Children’s Sabbath Weekend

September 14, 2023 | by Catherine Morris

Children’s Sabbath Weekend

“And a Little Child Shall Lead Them,” this passage from Isaiah 11:6 is the theme for Children’s Sabbath Weekend 2023, which will be held October 20-22.

Churches and other faith communities across the country are invited to focus their prayers, worship, faith formation small groups, and action on learning more about the urgent problems facing our children, locally and nationally. By reading and reflecting on Biblical texts and faith traditions that call us to love and protect children, Children’s Sabbath encourages congregations to respond with outreach and advocacy, and most importantly, inspire 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. No matter the form, we are inspiring change that will improve the lives of children. Children’s Sabbath events involve all or some of the following elements:

  • Worship services, prayers, and/or faith community gatherings focused on children, justice, and the moral, spiritual, and ethical imperative to nurture, protect, and seek justice for children
  • Learning opportunities for all ages such as Sunday school classes, forums, special speakers, etc.
  • 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 congregation, starting something new, or joining with other churches, faith communities 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
  • Engage people of faith in immediate and long-term action to nurture, protect, and seek justice for children
The Children’s Defense Fund publishes fact sheets each year with information about a variety of issues related to child population, child poverty, income and wealth inequality, housing and homelessness, child hunger and nutrition, child health, early childhood, education, child welfare, youth justice, gun violence. There are fact sheets for each state. Here are a few of the facts reported for Nevada and California in the 2023 report:
  • Child Population in 2021: Nevada - 698,748, 67% children of color; California – 8,772,631, 76% children of color
  • Child Poverty in 2021: Nevada – 19%; California – 16%, and children of color were disproportionately poor
  • Housing and Homelessness in the 2020-2021 School Year: Nevada – 15,093 unhoused children enrolled in public school; California – 227,612 unhoused children enrolled in public school
  • Full-time jobs at minimum wage to afford a two-bedroom rental unit at fair market rent in 2022: Nevada – 2.3; California – 2.6
  • Youth Justice: Nevada in 2019 – 546 children were in residential placement; California – 4,131 children were in residential placement
  • Gun Violence in 2021: Nevada – 39 children and teens were killed with guns; California – 289 children and teens were killed with guns
For more information about Children’s Sabbath and the state of children in Nevada and California, go to the Children’s Defense Fund website, https://www.childrensdefensefund.org  

Catherine Morris serves as the chair of the Children's Ministry Task Force.

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