National Observance of Children's Sabbaths®

Download the Welcome Manual

The 2016 National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths® Celebration, “Children of Promise: Closing Opportunity Gaps” will be held October 21-23, and will focus on closing opportunity gaps due to poverty and lack of access to high-quality early childhood development and a high-quality education so that every child can reach their God-given potential. For that to happen, we as people of faith need to stand tall within our communities and push our nation to keep our promises of love and justice, equality and dignity for all. 

Read a letter from CDF President Marian Wright Edelman about the 2016 Children’s Sabbath.

Join thousands of churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and other faith communities across the country in this celebration by holding a community-wide interfaith special worship service or a special service in your place of worship, add educational programs, and advocacy activities to engage people of faith in improving the lives of children and their families in your community, state and in our nation. Download and share information about the 2016 National Observance of Children's Sabbaths®

Other sections of the Children's Sabbath resource manual may be downloaded below in Planning a Children's Sabbath section.

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Sponsored by the Children's Defense Fund, the National Observance of Children's Sabbaths Celebration is a way for faith communities to celebrate children as sacred gifts of the Divine, and provides the opportunity for houses of worship to renew and live out their moral responsibility to care, protect and advocate for all children.

This celebration is a part of a broader children's movement that aims to unite communities and religious congregations of all faiths across the nation in shared concern for children and a common commitment to improving their lives and working for justice on their behalf. In that respect, each action is bigger, more powerful and more inspiring than the efforts of any one celebration

Planning a Children's Sabbath in your Community

To assist communities with planning and implementing their Children's Sabbaths Celebration, CDF produces an annual National Observance of Children's Sabbaths Manual: A Multi-faith Resource for Year Round Child Advocacy which may be downloaded free of charge.

Though the National Observance of Children's Sabbaths weekend is traditionally held the third weekend of October, the worship resources, prayers, actions, and other resources in the Children's Sabbaths manual are intended for use throughout the year. Please download this year's resources below.

Welcome to the 2016 National Observance of Children's Sabbaths

Planning Your Children's Sabbath: Ideas for all Faiths

Promoting Your Children’s Sabbath: Ideas for All Faiths (including bulletin inserts)

Christian Worship Resources for Children's Sabbath

Jewish Resources for Children's Shabbat

Resources for a Multi-faith Children's Sabbath Celebration

Action Ideas for the Children's Sabbaths Weekend and Throughout the Year

7-day Devotional Guide for 2016 National Observance of Children's Sabbaths

Children of Promise Lesson Plans

As we approach the Children's Sabbath in this election year, mindful that children can't vote but we can, we share with you Election and Voter Education Resources shared recently bu the National Council of Churches (NCC). The NCC editor notes, "this is a sampling of resources we're making available to our readers. It is not meant to be a comprehensive list, but rather a selection to help you think about the election from various perspectives. Please check future editions of our weekly newsletter for more resources." This election year is a vital time to give voice to our priorities for children, families in poverty, and justice so that every child has a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life with the support of strong families and caring communities. Now is the time to close opportunity gaps so that every child can reach their God-given promise and potential.

A Beloved Community

The National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths unites faith communities: 1) in celebration of children as beloved by the Eternal and entrusted to our care; 2) to raise awareness of the problems facing children and families in our nation and the texts and teachings in each of our religious traditions that call us to nurture and protect children with love and justice; and 3) to join in immediate and long-term action to nurture, protect, and seek justice for children. This celebration is part of a broader children’s movement that aims to unite communities and religious congregations of all faiths in a common commitment to improve the lives of children across the nation throughout the year.

Please take a moment to complete a short questionnaire so we can keep you informed about events, resources, trainings and other information to assist in your efforts to advocate for children.


The National Observance of Children's Sabbaths Celebration is supported by Catholic Charities U.S.A., the Islamic Society of North America, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., the National Assembly of Bahá’ís in the U.S., the Sikh Council on Religion and Education, the Union for Reform Judaism, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, and more than 200 other religious organizations and denominations.