A Metro story yesterday gave an incorrect location for Foundry United Methodist Church. The church is at 1500 16th St. NW in the District. (Published 1/3/93)

The Rev. Everett Goodwin knows only too well what a complicated business it can be to provide a spiritual home for a president.

He recalls the metal detectors, bomb-sniffing dogs, squadrons of Secret Service agents and hordes of pickets that became a regular feature of Sunday mornings at First Baptist Church in Northwest Washington during the years President Carter was a member.

Nevertheless, said Goodwin, senior minister at First Baptist, he and his flock of about 1,000 gladly would endure the inconveniences again for the chance to count President-elect Clinton, a Baptist, among the church's members. Clinton's wife, Hillary, and his daughter, Chelsea, are Methodists.

"You don't have much trouble filling up the church when the president attends," Goodwin said, jokingly. "Some of our most wonderful contributing members joined the church in those years, and stayed after the Carters left."

In the District and the inner suburbs, religious leaders of many churches are writing letters, making telephone calls and presumably praying that the Clintons will join their congregations after they settle into the White House this month.

Goodwin was among the first of several ministers to extend a written invitation to the Clintons, and his church, on 16th Street NW, appears to have the inside track: It will be the site of a private inauguration eve prayer service attended by family and friends of Clinton and Vice President-elect Gore.

After the private service on Jan. 19, an all-night ecumenical prayer service featuring speakers and groups from across the city will be held.

Clinton press officials said no decision has been made about where Clinton will attend church, although some in the religious community say First Baptist is favored because of its patrician congregation and its convenient location a half-mile from the White House.

Presidents Bush and Reagan, both Episcopalians, usually worshiped at St. John's Episcopal Church, just across Lafayette Square from the White House.

Bill and Hillary Clinton are active in their churches in Little Rock, Ark., according to their press officials. The president-elect attends Immanuel Baptist while his wife attends First United Methodist. Chelsea, 12, joined her mother's church last spring.

Among the Methodist churches that have extended invitations to the First Family, Foundry United Methodist Church in Georgetown is considered by many to be on the short list for Hillary and Chelsea Clinton.

"I would say without hesitation {that} to have . . . the First Family as part of our church family would be a great privilege," said Phillip Wagoman, senior pastor of Foundry, which has about 1,400 members and is one of the oldest and wealthiest churches in the city. Church officials said Secret Service agents recently were there to review possible security arrangements.

Lynn A. Bergfalk, senior minister at 900-member Calvary Baptist Church, at Eighth and H streets NW, said he sees his church as "a good model of what Clinton always talks about, bringing people together." Bergfalk said the church, near Chinatown, is about 40 percent minority, 60 percent white and has several community outreach efforts, including programs for elderly and homeless people.

Even some of the area's smaller churches said they are encouraged by the president-elect's populist message and believe they might also have a shot at providing religious nourishment to Clinton and his family.

Steven Rhodes, pastor of 300-member Culmore United Methodist Church in Falls Church, where more than half of the congregation comes from Asia, Africa and Latin America, said his church reflects one of the major themes of the new administration.

"We reflect the diversity of America," Rhodes said. "We feel that theologically this would be a place where {Hillary} would be challenged, and Bill would feel very much at home here" as well, he said.

In his letter of invitation to Hillary Clinton, Rhodes said, he noted his church's outreach effort to teach English to members of the surrounding immigrant community, as well as its active youth group, which "would be ideal for Chelsea."

C.J. Malloy, pastor of 300-member First Baptist Church in Georgetown, said he sent President-elect Clinton an invitation about a month ago.

"It's great to say that you have a president or senator or congressman as a member of your church," Malloy said. "I said if you're going to be president of all the people, you should have an experience with the First Baptist Church of Georgetown."

The congregation of the 130-year-old church is all black, but Malloy said he thinks Clinton would feel "right at home" there. "He's the kind of person who could," Malloy said. "It's that southern breeding."

Other ministers said that even if their churches aren't picked as the ones the Clintons will join, they hope the family will be frequent visitors.

William Devoe, pastor of Metropolitan AME Church, site of a prayer breakfast the morning of the inauguration, said he expects an "ongoing relationship" with the Clintons. "We would be delighted if either or both of them would worship here."

Goodwin said his church's experience with Carter showed the members that there are headaches that go along with having the president as a member, including the onerous security precautions.

Secret Service agents, he said, "need to have access, routes, doors that are frequently opened, where there might be hiding places." Fire inspectors for the Secret Service recently visited the church to check its fire code compliance, Goodwin said.

Even more unnerving is the heady influence the chief executive's presence can have on the congregation.

"People can begin to mistake the importance of the church with the importance of the president coming to the church," Goodwin said. "It creates a temptation for people to think better of themselves than they would otherwise have reason to."