PBS show ponders Obama church choices: AME church a possibility

January 13, 2009

If the Obamas were to look for a mainline church whose past includes a long line of White House occupants, they might choose National Presbyterian Church or one very close by, St. John’s Episcopal Church, according to a television report on Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.

Yet the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, also known as the National Cathedral of African Methodism and a center of progressive religious causes, could win favor. Soon-to-be first lady Michelle Obama’s family has ties to the AME Church.

At the same time, “we know [President-elect] Obama likes good church music, so he may want to base a decision on that,” noted reporter Kim Lawton on the December 13 PBS program. “If so, there’s the Southern Baptist Church Praise and Worship Center, which, by the way, is not associated with the Southern Baptist Convention,” she said before interviewing its copastors, Charles and Eleanor Doom.

Washington has eight United Church of Christ congregations—Obama’s former denomination. Another possible church home is National City Christian Church. That multiracial congregation, whose pastor is Stephen Gentle, is part of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), which closely cooperates with the UCC.