Dec. 27 Gathering: The Watch Night Tradition


On Jan. 1, 1863, President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation became law. The night before, New Year’s Eve 1862, Black people—both slaves and free—came together in worship spaces both formal and informal to wait and pray through what became known as Freedom’s Eve or Watch Night.

While the Watch Night tradition itself can be traced to mid-18th Century Moravian churches, leading John and Charles Wesley to adapt it to their fledgling Methodist movement and to later Methodists adopting it as a covenant renewal service, the legal end of slavery as an institution in the U.S. gives it a meaning that still echoes in our contemporary contexts.

This week at New Wineskins, we’ll talk about what it means to be a community that watches and prays for emancipation and freedom as we head into 2021. We’ll discuss what we are waiting to be emancipated from and, more importantly, how we can be agents of emancipation for others who are still experiencing oppression and marginalization in our world today.

Join us this Sunday, Dec. 27, in our New Wineskins Virtual Pub for a contextual Watch Night conversation.

Zoom connection opens for Happy Half Hour at 6:00pm
Conversation begins at 6:30pm

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