Watch Night/New Year's Eve Resources
In addition to the "Covenant Renewal Service," no. 288 in The United Methodist Book of Worship, you will find the following resources helpful:
Watch Night "Owlah" Service
The concept and design of this Watch Night Owlah [o-law/burnt offering] liturgy was developed and celebrated in 1998 by an ecumenical faith team in Birchwood, Wisconsin. Leila M. Geist, a lay member of Birchwood United Methodist Church and a member of the Discipleship Ministries Vision 2000 Team, helped coordinate the planning and liturgy design.
Watch Night Vespers
This service reflects the tradition of the church's daily "Evening Prayer." A brief service that makes use of silence and symbol, it should be unhurried and quiet.
Watch Night Vigil
The Vigil is an extended service that may be used in several ways: (1) It may begin before and last until after midnight; (2) It may be used earlier on New Year's Eve in place of the Vespers service provided above; (3) It may serve as the basis for an all-night vigil beginning with Vespers and concluding with the celebration of the Eucharist on New Year's morning. Adaptations to reflect the local context are encouraged.
- The Wideness of God's Mercy: Litanies to Enlarge Our Prayers
No. 39, "A New Year's Litany"
- Planning for New Year's Eve: Covenant Making or Prayer?
Of historical interest:
Charles Spurgeon gave a justification for holding a preaching service at midnight on December 31, 1855:If it be enquired why I held a Watch-night, let the answer be — because I hoped that the Lord would own the service, and thus souls might be saved. I have preached at all hours the gospel of Jesus, and I see no reason why I may not preach at midnight, if I can obtain hearers.
You will find here the text, sermon, and hymn used at this service. Remember: it was 1855! Preach your own sermon for this New Year's Eve!