The Watch Night service is on many church calendars as one year gives way to another, but there are only a few of them at local churches this year.
Perhaps it is because New Year’s Eve is on Sunday, or maybe folks just don’t want to stay up past midnight. Several churches are celebrating the arrival of the new year in a different way.
One Life Community Church, at 96 Werz Industrial Boulevard, has the most ambitious project – 24 hours of worship, starting at noon today and running through noon on New Year’s Day tomorrow.
The worship marathon is part of the Burn 24/7 movement and is a collaborative effort of worship teams in Newnan and the Atlanta area. There will even be teams from Mississippi, said One Life Pastor Matt Pfaltzgraf.
Jordan and Emily Williams are the Burn 24/7 directors for Georgia. Burn 24/7 began in 2006 with all night, dorm room worship gatherings at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla.
The movement spread to a nearby coffee house, then to churches and pastors in Tulsa and elsewhere. Burn 24/7 has since moved to 150 locations across the world.
Worship teams at One Life will perform in two-hour increments. “Anyone can stop by during any point in the 24 hours to worship and pray,” Pfaltzgraf said.
The church is located in an office park, and additional parking is available across the street.
For those who still need a little Christmas today, Liberty Christian Church on Macedonia Road will be holding a Lessons and Carols service at 11 a.m.
Other church plans for New Year’s include:
• New Year’s Breakfast, Central Baptist Church, 9 a.m. This will be followed by a single worship service at 10 a.m.
• Joint New Year’s Service, Allen-Lee Memorial United Methodist Church, Lone Oak, 11 a.m. Members from Allen-Lee and Luthersville United Methodist Church will join together for the final worship service of the year.
A New Year’s covered dish lunch with a jingle bells theme will follow.
• Watch Night, Powell Chapel United Methodist Church, 586 Old Atlanta Hwy., 7-9:30 p.m. “There will not be a morning service on this day,” said church member Tomeka Geter.
• Watch Night, Zion Hill Baptist Church, 2950 Primrose Road, Greenville, 9:30 p.m.
• Watch Night, Excellent Ministries, 9:30 p.m.
• Watch Night, St. Smyrna Baptist Church, 68 Heery Road, 10 p.m. The St. Smyrna Combined Choir will be singing, and Tamarkus T. Cook, the church’s pastor, will preach and ask God’s blessings for 2018.
Watch Night services, where people gather to worship as the old year gives way to the new, originated with the Moravians. John Wesley, founder of the Methodist church, borrowed the tradition from the Moravians.
Watch Night has an extra layer of meaning in many African-American churches. On New Year’s Eve, 1862, it is said black Americans prayed as they awaited the arrival of Jan. 1, 1863, when Pres. Abraham Lincoln was to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.
St. George Catholic Church will observe the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God on Monday. There will be two services – one in English at 10 a.m. and another in Spanish at noon. The Solemnity of Mary is a feast day, celebrating her role as the mother of the Jesus.