2023-2024 Children’s Sabbaths Celebration
The National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths® is always designated for the third weekend in October. This year, it is October 20–22, 2023 (button above). However, many places of worship participate on alternate dates—other weekends in October and even different months—for a variety of reasons. What’s most important is finding a date that will work for your place of worship. As you celebrate, we encourage you to share information with Children’s Defense Fund so we can connect efforts across dates, locations, and traditions.
The multi-faith Children’s Sabbaths weekend engages places of worship across the country in focusing prayers, worship, education programs, and action on learning more about the urgent problems facing our nation’s children. By exploring sacred texts and teachings that call us to love and protect children, Children’s Sabbaths encourages communities to respond with outreach and advocacy, and, most importantly, inspire new, year-round action to improve the lives of children.
Some Children’s Sabbaths celebrations are community-wide, multi-faith gatherings; others take place in individual places of worship. Together, we are inspiring change that will improve the lives of children!
What is Children’s Sabbath?
Many places of worship plan a Children’s Sabbaths during their customary time for worship, prayer, education, or other gatherings. Some connect with one or a few places of worship for a collaborative celebration and event. Still others connect with as many faith leaders and places of worship in the community as possible to plan a multi-faith, community-wide celebration. However your community marks the occasion, most Children’s Sabbaths events involve all or some of the following elements:
- Worship services, prayers, and/or faith community gatherings focused on children, justice, and the moral, spiritual, and ethical imperative to nurture, protect, and seek justice for children
- Educational programs for all ages (e.g. religious education classes, forums, special speakers, etc.)
- Advocacy and hands-on service activities around the Children’s Sabbaths weekend to meet immediate needs of children in your community and raise a voice for justice
Long-term, year-round action might include strengthening an existing program in your place of worship, starting something new, or joining with other places of worship or community organizations to make a difference in the lives of children.
Tell us your Children’s Sabbaths plans
Why Participate in the Children’s Sabbath?
Sponsored by the Children’s Defense Fund, the National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths® weekend unites faith communities of every religious tradition across the nation to:
- Raise awareness of problems facing children and families in our nation (such as poverty, gun violence, and lack of health care)
- Explore the texts and teachings in religious traditions that call us to nurture and protect children with love and justice
- Engage people of faith in immediate and long-term action to nurture, protect, and seek justice for children
By participating in this multi-faith, nationwide celebration, people of faith gain the inspiration of participating in a larger movement for children and help amplify the voice of our faith communities calling for justice.
Note: Children’s Sabbaths is different than a Children’s Day, Youth Sunday, Tot Shabbat, or other occasions you may already celebrate. Children’s Sabbaths distinctly focuses on urgent problems facing children in our nation, intergenerational participation, action-oriented follow-up, and linking places of worship across traditions nationwide. We hope you will celebrate both!
2021 Children’s Sabbaths Highlight: Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson at Historic Riverside Church
The people and leaders of New York City’s historic Riverside Church welcomed CDF President & CEO, Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson, as their morning preacher on October 17, 2021, in observance of Children’s Sabbath.
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