Celebrating Children’s Sabbath 2016
By Melanie C. Gordon
“Children of Promise: Closing Opportunity Gaps”
How will you observe Children's Sabbath?
Every year someone asks me, "What is Children's Sabbath"? Each year I offer the same response, but this year I want to share the importance of participating in The National Observance of Children's Sabbaths® in our communities and congregations. Our children are hungry. One in five children in the United States lives in poverty, behind Latvia and Bulgaria. Our children face hunger everyday in a country where we discard produce because of natural "blemishes". The impact on the healthy development of children cannot be ignored by the Church.
A few things we know:
- America’s child poverty rate is one of the highest among industrialized nations.
- Child poverty creates gaps in cognitive skills.
- Child hunger jeopardizes children’s health and ability to learn.
- Child poverty fuels the intergenerational cycle of poverty.
- For more information: Poverty Report
The National Observance of Children's Sabbath is the opportunity for us to live into the General Rules of The United Methodist Church by:
- Celebrating and strengthening existing efforts for children
- Discovering and sharing new opportunities to help children
- Praying, studying, and reflecting as a community of faith
- Taking action
- Committing to new, long-term efforts
The National Observance of Children's Sabbaths® includes worship, but it is not a traditional Children's Sunday.
- Children's Sunday is a day set aside to celebrate children as active participants in the life of the church. Children serve as worship leaders throughout the service, including preaching.
- Children's Sabbath is an ecumenically celebrated weekend committed to educating the congregation and community about the state of today’s children and families in America. Children provide leadership through music and reading of scripture.
This important weekend is our opportunity to serve our children. In the words of St. Ignatius of Loyola, "Go forth and set the world on fire."