SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - While thousands hit the streets Thursday night to ring in the New Year, did you know almost as many are packed inside churches?
They call it a "Watch Night" service.
Pastor Ricky Temple's Overcoming by Faith Church's New Year's Eve celebration has gotten so large that they pack the Savannah Civic Center with thousands for a praise and worship service. Thursday night members enjoyed music, dance and dramatic presentations.
Pastor Temple says it's a way to thank God for life.
"Dream about your future and plan for your future. It is not going to happen by accident. Success is intentional. It makes the plan even better," said Pastor Temple.
The "Watch Night" service was first known as Freedom's Eve and dates back to 1862 when black slaves and free blacks gathered in churches and homes across the nation waiting to hear news about the Emancipation Proclamation. Blacks have gathered in churches annually on New Year's Eve ever since.