Last updated: July 24. 2013 2:18PM - 325 Views
Associated Press/PDT Staff

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Portia Williams

PDT Staff Writer

The Northend Ministerial Alliance will host the annual Watch Night Service at Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church on New Years Eve from 10 p.m. until midnight.

For 10 years the local organization known as the Northend Ministerial Alliance has hosted an annual watch night service, in which churches within the north end of Portsmouth come together for worship and fellowship to bring in the new year.

Participating churches include Beulah Baptist Church, Kingdom Builders Evangelistic Ministries, Inc., Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, Living Faith Temple, and Pleasant Green Baptist Church.

Reverend Clarence Parker, Pastor of Pleasant Green Baptist and current President of the North end Ministerial Alliance, said the Watch Night Services are still considered important in the north end of the city.

“I believe that the Watch Night Services are still important here in the north end. It is a wonderful thing to have the churches come together for a time of worship,” Parker said.

According to the African American Registry, Watch Night services have been a part of churches in black communities in America since 1862 and can be traced back to gatherings also known as “Freedom’s Eve.”

On “Freedom’s Eve” night, black slaves and free blacks came together in churches and private homes all across the nation awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation actually had become law.

Midnight, Jan. 1, 1863, all slaves in the Confederate States were declared legally free. This moment has been perpetuated down through the years in black church communities around the country.

The Watch Night Service will consist of singing by the church choirs and praise teams, praise dance teams, reading of scripture, prayer and the spoken word.

This celebration takes many African American descendants of slaves into a new year with praise and worship. The service typically begins anywhere from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m., and ends at midnight with the entrance of the New Year.

The Watch Night Service will consist of singing by the church choirs and praise teams, praise dance teams, reading of scripture, prayer, and the spoken word.

The Pastor of Living Faith Temple, Vincent Kennedy, Jr. is scheduled to be the speaker for the service.

Portia Williams may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 286 or portiawilliams@heartlandpublications.com

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