Children's Sabbath

[God] shall judge between many peoples, and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore; but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken. (Micah 4:1-5)

Light a Candle for Children Prayer Vigil is an annual fall advocacy and prayer project of the Family and Children's Ministries partnership of the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). This year's vigil begins on September 15th, five weeks before the National Observance of Children's Sabbath weekend on October 18-20 sponsored by the Washington DC based Children's Defense Fund (CDF).

The theme for this year's Children's Sabbath is "Beating Swords into Plowshares: Ending the Violence of Guns and Child Poverty." The National Observance of Children's Sabbaths Celebration is a way for thousands of faith communities to unite in celebrating children as sacred gifts of the Divine, and renew and live out their moral responsibility to care, protect and advocate for all children. A downloadable Children's Sabbath manual is available from CDF here.

Our Light a Candle for Children theme is similar to that of CDF: "Swords Into Plowshares: Creating Peace with Children.", however, our vigil not only recognizes the impact of gun violence and poverty on children, but also recognizes that children themselves have something to contribute to the discussion.  We recognize that violence against children manifests not only in guns and poverty, but suicide, hunger, child abuse, anxiety, inadequate education and in many other ways.  Light A Candle for Children daily meditations, written by faith leaders from both denominations and edited by Disciples pastor Rev. Tim Graves,  are available online now at   You can also sign up to receive the daily meditations by email or the RSS feed.

It is important to note that our Family and Children's Ministries Light A Candle for Children vigil and advocacy program and the Children's Sabbath Celebration is a part of a growing children's advocacy movement that seeks to unite communities and 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.

If you are interested in becoming involved our ongoing United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) children's advocacy efforts please contact one of our three Ministers for Family and Children's Ministries including myself, Rev. Dr. Kate Epperly (,  Rev. Olivia Stewart Robertson ( or  Rev. Dr. Olivia Bryan Updegrove (

We encourage you to use and adapt the our Family and Children's Ministries' Light a Candle for Children vigil and advocacy resources in whatever ways you feel are most appropriate for your congregation. Remember, a congregation does not need to have children among its active members to be engaged in children's ministry! Advocacy for children needs to be year round!


Rev. Katherine Epperly
Minister of Family and Children's Ministries
700 Prospect Ave
Cleveland,Ohio 44115