Obama starts Inauguration Day with visit to church

The first family, along with Vice President Joe Biden and his family, went to St. John's Episcopal Church near the White House.

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama and his family began Inauguration Day by attending services at St. John's Episcopal Church near the White House.

The presidential motorcade arrived shortly after 8:30 a.m. under crisp, cold skies outside the sanctuary. The president and first lady Michelle Obama emerged to pose briefly for photos with their daughters Sasha and Malia before entering the church. The first family sometimes attends Sunday worship at the church, which is across Lafayette Park from the White House.

Vice President Joe Biden and his family also attended.

At the service, Pastor Andy Stanley asked what people do when they realize they are the most powerful person in the room.

"You leverage that power for the benefit of other people in the room," he said. "Jesus would say to do less than that would be to declare yourself greater than me."

To the president, Stanley said, "Mr. President, you have an awfully big room. My prayer to you is to leverage that power for the stewardship of our nation."

After that, Obama stood to receive a blessing from Bishop Vashti McKenzie.

Meanwhile crowds were gathering at the National Mall to watch Obama take the oath of office later in the morning for his second term.

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