Several churches in the Fayette area will hold services on New Year’s Eve to usher in the new decade.
Called “Watch Night” services by some, the Watch Night tradition began in 1732 with the Moravians in Germany. It was a time for giving thanks for the blessings of the previous year and praying for God’s blessings and good things in the upcoming year. People gathered in churches before midnight and continued their vigil into the new year.
The practice later was adopted by Methodism founder John Wesley and was observed in Methodist churches, sometimes called a Covenant Renewal Service. The service was loosely constructed with singing, spontaneous prayers and testimonials, and readings, including the Covenant Renewal service from The United Methodist Book of Worship.
There may have been preaching or not, and the ritual may have concluded with a candlelight procession from the church. Volunteers took turns continuing quiet prayer in the sanctuary until dawn.
The Watch Night tradition took on special significance in African American history on Dec. 31, 1862, when slaves awaited the coming of Jan. 1, 1863, the official effective date of the Emancipation Proclamation. That particular New year’s Eve became known as “Freedom Eve” and is still celebrated by many African American churches today.
In the Fayette area, churches which have announced their observing the incoming new year with services on Thursday, Dec. 31 include the following:
The Edgefield Church family in Fayetteville invites the community to join them Thursday, Dec. 31 at 10 p.m. for the New Year’s Eve Celebration (Watch Night Service). Edgefield is on Church street off Ga. Hwy. 54. For more information, call the church, 770-461-7388. Eddie Thomas is senior pastor.
Fellowship of Love Church welcomes and invites the entire community to its “Form the Future” Watch Night Worship experience on Thursday, Dec. 31 at 8 p.m.
The church has moved the location of worship due to the growth experienced as the Fayette community continues to attend.
Sunday worship experiences are now at North Fayette Elementary School, 609 Kenwood Rd., Fayetteville, where there is ample parking and seating for worshipers. Services begin at 10 a.m.
Visit www.fellowshipoflovechurch.org for more information the church, its mission, core values, ministries, and more.
The Catholic Church of Saint Gabriel in Fayetteville will have a Vigil Mass on New Year’s Eve at 6 p.m. On New Year’s Day, Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m.
Saint Gabriel’s is at 152 Antioch Rd., just south of Ga. Highway 92 South. For more info, call 770-461-0492.
Saint Mary Magdalene Catholic Church in Newnan will celebrate a New Year’s Eve Vigil Mass on Thursday, Dec. 31, at 5 p.m.
On New Year’s Day, Friday, Jan. 1, the Feast of Mary, Mother of God, Mass will be celebrated at noon.
St. Mary Magdalene Church is at 3 Village Road, Newnan, near the intersection of Ga. Highway 154 and Lower Fayetteville Road, behind the new Coweta Library.
St. Paul Lutheran Church in Peachtree City will have a New Year’s Eve service with Holy Communion on Dec. 31 at 7 p.m.