Where Will The Obamas Worship? (PICTURES)

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With the Obamas' impending move to Washintong DC in January, many have begun to speculate on all aspects of the family's new life, including where Sasha and Malia will go to school, what kind of dog they might get, and where the family will go to worship. The issue of choosing a church in DC is no laughing matter, considering that religion has already caused Obama some controversy in the past, (Reverend Jeremiah Wright, anyone?) Beyond the political risks of belonging to a public place of worship, there is also the issue of security. Some former presidents, even the publicly devote ones, have chosen not to attend a church in DC for these reasons.

An article from TheHill.com states:

President Bush is widely known for his religious beliefs, but for eight years has not frequented a local church, at times citing security concerns. Ronald Reagan also did not attend a church regularly, saying that after the attempt on his life it was too great a risk. And Richard Nixon opted to have Billy Graham come to the White House for private religious services.

But security does not make regular worship impossible. Both Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, for example, attended D.C.-area churches.

It will be interesting to see if the Obamas choose to attend church in DC. Also, will they even stick to their current church affiliation of United Church of Christ?

The United Church of Christ (UCC) invited President-elect Barack Obama to join a local congregation near the White House, anticipating the first family's desire to worship in public despite risks to their image and safety...

The church, which is the same denomination that Obama and his family attended in Chicago, hand-delivered to Obama's Senate office an invitation to join one of their many parishes in Washington.

No matter what the family decides,

Proximity and safety have to be at the top of Obama's list of concerns, as the Secret Service must be able to deliver the first African-American first family safely to and from their place of worship.

Below is a slideshow of the seven churches most suited for the Obamas if they choose to attend services in DC. There are four United Church of Christ institutions (the closest four to the White House) as well as three churches known as the spiritual homes of some past Presidents.

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Slide 1: The United Church

Distance from the White House: 0.6 miles (about a 3 min. drive)

Affiliation: United Church of Christ

As a member of a United Church of Christ church in Chicago, Obama might choose from four United Church of Christ institutions closest to the White House, or he may opt for a new place of worship that former presidents have attended. It is also questionable if he will even worship in public, due to political and security risks.

This UCC church, closest to the White House, and headed by pastors Pastor DeGroote and Pastor Schwabe offers worship in both English and German. Their website states, "The United Church is a living testimony that there can be unity enriched by great diversity."

Slide 2: Grace Reformed Church, UCC

Distance from the White House: 1 mile (about a 6 min. drive)

Affiliation: United Church of Christ

The Grace Reformed Church was founded in the year 1877 and is currently led by pastor David E. Massey.

Slide 3: First Congressional United Church of Christ

Distance from the White House: 1.5 miles (about a 6 min. drive)

Affiliation: United Church of Christ

Currently going through a change of location and pastoral leadership, the "First Congregational United Church of Christ was founded in 1865 by abolitionists as the first racially integrated church in Washington, DC. In 1867 the mission committee of the church played a prominent role in the founding of Howard University.

Slide 4: Lincoln Congregational Temple, UCC

Distance from the White House: 1.7 miles (about a 6 min. drive)

Affiliation: United Church of Christ

Mission statement: "Lincoln Congregational Temple United Church of Christ is a culturally diverse family of Spirit-filled Christians proclaiming the Gospel in the world, demonstrating that God is the substance of our existence. We worship, give thanks, praise God, study the Bible and celebrate our church's African-American heritage as well as the cultural diversity of the United Church of Christ through music, Christian Education, prayer circles and daily life experiences. We are compelled by God to recognize the rights of all generations, affirming a social vision and advocating for justice and peace in the wider community and the world."


Slide 5: First Baptist Church‎

Distance from the White House: 1.3 miles (about a 7 min. drive)

Affiliation: Baptist

A church attended by Presidents Harry Truman and Jimmy Carter, "The First Baptist Church of the City of Washington, DC, is conscious of its location in the heart of the nation's capital city and its unique opportunity to minister to the passing parade of people from across the nation and around the world who are part of Washington's life. The transient visitor may want a worship experience. The area resident may need a fellowship of service. Our ministry also seeks to cut across any barriers that tend to divide Baptists nationally or internationally, and to offer an open place for Christian expression and endeavor."

Slide 6: Foundry United Methodist Church

Distance from the White House: 1.2 miles (about a 6 minute drive)

Affiliation: Methodist

The church that Bill Clinton regularly attended, Foundry United Methodist Church reaches out to all persons, no matter or race, age, economic status, nationality, or sexual orientation. As the church website states, "In 1995, Foundry became one of the first larger United Methodist Churches to publicly affirm its commitment to the full inclusion of all persons when it joined the Reconciling Congregation Movement."


Slide 7: Saint John's

Distance from the White House: 1/2 a mile (about a 1 min. drive)

Affiliation: Episcopal

Known as the "Church of the Presidents", prominently due to its close proximity to the White House, Saint John's boasts that, "every person who has held the office of President of the United States has attended a regular or occasional service at St. John's. Pew 54 is the President's Pew, and is reserved for the chief executive's use when in attendance." Although rarely seen attending public worship, George W. Bush has attended service at Saint John's

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