisting older participants when needed.
Once the Peace Pilgrimage was complete, participants enjoyed dinner along with a performance by Lepoco Peace Singers before rewarding Dow for his dedication to the Peace Pilgrimage for over 20 years.
The Christmas Peace Pilgrimage takes place rain or shine the second Saturday in December. Information on how to get involved with next year’s pilgrimage can be found at www.peacewalk.org.