Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Important Dates

Light a Candle 2014
Important Dates

Sunday, July 6-Monday, July 14
Call for Writers:
Calling all writers! Please consider writing a meditation for the 2014 Light a Candle for Children Meditation Booklet. If accepted you will be provided a scripture passage and guidelines. If you are interested, please email Tim Graves at rev.timgraves@gmail.com

Tuesday, July 15
Interested writers will be notified by email that they have been accepted to submit a meditation.

Tuesday, July 22
Scriptures and guidelines will be delivered to writers no later than July 22

Tuesday, August 12
Deadline for submission of meditations
Please submit as a Google Doc and share with Tim Graves

Tuesday, September 2
The printable Meditation Booklet will be available for download at www.lightacandle.blogspot.com

Sunday, September 14 through Sunday, October 19, 2014
Light a Candle Prayer Vigil

Sunday, October 19, 2014
National Observance of Children’s Sabbath

Sunday, July 6, 2014

2014 Theme & Dates

The annual Light a Candle Prayer Vigil for Children begins Sunday, September 14 and concludes on the interfaith National Observance of Children’s Sabbath Sunday, October 19. The theme for 2014 is “Precious in God’s Sight: Answering the Call to Cherish and Protect Every Child.” 

Light a Candle for Children is an advocacy & prayer vigil project that invites congregations to join in Days of Prayer for Children. Daily meditations written by UCCers and Disciples are available to support local congregations. The meditations are available via daily email, on the web, and as a printable pdf booklet. They are also shared on Twitter and Facebook.

The annual vigil begins five weeks before the National Observance of Children’s Sabbath sponsored by the Children’s Defense Fund, Washington, DC. Thousands of congregations from multiple faith groups unite during Children’s Sabbath weekend to simultaneously witness for children through prayer, education, and worship.

Light a Candle for Children is a project of the Family & Children’s Ministries Partnership of the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). 

If you are interested in writing a meditation for the 2014 Light a Candle Prayer Vigil, please contact Tim Graves at rev.timgraves@gmail.com by July 21.

For more information

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Walking in the Light of the Lord

Day 36: October 20, 2013

We'd scour the playground each morning for dangers. Most days we found bottles or broken glass. Often, we found needles, razor blades, and shell casings. We learned not to be surprised. We knew we could only protect the children during the day. Most lived in violent, impoverished neighborhoods. 

We longed for a future like the prophet Isaiah describes, when sword would be beaten into plowshare and the people would go up to the mountain to learn and practice God's loving and peaceful ways. 

That was three decades ago. Too many children still live in violent neighborhoods. Too many children are still killed by guns. Too many children are valued less than the right-to-bear automatic weapons. National budget priorities fund wars at the expense of children's services and programs. 

The prophet offers hope to a people weary of violence and war. But hope is hollow if we refuse to see our collective sin that allows any child to grow up in poverty and violence. 

Peacemaker God, teach us to walk in your light. Instill in us the urgency of beating our swords into plowshares for the sake of the children of Newtown, the thousands of children whose deaths and injuries never make the news, and those who hunger for bread. Give us hope and the will to make it a reality. Amen.

Tim Graves
Condon United Church of Christ
Condon, OR

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Boldly Speaking Truth to Power

Day 35: October 19, 2013

In the wake of this past year’s flurry of unimaginable violence against children, we must work harder than ever to protect our children from the ravages of gun violence. However, the problem is not just about guns. There are many powers arrayed against the welfare of our children. In the spirit of Acts 4:23-31, we must look at these threats and have the courage and wisdom to speak God’s Word of peace and justice with all boldness. Guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit we must not only speak but confront fear mongering along with the evils of racism and poverty that harm our children. 

Let us prayerfully unite hearts and hands to boldly speak God’s Truth to power. In our congregations, let us equip ourselves like the early community of Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem. Let us demonstrate the healing and transforming power of Spirit led, nonviolent, direct actions of self-giving for the safety and wellbeing of our children.

God of love and peace, deliver us and our children from violence and fear. Now, Lord, look at the threats against our children and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness. Give us courage that we may be your hands and feet to heal our violence-ridden land. May signs and wonders be performed in the name of your holy servant Jesus that those who live by violence and greed may be “shaken up” by the Good News of God’s compassion and justice for all. Amen.

Rev. Dr. Kate Epperly
Minister of Family and Children’s Ministries 
United Church of Christ


Friday, October 18, 2013

Peace & Play

Day 34: October 18, 2013

Each year, the preschoolers I work with pass on childhood traditions and tales. The river rocks on the playground are just the right size. A preschooler can pick one up and move them around, but just barely. That effort makes it even more valuable. Turns out, I was wrong, they aren’t actually river rocks. 

Over the years the rocks have evolved to tell different stories. Sometimes they are lined up to make a path or a bridge. Other times, they are assembled in a big pile. Chairs circle the pile and a campsite appears. For a while, they were dinosaur eggs that needed saving. Sometimes they are babies. 

Now that I think of it, they are rarely river rocks. When children, when people, play  in the streets or playground or backyard, a new home, a new place, and a new peace is created.

Lord, guide us to the streets, to see the vision, to play together. How will I play today?

Pat Barton
Chalice Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Gilbert, AZ

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Sons as Healing Sunflowers, Daughters as Foundations of Peace

Day 33: October 17, 2013

Imagine sons as sunflowers reaching their full autumn height.  These magnificent plants share seeds, oil, and healing properties pulling radioactive contaminants from the soil.

Imagine daughters sturdy and beautiful as founding beams of homes and institutions: supporting the full thriving of all the world’s children, drawing in the exile, and responding to cries of distress.

Psalm 144 offers these hopeful images, a hope rooted in God. To pray with these few verses is to root our hope in the God who seeds our prayers with longing and harvests our peaceful actions.

Creator God, with your help we can see the world’s children fruitful as sunflowers and sturdy as foundations for the future. We see all children nurtured in love and safety. Help us refuse to seed the world with guns and violence. Help us fully accept our one responsibility: creating a peaceful, just world for all children. Amen.

Rev. Susan Meeter
Mira Vista United Church of Christ
El Cerrito, CA

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Leaders & Miracles

Day 32: October 16, 2013

Psalm 72 is all about praying for a just, righteous, generous, and peaceful king. At first glance it seems foreign to us. We do not have one person who will “defend the poor, rescue the homeless, and crush everyone who hurts them...[and who] has pity on the weak and the helpless and protects those in need." (Ps. 72: 4, 13 CEV). 

But we do have a government and we have leaders. We are called to pray daily that they will be honest and fair, righteous, and ready to defend the needy.  This psalm does not celebrate the wealthy; it is all about how the government –the king – is there to help those who are oppressed.

There is a revealing final phrase, however, in this prayer for the king: “Lord God of Israel, we praise you. Only you can work miracles.” (Ps. 72:13 CEV)

Divine Presence, We pray for your guidance for our “king” – our leaders. We need your miracles to help them turn toward each other and work together to bring peace to our nation and our world. May they become a model of a nonviolent solution to conflict and injustice. Amen.

Rev. Carol L. Cook
First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Baltimore, MD