In Wake of Rev. Wright, Obama Seeks New Church

"There are some in the African-American community who want to ghettoize him and want to pick a church and other things for him and his family," said activist and preacher the Rev. Al Sharpton.

"He should pick a church that is comfortable for him and his family," Sharpton said. "He should take into consideration more what church he wants to raise his children in than making a political or social statement."

The Clintons regularly attended Foundry United Methodist Church, about a mile from the White House. Bill Clinton is a Southern Baptist. His wife Sen. Hillary Clinton, however, is a Methodist.

Though there has been speculation that the Obamas will select a church before the inauguration on Jan. 20, the Clintons did not attend their first service at Foundry until March, recalled the church's then-pastor, Phil Wogaman.

"We didn't have any advance warning that the Clintons would be attending that morning," Wogaman said. "The Sunday they arrived, it was bitter cold and Washington was walloped by a record snowfall. There were just a handful of people there, and in walked the Clintons. They had walked a mile from the White House in the snow. They looked a little bedraggled, but settled right in. The press and the Secret Service comprised half the congregation that day."

Different Denominations and Congregations

Wogaman, who served as one of Clinton's three "spiritual advisors" in the wake of the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal, said the biggest issue for congregants were the metal detectors set up by the Secret Service on days the first family attended church.

Trinity, Obama's old church in Chicago, is associated with the United Church of Christ, a predominately white mainline Protestant denomination. It has several churches in Washington, some with mostly black congregations.

"Ironically, Wright belonged to the United Church of Christ, a middle-of-the-road white denomination," said Sharpton. "The Wright situation must be something on his mind when looking for a church, but I don't know what his thinking is.

"The truth is, it's a new age in America and in America's churches," Sharpton added. "What were once white churches are now mixed. And what were once black churches are now mixed."

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