“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling…” -Psalm 68:5, NIV
God’s people are commanded to take care of the orphan or the fatherless no less than ten times in Scripture. And in eight more passages, God is described as a God who loves and cares for the fatherless and the forsaken. There is no doubt that orphans are one of God’s primary concerns in the world, so they should be one of ours as well.
UNICEF estimates that there are nearly 140 million children who have lost one or both of their parents worldwide. An additional 440,000+ children in the American foster care system are socially orphaned, meaning one or both parents are living but they do not provide the proper care a child needs. Despite the intense statistics, many churches struggle to find ways to get involved in such a complex and seemingly overwhelming ministry. But one of the simplest and most effective ways to raise awareness and provide aid for the plight of orphans is to participate in Orphan Sunday.
History of Orphan Sunday
In 2009, the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO), of which AGAPE is a member, invited churches around the world to observe a collective Orphan Sunday on the same date each year. In 2019, Orphan Sunday will be held on November 10.
Orphan Sunday is about praising our God who cares for the lonely, the oppressed and the downtrodden, even when no one else does. It’s also about uniting with Christians to serve one of the groups of people who God most frequently commands us to serve.
How to get your church family involved
There are many ways to observe Orphan Sunday, including prayer sessions, themed sermons or classes, services devoted to discussing orphans or special collections for organizations, like AGAPE, that work with marginalized children.
If your church is not currently involved in an orphan care ministry, you can change that! Organizations like CAFO and America’s Kids Belong offer numerous free resources that you can share with your church’s elders, ministers or communications directors. To check out a list of these resources, click here.
Are you a minister who wants to talk about orphan care from the pulpit? CAFO has resources for you as well. One of these resources is an Orphan Sunday toolkit which features FAQs, ideas for Orphan Sunday observances and a step-by-step guide to planning an Orphan Sunday event at your church. There are also several videos that could inspire your message or be incorporated into your sermon or a class.
Get in touch
If you have questions about getting involved with orphan care ministry for Orphan Sunday and beyond, AGAPE would love to help you. With over fifty years of experience in foster care, adoption, counseling and now, domestic violence relief, AGAPE has many services to offer your church. We’re happy to provide resources like social media graphics, or even speak to your church or class about the importance of orphan ministry. If you’d like to get in touch, contact us here.