Light a Candle Prayer Vigil and National Observance of Children's Sabbaths
This year, the Light a Candle for Children Forty Day Prayer Vigil begins on Sunday, September 4, and ends on Children's Sabbaths Weekend, October 14 to 16, 2011. The theme is “Justice, Justice Shall You Pursue: Answering God’s Call to Protect Children”
The Light a Candle for Children - Forty Day Prayer Vigil involves years of cooperation on this project with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Family and Children’s Ministries. Materials available for free download have been designed to help congregations focus on the needs of children and spiritually prepare for the annual observance of Children's Sabbaths.Here you can find a learning moment and here a prayer.
You can also receive a manual from The Children's Defense Fund that will help in the planning of your Children's Sabbaths Observation. This manual provides worship and educational materials for Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Bahá'í, and other faith traditions. It also includes resources for interfaith gatherings; and offers bulletin inserts, ideas for hands-on service and advocacy efforts, guidance for strengthening your efforts for children throughout the year, and much more.
The 2011 Children's Sabbaths Manual will only be available as an on-line download from the Children's Defense Fund at http://www.childrensdefense.org/programs-campaigns/faith-based-action/childrens-sabbaths/
History of the Light a Candle for Children Forty Day Prayer Vigil Project
Fifteen years ago this prayer vigil was started by a small Disciples church in Louisville, Ky. The church exists but the legacy of this congregation's love for children lives on. We are happy that many congregations of The Disciples of Christ have continued their partnership with us in this prayer vigil project.
In 2006, Light a Candle for Children was adopted by the National Council of Christian Churches Committee on Justice for Children and Their Families. This means that congregations from all of the denominations affiliated with the National Council of Christian Churches in the United States will be participating. Light a Candle for Children is now part of a whole "Season of Prayer and Advocacy" for America's Children.
We hope your church will participate in all of the advocacy and prayer activities being suggested. May your participation be a joyful celebration of the many ways your congregation cares for children, learns from children, and enters into ministry with children.
Advocate all year long
Additional resources you might find helpful include:
- Children's Sabbath handout
- Children's Defense Fund
- Justice and Witness Ministries
- The Institute for Peace and Justice
- The Annie E. Casey Foundation KIDS COUNT provides national and state-by-state information and statistical trends on the conditions of America's children and families. This year, the KIDS COUNT Data Book essay, "A Road Map for Juvenile Justice Reform," looks at the nearly 100,000 youth confined to juvenile facilities on any given night in the United States, and what can be done to reduce unnecessary and inappropriate detention and incarceration and increase opportunities for positive youth development and community safety.
- "The Church and Children–Vision and Goals for the 21st Century." If your congregation has not yet studied this document on children from the National Council of Christian Churches, it is highly recommends you consider doing so. The study guide and policy statement is a free download from the National Council of Christian Churches.