Children's Sabbath unites religious congregations of all faiths across the United States who share concern for children and commitment to improving their lives and working for justice on their behalf.
Oct. 11-13 are the official dates for the United Methodist observance of Children's Sabbath in 2013. Many other denominations and faith groups will observe it Oct. 18-20. Ideas for the observance can be used on any weekend a congregation chooses.
Children's Sabbath differs from Children's Sunday. The Sabbath focuses on providing education to let congregations celebrate their existing efforts for children and commit to new long-term efforts. On Children's Sunday, youngsters who are part of the congregation lead the rest of the church in worship, including through preaching.
Each year the Children's Defense Fund, sponsor of Children's Sabbath, selects a theme for the national observance and develops a downloadable booklet of activities and worship services.
"Beating Swords into Plowshares: Ending the Violence of Guns and Child Poverty" is the 2013 Children's Sabbath theme. The Children's Sabbath manual also includes worship resources. It includes information to help congregations focus "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 in our rich nation, 16.1 million children will no longer suffer the violence of poverty that sentences many to dead-end, hopeless lives and premature death."
Download the Children's Sabbath manual at www.childrensdefense.org (search Children's Sabbath).
The General Board of Discipleship has a litany and other worship resources at http://www.gbod.org/lead-your-church/lectionary-planning-helps/twenty-first-sunday-after-pentecost1.