President Obama will worship this Easter Sunday at the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church, a Northwest Washington congregation that welcomed the Obama family on the eve of his first inauguration.
The 175-year-old African American congregation has been a welcoming venue for Democrat and Republican lawmakers since the days when the church was located a few blocks from the White House.
In the 1940s, the church, which is actually located on 16th Street, hosted an ecumenical Lenten service for federal workers at lunch time, a tradition that has grown into a city-wide affair with many churches.
“We are pleased that the president and the first family decided to worship with us again,” said Nineteenth Street Rev. Derrick Harkins, a former faith adviser to the Democratic National Committee who has been helping the White House promote the president’s health-care reform bill.
The Obamas attended St. John’s Episcopal Church last Easter, and though they have visited several other District congregations since they moved into the White House, they have not joined a particular church.
Obama was a member of Trinity United Church of Christ before his presidency, but resigned during his campaign after its former pastor, Rev . Jeremiah Wright, made controversial comments from the pulpit that were published on YouTube.
The president made lengthy comments about faith during a White House Easter prayer breakfast last week.