What is Children’s Sabbath?

What is Children’s Sabbath?

The following description comes from the Children’s Defense Fund

You make a difference in the lives of children and in the life of your place of worship—by connecting the two, you can help make incredible, important things happen that will improve the lives of children in your place of worship, community, and across our nation and at the same time bring new inspiration and excitement to your worshipping community.

By participating in the multi-faith National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths weekend, you are part of a powerful, diverse multi-faith voice for children spanning our nation and crossing all lines of income, race, ethnicity, and political party. What unites us is the belief that God calls us to protect children, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, and the conviction that our faith calls us to live out God’s justice and compassion.

This inspiring weekend focuses attention on the urgent plight of children in our nation and calls us to put our faith into action to meet children’s needs through direct service and work for justice. Through the service of worship, educational programs, and congregational activities, you can affirm what your place of worship already does with and for children while challenging members to take new actions and commit to new efforts to meet the needs of children in your community, state, and our nation.

What is the Children’s Sabbath?
The Children’s Sabbath is a weekend that aims to unite religious congregations of all faiths across the nation in shared concern for children and common commitment to improving their lives and working for justice on their behalf. In that respect, it is bigger and more powerful and more inspiring than the efforts of any one congregation on its own. On the Children’s Sabbath, congregations have a strong sense of participating in a larger movement for children. Some congregations plan services, educational sessions, and activities for their own place of worship. Others join with one or more places of worship in shared services bringing their congregations together. In some communities all of the congregations work together to sponsor an interfaith service to which the entire community is invited. Often, local organizations serving children or working on their behalf join in the planning of these community-wide multi-faith Children’s Sabbaths.

A Children’s Sabbath weekend typically has four elements:

  1. the service of worship or prayers, during which the divine mandate to nurture and protect children calls us to respond to the needs of children today;
  2. educational programs,during which all ages learn more about the needs of children today and the social political structures that keep children in need, explore the sacred texts, teaching, and traditions that lead us to serve and seek justice for children, and develop specific, active responses to help children;
  3. activities that immediately engage participants in compassionate service to help children and in action to seek justice (such as writing letters to elected officials); and
  4. follow-up actions that use the inspiration, information, and motivation of the Children’s Sabbath weekend to lead individual members and the congregation as a whole into new, effective efforts to improve the lives of children in the congregation, community, and nation throughout the year.

The Children’s Sabbath is sponsored by the Children’s Defense Fund, guided by a multi-faith advisory committee, and endorsed by hundreds of denominations and religious organizations. The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF)’s Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. CDF provides a strong, effective voice for all the children of America who cannot vote, lobby, or speak for themselves. We pay particular attention to the needs of poor and minority children and those with disabilities.

Download Children’s Sabbath materials here, including prayers that are a great place to start in getting your congregation involved in this annual observance.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Heidi Miller

    Our church does a children’s sabbath in April, which is National Child Abuse Awareness Month. This year we are doing a model “sabbath for the Children on January 4th, 2020 and i am launching the Sanctuary Movement for Children, a movement to make churches, schools, and homes safe for children.

  2. Charlotte Greeson

    Heidi this sounds incredible! We’d love to hear an update…and if you’d like to model your idea for others, please email us the details: buildfaith@vts.edu

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