Watch Night gatherings to include preaching, music

by W. Winston Skinner


Roxanne Broadnax and New Direction will be coming from Atlanta for the Watch Night observance at Zion Hill Baptist Church near Luthersville. 

A homegrown preacher — who began preaching at age 11 — and a musical trio from Atlanta are among those who will help welcome 2014 in the Coweta area.

Jeremy Tuck, who grew up in Newnan and is now pastor of Oak Grove Baptist Church in Coweta County, will be the guest preacher for Watch Night at Russell Temple AME Church on Westside School Road, according to Bernice Hall.

The service at Russell Temple will begin at 10 a.m. “Breakfast will be served,” Hall said.

The son of a pastor, Tuck began preaching at age 11 and was licensed and ordained through the Church Of God In Christ a year later. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in biblical education and philosophy, a bachelor of arts in business administration, and a master’s of business administration.

Tuck is the author of “From Poverty to Power,” and he also is a singer and songwriter. In 2006, he released an album titled B-Strong. He and his wife, Akila Tuck, have a one-year-old son, Jeremiah.

Atlanta evangelist Roxanne Broadnax and New Direction, her musical group, will welcome the new year at Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church near Luthersville. Marcia Brooks said that service will start at 10 p.m.

“All choirs, groups, and soloists are invited to participate,” Brooks said.

Southside Baptist Church on Cline Road near Moreland will hold a New Year’s Eve singing starting at 8 p.m. The New Life Singers — originally the Nyugen Family — and the Atkins Family will be singing.

There will be a fish fry and barbecue and stew starting at 6 p.m. “for those who are staying for the singing,” said Carl Calhoun, pastor at Southside. “Everyone is invited. We will sing the old year out and the new year in.”

Watch Night originated with the Moravians in the early 1700s. John Wesley, who founded the Methodist movement, incorporated the Watch Night tradition into the denomination’s practices, and the concept has spread to other religious groups as well.

The British preacher and evangelist is known to have preached a Watch Night sermon in 1855.

While Watch Night has always had a theme of looking inward and evaluating one’s spiritual state, the tradition took on an added layer of meaning on Dec. 31, 1862, as enslaved black Americans awaited the proclamation of freedom at midnight.

The last day of 1862 has come to be known as Freedom’s Eve.

Area church events set for Tuesday include:

• New Year’s Eve Service and Communion, Providence Baptist Church, Summers-McKoy Road, 6 p.m.

• Watch Night, First Baptist Church, Moreland, 6:30 p.m. Concert by Melanie and Dale. Breakfast to follow.

• Mary Mother of God — Holy Day of Obligation, Mass, St. George Catholic Church, 7 p.m.

• New Year’s Eve Singing, Southside Baptist Church, Moreland, 8 p.m. Fish fry/barbecue-stew, 6 p.m.

• New Year’s Eve Service, Trinity Chapel, Lane Road, Franklin, 8:30 p.m. David Pope said there will be “old fashioned preaching” and “great gospel singing by the world famous Jr. Smith family.” Refreshments will be served.

• Watch Night, Allen-Lee Memorial United Methodist Church, Lone Oak, 9 p.m. Food, games, service at midnight. “Looking ahead” meeting, 8 p.m.

• Watch Night, Russell Temple AME Church, 10 p.m. Breakfast.

• Watch Night, Smith Chapel United Methodist Church, Welcome-to-Arnco Road, 10 p.m. Bartholomew Orr will preach, and guests will include the New Generation Praise Dancers and the Men of God.

Orr is pastor of New Birth Baptist Church in Alvaton and Friendship Baptist Church in LaGrange.

• Watch Night, Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church, Luthersville, 10 p.m.

• Watch Night, Bethel Heard Baptist Church, Charlie B. Johnston Road, Franklin, 10 p.m. Anthony Melson, the church’s pastor, said the congregation plans to “ring in the new year in Jesus.”

On Wednesday, Jan. 1, Mass for the Mary Mother of God — Holy Day of Obligation will be celebrated at St. George Catholic Church at 10 a.m. Spanish Mass is scheduled for noon.

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