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.
God Bless you and your family Mr. President. We said a Prayer for you, your family and our Country during our Easter Service today.
I'm so proud to be an American that volunteered to elect President Obama, and it makes me happy to see him and his beautiful family enjoying a day together.
Wonderful to see the first family! May god bless Mr. Obama and United States of America. He's doing a wonderful job for the country.
Happy Easter President and Mrs. Obama and your lovely family.
I hope you are having a good Easter and maybe some rest.
There are many out here who love you and want you to keep working hard for us.
Happy Easter Mr President & Family!!
God bless and keep you.
There is just something about having a family with young children in the White House that is very satisfying. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that holidays seem more meaningful and are more likely to signal a political time-out.
be blessed Mr. President! You and all your family with!
Happy Easter Mr. President and Family'
We pray for you ALWAYS, but especially on Resurrection Sunday! You are doing the work of God. We are commanded in Matthew 25 to take care of the sick, feed the hungry, and take care of those who are inprisoned, and otherwise down trodden. You are a President and a family who cares about the "least of these." Your rewards are in heaven. Keep doing what is right, and the Lord will ALWAYS take care of the rest.
Who cares if they call you a socialist.....Jesus was one too.
Happy Easter First Family,
These folks are a breath of fresh air. Thank you America for making this man our President and his beautiful family our "First Family".
Happy Easter Mr. President and First Family.
while i disagree with the President's policies, I pray that he and his beautiful family realize the unconditional peace and love of Jesus so as to guide and comfort their hearts. Christ is risen!
I am delighted the Obamas went to this fine church this morning. I'm looking at the picture, my goodness, isn't Michelle lovely? Wow! Lucky Barack. I'm proud he's my president, he's doing a great job!
I love this First Family.
Happy Easter to all and for all, a Happy Easter!
May the Lord richly bless Mr President and the first Family wlth his Grace and Favor.Happy Easter to you Mr President.
I think the point of attending church near where violence recently occured was to show support for that community and to affirm that we cannot be governed by fear. Blessings on the Obamas who seek to do right amid so much that is wrong.
I am pleased to report that I also am praying for the President and hia family–and I am a Republican and a conservative. All who claim the name of our Lord should extend blessings on the Holiest of days.
May God bless U.S.A and our dear president and his family.
HE Mr. President. You make us proud everyday.
God Bless and keep you President Obama and family and everyone I wish you a Happy Easter and pray that God will bless each and everyone. I pray that the people spreading lie after lie about our President will get a reality check on what they are doing and ask God to forgive them for their lying sins.
God bless the president and everyone. Happy Easter all!
I am very happy for you Mr. President... GOD bless OBAMA, GOD bless UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Happy Easter to a great President and his beautiful family.
Our greeting to each other in Ukrainian during the Easter season is Christos Voskres! Christ is Riden!
Pesponse: Voistenu Voskres! Indeed He is Risen!
God continue to inspire and bless our wonderful President.
What a beautiful First Family. I am proud to be an American! God Bless President Obama, God bless us all!!!
I just love our President, he is a real human that is trying for real to reach out in everything he can. What an amazing soul he is, God Bless him and his family in this Easter Season and through out his life time. I pray for him everyday as a Catholic and hope that our differences can be worked peacefully.