Sunday, October 20
The Lord’s Day
Minute for Mission: Children’s Sabbath
Winnie Morgan knows the numbers: of the more than 25,000 children under age five in Durham County, North Carolina, nearly 25 percent live in poverty. Morgan, coordinator of the Early Childhood Faith Initiative in Durham, recognizes the role the faith community plays, not only with those children within a church’s doors but with all children. The National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths is one powerful tool to inspire congregations to share in a common commitment to improve the lives of children and to work for justice on their behalf.
Individual congregations, like Durham’s First Presbyterian Church, observe National Children’s Sabbath with their own worship services. But Christians in Durham recognize that a concern for children is shared by members of many faith communities. This past October, Durham Congregations in Action, a local interfaith ministry network, called the community to a renewed commitment to advance the protection of children in their community from poverty, racism, and violence. Together with End Poverty Durham and the Partnership for Children, Congregations in Action sponsored an interfaith Children’s Sabbath observance for the community.
But our concern for children shouldn’t end when we walk out of the worship service. Morgan suggests a variety of ways people can make a difference in the lives of young children, including sponsoring a scholarship for a child for quality childcare, starting an early-literacy or a parenting program in a low-income community, and volunteering at an agency providing services for children. Prayer and Scripture in a Children’s Sabbath service invite the Holy Spirit to energize our hands and feet to take action and our minds and wills to address the injustices that call for systemic change.
It takes a village of caring folks and resources to raise all of our children. Let’s inspire that village to its part by starting with our faith community and a Children’s Sabbath event.
—Elder Martha Bettis Gee, former associate for child advocacy and networking
Let us pray
Holy God, you have inscribed on our hearts your desire for justice for all children. Empower us by your Spirit, we pray, to make your desires our desires and to open our hearts to the urgent needs of all children. Amen.
Sunday Lectionary and Hymns
Song of Zechariah
PH 601 and 602, HB 592
Blest Are the Uncorrupt in Heart
2 Tim. 3:14–4:5
Lord, Speak to Me, That I May Speak
PH 426, HB 298
What a Friend We Have in Jesus
PH 403, HB 385