A coalition of more than fifty Christian organizations has launched a campaign to help organize hundreds of local events across America this year to highlight the call to "defend the cause of the fatherless" and what ordinary Christians can do in response.
Through a network of more than fifty state volunteer coordinators, the coalition behind the Orphan Sunday campaign will support churches, organizations and lay-leaders across the nation as they create their own distinctive local events – ranging from sermons, Sunday School classes and prayer gatherings to concerts and service projects – for Orphan Sunday, which this year falls on Nov. 8.
"Orphan Sunday is an opportunity for individuals whose hearts are already lit up for orphans to spread that passion to their local church and friends," commented Jodi Jackson Tucker, national coordinator for the Orphan Sunday campaign. "It's about Christians saying together, 'We will be known as a people who defend the cause of the fatherless.'"
According to the campaign, there are more than 500,000 children in the U.S. foster system today, with nearly 130,000 waiting to be adopted. Globally, an estimated 15 million children have lost both parents.
"Each local Orphan Sunday event is a candle, lit to cast light on the needs of orphans and God's invitation to take up their cause. Taken together, they add up to a nationwide blaze," said Jedd Medefind, president of the Christian Alliance for Orphans.
Organizations currently part of the effort include Bethany Christian Services, Focus on the Family, Show Hope and Family Life. The organizations, as well as the campaign's supporters, are hoping that Orphan Sunday events will create a powerful echo effect in the Church, waking both awareness and action on behalf of orphans at home and abroad.
A new website, www.orphansunday.com, is currently serving as a hub for the campaign, offering event ideas, downloadable materials and ways individuals can partner with orphan-serving ministries to hold local events. The site also contains a map of the country that will highlight local events nationwide as they are scheduled.
In addition to the local efforts, a national Orphan Sunday event will be held in Nashville and feature Grammy-winner Steven Curtis Chapman; Focus on the Family President Jim Daley, Family Life President Dennis Rainey, and other prominent Christian leaders.
"LIVE from Nashville!" will kick off at 4 p.m. on Nov. 8 and hopes to give a megaphone to the cries of the millions of orphans around the world through music and the sharing of the heart of God.
The 2009 Cry of the Orphan Awareness Campaign marks the fourth annual unified campaign to heighten awareness of the plight of the millions of orphans around the world.