Opportunities for Study and Action Groups

CDF offers child advocates a new resource, Hope for the Future: Answering God’s Call to Justice for Our Children, and an opportunity for monthly study and action groups.  

This year poses grave threats to children and families. We encourage congregations to form study and action circles and use Hope for the Future: Answering God’s Call to Justice for Children, timely action alerts, and other resources from CDF to take faithful, persistent action to protect children. 

If you can’t convene a group right away, use the book for your individual reading, reflection, and renewal.

We often say that this work for justice is not a sprint but a marathon. However, these times demand that we get moving with the explosive speed of a sprinter and continue with the endurance of a marathoner. Hope for the Future is a ready-to-go resource to help you get into action right away, while the support of the monthly group will help you continue for the long run. 

  • The meditations from the book will help deepen your reflection on the call to child advocacy, gain perspective on responding to the challenges you encounter, and be more deeply sustained by your faith and by fellow child advocates.
  • The questions for faithful reflection found at the end of each chapter will spark conversation, as together you surface concerns and commitments to protecting children in your community and across the nation, share personal experiences and insights, and forge vital new connections.
  • The group context will offer support for taking action each month — providing companionship and encouragement to follow through on our best intentions for action.   

Forming a Group

You may gather a group from your congregation or from a variety of congregations in your community.

Ecumenical groups drawn from a variety of Christian denominations will find all 12 chapters of Hope for the Future suitable for use. Interfaith groups comprised of members of the three Abrahamic faiths — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — will find chapters 2, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 12 which focus on passages from Hebrew scripture most appropriate. For interfaith groups, invite participants to introduce the group to additional texts particular to their tradition that provide additional insight into the theme of that month’s chapter. 

Scheduling

Schedule the monthly meeting to best suit your situation. For instance, a single congregation might meet during the regular education hour. An ecumenical group might meet for a Wednesday night Bible study. An interfaith group might meet on another weeknight. An hour should be an appropriate length of time. After the first few meetings the group may decide to lengthen it to 90 minutes to allow additional time for taking action like writing elected officials.    

Program

For the meeting each month, read one of the chapters from Hope for the Future. You can either read the chapter aloud during the meeting (with participants taking turns), or have members read the chapter in advance and then re-read excerpts aloud at the meeting before turning to discussion. Use the Questions for Faithful Reflection as a springboard for discussion, adding additional questions appropriate to your congregation or community. End with a time of action — using CDF and denominational action alerts to reach out to members of Congress or take other actions as needed. Open and close with prayer as appropriate for the tradition or traditions present.

Ordering Hope for the Future

You can order copies of Hope for the Future through CDF’s on-line store.

Taking Action

Take action each month with CDF, sign up here. Through the Washington office or social action division of your denomination or faith group — you may also find useful actions you can take to support children and families.

Group Support and Opportunities

If you have questions or need support as your develop your group, or if you would like Shannon join you by Skype for your first session, please sign up below.

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Once your group forms, please email Shannon at SDaleyHarris@childrensdefense.org so we can know about it and stand ready to provide support.

Praise for Hope for the Future

“If your work is related to children in any shape, form or fashion, I urge you take a look at Daley-Harris' book, Hope for the Future. I think you'll find it an important contribution to a topic all of us should care deeply about.”
Parker J. Palmer, author of The Courage to TeachLet Your Life Speak, and Healing the Heart of Democracy.

“Activist, preacher, thought leader, and compassionate human being, Daley-Harris has crafted a book our evolving democracy desperately needs to embrace. Read and be enlightened by this powerful voice of justice.”
Otis Moss IIII, Senior Pastor, Trinity United Church of Christ

“Through fascinating stories, imaginative exegeses and gems of wisdom from our little ones, Daley-Harris makes a convincing case that the future will be brighter for us all if we set our children free to be effervescent channels of divine light and love.”
James Alexander Forbes, Jr., Senior Minister Emeritus, The Riverside Church

“What does it mean to weep for our children? What does it mean to hope for our children? What does it mean to listen to the deep needs of our children? Daley-Harris brings us reflections that move us beyond what we know to be true about the state of children in our communities to a place that challenges how we live into our responsibilities as children of God. Through current stories that echo Scripture, these meditations inspire teachers, pastors, caregivers, and parents to look, listen, and `move our feet' in order to care for all of God's `little ones.' I encourage congregations to use these meditations and questions as they advocate for compassion and justice for all children.”
Melanie C. Gordon, Director of Ministry with Children, Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church

“In these twelve compelling meditations, Daley-Harris gives us a glimpse of the faith and conscience that animates the tireless and strategic work of the Children's Defense Fund. She has deftly woven together poignant scriptural texts, inspirational stories from Movement history, and reality-checking reports about the current health and welfare of the `least' among us. May these elegant reflections and focalizing discussion questions fire your imagination about how to become a better `torch bearer and torch sharer' with the Children's Defense Fund in the holy work of justice and compassion.”
Ched Myers, activist theologian and author