Obamas Observe Easter at Historic Black Church

( [email protected] ) Apr 06, 2010 12:35 PM EDT
President Barack Obama and his family celebrated Easter on Sunday at a historic black church in Southeast Washington.
People arrive at Allen Chapel AME Church in Washington, Sunday, April 4, 2010. President Barack Obama and first Lady Michelle Obama are attending Easter Services at this church today. AP Images / Pablo Martinez Monsivais

President Barack Obama and his family celebrated Easter on Sunday at a historic black church in Southeast Washington.

It's been months since Obama attended a church though he has been receiving devotionals from various pastors on his BlackBerry.

His visit to Allen Chapel AME Church drew a large crowd of spectators on the streets.

Gladly welcoming the president, the church pastor, the Rev. Michael E. Bell Sr. called it "a monumental moment for us as a community."

"Ward 8 has not been forgotten, not when the president would come here at a time like this," Bell said, according to The Washington Post. Ward 8 is the poorest neighborhood in the district.

The Obamas worshipped and took communion while the speakers focused some of their attention on the president.

"Mr. President, we know you are going to do great for this country," said Bishop Adam J. Richardson, leader of the second Episcopal district of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, as reported by The Washington Post.

Also attending Easter service was Obama's mother-in-law, Marian Robinson and the mayor of Washington, Adrian Fenty, and his wife.

Since taking office last January, Obama has attended church less than a dozen times. He has at times attended Evergreen Chapel at Camp David, the president's country residence in Frederick County, Md., which also served as the primary place of worship for former President George W. Bush.

He indicated last year that he would not be joining any specific congregation during his presidency because he did not want to be disruptive to the city or to churchgoers.

Worshippers on Sunday at Allen Chapel had to go through metal detectors and some who were late were turned away for security reasons.

While not in church, Obama has received daily devotionals from Joshua DuBois, the director of the Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and a Pentecostal pastor, and other pastors on his advisory council including the Rev. Joel Hunter, an evangelical pastor from Longwood, Fla.