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Children's Religion and Spirituality

This study group was set up for the Childhoods 2005 conference, and is no longer active. Please contact the group coordinator for information.

The rapidly changing political, economic and social conditions that characterize the lives of so many children and youth around the world today ofthe presnt significant challenges for their health and development. Greater numbers of children and youth are growing up in societies where political, ethnic and religious violence is increasingly normative. The impact of globalization and the increased choices and freedoms that come with transition may seriously threaten the cultural traditions of families in transforming societies and can cause conflict between parents and children. Finally, poverty, various forms of exploitation, child abuse and trauma rob many children and youth of the quality of life envisioned in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The study group on children's religion and spirituality has looked at how children and youth experience these challenges in light of their values, beliefs and sources of support. The group takes particular interest in how a child's religious and spiritual beliefs, the family's religious traditions and the religious traditions and beliefs of society in general are critical to understanding the experience of childhood in emerging and transforming societies and how the role of religion shapes a child's identity.

The study group co-organized a session at the Childhoods 2005 Oslo conference, with Trygve Wyller at the Institute of Theology of the University of Oslo. Meetings have been held at Clemson Univerisity, Oslo and Birmingham. In addittion to having participants from the Childwatch International Key Institutions in India and at Clemson University, the group has had participants from participants from Thailand, South Africa, Israel, Czech Republic, Estonia and the Dominican Republic.

Contact Information:

The study group was coordinated by:
Usha Nayar of the TATA Institute for Social Sciences, Mumbai, India
E-mail: usnayar [at]
Robin Kimbrough-Melton of the Institute for Family and Neighborhood Life, Clemson University, USA


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Published Sep. 29, 2008 10:34 AM - Last modified Apr. 17, 2013 3:38 PM