WASHINGTON -- While St. John's Church is known as the Church of Presidents, it isn't necessarily the "home" church for the nation's chief executives, despite being located across the Lafayette Square from the White House.
Since the Obamas moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW in 2009, the first family has not adopted a home church in the nation's capital. Instead, the Obamas have attended Sunday services at a handful of churches around the city, including St. John's.
This Sunday, the first family attended services at Crestwood's Zion Baptist Church, located just off 16th Street NW a few miles north of the White House. They've also attended the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church on 16th Street NW, Vermont Avenue Baptist in Shaw, Allen Chapel AME on Alabama Avenue, Metropolitan AME on M Street NW near the White House and Shiloh Baptist Church in Shaw.As The Washington Post reported:
Each time the president has stepped into an African American church in the District since his inauguration -- six times, to be exact -- his visit has been preceded by stern warnings from pastors to their flocks to be courteous and respectful in the hopes of wooing the first family. But pastors and members of the churches he has attended have resigned themselves to the fact that Obama might visit but most likely won't join.
With heightened security concerns, attending church isn't a simple Sunday task. Even visits to St. John's, where Pew 54 is reserved for the first family, can be disruptive since they involve shutting down H Street NW, a major crosstown traffic route, and force reroutings of a half-dozen Metrobus routes.
"The preparation to accommodate a president is intense," Bishop T.D. Jakes, who has hosted presidents and other dignitaries at The Potter's House church in Dallas told The Huffington Post last year. "It is ... very difficult to manage for any local church. I also think that many of them don't want to be a distraction of what should be the focal point of the service, which is to worship the Lord."
Here's a photo sampling of the Obama's church visits around the nation's capital.
President Barack Obama listens to an introduction by Pastor Cornelius Wheeler at Vermont Avenue Baptist Church in the District of Columbia neighborhood of Shaw on Jan. 17, 2010 in Washington, DC. President Obama spoke during a service in honor of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Malia and Sasha attend Easter church service at Shiloh Baptist Church in the Shaw neighborhood of the District of Columbia on Sunday, April 24, 2011.
President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Malia and Sasha walk to St John's Church across from the White House in Washington, D.C., on July 17, 2011 to attend a Sunday prayer service.
President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha walk from the White House across Lafayette Park to St. John's Church for Sunday services Dec. 11, 2011 in Washington, D.C.
The Obamas visited the Metropolitan AME Church on M Street NW, a few blocks north of the White House on Jan. 16, 2011. Photo by Flickr user NCinDC.
President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Malia and Sasha walk to St John's Episcopal Church across from the White House on July 17, 2011 to attend a Sunday prayer service.
President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia (partially seen at left) and Sasha attend church services at Zion Baptist Church in the District of Columbia neighborhood of Crestwood on, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012.