Margaret Chadbourn of Reuters reports the following on the Obama family's church visit.

President Barack Obama , his wife Michelle, and their two daughters made a rare visit to a Washington church service on Sunday and were promptly invited by the pastor to become members of the congregation.Obama_family

The Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, a few blocks from the White House, welcomed the Obama family for a special service celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. on the eve of the holiday honoring the slain civil rights leader.

Michelle Obama received more applause than her husband when the first family's arrival was announced in church. She was even treated to a round of "Happy Birthday." She turns 47 on Monday.

When it came time for the Reverend Marie Braxton to say a few words, she promised Mrs. Obama that if the first lady decided to join the church with her family, there would be more than a spiritual force in her corner.