Obama walks to Easter service at nearby church

Published March 31, 2013

| Associated Press

President Barack Obama attended Easter services at an Episcopal church near the White House where past presidents frequently have worshipped.

The president, first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia took the short walk across Lafayette Park to St. John's Church Sunday morning.

Obama was greeted by several parishioners with handshakes and smiles as the church members were returning to their seats from Holy Communion, which the first family also joined.

The sermon by Rev. Dr. Luis Leon was based on the Gospel of John and the Resurrection of Jesus. Leon said the message of Easter was about the "proclamation of victory, the victory of powerful love over loveless power."

He said the "Easter vision" was the ability of the congregation to recognize the presence of Christ in their life, which would allow them to see the world in a new way without pain, loneliness, injustice, war, hate and despair. Instead, with the new vision, he intoned, they can see with love, hope and truth.

The Obamas have previously worshipped at St. John's, including Easter services in 2009 and 2012. They attended Easter service at Shiloh Baptist Church in 2011.

A pew nine rows back from the altar at St. John's carries a small brass plaque designating it as "The President's Pew." Church history claims that every president since James Madison has visited.

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