UPDATE: More pool reports added below.
President Obama is making a rare appearance in church this morning, forsaking the golf course on one of the most beautiful days of the year to go and receive the gospel of St. Luke.
The Obamas walked together out of the White House and across Lafayette Square to St. John’s, the church where presidents have worshiped throughout the years.
Here is the pool report describing the morning’s activity.
The first family left the White House on foot this morning for the 9am choral holy eucharist service and sermon at St John’s Church Lafayette Square.
The Obamas walked out of the residence at 8.49am and crossed the park to the nearby Episcopal church.
The president was wearing a dark suit and held Sasha Obama’s hand. She was wearing a blue dress and cream cardigan. Michelle and Malia Obama were wearing cream-colored dresses. (Check photos for accuracy of descriptions. It’s sunny and pool was at a distance.)
The service sheet doesn’t indicate what the sermon is on but the gospel is Luke 16:1-13, which ends ‘You cannot serve God and wealth.’
Lafayette Park and Pennsylvania Avenue in front of White House were closed to the public.
The Wall Street Journal
From the second pool report.
The sermon was on the Luke passage mentioned in first pool report, the parable of the dishonest steward.
St. John’s rector the Revd. Dr Luis Leon, preaching, said the parable was a complicated one but that he understood it as an instruction to “act shrewdly on behalf of God” and that Luke is advising that listeners make choices about God and that “the time to act is now.”
The Obamas sat a few rows back from the altar, among around 40 worshippers. The first family all went up for communion, led by the president.
The first family left the church by the side door at 10.03am and walked slowly through the park back to the White House.
The sermon also included some reflections on the story as an example of how “Jesus has a sense of humor… he also likes to shock us” and the extent to which “everyone has cut a corner or two.”
Revd. Leon said that for him, an example was accepting a good citizenship award and $50 from the DAR in Rome, Georgia, when he was graduating high school there. “Now the problem was, I wasn’t a citizen,” he said, prompting laughter from the congregation.
Revd. Leon also referenced “The Help”, which he said he’d just finished reading, as an instance where three women in the 1960s south rise above what is expected of them by breaking the rules.
All four members of the family took communion when they went up to the altar.
Sitting with the first family was Joshua Dubois, head of the White House faith and neighborhood partnerships office.
POTUS appeared to share a joke with the rector while leaving the church.
Clothing clarification: First lady was wearing a white dress with flowered pattern and light-colored jacket over it. Malia Obama was wearing a blue dress with flowered pattern and light-colored jacket over it.