“Back in the Day, Til Morning Comes” was a riveting and dynamic watch-night and New Year’s celebration at the All Nations Baptist Church in D.C. If you missed it, you really missed a treat!
During the Sunday worship service, the Rev. Dr. James Coleman told his congregation at All Nations that this year’s watch-night service was the best ever during his 25 years as pastor.
The program was a look back to the old days of African-American history. “It all began with an overview of watch night’s history, which was originally known as Freedom’s Eve,” said Dr. Sandra Jowers-Barber, chairman of the Black History Department of the University of the District of Columbia.
To remember our past so we never make the same mistakes again, Pastor Coleman charged the committee with creating a memorable New Year’s weekend celebration! Here is just a snippet of what took place:
Promptly at 9 p.m., the Ministerial Team, Deacons and Music Ministry all joined in the wonderful watch-night service at the sanctuary located at 2001 North Capitol Street NE.
The program presented an atmosphere of what life was like back in the day with staging and props, as each bench bore a colorful photograph of our most well-known African-American leaders: Thurgood Marshall, Sojourner Truth, Dr. Charles Drew, Rosa Parks, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and many others. Exhibits were on display throughout the sanctuary, showing from the days of slavery up to modern times, ending with a photograph of President Barack Obama which says, “Yes We Will!”
Through a series of singing, dramatizations, acting, reflections, the goal was to bring history to life! It was my honor to reenact the role of Harriet Tubman, while Minister Holloway played the role of Miss Pearl, talking about life in ‘The Big House” — Dorothy Elliott and her team of slaves were waiting for midnight so the chains of slavery could be dropped! Norma Moody showed slides and told us what life would be like in a world no black people! There were dynamic spoken-word presentations and liturgical dance by Tolya Chandler! The night concluded by ushering in 2017 with prayer!
Then on Sunday morning, the first day of the New Year began with the essence of a spiritual jubilee with the annual Family, Friends, and Community Day, which began at 11 a.m. The weekend concluded with the Sunday Morning Worship. The New Year’s Day’s sermon, titled “A Gift of Peace for the New Year,” was a jubilant conclusion to the weekend.
Earlier on New Year’s Eve, the church was joined by members of the community to enjoy an historic visit to the new African American Museum of History and Culture.
Here is wishing each and every one of you a very Happy New Year! If you did not get the chance to ring in 2017 on your knees in prayer, my wish for each of you who reads this column is that God will continue to enrich your lives.
Lyndia Grant is the host of “Think on These Things,” a radio talk show on WYCB-AM, 1340, Fridays at 6 p.m. Contact her at 202-518-3192 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.