Well-Wishers Greet Obamas at Historic Church

Well-Wishers Greet Obamas at Historic Church
January 20, 2013, 5:14 pm
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President Obama spent the final hours before his formal swearing-in ceremony Sunday attending a church service celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The First Family arrived about 30 minutes before the start of the 10 a.m. service at Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church at 1518 M Street, Northwest. Vice President Biden arrived in a separate motorcade with his wife, Jill, a few minutes later.

The line to enter the church for the service stretched down the block, while well-wishers from all over the United States and the world gathered on the sidewalk to try and catch a glimpse of the President as he passed in his motorcade.

"He leaned forward and waved," one admirer told News4's Chris Gordon. "I saw him directly. It made me happy. I just wanted to wave and say, 'we support you.'"

One of those in line to enter the church was Nchimunya Mwap, of Zambia in Africa, who said, "I'm very much excited, all the way from Africa, to be here and worship with the Obamas."

Founded in 1838, Metropolitan is known as "the National Cathedral of African Methodism." President Obama attended a multi-faith service at the church prior to his first inauguration in 2009. Former President Clinton held the official pre-Inaugural prayer services at Metropolitan before both of his inaugurations, in 1993 and 1997.

"In all of our undertakings, we need to move forward under his leadership [and] move forward under his guidance and direction, " said Metropolitan's pastor, Dr. Ronald Braxton. "I think if the country can come together and do that, we'll be a better place."

Following the service, President Obama was scheduled to return to the White House to be formally sworn in to his second term by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts shortly before noon. Vice President Biden was sworn in by Justice Sonia Sotomayor in a brief ceremony at the Naval Observatory in Northwest Washington earlier Sunday morning.