Party or worship to ring in the New Year?
Jodi-Ann Gilpin and Shereita Grizzle, Gleaner Writers
Jamaicans searching for ideas of how to ring in the New Year as the clock gets closer to 12 tonight can look forward to a variety of activities within both the secular and Christian communities.
Noting that 2014 was "a year of trouble" for many, Pastor Dwight Fletcher of the Transformed Life Church is hoping that his watchnight service, themed 'Stepping Over', will motivate persons to approach the New Year with confidence and expectancy.
The service, to be held at the Police Officers' Club in St Andrew, will begin at 8 p.m. and go until 10 p.m., after which congregants will be treated to a praise after-party, which goes until 2 a.m. and which will feature Jamaica's top Christian deejay, Dj Marshy Redz.
At the Hope Gospel Assembly in Liguanea, St Andrew, the 9 p.m. service will start with what has been dubbed 'A Season of Prayer', which will take persons into a moment of reflection and thanksgiving and proceed to a divine service, including testimonies, songs, and a baptism service, ending with a sermon.
One of the pastors at The Victory Family Centre in Hope Pastures, Musa Laing, said he wanted persons to change their mindset as they approach 2015.
Noting that his message would be a "realistic" one, he said he wanted people to understand that problems are inevitable, but he hopes to help persons approach their hurdles with a "victorious" mindset. The service begins at 9 o'clock and will include worship and praise, along with testimonies and celebration.
'JESUS THE ROCK'
The Providence Methodist Church in Liguanea's service will begin at 10:30 p.m. and end at midnight. The message, which will look at 'Jesus the Rock', will assist persons in facing challenges with confidence. Also included is a session of praise and worship, testimonials, and a candle-lighting ceremony.
Gospel concert lovers are not to be excluded from the New Year's celebrations. After watchnight service, persons can make the trek to Southborough Primary School in Independence City, Portmore, St Catherine, for the annual Genesis concert.
Genesis Portmore Invasion Praise Fest is expected to start at midnight and continue until 6 a.m. on New Year's Day. The concert will feature a number of gospel acts, including Ryan Mark, Sista Sasha, Mahlon Hugh, the Portmore Vision Choir, Katalys Crew, Goddy Goddy, and more. Tickets can be purchased at Portmore Mall Plaza, Genus Pharmacy, Music Mart, Bryans Bookstore, and Lifeline Pharmacy in Spanish Town. Admission is $500 presold and $600 at the gate. Children under 12 can get in for $100.
On the secular side, French Connection is an event that persons look forward to, and this year, it is expected to be no different. The event will be held at Stables at the Caymanas Polo Club. Gates will be open as early as 8 p.m. and guests will be treated to wine and champagne all night. There will also be a live performance from I-Octane, in addition to fireworks as the New Year approaches.
General admission is $2,000 (presold) and $2,800 at the gate (drinks inclusive). VIP tickets go on sale for $8,000 presold and $9,500 at the gate. Tickets can be purchased at Genus Pharmacy in Portmore, Xtras (Manor Park), Di Trends, and Total gas stations in Liguanea, Brunswick, Spanish Town, Ocho Rios, and Mandeville.
Fireworks on the Waterfront was first staged in 1999 and has since become one of the most anticipated New Year's Eve celebrations. Put on by the Urban Development Corporation, it is a family event that usually runs throughout the entire day.
This year's staging will see patrons enjoying attractions such as a Kiddies' Village, vending booths and stalls, and a VIP party, with entertainment to be enjoyed by the whole family. As is customary, the fireworks display will begin promptly at midnight, with the event scheduled to conclude at 1 a.m. Admission is free.
Half-Way Tree will also be included in the New Year's Eve celebration. Patrons will ring in 2015 with Sizzla Kalonji, Popcaan, and Teflon at the first Half-Way Tree Road Block Party. Hoping to transform Half-Way Tree Square into New York's infamous Times Square, the celebration will not only include a live countdown just before midnight, but will also boast music by King Tafari Sound, DJ Sani of Xclamation and Coppershot's Al Pachino.
The organisers of the event will also give away five Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphones at midnight. Admission is $500 before 11 p.m. with invitation, and $1,000 after. All-inclusive VIP admission is $7,000.
Other events will include Voicemail at Beer Wendzdays Escape Bar and Grill at Bar and Grill; Smirnoff's Xclusive by the Luminaries; the annual Black and White Affair at the Royal View Hotel in Portmore, St Catherine; and Fiction Fantasy inside the Marketplace on Constant Spring Road in St Andrew.