At the Mennonite church in Alkmaar, Netherlands

On December 3rd, the first Sunday of Advent, the Flame of Hope was warmly welcomed as a guest at the Mennonite Church in Alkmaar, together with Verena from the Old Catholic Church.

Advent candle of interconnection

Alkmaar has a nice tradition during Advent; ARK (Alkmaar Council of Churches) organizes annually for people from different denominations to visit each other’s churches. They bring a candle as a symbol of connection and during the service the candle is lit.

Rev Louise Pondman, the pastor of the Mennonite church, invited me to present the Flame of Hope. The Advent candles that Verena brought were lit with the Flame of Hope on a big table in the center of the church. What a beautiful honor it was! 

Today’s theme was: A place at the table for everyone. (Luke 14:12-24)

‘Everyone is equally invited to the Lord’s feast.’
No conditions are needed to drink from the well of God’s love and receive life.
It transcends everything: age, nationality, gender and everything else.

The introduction of the Flame of Hope resonates with this: .
“This Flame is an all-transcending symbol of human connection.”
“All people are invited to join and add their prayers/wishes for peace.”

In her sermon, Louise talks about the altar that she made: it symbolizes the ruin, the mess that is going on in the world and also in people’s lives.
How we are deeply touched and saddened by the tragedy.

At the end she added her prayer added to the Flame of Hope:

 

God of peace,
hear our sighing and longing,
see our empty hands,
which we extend atoningly to others,
hands that can receive and pass on,
of all the good that comes to us.

May our hope and expectation,
our love and warmth
jjoin all the prayers, all the wishes and dreams of peace
of those who have added before us,
around the light of the Flame of Hope.

 

Pastor Louise then distributed wine and bread and the Lord’s Supper was celebrated. 

After the service, people wrote their prayers on cards. 

“Respect and Love for each other, we are all children of God.”
“Trying to put yourself in another’s shoes.”
“Keep the door open for each other.”
“Put the sun in your heart and radiate love.”
“May we all continue to listen to each other and find solutions through tolerance to live together on this beautiful earth.”
“May peace be with everyone! May we all take action for peace.”
“For those who are stuck in their own minds and thoughts: PEACE”
“May we work worldwide for peace and justice for us and our children.”
“May the wish for peace be converted into an act of peace for everyone who can make a difference in dealing with conflicts; in small and big things!”
See the source, take root in love. You will grow in the art of living. Connected with the source!
“May the light of peace shine everywhere!”
“Despite everything, may peace return to our politics. I pray for connection in this country and the world.”
“Please peace, peace in the war zones in the world!”

 

MAY ALL WISHES AND DREAMS FOR PEACE COME TRUE!