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D.C. churches ask: Where will Obamas worship?

Frederick Douglass once worshiped in the fifth pew on the 16th Street side of Metropolitan AME Church. President Bill Clinton prayed here before both of his inaugurations.

Come January, members hope President-elect Barack Obama and his family pick a pew at the historic black church just walking distance from the White House.

"When our forefathers established this church, it was intentionally placed six blocks from the White House, close to the seat of power," said member Tony Hawkins. "We would expect him to pay us a visit sometime in the next four to eight years. If he decided to make us his church in the city, we would be honored."

Metropolitan AME is not the only congregation willing to roll out the red carpet -- and metal detectors -- for the first family and its entourage. Elsewhere, the choir at Shiloh Baptist Church has already begun arranging hymns for a January worship service marking Obama's inauguration and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.

In addition, the United Church of Christ invited Obama to shop for a church within the denomination he has called home for more than 20 years.

After the controversy over the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. and Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ, where Obama became a Christian more than 20 years ago, the new president's anticipated choice of a spiritual haven in Washington is a public affair, whether he likes it or not.

Experts say Obama must find a pastor who supports and challenges him but also inspires a broad swath of the American population. He must find a church that not only reflects the principles of his administration but also helps shape the values of his daughters. And lastly, he must have a place where he feels comfortable communing with God.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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