Creator: Detroit Free Press
Subjects: Historic Designation
Description: This article, entitled "A labyrinth and a wedding symbolize faith", is about a couple getting married on New Year's Eve to ring in the new millennium. It also discusses various New Years traditions among other religions.
Date: January 1, 2000
Original Format: Newspaper Clipping
Relation: Historic Little Rock Missionary Baptist Church
Contributor: Kamilah Stinnett
Transcript: A labyrinth and a wedding symbolize faith
By David Zeman, Mei-Ling Hopgood, Cassandra Spratling and Dan Shine
A new year. A new millennium. A new marriage. It all seemed to fit, said Cynthia Hathaway and DeWayne Hayes, so they set their church wedding for Dec. 31.
And with the blessing and encouragement of their pastor, the Rev. Jim Holley, they decided to marry during New Year's "watch night" services at Little Rock Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit. Watch night, a tradition in most black churches, brings in the new year with songs, prayer and joyful praise.
"We believe this marriage is God-sent," said Hathaway, a judge in Wayne County Circuit Court in Detroit.
"And watch night is sort of a Thanksgiving service. It's a time to thank him for his blessings throughout the year and pray for his protection and blessings in the coming year."
From somber invocations to jubilant chanting, thousands of churchgoers in metro Detroit joined millions of worshipers worldwide in religious celebration marking 2000 years of Christianity. And traditional messages of hope and reflection often gave way to newfangled methods for celebrating the year 2000.
At Christ Church Cranbrook in Bloomfield Hills, about 100 parishioners prepared by taking a meditative walk along a winding labyrinth traced on a canvas sheet in an elegant, wood-beamed room.
By the light of candles and Christmas lights, men in suits and women in their New Year's Eve gowns circled the labyrinth in their socks and stocking feet.
They stared at the ground, trying to stay on path. They thought of their successes and failures, they said, and the promise of the new year. Instrumental music by a Native-American composer mixed with the low hum of people offering celebratory greetings.
Walking of a labyrinth-a form of spiritual reflection-has been a Christian tradition since medieval times. But this was a first for the Episcopal church-an attempt at new traditions and a new faith in God.
"I think there is going to be quite a change in Christianity," said Edna Johnson, 85, of Bloomfield Hills, who said the labyrinth seemed a bit strange at first. But after being exposed at her church to other religions such as Hinduism, Islam and Judaism, Johnson said, maybe the labyrinth will help bring "a peaceful world."
Worldwide, religious markings began in the western Pacific, where in Tonga thousands dressed in white and recited prayer before the royal palace. Cambodians danced at the stone temples of Angkor Wat; the Dalai Lama sang hymns on the banks of the Ganges River in India; millions descended upon Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples in Japan's Year of the Dragon, while wealthy Parisians gathered at a culinary temple-the Michelin three-star Taillevent -to feast on foie gras, caviar and truffle-flecked lamb.
Most Americans attache little religious significance to year 2000 festivities, according to national polls. But for New Age spiritual leaders Marianne Wiliamson, of Warren's Church of Today, and James Redfield, author of "The Celestine Prophecy", midnight held the promise of an epochal transition to world peace.
The duo promoted a "millennial prayer wave" involving millions on their respective Web sites-with affirmations that were to begin at 11:59 p.m. The global prayer was intended, Williamson wrote, to "energize those who have the solutions to many world problems."
As many as 2,000 Church of Today worshipers-many decked out in furs, sequined dresses and tuxedos-flocked to hear Williamson's sermon. And about 1,200 tickets, at $25 each, had been sold for the party that was to follow at midnight, church officials said.
At the Detroit Krishna Temple, members of the congregation members of the congregation marked the new year by burning incense, clanging cymbals and beating drums. They also began nearly 24 hours of chanting the different names for God at the temple, which is the former Fisher Mansion on Detroit's riverfront.
Kneeling on the floor at one end of the temple's Sri Nathji Hall, Krishna members began their chants at noon Friday, with the chants scheduled to end at 12:20 p.m. today, said Bhushaya Das, director of the temple.
"By chanting we want to create a spiritual effect in the world," Das said Friday evening. "We encourage members of different religions to chant the name of God from their religion. This is certainly the most auspicious way to bring in the new year."
At Detroit's Historic Trinity Lutheran Church, Hattie Bryant, who turns 107 this month, credited daily prayer and God for her long life.
"I tell him he's been good to me," she said. "He fed me when I was hungry and took care of me when I was sick. I can't do nothing but thank him.
"God has been good to all of us."
The church, on Gratiot near Eastern Market, which turns 150 years old this year, also had telephone calls in Australia and London.
Historic Trinity's pastor, the Rev. Dr. David Eberhard, said people should not have been afraid of Y2K complications.
"What are we afraid of?" We are in God almighty's hands," he said.
"Have some belief," Eberhard told the congregation. "Believe that God is with you."
Celebrating God as well as personal good fortune made the night for the wedding couple, Hathaway and Hayes.
Hathaway was to wear a floor-length black silk dress with two shawls-one black and one plum, to match the plum bow tie and cummerbund on Hayes' tuxedo.
"All this excitement about the new millennium makes me feel good," Hayes said. "It makes me feel like people are celebrating with us."