Children’s Sabbath: An Annual Opportunity for the Whole Church
by JULIE TAYLOR*
This year’s Children’s Sabbath Observance calls participants to end poverty in the United States and help keep the welfare of our children the top priority of this nation.
United Methodist Women has encouraged the use of the Children’s Sabbath since promoting it as part of their Campaign for Children, Phase I. The Children’s Sabbath was part of United Methodist Women’s partnership to highlight the needs of children within their local congregations and communities. Today, the Children’s Sabbath manual, a publication of the Children’s Defense Fund, remains an excellent resource for information about children in our country, specifically those marginalized by poverty and race, and includes ways to focus on their needs during worship and Sunday school.
This year’s manual is entitled, When Will We Hear Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's Call to End Poverty in America? It focuses on answering Mr. King’s call to build and be the Blessed Community where all children can live out their God-given potential. In the last years of his life, Mr. King warned against the triple dangers of materialism, militarism and racism, and called on us as a nation and as a people of faith to respond. Unfortunately, these evils are still evident today:
• In our wealthy nation today, one in six children live in poverty.
• In our powerful nation, we still resort to guns and violence rather than the power of nonviolence to solve problems in our homes, neighborhoods and among nations.
• In our nation, founded on the truth that all people have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, rampant racial and economic disparities in access to quality health care and education combined with zero tolerance laws that criminalize children at younger and younger ages put Black boys born in 2001 at a one in three, and Latino boys born the same year at a one in six, lifetime risk of being incarcerated.
This year, the Children’s Defense Fund Sabbath weekend is scheduled for Oct. 17-19, however, the United Methodist Church has scheduled it for Oct. 10-12. Either weekend is appropriate for a Children’s Sabbath Celebration.
*Julie Taylor is an executive with the Women’s Division of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries.
Date posted: Oct. 02, 2008