What is Children's Sabbath?

All of the world's great faith traditions teach that children should be lovingly cared for, and that the needy and vulnerable among us must be treated with compassion and justice. The National Observance of Children's Sabbaths is an annual event that reminds people of faith and their congregations of these obligations, and inspires them to improve the lives of children through political advocacy.

Each year, during the third weekend of October, thousands of synagogues, churches, temples, mosques, and other faith communities celebrate Children's Sabbath. Others choose to observe the event at a different time of year that better suits the life of their congregations. We are proud that Minnesota is the state with the highest number of congregations celebrating Children's Sabbath, and we thank our Key Advocates for their hard work and commitment to justice for children!

Initiated by the Children's Defense Fund in 1992, the event has been an opportunity for congregations to focus on children during worship so that people of all ages and all faiths can:

  • learn about the urgent needs of our country's youngest and most vulnerable citizens
  • celebrate the gift of the presence of children in our lives
  • be encouraged to make the long-term commitment to be advocates for children and work with their elected officials to create policies that meet children's needs

Each Children's Sabbath is as unique as the congregation that celebrates it. Clergy preach about serving children in need, and congregations pray for children during worship services. Education hours and forums are part of the observance so that people of all ages can learn about the children in our communities who live in poverty, suffer from abuse and neglect, and struggle with the consequences of living without health care coverage or access to quality childcare programs. Many congregations respond with service and advocacy activities. National statistics and other helpful information can be found in the National Observance of Children's Sabbaths Manual, published yearly by the Children's Defense Fund (CDF). CDF's Minnesota office and other local children's organizations are great resources for information about the needs of children locally.

Click here to learn about other Minnesota congregations that have enriched the lives of their faith communities by celebrating the Children's Sabbath.