Lincoln Memorial Easter Sunrise Services is March 31: A Washington Tradition for 44 Years

At sunrise on Sunday, March 31, thousands will gather at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, for one of the nation’s largest Easter sunrise services to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. For the last 40+ years, thousands of people of all ages, races, and backgrounds have come together in unity on Easter Sunrise to sing, celebrate, and watch in quiet awe as the sun rises over the National Mall.

Hosted by National Community Church in Washington, DC, the interdenominational Easter Sunrise Service is a longstanding Washington tradition, now in its 44th year. It’s been featured in The Washington Post and named #5 on the Washingtonian’s The Great Washington Bucket List.

People from all over come to DC to attend the service, joining crowds of Washingtonians for whom this has become an annual tradition. Rain or shine, they get up while it’s still dark to flock to the Lincoln Memorial. Some arrive in their sweats with their dogs on a leash, others show up in their most lavish Easter Sunday finery. Some come for the Washington, DC, experience; others come for reverent celebration in an unforgettable location.

This year, New York Times bestselling author Mark Batterson, Lead Pastor of National Community Church, will be speaking. He is joined by local gospel/worship artists who will lead the crowd in songs of joyful celebration.

Says Batterson, “My wife, Lora, and I first attended this service about 25 years ago. There’s something special about standing on those historic steps: it’s larger than life. When thousands of people are gathered there, singing as one, it echoes a little louder, a little longer.”

The ongoing underground renovations at the Lincoln Memorial are not impeding plans for Easter Sunrise in the least. Says organizer Heather Zempel, “We set up more than a thousand chairs—and they fill up fast. But there’s plenty of room for everyone on the surrounding lawns. Restrooms are just a 2-minute walk away, and access to the Memorial is completely unrestricted.” She continues, “My best advice? COME EARLY.”

The morning can start out on the chilly side, so be sure to dress warmly and bring a blanket to sit on or wrap up in. Find more information and live stream the service at

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