Obama, Biden families attend church service


President Obama and his family made the short trip to St. John's Episcopal Church on Monday morning for the traditional Inauguration Day church service.

The Obamas will be joined at the service by Vice President Biden and his wife, Jill. The group made the short trip from the White House across Lafayette Square Park via motorcade.

The Rev. Luis León, pastor of St. John's Episcopal Church, will also be offering the benediction at the president's inauguration later in the morning. He replaced Atlanta pastor Louie Giglio, who removed his name from the Inaugural program after reports of anti-gay comments he made during sermons in the 1990s.

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The church, which opened in 1816, has been visited by every president of the United States since then. It features a bell that was cast by the son of Revolutionary War hero Paul Revere, and also contains a special pew that is reserved for when the president is in attendance. Some early presidents, including James Madison, were communicants at St. John's.

León noted that the church had hosted the preinaugural service 11 times, dating back to Franklin D. Roosevelt's swearing-in.

The sermon was given by pastor Andy Stanley from North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, who thanked the president for his work after the Newtown, Conn. school shooting, commenting that he president should be called the "Pastor in Chief."

He then delivered a sermon centered around the story of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples to show that even the most important person in the room should work as a servant.

"You leverage that power for the benefit of other people in the room," he said.  "Mr. President, you have an awfully big room."

Bishop Vacti Mckenzie then offered a blessing to the president and vice president, who prayed to "bless this administration with both favor and grace" and "give them the resources and people necessary to get the job done."

The president also tweeted during his time at the church, his first public comment of the day:




The trip outside also provided the first glance of what first lady Michelle Obama would be wearing for the day's Inaugural events. The first lady donned a navy Thom Browne coast and dress, coupled with a belt, shoes and accessories from J. Crew.

Upon returning to the White House, Obama's eldest daunter, Malia, looked to interject some levity into the day. Traveling in a separate limousine with her grandmother, Malia jumped out of the car and snuck up on the president, shouting "Boo!" as he emerged.

"You scared me!" Obama said, before entering the executive mansion with the Bidens for a coffee with congressional leaders.


This post was updated at 10:33 a.m.