Obamas attend first Sunday church service in Washington

April 12, 2009

OBAMA/WASHINGTON – Barack Obama attended his first Sunday church service as president on Easter Sunday, greeted by hundreds of onlookers at an Episcopal church a block from the White House.

Obama, wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha sat about halfway down the first row in the packed but intimate St. John’s, across Lafayette Park from the White House.

Throngs of onlookers packed the streets around the church and behind police barricades, even though, according to a White House official, the location was not disclosed until Sunday.

There was intense competition among area churches to lure the Obamas, according to reports.

Known to many as the “Church of the Presidents,” every president since James Madison has attended the church, either on a regular or occasional basis, according to St. John’s.

Obama had not attended church in Washington as president since Inauguration Day, when he attended a service at the National Cathedral, according to an aide.

The service focused on allowing the skeptical come to their faith in time.

“Easter is available to believers as well as doubters,” Reverend Luis Leon said in his sermon. “It’s important that you believe in as much of God as you can today … and that is good enough.”

At one point, he led a prayer for the president, other elected officials, and people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan and the Middle East, among others.

Several in the audience said they were unaware the president would be attending the service.

Obama was dogged during his campaign by controversial comments about race by his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright of Trinity United Church of Chicago.  Obama later distanced himself from the pastor.

 For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque – President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama depart St. John’s Episcopal Church after attending an Easter service in Washington on April 12, 2009.


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There now the guy has been to church, is everyone happy? Honestly, Obama has the economy, two wars, financial meltdown and countless other things to deal with. Let the guy take Sundays for himself and his family. I couldn’t care less if he goes to church or not.

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive

That was a really senseless comment Eric. The world doesn’t revolve around you and your ideals.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

TC, merely pointing out that Obama was getting some flack for not going to church and that I and a lot of other people don’t care wether he goes to church at all.
If I recall correctly these blogs are for people to express their opinions about the topics at hand. Right?

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive

Nor does the world revolve around people who insist upon broadcasting their “faith” and “ideals” on everyone around them.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

Eric. I was giving my opinion, just like you.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

Fox news and cronies are still saying Obama doesn’t attend church in washington. Another ring wing lie exposed

Posted by donna | Report as abusive

Donna, going to church on Easter and Christmas and not what “going to church” is understood to mean (by those who are churchgoers).

Posted by k | Report as abusive