Watch Night Service

Watch Night Service

December 31
The custom of holding a "Watch Night" service on New Year's Eve was started in America by St. George's Methodist Church in Philadelphia in 1770. The custom has since been adopted by a number of denominations throughout the country. Methodists, Presbyterians, and others gather in their churches on the night of December 31. A five-minute period of silence is observed right before midnight, when a hymn of praise is sung.
Sometimes New Year's Eve is referred to as Watch Night, a time for people to gather and celebrate as they see the old year out and the new year in.
CONTACTS:
St. George's Methodist Church and Methodist Museum
235 N. 4th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
215-925-7788; fax: 215-925-7788
www.historicstgeorges.org
SOURCES:
AAH-2007, pp. 413, 416
DaysCustFaith-1957, p. 325
DictDays-1988, p. 129
EncyChristmas-2003, p. 803
HolSymbols-2009, p. 1036
(c)
References in periodicals archive ?
Waddy's wife during their watch night service on New Year's Eve.
On Christmas Eve we go to the Watch Night service and my wife Gil sings in the choir.
For example, at the Howard you can enjoy three night's accommodation, full Scottish breakfast on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, a continental breakfast hamper delivered to your room on Christmas morning, canapes and free-flowing champagne on Christmas Eve, transport to and from St Giles Cathedral's Watch Night service, a five-course Christmas Day lunch with wine, a late-night feast delivered to your room on Christmas Day evening, brunch and afternoon tea on Boxing Day.
New Year's Eve, it was always watch night service and following the service, nobody could come into the house until I, as the darkest haired member of the family, had gone into every room of the house carrying a piece of coal to drive out the devil and bring good luck.
Here in this country, as I have traveled about this year, I have met so many people who have told me they normally don't go to church but that they will be at a watch night service on Christmas Eve, or morning worship on Christmas Day.
the Love Feast, the Watch Night Service, the Quarterly Meeting), liturgies and practices related to sacraments and rites of passage, the role of music, private and familial devotions, church architecture, and the roles played by various church "officials" charged with leadership roles.
If you weren't moved by the Watch night Service from Edinburgh, or the Christmas Glory celebration at Windsor Castle, you don't deserve Christmas in the first place.