Hope United Church's choir leader Muriel McMullan holds the candle that will be carried from one church to the next on Monday night. The walk is open to everyone in the community.

Hope churches re-ignite Candle Light walk

Purpose of candle light walk is to break down barriers between church communities

Walking into church should be a welcoming experience, especially if it’s the first time through the doors.

A church’s steeple, after all, is a universal beacon for everyone to come in and enjoy fellowship.

But that’s not always been the case, says local retired minister Ken Wotherspoon.

Churches run the risk of becoming closed off to others, and even other churches. It’s something he saw as a minister in Vancouver, and he saw it again when he came to Hope in the mid ’90s.

But it doesn’t happen anymore. At least, not in Hope. A few years after Wotherspoon arrived, a member of one the local churches had heard a story of congregations coming together.

“She had read about a village or a town where the churches tried to break down their differences,” Wotherspoon said. “So they walked from one church to the next church and so on.”

This was the perfect idea to unite the many different parishes, he said.

“There were eight or nine churches here, and they weren’t talking to each other,” he said.

So, Wotherspoon called up members of each of the different churches, and from there they planned the first ever Candle Light Advent Church Walk, to coincide with the advent calendar.

It was popular for a number of years, sometimes attracting more than 100 people to take part.

“The churches were packed,” he said, as the walkers moved from one church to the next, with a candle leading the way. At each stop, the candle would be passed to the minister of the church. And the group would take part in a short celebration that reflected that church’s customs and beliefs.

It’s a way of learning more about the larger religious community, Wotherspoon said. And when you learn about other religions, you also learn tolerance and acceptance.

“It broke down all the craziness of ‘we do this’ and ‘we do that’,” he said.

The popularity of the walk has waned over the last few years, though. Last year, it all but died, and the church community has decided to re-ignite the idea.

This year, the walk will be held on Monday, December 5. It will begin at Hope United Church (at the corner of 3rd and Queen Street) at 5 p.m. The walk is expected to take about three hours, ending at 8 p.m. at the Northwest Harvest Church for a social gathering.

Wotherspoon will light a candle at the Hope United Church, and the congregation will lead a small celebration of songs. Then they’ll carry onto the Roman Catholic Church, for a start. They’ll also visit the two Anglican churches, the Pentecostal church and the Baptist church, among others.

The Candle Light Advent Church Walk is open to everyone, regardless of whether they’re currently a member at a church. Walkers can join in or leave, anywhere along the route.

It’s a chance to see the ways of other churches, if only just for a few minutes, and meet your neighbours, Wotherspoon said.

“We often say there is only one church in Hope, but we have different names,” he added. “You can go into any of theses groups and they welcome you with open arms.”

news@ahobserver.com

Just Posted

Trial dates set for three men accused of 2017 killing near Hope

Lawyers for the accused appeared in Kelowna at B.C. Supreme Court on Monday

Wildfire threatens weekend campers at Chehalis Lake

The fire started on the north side of Chehalis Lake Saturday

Abbotsford council OKs bus-to-SkyTrain plan

Fraser Valley Express would begin running to Lougheed Station by start of 2021

Chilliwack community group gathering to benefit youth health centre

Chilliwack Citizens for Change planning tailgate party for CHYC

PET CARE: Canada Day tips for our pet’s anxiety

Columnist Nicolette Joosting examines different ways to help your pets relax through the celebration

VIDEO: Reading splashes into Agassiz’s Ferny Coombe Pool

The Agassiz Library held its annual Reading in the Pool event Friday, June 14

Grey-haired bank robber hit with dye pack in Langley heist

Police are looking for an older man who may be stained with dye

‘Text neck’ causing bone spurs to grow from millennials’ skulls, researchers say

Technology use from early childhood causing abnormal bone growths in 41 per cent of young adults

B.C. teen killed by fallen tree on field trip remembered as hero

13-year-old Tai Caverhill was the first to spot the tree falling and warned his friends

Surrey RCMP raises Pride flag amid din of protesters

There were about 30 protesters on either side, and 20 Mounties doing crowd control

Should B.C. get rid of Daylight Saving Time?

The province wants to know, as state governments down south make the move

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Canadians crash out of Women’s World Cup in 0-1 loss to Sweden

Canada missed a chance to tie the game on a penalty shot

New Lower Mainland bistro caters to board game fans and families

Local food and games at every table is the formula for the new business

Most Read