How do I get involved?
Check out the free, downloadable Children’s Sabbath Manual to learn more about the National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths, planning steps, and much more!
The multi-faith Children’s Sabbath 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 exploring sacred texts and teachings that call us to love and protect children, responding with outreach and advocacy, and—most importantly–inspiring new, year-round action to improve the lives of children. Some Children’s Sabbath 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 !
The National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths is designated for the third weekend of each October—this year, that falls on October 16-18, 2020. 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, and we encourage you to share information with Children’s Defense Fund so we can connect efforts across dates, place, and traditions.
Many places of worship plan a Children’s Sabbath during their customary time for worship, prayers, education, or another gathering. Some connect with one or a few places of worship for a collaborative celebration and events. 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. Most Children’s Sabbaths involve all or some of the following elements:
- Service/worship/prayers/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)
- Advocacy and hands-on service activities around the Children’s Sabbath 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.
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: the Children’s Sabbath is different than a Children’s Day, Youth Sunday, Tot Shabbat, or other occasions you may already celebrate. The Children’s Sabbath 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!
These free, downloadable Children’s Sabbath resources contain valuable information about the National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths, steps for planning your observance, and much more ̶ for this year and beyond!
- Letter from Marian Wright Edelman
- 2020 Action Resource (for all faiths, all ages):
- Adult Education Sessions for all faiths:
- “Race, Children, and the Pandemic” video session with accompanying discussion guide/reflection questions.
- “Who Counts? Democracy, Citizenship, and Nonviolent Direct Action Organizing” video session with accompanying discussion guide/reflection questions.
- Intergenerational Education Session for all faiths:
- Seven-Day Guide for Prayer and Reflection (for individual, group, or congregational distribution/use)
- 2020 Christian Resources
- 2020 Jewish Resources
- 2020 Multifaith Resources