The buses will soon be rolling past us loaded with sweet, sleepy faces reluctant to face another year of early rising, classrooms, homework, projects and all that encompasses a busy year at school. For parents, we greet the day with a mixed bag of excitement that life will once again return to some sense of normalcy and trepidation for all that comes with this return to school: assignments; projects; forgotten lunch money; field trips; missing the bus; sports practices, games and injuries; and the ever-present understanding that our little ones are growing one more year older.
Each year our church joins with churches across the nation in celebrating the Children’s Sabbath on the third Sunday of October. This last year we signed on to pray for children 40 days prior to Children’s Sabbath. This year’s emphasis is based on the General Assembly’s Justice in Education resolution (found at http://www.disciples.org/GeneralAssembly/Business/1121/tabid/863/Default.aspx). This resolution passed at the 2011 General Assembly states:
The General Assembly of the Christian Church meeting in Nashville, TN, July 9 – 13, 2011, affirms that education reform must be approached in a way that deals with the justice issues of race, class, special needs, and geographical/residential location in relation to the more equitable distribution of resource opportunities; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Assembly urges all Disciples to engage actively in prayerful reflection, study, and public conversation about public education, including charter schools, through the lens of these justice concerns; and
FINALLY, BE IT RESOLVED that the Assembly urges all Disciples to contact policy-makers and advocate for an approach to public education reform that is just and equitable, and that will continue to provide a quality education to all our children, regardless of race, class, special needs or geographical/residential location.
Sponsored by the Children's Defense Fund, the National Observance of Children's Sabbaths Celebration 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.
This celebration is a part of a broader Children's Sabbaths movement that aims to unite 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.
Our 40 Day Prayer Vigil will begin on September 6th this year. Please plan to volunteer to take one day and set aside a moment to hold children in prayer: our own children, our friend’s children, children in our families, in our churches, in our communities and throughout the world.
As we approach this focus on children, take time to find ways to make a difference in the lives of children: donate items for ‘Stuff the Bus’, donate food for ‘Operation Back-Pack’, or volunteer your time in ways that will make a positive difference in the lives of children like: stuff back-packs with food, read to a child, help out at a local school or in the classroom and if you have gifts to share, don’t hesitate to use them.