Unlike previous presidents of recent memory, the Obamas have shown once again that they see themselves as part of the Washington DC community. They chose a black church in Southeast DC to worship on Sun along with DC Mayor Adrian Fenty and (ahem) the infamous former mayor Marion Barry, who remains a popular figure in SE. Given the horrific drive-by shooting violence earlier last week in SE, it’s important that the Obamas were there to signal an interest in the community’s welfare & healing.

Evidently the appearance shocked the heck out of people in attendance. I understand the security issues involved with letting people know the Obamas are gonna be at church on Sun, but for realz — the First Family and the Secret Service should count themselves lucky that nobody’s grandmama got the vapors, went cross-eyed and then dropped completely dead in a pew down front or the aisle. There’s really just only so much surprise that ordinary black people can normally handle all at once… Chile, you know there was an unusually high volume of program fanning for the first 30 minutes of the service yesterday!

From CNN Political Ticker:

President Barack Obama and his family chose a historically African-American church in southeast Washington, D.C., for Easter observances Sunday, entering a few minutes late to the sounds of “Alleluia,” which opened the 11 a.m. service.

Congregants at the Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church broke into cheers and applause, snapping cell phone pictures when Obama, wife Michelle, daughters Malia and Sasha, and mother-in-law Marian Robinson arrived via a side door.

Several speakers during the service acknowledged the first family’s attendance at the church, which calls itself “The Cathedral of Southeast.”

The church’s pastor, the Rev. Dr. Michael E. Bell Sr., referred to the president as the “most intelligent, most anointed, most charismatic president,” while complimenting Michelle Obama, who wore a cream-colored dress with elbow-length sleeves.

Bell also acknowledged the timing of Obama’s visit to the church, five days after a March 30 shooting spree in the region killed four people and wounded five others.

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