Watch Night services, a practice in African American churches, traditionally began in at the end of 1862, as Freedom’s Eve, in anticipation of the Emancipation Proclamation outlawing slavery in the southern states as of Jan. 1, 1863. The tradition of gathering in church to bring in the new year, however, dates back to the 1700s.
According Snopes.com, Watch Night began in 1733 with the Moravians, a small Christian sect in what is now the Czech Republic. It was later picked up by the Methodist Church, and is referred to as “Covenant Renewal Services.”
As in many churches, Christmas and coming new year are a reminder to the faithful to be vigilant, to be prepared for the coming of the Lord.
The following churches are among those with Watch Night services planned for Monday:
• New Generation Christian Fellowship, 1344 N. 9th St., Griffin, Watch Night celebration will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Guest speaker will be Dr. Tanda Joy Canion of Assembly of Truth Ministry, Atlanta. For transportation, call 770-228-5002.
• Northside Baptist Church, 210 Georgia Ave., Watch Night Service begins at 10 p.m. For more information, call Shiriquinta Silas, 770-227-5945.
• Eighth Street Baptist Church, 408 Palace St., Griffin, “Countdown to 2013” Watch Night Praise and Worship begins at 10 p.m.
• Bible Believers Cathedral 225 West Broadway St., Griffin, Watchnight 2012 service will be from 7 to 9 p.m. The public is invited to attend. “We are expecting a high time in God.”