Children’s Sabbath

Why United Methodists observe Children’s Sabbath

A UMC.org Feature by Joe Iovino*
October 6, 2016

Author’s note: The United Methodist Church recognizes Children’s Sabbath on the weekend of the second Sunday in October.

This weekend, The United Methodist Church recognizes Children’s Sabbath, a time to reflect on God’s gift of children, and ways in which congregations and individuals can renew their commitment to care, protect and advocate for all children.“United Methodists have historically been strong supporters of the Children’s Sabbath,” reports Melanie C. Gordon, Director of Ministry with Children at Discipleship Ministries.

A child from East Angola prays.

During Children’s Sabbath we celebrate children, and commit to meeting their needs.

Children’s Sabbath 2016

The theme selected by the Children’s Defense Fund for 2016, the 25th anniversary of Children’s Sabbath, is, “Children of Promise: Closing Opportunity Gaps.” Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund writes, “Truly each and every one of our children is a child of promise, born with the potential to achieve and become all they are meant to be.” Opportunity gaps like poverty, hunger, and lack of access to a quality education, hinder the development of many.

Hadley invites United Methodists to consider three things this year.

  • First, “Learn about the gaps that exist in our communities and world.” This sounds straightforward, but can be more difficult than it first appears “because it will require acknowledging things we would rather avoid such as racism, the effects of poverty, mental illness, addiction, and privilege among many of us.”
  • Next, “Look at the needs of the children in the community and take one action. Can you imagine each United Methodist church doing one thing? We could make a huge impact in the lives of children.”
  • Finally, “In addition to providing the children food, tutoring, and other resources, we can be prepared and trained in the best ways to pray with children, to listen deeply to them, and to create sacred spaces where they can experience God.  Faith is the greatest gift we can offer. Children need the hope and healing only God can give them.”

Find out what your congregation is doing to recognize Children’s Sabbath and get involved. If you are not part of a United Methodist church, find the one nearest you using Find-A-Church.  Learn more about Children’s Sabbath from Discipleship Ministries and Ministry with Children.  United Methodist Women, the General Board of Global Ministries, the General Board of Church and Society, and Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church all endorse Children’s Sabbath.

 

*Joe Iovino works for UMC.org at United Methodist Communications. Contact him by email or at 615-312-3733.

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