Obama Family Attends Easter Service at Southeast Church

Pastor called their appearance heartening

By Carissa DiMargo
|  Monday, Apr 5, 2010  |  Updated 6:49 AM EDT
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Official White House Photo

The Obamas attended an Easter service in Southeast. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Barack Obama and his family attended Easter service at a historically black Methodist church in Southeast this morning.

Obama attended the 11 a.m. service at the Allen Chapel AME Church at 2498 Alabama Ave. S.E. with his wife, Michelle, daughters Sasha and Malia, and his mother-in-law, Marian Robinson. Mayor Adrian Fenty and his wife Michelle also attended.

In the wake of last week's mass shooting that killed four and injured five in Southeast, Allen Chapel pastor Michael Bell said it is providence that the president would attend service there so shortly after the shootings. Bell said it was heartening to know that Southeast had not been forgotten.

It was "no accident that [the president] is here in light of what happed here last Tuesday," said Bell. Obama's presence was "helping our community heal."

An overflowing crowd was clapping and singing "Alleluia" when the first family entered via a side door, leading to cheers and cell-phone picture-snapping by the congregants. The altar was flanked by the American flag in front of the Obamas' pew, and the Episcopal Church's flag on the other side.

Rt. Rev. Adam Jefferson Richardson, Jr. recited the Lord's Prayer and then distributed communion and individual thimble-size glasses of grape juice. The first family kneeled at the rail to receive communion.

They left the church shortly after and arrived home at the White House at 1 p.m.

Monday morning the White House will celebrate its annual Easter Egg Roll, traditionally held on the Monday after Easter. More than 30,000 people from all 50 states will attend for games, arts and crafts, an egg hunt and the rolling event. Performer will include Justin Bieber and the cast of the Fox TV show "Glee." J.K. Rowling, Reese Witherspoon and Apolo Ohno will be among those reading on the Storytime Stage.

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