Many area residents will end 2013 and begin 2014 in the best place possible; at church. Several area churches have scheduled "Watch Night Services" for tonight. The history of Watch Night Services, also known as Freedom's Eve, can be traced back to gatherings on Dec. 31, 1862. On that night, blacks came together in churches and private homes across the nation to await the news that the Emancipation Proclamation had actually become law. At the stroke of midnight, it was Jan. 1, 1863 and all slaves in the Confederate States were declared legally free. Upon hearing the news, there were prayers, shouts, and songs of joy as people fell to their knees and thanked God. Since then, African Americans have gathered in churches annually on New Year's Eve to praise God for His blessings throughout the year. Today, services usually begin anywhere from 7 to 10 p.m. and end at midnight with the entrance of the New Year. Area churches that will be having New Year's Eve fellowships: • Tate Temple Church of God in Christ, located at 224 South Austin St., will continue its holiday revival tonight at 10 p.m. Evangelist Darryl Maxwell will be the speaker of the hour. • Center Point Baptist Church, located at 33 Center Point Road near Gurdon, will sing in the new year beginning at 7:30 p.m. Special music will be featured and anyone who would like to sing is welcome to participate. A break is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. when finger food will be served. • A Community-Wide Watch Night Service will be held at the Greater Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church, located at the intersection of 16th and Caddo Streets. The service will begin at 10:30 p.m. Pastor Kyle Jones of the Mount Friendship Baptist Church of Curtis will deliver the sermon. • Gennesaret Missionary Baptist Church, located at 1751 Logan St., will "Bring in 2014 in the Presence of God." Watch Night 2013: Preparing to be Propelled in 2014 will begin at 10 p.m. Members of the church will gather to celebrate the glorious works and wonders of the Lord. This "exciting" worship experience is expected to be filled with praise, prayer, testimony, dance, and the word of God.