Posted on Sun, Dec 27, 2015
Come Join Us......
Join us at St. James: Thursday, December 31, 2015 at 10:00 pm
The typical image of New Year’s Eve is a group of revelers with party hats and noisemakers, ringing in the new year with champagne and “Auld Lang Syne.”
But on that same night, churches welcome the coming year in a different way — with a Watch Night service.
Methodism founder John Wesley originated Watch Night services in the mid-18th century, sometimes calling them Covenant Renewal services. The original services were spontaneous prayer services designed to deepen the spiritual life of Methodists.
In African Methodist Episcopal tradition, Watch Night is considered a time for recommitment. The unity of the congregation is renewed, the covenant with Christendom is renewed.
Watch Night services have special significance in the African-American community, where they date back to the days of slavery. At the end of the year, owners tallied their property and often sold slaves to pay debts. They didn’t know after tallying if they’d be separated. New Year’s Eve was often the last night a family of slaves would be together.
Watch Night took on even more significance during the Civil War. When President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, it was to take effect Jan. 1, 1863. Slaves sat up the night before, waiting for their freedom to arrive at midnight.
Today, it’s a time the church comes together to celebrate life itself. It’s celebrating surviving dangers seen and unseen. The service is always upbeat, folks rejoice in making it to the end of another year. There’s a time of testimony and sharing how we’ve progressed and been blessed. It’s also a safe alternative to a New Year’s Eve party.
So.....Join us as we bring in the New Year with Jesus here at St. James A.M.E.! Celebrate with us beginning at 10PM. All are invited to share. Fellowship Breakfast to be served immediately after the Watchnight Service.
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