Easter Sunrise Service is back at Stone Mountain Park

Pandemic derailed annual tradition

After being sidelined for two years due to the pandemic, the popular Easter Sunrise Service is returning to Stone Mountain Park on April 17.

Two simultaneous, interdenominational Easter services will be held that day - one at the top of the mountain and another at the base of the mountain on the Memorial Lawn.

The message at the top of the mountain will be delivered by the Rev. Bryant Wright, founder of Right from the Heart Ministries, president of Send Relief and retired senior pastor at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, and the Rev. Crawford Loritts, president and founder of Beyond Our Generation and former senior pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell.

The annual observance began in 1944 when Lucille A. Langford, a member of Stone Mountain First United Methodist Church, suggested that the church’s youth group climb to the top of Stone Mountain on Easter morning to watch the sunrise, according to a release about the event.

The event usually draws between 5,000 and 10,000 people, according to a park spokesman.

The service at the top of the granite dome quickly grew to become a popular religious tradition for many metro families, drawing thousands each year.

Due to coronavirus precautions, many churches held Easter services virtually in 2020 and 2021, but most have slowly returned to in-person worship.

Park gates will open at 3 a.m. and the Summit Skyride will open at 4 a.m. to begin taking people to the summit. Services will begin at 7 a.m. . Both services will feature sign language interpreters for hearing impaired guests.

There is a fee for vehicle parking. It’s $20 for a one-day permit or $40 for an annual permit. There is no charge for church vans and buses. Skyride fees are $15 for round-trip and $12 for one-way.

Visitors can also use walk-up trail to the top of the mountain.