Celebrating Children's Sabbath Through The Advance
by Mary Beth Coudal
Six-year-old Christella came to Grace Children's Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, with a nagging cough. Her mother, a street vendor, and her father, a taxi driver, worried that their daughter had pneumonia. But it was worse--tuberculosis.
Fortunately, Grace is the leading pediatric hospital in Haiti for TB. After almost three months in one of Grace's 60 hospital beds, Christella was healed of TB and returned home to her family--healthy again.
Children in poverty around the world need support. In the United States, the Children's Sabbath observance is an opportunity for people of faith to pray and advocate and act on behalf of children like Christella. Children's Sabbaths, woven into worships in many denominations and faiths, are celebrated the weekends of October 10-12 or October 17-19, 2008.
The Advance has partnered with Grace Children's Hospital for more than 10 years. Founded 40 years ago, Grace is the leading ministry of International Child Care, a Christian health ministry in Haiti and the Dominican Republic specializing in TB, HIV/AIDS, and respiratory illnesses.
United Methodists are leaders among denominations that celebrate Children's Sabbaths, according to the Children's Defense Fund, a group that promotes Children's Sabbaths. Sunday school classes, youth groups, and all children are invited to learn about, advocate for, and partner with other children to improve their lives on Children's Sabbath weekend.
But the world's children require more love, attention, and time than just once a year during a church's Moment for Mission. Caring for children is a daily, weekly, monthly challenge and joy. Increasing the participation of children in worship and advocating for the health of children can be built into the life of a church. So, too, can the giving to groups that provide optimal care for children, like Grace Children's Hospital.
This October, join The Advance and other people of faith by creating a Children's Sabbath to remind your church of what they can do and give on behalf of children.
To learn more about the many children's programs one can support through The Advance, search the word "children."
Download in PDF format "2008 Children's Sabbath Christian Lesson Plans for All Ages" (31 pp, 500K) from the website of the Children's Defense Fund.
Photo Above: Children of the inpatient ward at Grace Children's Hospital receive round-the-clock care from dedicated doctors, nurses, and nurses' aides.
Did You Know?
Missionary Support increased 28% in June 2008 over June 2007. This increase helps to support more than 300 missionaries worldwide. Will you support a missionary through a Covenant Relationship?
Advocate of the Month: Winsome Wright
Adding Perspective and Dimension to Meaningful Work
The staff of The Advance practice what they preach. For example, Winsome Wright, gift administrator for The Advance, supports Kissy Maternity Hospital in Sierra Leone. This project has special meaning for Winsome because she became a mother in 2006.
Kissy Maternity Hospital provides care to pregnant women, new mothers,and infants, as well as primary health care to the community. Unfortunately, it did not escape the ravages of Sierra Leone's civil war. Rebels vandalized the hospital. Even during the rebuilding, those in need have been able to count on receiving care because of people like Winsome, who see the importance of supporting the mission with gifts.
"It was important to me to help, in some way, mothers who were unable to afford prenatal care," Winsome says.
Gifts to mission add perspective and dimension to Winsome's work. She invites you to support Kissy Maternity Hospital or another project that has special meaning for you.
Featured Resource: Covenant Relationship Brochure
Supporting Global Ministries Missionaries
The Covenant Relationship brochure provides information about how a local church can enter into a dynamic relationship with a Global Ministries missionary. It provides the commitment form and contact information for The Advance.
To order this resource, item number #87401708, call United Methodist Communications at 888-364-3862.
Thank you for giving generously through The Advance. Your gifts truly make a difference!