Jermaine Paul Holds Candlelight Christmas Gospel Celebration

By Journalist Ms. Jones

NEWBURGH – Last Friday, The Voice’s Season 2 Winner Jermaine Paul held a Candlelight Christmas Gospel Celebration at the First United Methodist Church.

“This place holds a very, very, very special place in my heart… Not too long ago I was twenty-three… My beautiful wife Melissa… it was the two of us with four children… We used to sit right here. I used to be in this corner a lot playing music… I received the call that pushed me… outside the four walls of the church. It pushed me to other countries… It was all because of this place and my pastor, Pastor McClearn and his beautiful wife Billie,” said Jermaine Paul who shared memories of being a member of the First United Methodist Church when he was still called “Jeremiah,” his government name.

Performances included dancing from the GDX Dancers of Peekskill who performed to “You Deserve It” and “Your Spirit.” Charles “Charlie” Byrd sang “Rise Up” by Andra Day. Recording Artist Ralph Williams got the crowd up dancing with his soul-stirring musical performance.

The Voice’s Season 2 Winner Jermaine Paul, right, sang with Charlie Byrd at his Candlelight 2017 Christmas Gospel Celebration.

Recording Artist Jasmine Parker, who Jermaine Paul used to sing in the choir with at the First United Methodist Church, got everyone in the Christmas spirit with “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Recording Artist Denise Renee, who used to be a background singer for Alicia Keyes with Jermaine Paul, sang a contemporary rendition of “Silent Night.” J. Hammock and Chosen came all the way from NYC to participate in the celebration. They took everybody back with “The Night That Christ Was Born” and “There’s No Christmas Without You” by Kirk Franklin and the Family.

Jermaine Paul sang a duet with his daughter Arealyah. He also blessed the crowd when he sang “A Billion People” by Deitrick Haddon with his siblings in the group known as the Paul Family Faithlock.

Recording Artist Jasmine Parker sang at Jermaine Paul’s Candlelight 2017 Christmas Gospel Celebration.

“We’ve been singing together since [we were] really little children… My dad… Charles Paul… was a singer. He sang with Anita Baker. His dad was a pastor. His dad told him to stop singing rock ‘n roll. So, when he started his gospel group, we became my dad’s band. He brought us all instruments. In the living room, we rehearsed and then we sung all over town in Spring Valley until we moved up here,” said Crystal Paul-Watson, first lady of the First United Methodist Church.

The service ended with the dimming of the lights and the lighting of the candles as everyone gathered in one large circle in unity as they sang Christmas songs.

“We have been doing it [the candlelight service] every year since I’ve been here… We wanna keep that legacy going and bring that light to the world… I just wanna take that time to put all of our differences away and have the candlelight services for everyone in the community,” said Rev. Derrick Watson, who has been the pastor of the First United Methodist Church for three years.

Recording Artist Ralph Williams sang at Jermaine Paul’s Candlelight 2017 Christmas Gospel Celebration.

This is the first year that Jermaine Paul has organized and hosted the Candlelight Christmas Gospel Celebration, but he doesn’t want it to be the last.

“We used to do the candlelight service when I attended church here with Pastor McClearn. We used to do it… Christmas Eve… So, when Billie McClearn asked me to do a concert I said, ‘Let’s attach the candlelight to the concert,’” said Jermaine Paul who plans to put out new music in 2018.


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