WASHINGTON — Thousands welcomed Easter Sunday on the National Mall before dawn, for the annual Easter Sunrise Service held by Capital Church.
People made their way before dark to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, part of a Washington tradition that’s spanned 42 years, but has been on hold for two years due to COVID-19.
"It's where so many people from all over are gathered together to worship Jesus, He came back, this is the day we all rejoice about," said Maria Walls who traveled from Cleveland, Ohio for the weekend. "We can come back and be all together, no masks and enjoy nature, enjoy Jesus."
Capital Church began holding the sunrise service in 1979. It starts at 6:30 a.m. and is known as one of the largest Easter sunrise worship services. The church places 1,700 chairs in front of the memorial, and many more sit on the steps and walls. Volunteers work through the night to get ready.
As the sun rose, so did the excitement of being back in person for worship, for the first time in two years.
Capital Church youth leader, and Loudoun County school principal Mojisola Adejumo says she was happy to see so many young people attending.
For her, the service’s return symbolizes the hope that better times are ahead.
"With love, all things are possible, with God all things are possible," Adejumo said. "It gives me that assurance that we can do whatever it takes to help these children transition out of this pandemic healthy, whole and sound."