Obamas make rare church visit

January 17, 2011

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.

“It would be something if you joined our church, and I got to be your pastor and you got to be my girlfriend. And Mr. President, we would find something for you to do,” Braxton said.

Many local religious leaders have wondered when, or if,  America’s first African American first family might choose a new church home,The Washington Post says in its story headlined “New appeal for Obamas as they mark holiday at black church.”

The Obamas rarely attend church in Washington and have not joined a congregation since coming to town two years ago. Obama has said it would be too disruptive to the congregation. The White House says he attends services at a chapel at Camp David when he spends weekends at the presidential retreat in Maryland.

Obama was a longtime member of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago before quitting in 2008 during the presidential campaign amid controversy over provocative sermons by its former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Jason Reed (File photo, Obama  with (L-R) daughter Malia, first lady Michelle and younger daughter Sasha , Jan. 4, 2011)

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