United States President Barack Obama and his family attended the historic Alfred Street Baptist Church today in order to attend the yearly Easter service. The church, which has been around for centuries, is located in Alexandria, Virginia.
Pastor Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley welcomed the family into the place of worship. Wesley has something in common with the President’s wife Michelle, in that they both grew up in the south side of Chicago (he noted this in his opening congressional speech.) He also gave the statement that it was very fitting, on the day that their Lord and Savior is to be celebrated, that they were also under the privilege to welcome the current United States President to participate in this joyous occasion. Those in attendance at ASBC quickly rose to their feet in applause, quite happy to have Obama among them on this day of worship.
Wesley then made a joke regarding the POTUS’s tendency to get involved with social media and the latest trends, stating “this is not selfie time. Let the brother worship in the house of God.” The congregation, including Obama and his family, laughed heartily at this light-hearted jab.
Security at the event led to a more rigid ceremony in terms of the usual acceptance of church-goers giving hugs and shaking hands in order to better celebrate with one another, which they were informed was unfortunately not possibly due to Obama’s presence at the sanctuary, which would reasonably cause for some higher concerns in terms of physical contact and the like. The crowd was advised to remain seated and only greet the patrons closest to them, in order to make things easier for the Secret Service agents patrolling the venue in question.
The choir, consisting of women in purple dresses and men donning purple ties, then proceeded to break into a riveting rendition of the classic hymn He Lives. The congregation quickly joined in with clapping and dancing, while at the same time the church ushers collected the offering from the various church-goers.
Obama is not the first United States President to have visited this historic church, said to have been in existence for some 200 years now (history dates it back to the time when Thomas Jefferson was in the White House.) In 2000, former President Bill Clinton visited the venue a few days before the November 2000 election, and ended up singing with the choir (in doing so, he managed to procure more votes for himself and Vice President Al Gore, in their competition against George H.W. Bush.)
The church’s website says that the Alexandria Baptist Society was formed back in 1803, after members left another church in the same city. Later that year, a slave was baptized as the church’s first African-American member. Approximately three years later, African-American members went on to establish the Colored Baptist Society as church that was “conjoined”. The congregation’s current name is said to have been adopted in the late 1800’s.
Barack Obama and his family (Michelle, Natasha, and Malia) enjoyed a celebratory time at Virginia’s historic Alfred Street Baptist Church this Easter Sunday. Those in attendance say that a joyous time was had by all, and that there did not end up being any security issues whatsoever.
By Rebecca Grace