KING FAMILY CELEBRATES—Bernice King, center, and Christine King Farris, left, the daughter and sister of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., applaud while watching a broadcast as President Barack Obama is inaugurated following the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday commemorative service at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Monday, Jan. 21. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
by Bankole Thompson
(RTNS)—President Barack Obama and the first family on Sunday visited Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Washington, D.C., known as the “National Cathedral of African Methodism” to worship.
About 1500 congregants and senior pastor Rev Ronald E. Braxton jubilantly welcomed the president on the eve of his inauguration, which is also the birthday of Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The church also sang happy birthday for First Lady Michelle Obama who turned 49 on Jan.17.
President Obama’s visit to Metropolitan AME is significant because it also marked the eve of the church’s historic 175th anniversary and underscores Obama’s faith posture, which came under fire during his first term in office when some on the religious right were questioning his faith.
“It was beautiful and it was spiritual,” said Tijuana Morris who attended the service. “I took pride in the service that our president was in the church.”
The church beautifully decorated to honor the president’s visit according to Rev. Dr. Garland-Hill, a minister at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church in Detroit sends a strong message that “Obama is not only the president of all of us but he remembers his roots and his ancestors and the role they played for us to be where we are today.”
The AME church which grew out of the anti-segregationist movement in 1787 has since been a major spiritual denomination for African-Americans when it was first founded by Richard Allen.
The Metropolitan AME has had a revered history and distinguished record of notable African-Americans and transformational leaders who either spoke at the church or attended regular Sunday service there.