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 and Dr. Starsky Wilson
- 2021 Children’s Sabbath Action Guides
- Adult Education Sessions for all faiths
- Intergenerational Education Session for all faiths
- 2021 Christian Resources
- 2021 Jewish Resources
- 2021 Multifaith Resources
- Seven-Day Guide for Prayer and Reflection (for individual, group, or congregational distribution/use)
- 2021 Bulletin Inserts and other reproducible materials
- Other video and digital resources to enhance your Children’s Sabbath
DOWNLOAD THE CHILDREN’S SABBATHS 2020 RESOURCES
- Welcome to the National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths® Celebration
- Planning Your Children’s Sabbath: Ideas for All Faiths
- Promoting Your Children’s Sabbath: Ideas for All Faiths
- Multi-Faith Resources for the Children’s Sabbath
- Actions for the Children’s Sabbath and All Year
- Jewish Resources for Children’s Shabbat
- Christian Resources for Children’s Sabbath
The 2021 Children’s Sabbath, “Where Does It Hurt?” Listening to Heal Our Children, is encouraging three key actions for congregations and communities that can be held or initiated on the Children’s Sabbath weekend. The listening, learning, and acting with and for children and youths should continue throughout the year. Detailed guides and resources for the three actions are or will be available for download here:
- “Family Suppers” Community Listening Projects
- CDF Child Watch Guide Site Visitations
- CDF Advocates’ Book Clubs (ABCs)
Please let us know where Family Suppers Community Listening Projects, Child Watch Guided Site Visitations, and CDF Advocates’ Book Clubs are happening so we can support and celebrate each other! Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of your place of worship or organization, community, and which of the actions you will be taking. If you include a mailing address, we will send a CDF-themed gift in appreciation!