The Rev. Carl H. King of Duke Divinity School speaks at the Easter Sunrise Service

Easter sunrise service, holiday meals, 5K and egg hunt set for April 8-9

March 15, 2023

Lake Junaluska will celebrate Easter on Sunday, April 9, with an uplifting outdoor sunrise service at the Lake Junaluska Cross, and holiday breakfast and lunch buffets. Also Easter weekend, Long’s Chapel will host an outdoor egg hunt for children near Stuart Auditorium following the Friends of the Lake 5K Road Race & Walk on Saturday, April 8.

“We invite everyone to join us this Easter at Lake Junaluska as we gather in joy and celebrate God’s gift of new life,” said Ken Howle, executive director of Lake Junaluska.

The sunrise service on April 9 will begin at 7 a.m. at the outdoor amphitheater that overlooks the lake from beneath the Lake Junaluska Cross and is open to the public for in-person worship. The service also will be streamed live on Lake Junaluska’s Facebook page at

A brass quintet will provide music, and the guest preacher, the Rev. William H. Gattis will deliver a sermon titled “O Mary, Don’t You Weep, Don’t You Mourn.”

“Gathered around and beneath the Lake Junaluska Cross, we watch as the early morning sunrise separates the night from day: a visual reminder that darkness is not our destiny because it is Easter morning!” said Gattis. “Memorial gardens, as beautiful as they are, don’t do anything for the soul. Jesus Christ is the resurrection and life! Easter is not about when we die but when we choose to live even in the face of death and brokenness.”

Gattis has more than 50 years of service as a minister in the North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church. He served churches in rural settings, small towns, suburbs, and next door to a major university for 18 years. In addition to his local church ministry, he has served on the North Carolina Conference staff as conference director of youth and young adult ministry, been a district superintendent for eight years and concluded 50 years as the Executive Director of the Academy for Leadership Excellence.

Sunrise service attendees are encouraged to dress warmly for cool mountain morning temperatures. In the event of rain, the service will be held at Memorial Chapel. Check for possible schedule changes.

Following the service, Lake Junaluska also will host a sumptuous Easter Breakfast Buffet at the historic Lambuth Inn and an Easter Lunch Buffet at The Terrace Hotel. The breakfast starts at 7:30 a.m. and features dishes from fresh-baked buttermilk biscuit and pepper gravy to Belgian waffles. The lunch buffet will offer reservations between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and dishes include chef-carved slow roasted beef with au jus, Virginia glazed ham and more. For more details and reservation information, visit

Also Easter weekend, the family-friendly Lake Junaluska Friends of the Lake 5K Road Race and Walk will take place on Saturday, April 8, at 9 a.m. The course takes participants along a mostly flat, scenic lakeside route. All profits from the 5K go toward improvements and annual maintenance of the lakeside walking trail and other recreation areas around the lake, which cost over $375,000 annually. Learn more at

Friends of the Lake partnership and patron sponsors for 2023 are Haywood Regional Medical Center, Smoky Mountain News, Clark & Leatherwood, Inc., Maple Tree Veterinary Hospital, and RCF Construction, Inc.

Following the 5K on Saturday, April 8, Long’s Chapel will host Easter egg hunts for children ages 1-12 outside Stuart Auditorium. Long’s Chapel also will partner with Camp Ability to host an egg hunt for children ages 4 to 12 with special needs inside the Harrell Center. Check-in begins at 11:15 a.m. with the first egg hunt at 11:30 a.m.

For guests who wish to spend the holiday weekend at Lake Junaluska, lodging is available at The Terrace Hotel and Lambuth Inn, and an Easter Weekend Lodging Special for stays of at least three nights can be booked by calling 800-222-4930.

For more information, visit

Connect with family and friends during a long Easter weekend at Lake Junaluska and join us for an uplifting Easter Sunrise Service at the amphitheater below the Lake Junaluska Cross.