Or Watch Night, as it’s also called throughout the U.S. Robert Smith’s blog posting, Watch Night tradition rings in New Year for black churches, explains that “Watch Night has been know to Methodists since the mid-1700s, when John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement, encouraged new-year “covenant services” as a means of reaffirming faith. “
“The vigils won the fealty of black America in 1863, many say, when Abraham Lincoln decreed that his Emancipation Proclamation would take effect Jan. 1. Abolitionists and slaves are said to have congregated on “Freedom’s Eve” to await what the new year would bring. “
Tonight, many Methodist churches in the United States will celebrate and hold vigils. I am not a Methodist, or an African American, but I am an abolitionist. And this Freedom’s Eve I will pray and resolve (again) to help bring sweet freedom of all men, women and children who are still enslaved. Please join me.
To read Robert Smith’s complete posting, click here.