Tradition at All Saints' Episcopal Church, here in Littleton NH, is a 7PM Eucharist service for New Year's Eve.
Did I mention it was OUTSIDE???!!!
I didn't do it my first year, since it was only brought up in passing...it hadn't been done recently, and perhaps the congregation thought it might be too much, 2 weeks into a new ministry that included Christmas services, to have the new guy do an outdoor winter evening service in Northern New Hampshire...
(Perhaps they were afraid I'd pack my bags and move to Florida!)
Lat year, however, 19 of us gathered on a cold December 31st night, to have a short Eucharist service under the Gazebo at Remich Park, a few blocks up the street from the church.
It was REALLY cold...but I have to tell you...I found the occasion to be powerful in a simple and beautiful kind of way!
There was something really peaceful about being gathered there together in the darkness and cold. We used the special "An Order for Celebrating the Holy Eucharist" found in the Prayerbook. We all held candles (a tiny bit of warmth). We shared a Gospel verse about being light in the world and talked about it for a few minutes (fitting on the final day of the year and holding our candles). We prayed for the world, greeted one another in the name of peace, shared the common meal, and before we knew it, we were sent on our way to "be Christ's hands and heart in this world."
I have a different reading for tonight, but otherwise it's the same service. It's not supposed to be as cold, but we have to trudge through the 2 feet of snow to get to the Gazebo.
Actually, I'm looking forward to it....
Happy New Year!