And (Jesus) took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and whenhe had taken him into his arms he said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me. (Mark 9:36-37)
Ministers and priests around the county will be dedicating theirservices Sunday to the needs of children in Carroll and around the country.
"Child Focus Weekend," as designated by the county commissioners,has been planned to bring problems and issues relating to children to the attention of Carroll's residents and candidates in Tuesday's primary election.
"It originated from my reading an article in the Washington Post about how churches in New Hampshire were getting together in an ecumenical effort to lift up the plight of children," said Gary Honeman, the Youth Services worker in charge of the program. "The central focus was the campaigning for the primary."
Honeman thenshared the information with Youth Services director George Giese, who approached the commissioners with the idea.
"We told them we wanted to promote something on a smaller scale," Honeman said. "They were very willing to endorse that."
Pastors were then sent letters and asked to devote their services to issues such as child poverty, child abuse and murder, infant mortality and teen-age pregnancy.
Theyalso could obtain information and sermon suggestions from Shannon Daley, coordinator of religious affairs with the Children's Defense Fund in Washington.
The information includes facts about children's issues in Maryland. For example, every 10 hours an infant dies, every 86 minutes an infant is born too small to be healthy, every 53 minutes a child is born into poverty and every four days a child is murdered.
Program brochures also urge parishioners to contact candidates and determine their stands on children's issues.
"If we want to make sure no child is left behind, we have to tell our elected leaders and those who ask for our votes that they have to work for children, too," the brochure says.
In another aspect of the program, Honemanwill discuss children's issues with county public information director Micki Smith on cable Channel 55's "Your County Government" program.
The show will air at 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. Monday and 5 p.m. Tuesday.
"We'll talk about how the Youth Services Bureau, in addition to being a counseling program, is an advocacy agency to promote children's issues in general," he said. "We feel it's one of our real strengths in Carroll County.
"Services are available for children and families at the same time."
For information about the Child Focus Weekend, call the Youth Services Bureau at 848-2500; the Children'sDefense Fund can be contacted at (202) 628-8787.