Each October Episcopal Churches observe the Children’s Sabbath by holding special worship services, education programs, and advocacy activities to engage people of faith in improving the lives of children and their families.
This year, the 2013 National Observance of Children’s Sabbath will be October 18-20. The theme is “Beating Swords Into Plowshares: Ending the Violence of Guns and Child Poverty.”
[God] shall judge between many peoples, and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more; but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken. (Micah 4:1-5)
While the title is drawn from the Hebrew prophet Micah, it affirms values of non-violence, peace-making, and economic well-being found across all of our religious traditions. In the passage from Micah, the prophet envisions a time when weapons are replaced with tools of economic opportunity and all know security and economic well-being. It describes change at a national level that impacts the lives of individuals and families.
The 2013 Children’s Sabbath focuses on how we can end the gun violence that takes a child’s life every 3 hours and 15 minutes and how we can equip all families with the tools for economic well-being so that more than 16 million children will no longer suffer the violence of poverty in our rich nation. Together, we will commit to realizing a vision in which all of our children and families know peace, security, and well-being.
This celebration is a part of a broader children’s movement that aims to unite communities and religious congregations of all faiths across the nation in shared concern for children and a common commitment to improving their lives and working for justice on their behalf. In that respect, each action is bigger, more powerful and more inspiring than the efforts of any one celebration.
To assist communities with planning and implementing their Children’s Sabbaths Celebration, CDF produces an annual National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths Manual: A Multi-faith Resource for Year Round Child Advocacy. Though the National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths Weekend is traditionaly held the third weekend of October, the worship resources and prayers found in this year’s Children’s Sabbaths manual are intended for use throughout the year.
I look forward to hearing about all of the creative and meaningful ways our Episcopal faith communities celebrate Children’s Sabbath this year.