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WCC, UNICEF celebrate commitment of churches to children

WCC, UNICEF celebrate commitment of churches to children

Photos: Valter Hugo Muniz/WCC

20 November 2019

“Churches can help respond to the urgent demands of the children who march in the streets for our planet,” said moderator of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee, Dr Agnes Abuom, during the Executive Committee celebratory break marking the 30th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child.

“Spiritual support and engagement in concrete actions that give hope are an important measure for the mental health of children, including in those countries where the consequences of the climate emergency are not felt on a daily basis, but cause fears among children about the world’s future,” said Abuom.

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Moderator of the WCC Central Committee, Dr Agnes Abuom with UNICEF Emergencies Manager, Ms. Esther Waters-Crane.

Two years after the launch of the Churches’ Commitments to Children in 2017, the WCC collaborates with over 450 heads of Churches, heads of children’s ministries, school directors, Sunday school teachers and champions for children at the grassroots level. A vital element of the success of the initiative is the global partnership with UNICEF started four years ago, which allowed churches throughout WCC’s constituency to be supported and equipped with expertise.

“In following the example of Jesus, many churches across the world have been putting children back at the center of attention, and acknowledging them as a model for all of us in our faith, hope and love,” said WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit.

Esther Waters-Crane, UNICEF humanitarian partnerships manager in Geneva, thanked the WCC for its ongoing support and leadership in key areas of children’s rights issues. “I want to recognize the work that churches around the world are doing on climate change – your youth activism is inspiring,” she said. “Today we celebrate the progress that has been made in the past 30 years, but we cannot rest. Challenges old and new still threaten the survival and quality of life of our children.”

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Commemorative cake.

Today, several initiatives organized by WCC member churches and partners are happening in different parts of the world. In Panama, the Instituto para el Desarrollo de la mujer y la infancia, organizes a workshop on children’s rights with girls and boys from the community of Nuevo Colón. In Hungary, on 18-20 November, the Department of Education of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hungary is hosting a three-day event for all the principals of the church’s educational institutions with a focus on climate change and children’s rights. In Kenya, the Africa Brotherhood Church is marking the 30th anniversary of the convention with a special event to help local children to fully understand and enjoy their rights.

Learn more about the Churches’ Commitments to Children here

Read the Convention on the Rights of the Child here

Video: ExCom celebratory break marking the 30th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child

Photos of the WCC Executive Committee celebratory break