Sunday, I was honored to bring the message at Middle Collegiate Church in New York City for the National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths. Founded in 1628, Middle Church is one of the oldest Protestant congregations in North America and has celebrated Children’s Sabbaths with Children’s Defense Fund for nineteen years. As I was transitioning into leadership at CDF in December 2020, Middle Church was devastated by a building fire, and is gathering in East End Temple the home of a Jewish congregation as it rebuilds. This interfaith setting speaks to the church’s expansive theology and was quite fitting for our celebration.
For thirty years, Children’s Sabbaths have been honored across faith traditions and have engaged places of worship across the country to focus prayers, worship, education, and action around the urgent problems facing our nation’s children and youth.
During my sermon, I wrestled with the question, “What does God want?” My sense for reading sacred texts is that “God desires a community of peace with humanity in relationship and Holiness in the realm.” I believe we have the responsibility and capacity to achieve this vision if we listen to children and create the conditions for them to thrive.
For 50 years, in mission, CDF has been standing for children, guided by the vision and principles of our Founder and President Emerita, Marian Wright Edelman. One way we pursue our mission is by bringing child advocates, policymakers, and young people together to discuss what they need. Next week, we will host special events in Washington, D.C., to celebrate this journey and propel ourselves forward to unleash the joy in growing up for all children.
On November 2 and 3, we will convene Child Well-being in America: A National Policy Forum, at the historic Howard University to explore topics impacting the ability of children and youth to flourish. During the forum, CDF will unveil its new policy direction to strengthen the communities, systems, and families that shape young life in our country.
On the evening of November 2, we will hold A Celebration of Joy: 50 Years of Children’s Defense Fund, at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, to celebrate the institutional legacy we have inherited and honor leaders who prioritize child well-being, and support communities wielding the power to ensure they thrive.
On November 3, as we conclude the policy forum, we will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the CDF Freedom Schools® Program at Howard University. The weekend of celebration will end with multiple acts of service around Washington, D.C., as staff and volunteers roll up our sleeves for our inaugural Marian Wright Edelman Day of Service on Saturday, November 4.
All these events will be centered around the well-being of our young people and the question of how we can better serve their interests. Join us.