The Newnan Times-Herald


Cowetans not watching for new year at church

  • By Winston Skinner
  • |
  • Dec. 30, 2018 - 9:01 AM

The Watch Night service seems to have dropped off church calendars in the local area.

You can see 2019 arrive at church, but you’ll have to drive down to Meriwether County. Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church, located at 2950 Primrose Road in the Zion Hill community near Luthersville, will be having a Watch Night service.

“There will be service at 9:30 p.m. and breakfast afterward,” said Zion Hill member Bridget Hardaway. The service at Zion Hill, however, is an exception to a rapidly declining rule.

For decades, church members would gather at many local churches on New Year’s Eve and stay at the church until the new year arrived. Some churches had a worship service, while others had gospel singing into the night.

Still others played games or even put away Christmas decorations while listening to carols. Many events included food, often finishing up with an early breakfast.

It would appear, however, that Cowetans are now choosing to sleep their way into the new year, or to celebrate the arrival of 2019 in a different way.

Several churches are celebrating the arrival of the new year in some way today, but no Coweta churches have announced Watch Night services for Monday.

Some churches are still celebrating Christmas today.

Newnan Presbyterian Church in downtown Newnan will have a Christmas carol service at 10 a.m. David Jones, pastor of the church, will also bring a short meditation.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church’s 10:30 a.m. service will feature Christmas Lessons and Carols. The church on Roscoe Road will have only one service today.

Liberty Christian Church on Macedonia Road will have a Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at 11 a.m. Liberty’s service will be modeled on the Christmas Eve service held in King's College Chapel at the University of Cambridge in England.

The British festival was introduced in 1918 to bring a more imaginative approach to worship. It was first broadcast in 1928 and is now broadcast to millions of people around the world.

The service includes carols and readings from the Bible. The opening carol is always “Once in Royal David's City,” and there is always a new, specially commissioned carol.

Other local services will focus more on the arrival of 2019.

Central Baptist Church on Brown Street will have a fellowship breakfast at 9:15 a.m., followed by a single service at 10 a.m. Blaire Morgan, soloist, will bring special music at the New Year’s service.

White Oak Grove Baptist Church will be hosting New Year's Eve service on Sunday, according to church member Lawanda Herring. The service will start at 11 a.m., and Dr. K.G Bailey, the church’s pastor, will be delivering the message.

Herring said the service will not only mark the end of the year, but it will also be the Ushers Convention. The church is located at 4619 Gordon Road.

Allen-Lee Memorial United Methodist Church in Lone Oak will celebrate the end of one year and beginning of another today at 11 a.m. A New Year’s covered dish meal will follow with calendars for everyone – as long as they last.

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.