|Web-only Logo courtesy of Children's Defense Fund
The Children's Defense Fund's logo is an illustration by a 7-year-old girl, Maria Cot�, with the traditional fisherman's prayer.
Sept. 14, 2005
By United Methodist News Service
Hurricane Katrina disaster that struck the U.S. Gulf Coast has been
accompanied by powerful images of the plight of children—images that
will be in the minds of many congregations marking Children’s Sabbath
14th annual National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths is sponsored by
the Children’s Defense Fund, a nonprofit, Washington-based organization.
Many congregations, including United Methodist churches, set aside a
Sunday during the fall to focus on justice for children living in
third weekend in October — Oct. 14-16 this year — has traditionally
been designated for Children’s Sabbath, but the date “is totally up to
the discretion of the congregation,” said the Rev. Sally Jo Snyder, a
United Methodist and director of the Children’s Defense Fund.
The United Methodist Board of Discipleship’s Web site notes that, in the church, the event is observed Oct. 7-9.
year, we had over 10,000 (churches) participate around the country,”
Snyder said. Of all the denominations and religious organizations that
participate, United Methodists lead the way in number, she added.
The need for focusing on children’s concerns is urgent, Snyder said.
“We want to really build a movement for children in the 21st century, which sadly we need,” she said.
the United States, 9 million children are without health insurance,”
she said. Many children are born into a “cradle-to-prison pipeline,” she
said, noting that a black boy born in 2001 has a 1 in 3 chance of going
to prison during his life.
Children’s Defense Fund is responding to the Hurricane Katrina disaster
by helping children and families through its offices in Tennessee,
Mississippi and Texas, and its national headquarters in Washington. “We
are helping displaced families locate their loved ones, working with
other national organizations, such as Feed the Children, to identify
where their resources can best be used, and coordinating with state and
federal officials to identify the needs that children in particular have
and will have as they work through this crisis,” the organization said.
Many of the people most affected by the hurricane and its aftermath were poor people.
do not want to simply send all of these people who deal with extreme
hardships every day back to the same life that they had before the
hurricane,” the organization said. The hurricane disaster is an
opportunity to “lift our most vulnerable children and families to a
place where they can lead the lives to which they are entitled.”
|A UMNS photo by John Gordon
Hurricane evacuee Ikeya Hoker of New Orleans picks out toys at Houston's Astrodome. She was at the shelter with her grandmother.
The Children’s Defense Fund’s Web site, www.childrensdefense.org,
has information on how congregations can get involved in responding to
children’s issues as well as resources for Children’s Sabbath and
resources include a 260-page manual, National Observance of Children’s
Sabbaths Manual: Putting our Faith into Action to Seek Justice for
Children. “The manual tells everything you need to know,” Snyder said.
The book provides materials for use in worship services, study groups,
newsletters and bulletins, and educational programs for adults, youth
on ordering the book and other information about the Children’s Defense
Fund are available on the Web site or by calling Snyder, (202)
News media contact: Tim Tanton, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or email@example.com.