Day of the Child

Yesterday (Wednesday the 24th) was International Day of the Child. This week from the 20-28 of October is Australia’s National Week of the Child.

This year the theme is“based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: Article 12 – children have the right to say what they think should happen and have their opinions taken into account.”

You can find the full Convention here


We have had the Prime Ministers apology to the victims of Abuse on Monday, with many Denominations issuing statements and prayers in response.


A Christian Radio station

had a beautiful responsive Day of the Child yesterday with children and parents phoning in during the drive time programme. But they did seem confused if it was a “day” or not.


I know of one church (Melbourne Welsh Church)

that had  a children lead service on Sunday.  If you marked the week in this way, please let us know.

Deidre Palmer, President of the Uniting Church in Australia announced a new resource on Communicating with Children this week

As Christian’s we look to the Bible for stories to connect our heritage with the UN Article, and we find both Old and New Testament examples, from the story of David and Goliath in 1 Samual 17, and Eli listened to Samual in 1 Samual 3, to that of the young Jesus in the Temple, in Luke 2:41-52.

Yes, children have asked and been listened to as part of our tradition. This may not sit well with those who follow the idea that children should be “seen and not heard”, a social rather than biblical precedent; though Proverbs 1:8, might be misconstrued in this way. The Seder tradition of questions being asked by the youngest child points to a tradition that should not be discarded.

The issue for many congregations is how to satisfy this UN article that has been turned into legal requirements in many places including Victoria.

What stops us from hearing the voice of the child in our congregations? Is it as simple as not understanding that there is Biblical precedent, or does it lie in the social construct and traditions including the legal ones of management?

Perhaps it’s an educational understanding that children are empty vessels to be filled, rather than an understanding that they come formed in the image of God with developing skills?

Our congregations could do a better job at inviting the questions of children, and of hearing what they are saying. We may need precedents and processes, but essentially, we need the understanding that Christ placed the child in the midst (Matthew 18: 1-14), our midst.

For those who have successfully satisfied this Article, what advice can you pass on to us.


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