Faith leaders in Nashville gather for citywide Children’s Sabbath service

Participants enjoy fellowship during Children’s Sabbath activities

Participants enjoy fellowship during Children’s Sabbath activities

The Children’s Defense Fund Nashville Team sponsored a multi-faith Children’s Sabbath observance with Metro Nashville Public Schools, ‘Community Achieve,’ Gideon’s Army, Urban League of Middle Tennessee, Black Nashville Pastors (led by pastors Breonus Mitchell and Vance Ross), Tenn. state Rep. Harold Love, Jr., and the Interdenominational Ministerial Fellowship.

The event was held August 2 at the Vanderbilt Divinity School Chapel, 444 21st Ave S., Nashville.

As school begins, the recent violent events will still be on the minds of students and their parents. The Children Defense Fund’s Children’s Sabbath’s theme this year, ‘Beating Swords into Plowshares: Ending the Violence of Guns and Children Poverty,’ will bring together religious congregations of all faiths in shared concern for children and a common commitment to improving their lives.

The event is in response to the killing of 17-year-old Jonathan Johnson and the senseless act of violence allegedly committed by Eric Goodner on April 11, which created a citywide conversation about the health and well being of our children.
“Whether through violent acts, poverty, family dysfunction, poor health, or failure in schools, children in Tennessee are not reaching their potential. Tennessee had an average of 4.3 gun deaths for every 100,000 children and teens each year, greater than the national rate of 3.6. These statistics are not acts of God. They are the result of our political, economic and shortsighted choices as a nation, states and communities,” said Eric Brown of the Children’s Defense Fund’s Nashville Team.

CDF released its new gun report, Protect Children, Not Guns 2013 on July 24, which shows how gun violence exacts a high toll on children and society. In Tennessee, from 2000-2010, guns killed 773 children and teens. In the same period, nationally, 32,108 children and teens died from guns. The number of children and teens who died from guns in 2010 would fill 134 classrooms of 20 children. See the full report at <www.childrensdefense.org/child-researchdatapublications/data/protect-children-not-guns-2013.html>.

“We are thrilled to have the CDF Nashville Team lead our work to create a level playing field for children in Tennessee,” said Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund.

“With Rev. Janet Wolf and Eric Brown at the helm of our Nashville Team, we will expand our critical work to dismantle the Cradle to Prison Pipeline, which leaves a Black boy born in 2001 a one in three chance of going to prison in his lifetime and a Latino boy a one in six chance of the same fate. They will continue our work to create a world in which all children are safe from the pervasive violence of guns and poverty starting with the Children’s Sabbath Service.”

Children’s Sabbath Weekend kicked off with the at Benton Chapel. Other activities scheduled during the weekend included: ‘Love’s Healthy Start Rally,’ at Hadley Park on Aug. 3; Greater Grace Temple Church, 901 Dalebrook Lane, Aug. 4; and also at Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church, 2334 Herman St., Aug. 4. All of the worship and prayer services were held with leaders and congregations gathered to call for a mandate to nurture and protest children.