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Children and youth of the Ocracoke United Methodist Church will lead the service at 11 a.m. Sunday (Nov. 20), with the theme: “Children of Promise: Closing Opportunity Gaps.”
This annual, national, multi-faith Children’s Sabbath is spearheaded by the Children’s Defense Fund.
For this service, the Sunday school students and youth will lead the entire service from start to finish.
This alone is a huge undertaking as it includes greetings, announcements, prayer, readings, and the responsibility of leading their congregation in worship, said OUMC’s Children’s Director, Desirée Ricker.
Last year they were asked if, in addition to these responsibilities, they also wanted to raise money for a special cause. They did and they raised enough for roughly 250 Thanksgiving meals for people in both Hyde and surrounding counties.
This year the children chose two organizations for which they wanted to raise money, as well as awareness. Leading up to Nov. 20 and with a special offering during that day’s service, they will ask for donations to The Methodist Home for Children and/or The Salvation Army’s Thanksgiving Meal Delivery to blind, elderly, and impoverished families who cannot afford holiday meals in Eastern North Carolina.
The Salvation Army needs only $2.37 for an entire meal and The Methodist Home for Children is able to support one of its many children on just $1,000 a year. If everyone donated a small amount, what a huge difference this could make, Ricker said.
“I think their choices say a lot about the generosity of the children of Ocracoke,” Ricker said. “They were given several options and asked to pick one. First, they refused, stating they must raise money for two. Second, their choices demonstrate a loving commitment to local and regional families, as well as to their fellow children and youth who need and can greatly benefit from the services offered by The Methodist Home for Children.”
According to the Children’s Defense Fund, opportunity to thrive during childhood depends on many factors. If key factors are unavailable to children, the consequences for their development and success as adults can be dire.
Poverty hurts children and harms their futures. Too many poor children in rich America are denied opportunity for success when their basic needs are not met, and when they are denied access to high-quality development and learning opportunity beginning in the early years.
“To close opportunity gaps so that every child can fulfill their God-given potential, we as adults and political leaders and as a nation need to keep our promise that every child is of equal worth,” said Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund. “The National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths is galvanizing places of worship and people of faith across the religious spectrum and nation to ensure that all children have what they need to achieve their full potential through nurturing early childhood development at home and in the community, in child care and Head Start, and in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, so that all children have strong schools that expect and support success from every student, and so that no child has their basic needs unmet because of family income.”
Ocracoke United Methodist is one of thousands of churches, synagogues, mosques, Bahá’í communities, temples, and other places of worship around the nation celebrating this annual observance.
The multi-faith weekend seeks to inspire congregations and religious organizations to work on behalf of children through prayer, service, and advocacy throughout the year.
For more information about Ocracoke United Methodist’s celebration of the Children’s Sabbath, or the organizations for which the children and youth are raising funds, please contact Pastor Richard Bryant at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Ricker at email@example.com.