Many here prepare for Dec. 31 ‘watch night’ services

Published 10:36 am Wednesday, December 30, 2015

As the old year comes to a close and the new year begins, some will be watching bowl games, others will attend parties and then there are those who spend their News Year’s Eve worshipping at church.

Zion Traveler Church, 1701 Poplar St., will hold a watch meeting service beginning at 10:30 p.m. Thursday.

The service is called a watch meeting because those in attendance watch the old year leave and watch the new year come.

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“It is a service saying goodbye to 2015 and hello to 2016,” Annie Smith said. “We’re leaving the old year going into the new year, and we’re blessed that we’re going to be here hopefully.”

The watch night service has particular significance in the African American community, originating from Dec. 31, 1862, when many of those who were enslaved are said to have stayed up during the night, praying for Abraham Lincoln to sign the Emancipation Proclamation, which Lincoln issued on Jan. 1, 1863.

She said the service will have music and host pastor the Rev. Alfred Lassiter Jr. will preach. For her, the service is about looking back, looking forward and being grateful.

“It is a blessing from the Lord that he has let us live, hopefully I’m going to be here, from one year to the other,” Smith said.

Multiple churches in the Vicksburg area are hosting watch meeting services at their churches to ring in the New Year in worship.

Some of those churches are hosting a combined service between multiple congregations.

Clover Valley M. B. Church and New Poplar Grove Church will hold a watch night service beginning at 10:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 31, at 7670 Mississippi 27 South.

“We praise God because we are thankful to make it to 2016,” Clover Valley mother Frankie Knox said.

Clover Valley will be the host church with the Rev. Ronald Kaho of New Poplar Grove in Utica bringing the message.

Next year the roles will reverse with New Poplar hosting and Clover Valley pastor the Rev. Samuel Jones speaking.

Their service will have a devotion, scripture reading, prayer and music from the combined choirs including “Amazing Grace.”

At the end of the service, just after midnight, they have fellowship over a breakfast meal.

The service has been a tradition at Clover Valley every year of its 159-year history.

“It’s passed down from our family,” Knox said. “It was just a tradition they started way, way back.”

Some of the other services happening on New Years Eve include the following:

4Bingham Memorial and Trinity Temple Baptist Church will have joint watch meeting worship at Bingham Memorial M. B. Church, 1063 Letitia-Meadows St., Thursday, Dec. 31 at 6:00 p.m. The public is invited to come out and worship. The Rev. James C. Archer is the pastor.

4Greater Grove St. M.B. Church, 2715 Alcorn Drive, will be hosting a New Years Eve Service Thursday, Dec. 31, at 7:30 p.m. with the Rev. Dr. Casey D. Fisher, pastor. The public is invited. For more information, call 601-218-3911.

4New Rock of Ages M.B. invites the public to join at a watch meet service beginning at 10 p.m. Continental breakfast will be served. The Rev. Jonathan Hamlin is the pastor.

4Combined watch meeting service will be at 10 p.m. Dec. 31, at Bethlehem Church with the congregations of Bethlehem, Cool Spring and Triumphant Churches. The Rev. Dennis Redden Sr., the Rev. Dexter Jones and the Rev. Byron Maxwell are pastors. For more information, call 601-630-9278.

4Mount Carmel Ministries, 2015 Grove St., will have a New Year’s Eve watch meet service, 10 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 31. Pastors are Mitchell and Deborah Dent.

4A prophetic New Year’s Eve service will take place at 10 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 31, at The House of Peace Worship Church International, 1301 Holly Street. Prophetic Calendars will be available for 2016. Senior pastor and founder is Apostle Linda Sweezer.

4For additional information about Zion Traveler’s watch meeting, call 601-831-6967.

4For additional information on Clover Valley’s watch meeting, call 601-638-2070.