By / Jan 3

Another year has ended and a new year begins. As we look forward to the coming year, here are 11 key dates in 2014 for churches to be aware:

January 19 – Sanctity of Human Life Sunday

In a January 13, 1984 proclamation, President Ronald Reagan designated January 22, 1984 as the first National Sanctity of Human Life Day. The date was chosen to coincide with the 11th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

Many churches in America use the day to change lives through sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ by connecting God’s Church with women and families in unplanned and unwanted pregnancies.

January 22 – March for Life

March for Life is an annual pro-life rally protesting abortion, held in Washington, D.C. and around the country, on or around the anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision legalizing abortion in the case Roe v. Wade.

The crowds have been growing larger in recent years, and much younger. Evangelicals should be encouraged to consider ways they can help bring attention to the plight of the unborn, either participating either in the March in D.C. or at a local event.

February 9 – Racial Reconciliation Sunday

Almost a decade ago, the SBC resolution on racial reconciliation noted that racism has divided the body of Christ and Southern Baptists in particular, and separated us from our African-American brothers and sisters. Racial Reconciliation Sunday is a day when churches recommit to being doers of the Word (James 1:22) by pursuing racial reconciliation in all our relationships, especially with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

March 16 – Substance Abuse Prevention Sunday

Alcohol and drug abuse is a leading cause of destruction of people and families in America. Substance Abuse Prevention Sunday is a day when churches focus on problems caused by alcohol and other drugs and offer creative approaches to prevention and cure.

Mid-June — Supreme Court Decisions

The Supreme Court’s upcoming term similarly includes several cases with the potential to greatly affect everyday Americans’ lives. In Town of Greece v. Galloway the Court will examine the constitutionality of legislative prayer. In McCullen v. Coakley will rule on Massachusetts’s selective exclusion law, which prohibits individuals other than employees or agents from entering a 35-foot “buffer zone” around abortion clinics. The Court will also have the final say on whether the contraceptive-abortifacient mandate in the Affordable Care Act birth is constitutional.

June 22 – Mission:Dignity Sunday

More than 2,000 retired Southern Baptist pastors or widows are living close to poverty. They served smaller churches with little or no retirement contribution and now struggle to pay for food, utilities, prescriptions, or medical care. Mission:Dignity Sunday is a day when many SBC churches focus on ways to help these faithful servants in need.

June 29 – Citizenship and Religious Liberty Sunday

Baptists have not been shy in vocalizing their belief that religious liberty is a freedom secured by God (Matthew 22:21). On this Sunday churches emphasize that the commitment to the common good of all citizens is built on a foundation of freedom for religion.

August 3 – Social Issues Sunday: Christian Persecution

The global persecution of Christians is one of the most unreported crimes of our time. On this Sunday churches pray for their persecuted brothers and sisters around the globe.

September 21 – Anti-Gambling Sunday

Gambling, at any level, is an investment in trouble. It is rooted in idolatry, greed, and a conscious choice to look to something other than God for our needs. On this Sunday churches draw attention to the social and moral problems related to all forms of gambling.

October 12 – World Hunger Sunday

Hunger is an everyday struggle for millions of people worldwide. On this Sunday churches focus on alleviating hunger for food and for God’s love.

Nov. 4 — Election Day

The results of the midterm elections for the House and Senate, and races for governor in 36 states, will likely have a profound effect on public policy in the years ahead.

For more SBC related events, see the 2014 Calendar of Activities