Closing out the old year and stepping into the new year, in a faith-filled atmosphere, while receiving words of faith, hope and love for a person’s future self is paramount for the new year, said Pastor Bruce C. Davis. With this in mind, the New Birth Church senior pastor said the church will hold a drive-in-style Watch Night service this year, after having to take to the virtual platform in 2020, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Davis’ sermon will be centered around the topic “Get Up From This” and he promises that it will be an engaging, dramatic and illustrative affair under the stars at the R.M. Bailey park because you can’t keep a good man/woman down. He will be encouraging people to change their posture as they go into the new year.
“For almost two full years, the entire planet has been knocked down by this virus and some of the many results has been deferred and delayed dreams, depression, anxiety, loss of income and off brokenness of losing loved ones. [Which is why] I will be sharing what [people] need in order to get up,” said Davis.
“I hope that mentally, emotionally and also spiritually persons attending will get up to pursue their God-given purpose and be about fulfilling their earthly assignment. These have been the hardest months for most in our city and I hope to bring them hope through the words of Jesus. It is impossible to be productive and hopeless.”
He said God loves every human on the planet and that His plan is best for success.
“In The Bahamas, there are so many distractions that those of us who are churched face until it seems that we have forgotten the number one purpose – which is to reap the harvest. I am a firm believer that the church in The Bahamas has the answer that every human is looking for and that is Jesus, the savior of the world.”
While parents take in Davis’ message, Sheniqua Davis, Davis’ wife, who serves as family life pastor, will host a “Family Life Affair” for the children attending the service with tons of activities planned – from bowling, Jenga, Connect Four, to a giant slide, face painting and all the treats children like to consume.
Davis said that New Birth Church’s purpose is to reach, disciple and empower those people who are “lost in this life” and walking without divine purpose.
He stresses that COVID protocols will be in place at the 10 p.m to 12:30 p.m. service.
HISTORY OF WATCH NIGHT SERVICE
Like New Birth Church, many other churches will opt for Watch Night service, on New Year’s Eve, which has its roots in the Methodist Church, and a particular significance in the African-American community and the Black church.
Traditionally, according to belief.net, the service is a time of deep reflection and introspection, and provides Christians the opportunity to look back over the year that has passed, make confession and prepare for the year ahead.
The services originated through John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church. They were also referred to as Covenant Renewal Services. Watch Night Services gave Methodist Christians a godly alternative to the drunken madness that occurred in the secular community on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. According to Reverend J. Edgard Boyd, senior minister of First AME Church, at the first Watch Night service, “The people met at half-past eight. The house was filled from end to end, and we concluded the year wrestling with God in prayer.”
While the Watch Night service has its roots in the Methodist Church, these services have a particular significance in the African-American community and Black churches. For African-Americans, it is a celebration of Emancipation in the United States (US). Many slaves gathered in churches on New Year’s on December 31, 1862 to await confirmation of their freedom through the enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation by US President Abraham Lincoln. On that first Watch Night, abolitionists and others waited for word via telegraph, newspaper or word of mouth that freedom had been issued.
Lonnie G. Bunch III, director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History, said the initial Watch Night was really many of the free Black community.
“The night symbolizes not only freedom but also real hope and change,” said Bunch.
As New Birth and many churches around the country engage in Watch Night services, the beauty of the Watch Night tradition is what it embodies.