Children’s Defense Fund’s faith community organizing programming aims to bolster people of faith in building power for children and families.
Current programming includes CDF’s beloved Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry, the annual Children’s Sabbath celebration, Practicing Resurrection: Communal Transformation from the Inside Out, and Welcome Home: Young Adults Shaping Holistic Houses of Worship. CDF is also in proud partnership with Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary, where together we work to nurture the pipeline of public theologians committed to contextually grounded theologies of child well-being.
Annual Mobilizing Opportunities
Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute
Hosted annually on the sacred grounds of Alex Haley Farm in Clinton, TN, the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute refreshes and renews faith leaders to continue the hard, hopeful, sacred work of pursuing justice for children and ending child poverty.
Children’s Sabbath weekend engages places of worship across the country in focusing prayers, worship, education programs, and action on learning more about the urgent problems facing our nation’s children and youth.
Partnerships & Programs
Partnership with Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary
The CDF-Garrett Joint Partnership on Theologies of Child Well-being supports a movement toward theologies of child well-being that create the conditions for young people to thrive. Through this partnership, current Garrett students and alums pursue advanced graduate-level degrees and continue their theological education with a focus on child well-being; receive fellowship support and place-based learning at area CDF Freedom Schools® sites; and benefit from the emerging scholarship at the intersection of theological education and child well-being.
Practicing Resurrection: Communal Transformation from the Inside Out
Practicing Resurrection addresses the need for congregations to connect deeply and authentically with the problems they see around them, using their faith as a guide for transforming the world to a more just place, united in partnership beyond traditional boundaries like age, race, wealth, and geography. Comprised of a cohort of 11 congregations, participants embark on a collective learning journey to reflect on what is preventing them from thriving, identify the gifts they bring, expand their skills and capacities, and begin the difficult process of transformation from the inside out.
Welcome Home: Young Adults Shaping Holistic Houses of Worship
Welcome Home builds on our legacy of uplifting Black and Brown children and youth within the church by supporting and developing congregations to become holistic houses of worship, welcoming in both invitation and practice to young adults. CDF is actively seeking 12 congregations for our 2023–2026 program cohort. Congregations will receive a curriculum developed and taught by young adults and a framework for developing, launching, and evaluating programming. Participating congregations will receive a $30,000 grant. The application deadline is March 10, 2023. Apply Now »
A Little Child Shall Lead Them: Mobilizing Faith for Prenatal-to-Three Development
A Little Child Shall Lead Them helps faith communities deepen their understanding of early childhood issues and the role they can play in improving outcomes for children and families. The program develops a network of faith leaders committed to the movement for early childhood, including seeds of partnership. Through this program, faith leaders will receive training, practical tools, and guidance on how to advocate for the youngest children in their communities.