Thousands attend return of Easter sunrise service at Lincoln Memorial

Thousands turned out for the Easter Sunrise Service at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday, the first time the service had been held since 2019.

Thousands turned out for the Easter Sunrise Service at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday, the first time the service had been held since 2019.

Thousands turned out for the Easter Sunrise Service at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday, the first time the service had been held since 2019.

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The past two years, the Lincoln Memorial Sunrise Service has been canceled due to the pandemic. But thousands attended Sunday morning for its comeback.

“Welcome to the 42nd annual Lincoln Memorial Easter Sunrise Service,” declared Pastor Amos Dodge. “And after two years of COVID, it’s good to know you’re still alive. What a great joy to come to this place on this great Easter Sunday and declare that Jesus Christ is risen.”



The crowd packed on the Lincoln Memorial steps cheered at 6:30 a.m. when the service began, with the sun just barely peeking over the reflecting pool. Many told each other they had arrived somewhere between 5 a.m. and 5:30 a.m.

The crowd stood and sang hymns with the Voices of Lee, an cappella group from Tennessee, and they prayed with Capt. Ray Houk, the chaplain of Navy medicine, with Lincoln sitting in the backdrop.

Batterson spoke and preached for the longest.

“There is a lot happening right now. We haven’t been able to gather for two years because of the pandemic,” Batterson told the crowd. “Can I tell you what I think? God is shaking some false securities, and some false identities. I think God is shaking some false assumptions and some false narratives.”

He continued to say the Western world is too reliant on material items.

While it’s been off for two years, familiar faces showed up.

“It’s an amazing experience,” one member of the congregation told WTOP. “It’s tough to get to, but it’s worth it. It’s early in the morning but it’s 100% worth it.”

Others came to the service for the first time, like Frene Eller, who moved last year from Atlanta.

“I’ve never been to the Lincoln Memorial before. This is my first time. And what a better way to celebrate Easter than with thousands of other people in the heart of D.C.,” said Eller. “I think it’s just really a unique opportunity to watch the sunrise and listen to music outside and usher in spring and just celebrate Jesus.”

You can watch the entire service below:

Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

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