The Presbyterian Child Advocacy Network welcomes those involved in ministries of education, direct service and advocacy for children. The network strives to extend the Baptismal embrace by lifting up the needs of children in the church, the community, nation and world.
National Observance of Children's Sabbaths®
The 2015 National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths, “How Long Must I Cry for Help? Bending the Arc Towards God’s Vision of Justice for Children," will be held October 16-18, with focus on real solutions to significantly reduce child poverty now.
The national observation of Children’s Sabbath, sponsored by the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), is “a way for faith communities to celebrate children as sacred gifts of the Divine, and provides the opportunity for houses of worship to renew and live out their moral responsibility to care, protect, and advocate for all children.” Read a letter from CDF President Marian Wright Edelman about the 2015 Children’s Sabbath.
PHEWA’s Presbyterian Child Advocacy Network (PCAN) invites you to join thousands of churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and other faith communities across the country in this celebration by holding a community-wide interfaith special worship service or a special worship service in your place of worship- add educational programs, and advocacy activities to engage people of faith in improving the lives of children and their families in your community, state, and in our nation.
Download and share this year’s National Observance of Children’s Sabbath® Manual; A Multifaith Resource for Year-Round Child Advocacy, written by the Rev. Shannon Daley-Harris, CDF Senior Religious Advisor and leader in our Presbyterian Child Advocacy Network (PCAN).
Children's Sabbaths resources from previous years:
We Won't Let It Happen Here: Creating a Child Safe Church
A project of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Presbyterian Child Advocacy Network (PCAN), a network of the Presbyterian Health, Education and Welfare Association (PHEWA)
Background: The 220th General Assembly (2012) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania passed Overture 11-16, directing the Presbyterian Mission Agency “to create a new resource concerning safe child measures in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) that can be available for presbyteries and individual churches;” and to “create sample safe child policies that would be available online for use in presbyteries and individual churches as a resource for developing their own safe child policies.”
With profound appreciation for the work of Lois Rifner, Ph.D and Susan Keil Smith, MA, in the creation of the original “We Won’t Let it Happen Here,” the writing team assembled by the Presbyterian Child Advocacy Network, under the direction of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, has updated and revised its information.
PCAN’s Shannon Daley-Harris, writing in the Huffington Post on Children and gun violence
The Rev. Shannon Daley-Harris, Religious Affairs Director of The Children’s Defense Fund & member of PHEWA’s Presbyterian Child Advocacy Network (PCAN) Leadership Team, challenges us with a prophetic call to action in “The Right to Bear Dreams: It's Time to End the Nightmare of Child Gun Deaths” and theological reflection in “God’s Call Is to Seek Change, Not Comfort, to Keep Our Children Safe.”
November is National Adoption Month
The month of November has been observed as National Adoption Month for the past nineteen years, by proclamation of the President of the United States. It is an initiative of the Children's Bureau, within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, supported through AdoptUSKids and Child Welfare Information Gateway, members of the Children's Bureau Training and Technical Assistance Network. This partnership provides valuable resources and technical assistance to raise public awareness about the need for foster and adoptive families for children in the public child welfare system; and to assist U.S. States, Territories, and Tribes to recruit and retain foster and adoptive families and connect them with children.
You may be interested in The Spirit of Adoption: At Home in God's Family, by Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner, published in 2003 by Westminster John Knox Press. “In this heart-felt theology of adoption, Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner argues that while the church has long understood the grounding self-concept of a Christian as a "child of God," it has failed to underscore that we all come into the family of faith by adoption. She explores adoption as a central theme in Scripture, as a doctrine of faith, and as a theological metaphor. Further, in using her own experience of adoption to inform her scholarship, Stevenson-Moessner offers help to all those touched by adoption, including adoptive parents…”
“And How Are The Children?” Election Year Congregational Resource
Two days before the opening gavel signaled the start of General Assembly 220, representatives from PHEWA and the PC(USA) Child Advocacy Office, and individuals with a track record of commitment to children gathered in Pittsburgh to "re-stage" PHEWA's Presbyterian Child Advocacy Network (PCAN). After much prayer, reflection, goal-setting and strategic planning a re-vitalized network emerged, led by a diverse, talented, and united leadership team. Serving on the PCAN Leadership Team are the Rev. Theresa Cho, Mr. Frank Dimmock, the Rev. Shannon Daley-Harris, the Rev. Rebecca Kirkpatrick, the Rev. Doug Mitchell, Mr. Paul Ronningen, Ms. Brandi White, Dr. Dianna Wright, and Ms. Gail Tyree as liaison from PHEWA’s Presbyterian Criminal Justice Network (PCJN).
Their first act was the development of a child-focused election year resource.
Recognizing PCAN's historic role in setting standards for childhood health and safety, and aware of the challenges faced by today's children, the team decided to create material informed by the traditional Masai greeting, "And how are the children?" PCAN's "And How Are the Children?" election year resource invites candidates and church members alike to look at the issues and their own records through the lens of child advocacy.
As election season swings into gear, you are encouraged to download this document; forward it to those who might be planning candidate forums; use it in your own interactions with candidates; use it to assist your mission committee in future planning. However you decide to utilize it, it is PCAN's gift to the Church, the children, and you.
Encourage your friends and colleagues to support the ministry of the Presbyterian Child Advocacy Network, and to stay connected with us through membership in PHEWA and PCAN and the other intersecting networks of PHEWA.
Child abuse awareness materials
Child abuse is usually not just one physical attack or a single instance of failure to meet a child’s most basic needs, although it may be. Usually it is a pattern of behavior taking place over a period of time. It involves intentional acts committed by a parent, caregiver or person in a position of trust who threatens to harm or harms a child’s physical or emotional welfare. Child abuse and neglect cut across all ages, races, genders, creeds and socioeconomic groups. It is a violation of the covenant that we have to care for the “least of these.”