President Obama and the rest of the first family celebrated Easter at the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Northwest Washington.


The White House said in a statement that the Obamas are “honored to celebrate Easter with the congregation of Nineteenth Street Baptist Church,” where Pastor Rev. Dr. Derrick Harkins will be conducting the service.

A reported estimate had about 250 others also celebrating Easter at the church.

They arrived just after 10 a.m., with first lady Michelle Obama wearing a cream dress and sweater, according to press reports. The president was wearing a light khaki suit, and daughters Sasha and Malia wore pastel dresses.

The roughly two-hour service contained multiple cheers from the congregation for Obama, including one man shouting, “God bless President Obama!” Other worshippers applauded loudly.

Harkins prayed for and offered thanks to God for “providing comfort to those in need, including the sick and struggling.”

Wearing a red and black robe, Harkins preached that Easter is a time when people can pause, reflect and say, "I can rise.” He also talked about championing those "living in the shadows and the margins," including "LGBT" people.

He supported the president, asking God to give Obama "every measure of encouragement" and "wisdom," and "tend to his spirit" under the weight of criticism. Worshipers echoed the sentiment by responding with a “yes” after each part of the speech.
Harkins reportedly also said prayers for Malia and Sasha and the first lady.
Earlier in the service, the Obamas greeted guests who clamored with cellphones, iPads and babies for the president to kiss — Obama reportedly high-fived one boy.

Last year, the Obamas went to Easter service at St. John's Episcopal Church, which is a stone’s throw from the White House. “Lots of curious onlookers” watched the motorcade pass the church, said White House reporter Alexis Simendinger of RealClearPolitics.

“The president and First Family have also enjoyed worshipping with a number of other D.C.-area congregations, including those at the Washington National Cathedral, Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church, Vermont Avenue Baptist Church, Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, Shiloh Baptist Church, Zion Baptist Church, St. John's Episcopal Church and Evergreen Chapel at Camp David,” the White House said in a statement.