Churches to keep watch

Published 12:56 am Saturday, December 29, 2007

Natchez — New Year’s Eve offers more than just parties.

At least 11 local churches will be having watch services Monday night until midnight. The services range in style but have one thing in common — praise.

“The service consists of us sitting, praying, testifying and singing until midnight,” Mount Olive Baptist Church secretary Geraldine Brown said.

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Many of the services are based around testimonies given by the congregation. Testimonies can be happy or sad, as long as they recognize the blessing received in the past year, Zion Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Reverend Birdon Mitchell said.

“We share and recognize the blessing of God, we remember the sad, but we recognize how God has brought us through it and we watch the New Year come in,” Mitchell said.

The services are full of music and singing, in order to celebrate a new year.

“Our service opens with a song of scripture and of prayer, we testify on how good the Lord has been in 2007 and we express our hopes and desires for 2008,” Brown said.

Many of the churches hold the service out of tradition.

“I attended the service as a child at my home church and it so happened that when I got here they observed the same service and I wanted to continue it here,” Mitchell said.

The attendance of the service varies from year to year, but usually it usually boasts a good crowd.

“This service is something that has been made into a tradition; everyone enjoys doing it,” Brown said.

According to Mitchell, there is more than one way to have fun on New Year’s Eve.

“Some people spend New Year’s at a party until the next day, we choose to spend time with God,” Mitchell said. “Instead of watching the ball drop, we will be here thanking God for his blessings.”

Churches that will be holding a New Year’s Ever Service include:

4 Rising Sun Full Gospel Baptist Church — 8 p.m.

4 Greater Mount Carmel Baptist Church — 9:30 p.m.

4 St. Mary Baptist Church — 10 p.m.

4 Jerusalem Baptist Church, Kingston — 10 p.m.

4 Zion Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church — 10 p.m.

4 St. Peter, Beulah, Macedonia and King Solomon at St. Peter — 10 p.m.

4 Antioch Baptist Church — 10 p.m.

4 Greater St. Mark Baptist Church — 10 p.m.

4 Mount Olive Baptist Church, Sibley — 9:30 p.m.

4 Zion Chapel Church, Kingston — 9 p.m.

4 Greater New Jerusalem Apostolic Healing Temple — 10 p.m.