April 4th, 2010
05:06 PM ET
5 years ago

Obamas attend Easter service at local church

ALT TEXT

The first family, shown here in a 2009 file photo, attended Easter service at a southeast Washington church Sunday. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama and his family chose a historically African-American church in southeast Washington, D.C., for Easter observances Sunday, entering a few minutes late to the sounds of "Alleluia," which opened the 11 a.m. service.

Congregants at the Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church broke into cheers and applause, snapping cell phone pictures when Obama, wife Michelle, daughters Malia and Sasha, and mother-in-law Marian Robinson arrived via a side door.

Several speakers during the service acknowledged the first family's attendance at the church, which calls itself "The Cathedral of Southeast."

The church's pastor, the Rev. Dr. Michael E. Bell Sr., referred to the president as the "most intelligent, most anointed, most charismatic president," while complimenting Michelle Obama, who wore a cream-colored dress with elbow-length sleeves.

Bell also acknowledged the timing of Obama's visit to the church, five days after a March 30 shooting spree in the region killed four people and wounded five others.

He said it "was no accident that (Obama) is here in light of what happened here last Tuesday," adding that the president's presence was "helping our community heal."

Three suspects have been arrested in connection with the shootings.

Other attendees at the church service included D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and Councilman Marion Barry, according to Bell.

A 50-person choir sang several gospel songs throughout the service, clapping and waving to the beat of a keyboard ensemble. Obama could be seen in his family's pew swaying gently to the music.

The first family departed the church after receiving communion.

Updated: 4:22 p.m.


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soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. Bob

    I think that is wonderful. He should be at this church and not the big stuffy one near the Capital. God bless him for being there.

    April 4, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. Rosalyn Casson

    God Bless you and your family Mr. President.

    April 4, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  3. marty

    It's refreshing to see a genuinely happy, normal, First Family. I hope they receive many Easter blessings.

    April 4, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  4. Marcia Morrison

    I enjoyed the short article about the Obamas attending Easter services in D.C. I thought the last paragraph about the March 30th shootings was completely unnecessary and inappropriate.

    April 4, 2010 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  5. Elwood

    Why was it necessary to report "a March 30 shooting spree that killed four people and wounded five others" in the same piece regarding the president and his family attending Easter service Sunday at a historically African-American church in southeast Washington, D.C.? What exactly was the point?

    April 4, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  6. Jim

    Happy Easter, Pres. and Mrs. Obama! Thank you for the wonderful blessings you've brought our nation: healthcare reform, rescue from financial meltdown, beginning of jobs recovery, student loan reform, nuclear agreement with Russia, re-thought strategy for Iraq and Afghanistan, and regained respect from the rest of the world! May God continue to bless your Presidency and our nation!

    April 4, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  7. Recently Employed by Federal Stimulus Spending

    I would like to think that this might pacify the Religious Right theocrats who are constantly critisizing our President for not going to Church enough, but I'm not getting my hopes up...they will find some reason to keep complaining.

    April 4, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  8. Robert

    Someone wrote:

    "I would like to think that this might pacify the Religious Right theocrats who are constantly critisizing our President for not going to Church enough, but I'm not getting my hopes up...they will find some reason to keep complaining."

    No it won't pacify them. Their mission is character assassination. Obama has made it clear that he and his family primarily worship in a chapel at Camp David, which has a chaplain there. But that is not good enough for them. They want him and all presidents to attend a church where the public can see him going so as to perpetuate the myth that we are a Christian nation and to further their theocratic agenda.

    I hope he continues to make his worship routine private and out of public view, the way it should be..

    April 4, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  9. John

    Wouldn't it be nice if all Christians decided that with the celebration of Jesus Christ resurrection they would start to tell the truth about America?

    How wonderful it would be if Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh decided that they would put away the false hype and work with the President. Today is a day of hope but, I worry that the likes of Sarah Palin and the folks at FOX just won't change and keep on with their lies and distortions.

    Oh what a wonderful world it would be if the greedy and corrupt would see the light. Can you imagine what tomorrow would look like if the right wing hate mongers would listen to their preachers today and decide that they would acknowledge that fair play is what Jesus was speaking about in his sermons.

    April 4, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  10. John

    God bless the President of the United States of America and his lovely family.

    April 4, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Elwood: The reporting of "a March 30 shooting spree ..." is relevant to the story because the pastor of the church, Dr. Bell, made a point of referencing it by saying the President and First Family's presence at his church "was no accident that (Obama) is here in light of what happened here last Tuesday," adding that the president's presence was "helping our community heal."

    Perhaps you should read the whole article and comprehend it before you post ...

    April 4, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  12. Kathy

    Hello and Happy Easter.
    I am glad that the lst family did go to service this year. That is great.
    But, going to church does not make us good. We go to church with Joy when we love the Lord and want to be with his people.
    The church family that we can belong to helps us to learn to love and show compassion in the world.
    That is why I encourage the 1st family to join in with a solid, Biblical church family and to continue attending on a weekly basis. That will encourage and strengthen them to do the Will of the Lord every day and in every way. Surely then, goodness and mercy will follow them all the days of their lives.

    April 4, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  13. vahe

    happy easter MR.President

    April 4, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  14. proud dem in nc

    Happy Easter Obamas, you rock. Don't let the right get you down. Keep the faith.!!!

    April 4, 2010 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  15. P Bartlett-Richards

    Many Blessings for you and your family. You don't have an easy job! You do appear to be a loving and caring family.

    April 4, 2010 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain

    For some reason I was thinking about the President and First Family's church attendance record since he took office and all the criticism from the supposed "Christian right" regarding it.

    My guess is they haven't been going as often as they'd like, given the amount of security required to do so and the disruption it causes the congregation of the church they attend.

    I'm glad the Obamas were able to attend a service this morning – and I would like to remind all those who criticize his attendance record that what is in a person's heart is much more important to God than where a person chooses to be on a Sunday morning.

    April 4, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  17. Carlton Evans

    Praying for you and your family as well as for all who are in spiritual and natural positions of authority and leadership, just as the BIBLE tells us believers in Jesus Christ to do so!!! We did this for our previous Presidents and we'll do this for our future Presidents!!! Obey the WORD of GOD, not your feelings or opinions America!!!

    Carlton C. Evans Jr.,
    Pastor, Retired U.S. Army

    April 4, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  18. Leah Texas

    God bless President Obama, The Obama Family, The Good Ol' USA, and Our Troops!

    p.s. The President and family have also been attending church services when they are at Camp David.

    April 4, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  19. Debbie

    I am praying for Pres. Obama and his family.

    April 4, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  20. Doris V

    Happy Easter Obamas and Grandmom Robinson!! Glad you were able to go to this church. Your presence helped the people of that area as their pastor said. Now Mr. Pres. get back to work. You have a lot to do in the next three years.

    April 4, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  21. susan mwangi

    God bless you and your family Mr President. Our God is faithful and He reigns. He will continue to bless you with the wisdom and understanding to rule this country.

    April 4, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  22. Pam

    A beautiful family

    April 4, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  23. Chris

    Glad they were able to attended. Hopefully they were spiritually uplifted and motivated in someone. It's also important for us as a nation to keep one another, espcially our leaders up lifted in prayer in Jesus's name.

    Happy Easter

    April 4, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  24. Joanne

    Beautiful family...may they enjoy their Easter Sunday!

    April 4, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  25. Joe

    We should all be praying for President Obama! What a difficult job he has (especially in our day and age)!! Pray for wisdom and strength!

    April 4, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
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