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President Obama Attends Contemporary Church Service in Hawaii

White House Photo by Pete Souza

HONOLULU, HAWAII -- President Obama went to church Sunday morning in Hawaii, something he has only done a handful of times since becoming president.  He attended a contemporary church service at a chapel on the Marine Corps Base Hawaii along with the rest of the first family and some friends.

The chaplain said he was thankful to have the Obamas there, who got front row seating. A full band performed "Joy To The World" to clapping parishioners at the beginning of the service. About 100 people were reported to be at the chapel along with the first family. The program included music, communion and a scripture reading from Matthew 10:29-31.

Obama has kept his faith relatively private, opting out of attending a lot of public church services. Initially Obama said he would pick a church home in Washington after taking the office, but has since relegated to receiving a daily devotional on his blackberry and praying with pastors over the phone for his spiritual activity. He has also attended a couple of private services at the presidential retreat at Camp David. The White House has noted there are pitfalls to picking a church in Washington including the security disruptions for other church-goers. Others suggest there may be extra-pressure that he should pick a historically black church.

His religion has been a public relations struggle for this White House. Even though the president is Christian, they have a hard time battling misperceptions. There was a poll out earlier this year stating that nearly 18 percent of Americans think he's a Muslim, which was actually an increase from previous surveys.

Here's a list of the times the president has attended church services publicly:

2009

1/18 - 19th Street Baptist Church (pre-inauguration) 

1/20 - Inauguration Service at St Johns 

4/12 -  St Johns - Easter Sunday 

10/11 - St Johns Sunday Service 

2010

1/17 - Vermont Ave Baptist Church - MLK day

3/4 - Allen Chapel AME Church - Easter Sunday 

9/19 St. John's Episcopal Church 

12/26 Chapel at Marine Corps Base Hawaii

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