The first Watch Night Service is believed to have been a Moravian service held in 1733 in Germany where participants were encouraged to contemplate the state of their souls. John Wesley adopted the practice and subsequently many Methodist churches held these observances. The end-of-year Watch Night of 1862 took on special significance attaching to the impending enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation, and that night has come to be known as "Freedom's Eve." On December 31, 1862, Americans of African descent gathered together on “Freedom’s Eve” to await the news that the Emancipation Proclamation had become law. At midnight, according to Lincoln’s promise, all slaves in the Confederate States were legally free. Watch Night Services have become more about remembering this promised freedom than the contemplation of the state of one’s soul. Many area churches are holding worship services or traditional Watch Night Services on Dec. 31 to usher in the New Year.
Watch Night Services, Dec. 31,2014
Atlanta Friends (Quakers) worship service at the Meetinghouse at 11 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, followed by a light potluck of finger food snacks. The community is invited. For more details, contact Bert Skellie firstname.lastname@example.org or (404)378-5883. The Meetinghouse is located at 701 West Howard Ave, Decatur 30030, about 1/2 mile east of East Lake MARTA station.
First Afrikan Presbyterian annual “Umoja Karamu” Watch Night service, 10:45 p.m. The Rev. Dr. Mark Lomax will deliver the message just before midnight. The church is at 5197 Salem Road, Lithonia. For information, call (770)981-2601.
Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church,7 p.m. and 10 p.m., 1879-1921 Glenwood Ave. S.E., Atlanta. For more information, visit pineygrovebapt.org or call 404-377-0561.
Ousley United Methodist Church, 3261 Panola Road, Lithonia, 10:30 p.m., for more information, call 770-981-0180.
Berean Christian Church, 2201 Young Road, Stone Mountain, three New Year’s Eve Worship Services, at noon, 6:30 and 10 p.m., for more information, visit bereanchristianchurch.org or call 770-593-4421.
Ray of Hope Christian Church, 10 p.m. includes worship, dance, praise and celebration. Ray of Hope is at 2778 Snapfinger Road in Decatur. For more information, visit rayofhope.org or call 770-696-5700.
Antioch-Lithonia Missionary Baptist Church, 10 p.m. 2152 Rock Chapel Road, Lithonia. For more information, visit antiochlithonia.org or call (770)482-1277.
Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Stone Mountain. Daily Mass begins at 8:30 a.m., Vigil for Holy Day starts at 4 p.m., Holy Hour is at 11 p.m., followed by Midnight Mass. 600 Mountain View Drive. For more information, visit corpuschristicc.org or call 770-469-0395
Cascade UMC, 3144 Cascade Road, Atlanta 30311, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.: (404) 691-5770, website cascadeumc.org
Ebenezer Baptist Church, 101 Jackson St., Atlanta 30312, 10 p.m. to midnight. After midnight concert and fellowship: Jan. 1, midnight to 2:30 a.m., (404) 688-7300. historicebenezer.org/
Greater Travelers Rest, 4650 Flat Shoals Pkwy., Decatur 30034, 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. (404) 243-9336, greatertravelersrest.com
Hillside Chapel and Truth Center, 2450 Cascade Rd. SW, Atlanta 30311, 9:00-11:00 pm – Food, Fun Games, Karaoke, New Thought Pyramid, Dancing and More! Traditional Burning Bowl & Letters to God 11 p.m.- midnight, New Year’s Eve Service with Dr. Barbara L. King, (404) 758-6811, hillsidechapel.org
Elizabeth Baptist Church, Dec. 31, Fairburn 6 p.m., EBC: Atlanta 7 p.m., Smyrna 8:15 p.m., Conyers 9 p.m., Douglasville 9:30 p.m., Atlanta 10:45 p.m., elizabethbaptist.org, (404) 691-3146
Impact Church, 504 Fair St., Atlanta 30038, 7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., (404-577-2826, impactdoingchurchdifferently.org