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Watch Night Service

The renewal of the individual's covenant with God through a service that was established and emphasized by John Wesley. He believed that Methodists, and all Christians should reaffirm their covenant with God annually. In 1755 John Wesley held his first covenant service using words written earlier by Richard Alleine. Wesley published this service in a pamphlet in 1780, and this form was used without alteration for nearly a century in England. It has been modified somewhat in more recent years. The covenant hymn, "Come, Let Us Use the Grace Divine," was written for this service by Charles Wesley. The service is included in The Book of Worship under the title "An Order of Worship for Such as Would Enter Into or Renew Their Covenant with God--For Use in a Watch Night Service, on the First Sunday of the Year, or Other Occasion." This covenant service is often used in United Methodism as a Watch Night Service on New Year's Eve. The covenant service is observed in some local churches on New Year's Day or on the first Sunday in January. The service focuses on the Christian's renewing the covenant of response to the grace of God in Christ.

Source: A Dictionary for United Methodists, Alan K. Waltz, Copyright 1991, Abingdon Press. Used by Permission.