Thousands take part in annual, non-denominational Easter service

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Credit: Stone Mountain Park

For more than 70 years, thousands of worshippers have gathered at Stone Mountain Park for Easter services.

Worshippers made their way up Stone Mountain to hear uplifting sermons at the annual Easter Sunrise Service.

" I am here to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and there is no better place to do it than on the mountain top," said Kimberly Cook who attended the service at Stone Mountain for the first time.

The event began in 1944, before the land around Stone Mountain was officially owned by the State of Georgia. Lucille A. Lanford, from 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.

The event grew from that one youth group to thousands ascending the mountain every Easter since.

The Stone Mountain Sunrise Association presented  two simultaneous, non-denominational Easter services at the top and at the base of Stone Mountain. Park gates and Summit Skyride opened at 4:00 a.m. and services began at 7:00 a.m.

"This morning is a resurrection, a glorious celebration and I am just  so grateful to be able to celebrate, be here with my friends and family and to be able to see the sunrise because He created this beautiful mountain and He created the sun and it is just an awesome moment to be able to celebrate," said Cook.