Options for New Year's celebration
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on December 30, 2005 1:45 PM
New Year's is the holiday most associated with drinking and alcohol.
But some Wayne County ministers want people to know that they can celebrate the new year's arrival without toasting the event with alcohol.
In recent years, "First Night" services have become popular, catering more to families and less to the bingeing aspects of the evening. Churches are offering alternatives to the toasting of the New Year, by holding "Watch Night" services.
A community Watch Night service will be held Saturday, starting at 10 p.m. at Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church at 318 Denmark Street. Several local churches are helping sponsor the event.
The Rev. Arthur Evans of Mount Calvary said the name "Watch Night" came about "because it's a transition between the old year and the coming new year, to call people's attention to the newness of life."
The tradition celebrates people looking forward to renewing their relationship to Jesus Christ and the renewal of hope, he said.
"We look forward with anticipation to new things," Evans said.
Three other churches have joined with Mount Calvary to put together the service, he said. Best Grove Missionary Baptist, Greenleaf Christian and First African Baptist all supported the effort. The theme for the event will be "Rediscovering God's Renewal."
"We want to promote a sense of unity, the sense of what we call cooperation among the believers," said Evans, who will serve as worship leader.
The Rev. Dr. William Barber of Greenleaf will speak on "God's People Called by His Name." Pastor Joe A. Jackson of Best Grove will speak on "Humbled and Seeing God's Face." The Rev. Dr. Louis L. Leigh Jr. of First African will speak on "When God Heals Our Land."
Several soloists will perform, along with First African's youth choir.
The public is invited, Evans said, and there will be refreshments following the service.
Other churches plan similar variations on the theme.
Saturday at 7 p.m., First Assembly of God at 3000 Summit Road will hold Wayne County Gospel Jubilee 2006, featuring the Royal Descendants, Servant's Heart, Legacy, The Browns, The Carlson Trio, The King's Messenger and Canaanland.
At Oak Ridge Church of God of Prophecy at 1921 N.C. 111 North, bluegrass gospel music will be featured during a New Year's Eve service that starts Saturday at 8 p.m. The Brusharbor Singers from Rosewood Church of God and Freeman Holiness will be performing.
The year-end celebrations at Philadelphia Community Church at 1503 E. Wayne Memorial Drive will begin tonight with a youth-oriented service beginning at 6:45 p.m. "The Truth Behind Hip Hop" will be presented by the youth and adult department for ages 10 and up, followed by a pizza party.
On Saturday at 10 p.m., the public is invited to a New Year's Eve service at Wave of Glory Christian Faith Center with guest speaker Pastor Daniel Uzzell. Breakfast will be served after the service.
For those stuck for other ideas on how to have an alcohol-free evening of fun, a number of local restaurants are offer special dinner invitations and will be staying open later than usual.
Round-A-Bout Skating Center, 1305 Parkway Drive, will be open until 1 a.m. for a "late skate" for all ages. Manager Van Riddick said in addition to roller skating, the concession and snack bar will be open. Cost to attend is $15 per person, including skate rental.
At AMF Boulevard Lanes on Berkeley Boulevard., there are no leagues bowling on Saturday night and the business will be open until 2 a.m. One of the regular Saturday night features is "extreme bowling," which means the lights are dimmed so that patrons bowl with strobe lights and music.
Of course, for the really sedate, there's always the choice of making sherbet and ginger ale punch at home and toasting 2006 while watching Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve on TV.
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