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Martin Luther King Eternal Flame Unifies with the Flame of Hope

The Martin Luther King Center and Earth Caravan Send a Joint Message of Peace to the World

On January 16th, 2022, in a ceremony during their annual King Holiday Observance week, the Flame of Hope was unified with the Eternal Flame that burns at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta.

The event took place inside the King Center Freedom Hall and outside next to the Eternal Flame. Because of the weather predictions of “freezing rain and possible snowstorm,” it was uncertain if the King Center would be able to go forward with the ceremony. However, just two hours before the start of the event, Barbara Harrison, Director of External Affairs, Strategic Partnerships & Programs at the King Center, phoned to say the the event was on!

The King Center’s Barbara Harrison, Cameron Friend, Youth and Millennial Engagement Coordinator and Deacon Donald Bullock, the Flame of Hope delegation from Japan, Canada, and Europe, and the Peace Culture Village’s Steve Leeper and Elizabeth Baldwin all worked together to organize and offer this powerful event for the world. It began with inspirational remarks from Ms. Harrison, Mr. Friend, and the Flame of Hope US ambassador, Annie Bachmann.

Barbara Harrison, Director, External Affairs at the King Center, welcomes the Flame of Hope delegation

Blowing Out the Negative Flame

The “negative flame” representing the tragedies, genocides, and injustices of the past was presented to Ms. Harrison to extinguish by two children accompanying the Flame of Hope delegation, to symbolize a bright future for the next generation. It was a powerful moment. 

Deacon Don shared a prayer and Flame of Hope Canadian ambassador, Rev. Lawrence Lefcort guided those present to “imagine a world of equality, cooperation, justice, love, abundance and peace, believe this world is possible, decide and determine to create it, pray that all humankind will be free from the negativity of the past, pray for the happiness of all beings, and pray for infinite joy of all ancestors of the past and for all the descendants of future generations.” 

The Flame Unification Ceremony

The Eternal Flame symbolizes Dr. King’s burning desire to realize the “Beloved Community,” which was his vision of the world, as well as a state of heart and mind. It is the spirit of hope and goodwill that transcends all boundaries and barriers and embraces all creation where justice, peace, and equality prevail for all humankind. The Flame of Hope is an international peace symbol that unifies the most historic and sacred fires from around the world into one Flame. The Flame of Hope brings healing and justice to some of the most dangerous situations in the world by going beyond all religious, racial, national and cultural boundaries to create peace, the common dream of humankind. So far, more than 90,000 people have added their prayers for the world to the Flame of Hope.

Flame of Hope ambassador from Canada, Rev. YuZan Toyoda, prayerfully prepared the Eternal Flame area for the Unification ceremony. Together with Alice Schmitzhofer, European Flame of Hope ambassador, they presented the Flame of Hope and a flame from the Eternal Flame to Ms. Harrison to unify them together. By the time the flames had been combined, the rain had transformed into a beautiful light snowfall.

Back inside Freedom Hall, the event was concluded with the universal Flame of Hope chanting in which Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Buddhist simultaneous musical prayers could be heard in English, Hebrew, Arabic, and Japanese. As in Gospel singing, the human voice is used to help actualize the Divine and realize our deepest wishes for humanity and all beings. 

Humankind is meant to share a just, healthy, and joyful world without exploitation, cruelty and violence. Thanks to the King Center, Dr. King’s vision lives on and continues to touch the hearts of millions of people worldwide. Earth Caravan’s Flame of Hope intends to carry that vision on its global pilgrimage to every corner of the world. 

Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change

Drawing inspiration from both his Christian faith and the peaceful teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. King led a nonviolent movement in the late 1950s and ‘60s to achieve legal equality for African Americans in the United States. The Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday is celebrated by millions of people worldwide and, in some form, in over 100 countries. For over fifty years, The King Center has served as a global destination, resource center and community institution committed to promoting nonviolence and calling on people to engage in the work of creating a world of peace with justice. Visit them at: 

The Flame of Hope is unifies the most sacred, historic and aspirational flames on the planet, a symbolic unification of the giving heart of humankind. To date, the Flame of Hope comprises eight flames, including the Peace Flame of Hiroshima, the Eternal Flame from the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, and the fire from the famous Grotto of apparitions in Lourdes, France. See video:


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