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.
Obama went to a church he and his family felt that would fit there need. Not the location of where it was.
Happy Easter President Obama and family.
May God bless the Obamas! I'm thrilled that they were able to attend Easter services together and hope they will continue to find the peace that they deserve. They are a wonderful First Family.
May God continue to Bless You (President Obama) and your Family !!!!
God Bless the Obama family. I thank God for them everyday, esp. the President. He is trying to do what is right for the American people. Thank you, Mr. President.
Happy Easter my all time favorite First Family!
Happy Easter to the first family! Mr President would do well by attending church services on Saturday, the seventh day of the week, in exemplary obedience to the Bible instead of following the band wagon.
Hooray ! I think he should go to church EVERY Sunday like the Clintons did....not that I doubt that he is deeply religious. I don't want people to think he is like those people who only show up on Easter and Christmas. The church needs a re-birth here in America and he could start it. Too many people got the wrong impression about church from the so called "religious right" and TV evangelists who always want money.
Happy Easter to you and your family Pres. Obama.
Happy Easter President Obama and Family. Thank you for the work you are doing for all Americans – God Bless you all.
alelluia, He is risen
OMG – they are such a good looking family!! Happy Easter to the First Family and may God contnue to bless you and keep you safe!!
@ Robert who referenced "Recently Employed by Federal Stimulus Spending" – Right On!!!
Have a dreat day ! Happy Easter President Obama , Nrs Obama , .Grandma Robinson ,Malia abd Sasha .
The best President ever.
God Bless the Obama family! Thank you for your leadership, your courage, and your true patriotism for our country. Happy Easter to ALL!
A happy easter to the first family, and to us all.
Most people go to church on Easter. Who cares?
So a dude goes to church and it makes the news? sorry, had to slip that in there. Happy Easter Mr. president.
God Bless this family & all the work they do for all Americans.
he is a fake in everything he does....
now Church just for show...amazing!
I love the Obama's and love what they are doing for America.
I don't think Obomber is the most most charismatic President. I would reserve that honor to President Kennedy and his whole family as we all looked towards the Kennedy's as Camelot in Washington. Obomber is not regarded in that way. And most presidents went to a church of their choice quite often and didn't have to use security as an excuse.
Barry Soetoro went to Church? I bet you 3,000% it must have been a misidentified mosque in the 57th State, and the Commies News Network is seeing things, and it's reporting in Austrian.
Happy Easter Pres. Obama. Don't let the Republicans get you down. Or the Independents. Or the Democrats.
Can you say PHOTO OP????????
That is all there is to this. A photo op. It was not only a few days ago Obama was quoted saying they did not want to go to church because of all the disturbance that happens when they go.
I agree, why the mention of the shooting,,,, BUT,,, also, whyt he mention of this church being a Afrrican American church??????
Why does race have to be even mentioned? Many call the Tea party folks racist, but yet we have had two ticker articles in the last day that just HAD to make sure we knew the Prez was black.
Who cares if he went to church,,,,,,,,,,, is this REALLY important?
Wait, I thought they were Muslim (?). They RARELY attended any church services while in Chicago where I live. What hypocrites. I hope they know how to clasp their hands in prayer because they sure don't know where to put their hands during the Pledge of Allegiance (they put it over their right chests....maybe they are "Vs").