WASHINGTON, DC — Thousands of churches across the U.S. and around the globe will celebrate Orphan Sunday this November 4, calling Christians to reflect God’s heart for orphans through adoption, foster care and global initiatives. It is yet one more vivid example—as well as a powerful catalyst—of the rising Christian engagement in a Gospel-inspired vision for living out the “pure and faultless religion” described in James 1:27.
Following an example first set by Zambian churches, hundreds of thousands of American Christians have participated in local Orphan Sunday events each year since 2009. Orphan Sunday has become a major factor driving what Christianity Today labeled the “burgeoning orphan care movement.” According to ECFA’s most recent “State of Giving Report,” three of the top four categories for increased giving over the past two years have been directly related to adoption and/or orphan care.
On Orphan Sunday, churches and families spotlight God’s deep love for orphans and how ordinary people can make that love tangible, from adoption, foster care and mentoring to global ministry. Locally-organized events range from sermons on how adoption reflects the Gospel to orphan care fundraisers, foster family recruitment, community-wide rallies, concerts and prayer gatherings.
Last year, Orphan Sunday began to echo back across the seas as well, with celebrations in 22 countries as diverse as Russia, the Philippines, Guatemala and Kenya. More than 1,000 churches participated in Ukraine alone. This year, Orphan Sunday websites appear in French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Russian.
Although each Orphan Sunday event is created locally, a coalition of more than 120 organizations have joined forces through the Christian Alliance for Orphans to champion the campaign—from Focus on the Family and Bethany Christian Services, to Family Life’s Hope for Orphans, Buckner International and Show Hope.
The website www.orphansunday.org serves as a hub for the campaign, offering event ideas, downloadable posters, bulletin inserts, videos and other free resources that can be used to hold local events. Families and churches can also participate in “The Orphan’s Table” by ordering a simple orphan meal package and discussion guide.
The Christian Alliance for Orphans will also be releasing a compelling new video the week before Orphan Sunday, enabling local event organizers to use the film as part of 2012 events in churches and homes. “Zambia’s Gift to the World: Celebrating God’s Heart for the Fatherless at the Birthplace of Orphan Sunday” will feature captivating images, interviews and music from Christians in Zambia, where the first Orphan Sunday was celebrated in 2002. It will also include glimpses of how Orphan Sunday has echoed out from Africa to inspire Christians around the globe to reflect God’s heart for the orphan.
Jedd Medefind, President of the Christian Alliance for Orphans, expressed, “When Christians grasp God’s heart for the orphan, we see more fully His heart for each of us as well. We don’t foster or adopt or mentor or give financially out of guilt or duty. Christian care for the orphan is just a small reflection of the way God first loved us—pursuing and rescuing us when we were destitute and alone.”
More than 400,000 children live in the foster system in the U.S. today, with nearly 110,000 waiting to be adopted. Globally, an estimated 17.8 million children have lost both parents, and many times that number live with a single surviving parent, most often their widowed mother. The Orphan Sunday campaign works towards a day when local Christians in every nation will be known as the primary answer to the needs of orphans in their midst.
CONTACT: Ashley Otani