Thousands gather to celebrate Easter with sunrise service at Stone Mountain Park

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. — Easter Sunday is here!

Stone Mountain Park officials welcomed thousands to the inter-denominational Easter Sunrise Services on top of the mountain and at the base on the Memorial Lawn.

Since 1944, the park has held a sunrise service to celebrate Easter. According to officials, before the state of Georgia owned the land, Lucille A. Lanford from Stone Mountain First United Methodist Church suggested that the church’s youth group climb to the top of the mountain on Easter morning to watch the sunrise.

What began as one youth group has grown into thousands ascending the mountain every Easter since.

The service was led by special guests Bryant Wright and Crawford Loritts. Bryant is the Founder and Chairman of Right From The Heart Ministries, an international media ministry that he began in 1992. Crawford is the President and Founder of Beyond Our Generation.

This year’s service began at 7 a.m.

Officials said the park opened at 3 a.m., so churchgoers can arrive to climb the mountain well before the service.

To get up the mountain, they can either hike up the trail for free or buy a Skyride round-trip pass for $20 or a one-way pass for $15.

The gondola is a straight shot, but staff said the crowd is usually so large it can take an hour or more to get through the line. Churchgoers started lining up at the park gates at 4 a.m. to be first in line.

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