The last week of the year, the period between Christmas and New Year’s, is traditionally a quiet time for churches whose calendars have been full all year. But there is one remaining event that a number of churches will host — their annual Watch Night or Freedom’s Eve Service. Here are four, and more are listed at the bottom of this column.
Galveston’s Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church will have its annual Watch Night Musical at 7 p.m. Tuesday at 2717 Ave. H. Rehearsals will be at 5 p.m. today and 6 p.m. Monday at the church with Herman Solomon as the clinician. All singers are welcome to participate in the last musical under the pastoral leadership of the Rev. A.S. Johnson.
For details, 409-599-6129 or 409-763-1748.
Texas City’s Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church will have its annual Watch Night Service beginning with fellowship at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday at 316 S. Pine Road. All are welcome.
For details, call 409-938-0173.
Texas City’s Greater Barbour’s Chapel Baptist Church will have its annual Watch Night Service at 10 p.m. Tuesday at 7420 FM 1765. The service will include of prayer, praise dancing, singing, testimonies and a sermon from the Rev. Andrew W. Berry II.
For details, call 409-935-1100.
Galveston’s Wild Wild West Cowboy Church will have its Watch Night service at 9 p.m. Tuesday at 7402 Stewart Road. The evening will include the movie, “Faith Like Potato’s”, popcorn and other attractions.
For details, call 615-516-8054.
These special services that grace the last day of each year can be traced back to at least the 18th century. Some link them directly to Methodist founder Charles Wesley, who christened them Covenant Renewal Services. Others credit a religious group known as the Moravians, who practiced them in Germany at about the same time, for initiating them.
Later, sometime after Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on Dec. 31, 1862 (it became law the next day), many African-American churches began merging the Watch Night with a new practice called Freedom’s Eve. It combined the first promise of freedom from slavery with the annual practice of spiritual renewal at year’s end.
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- Aldersgate United Methodist Church will have its New Year’s Eve Fun and Games event at 8 p.m. and a communion service at 11 p.m. Tuesday at 13217 FM 1764 in Santa Fe. At the New Year’s event, attendees are asked to take their favorite game or a dish to share.
- Abundant Life Christian Center will have its New Year’s Eve service (there will be a Malibu boat giveaway) from 9 p.m. to midnight Tuesday at 601 Delany Road in La Marque. For information, visit www.alcc.org or call 409-935-1606.
- God’s Rainbow Baptist Church will have its Night Watch service from 9 p.m. to midnight Tuesday at 6402 O’Brien St. in Hitchcock. The Rev. J.J. Guidry, from St. Mark’s Baptist Church, will be the guest speaker. For information, call 409-945-3774 or 409-599-1060.
- Greater Mount Gilead Missionary Baptist Church will have its Watch Night Service at 10 p.m. Tuesday at 3506 Ave. N1/2 in Galveston. The Rev. E. Harmon, and other guest preachers will speak. Breakfast will be served afterward. For information, call 409-763-5586.
- New Directions Baptist Church will have its annual Watch Night service at 10 p.m. Tuesday at 4601 FM 517 in Dickinson. The service will consist of prayer service, praise dancing, singing, testimonies, and a sermon from the Rev. Kevin Sanders. For information, call 281-534-7333.