Amy Sullivan of Time has written about six church options for President-elect Barack Obama and his family -- and, hold the phone, the list does not include St. John's, Lafayette Square ("the church of the presidents") or Washington National Cathedral. At first this feels like an oversight, but Sullivan's creativity soon becomes evident. She asks D.C. veterans for their recommendations, especially considering the unpleasantness involving the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
The story has two especially rich moments:
• Ron Stief, formerly of the United Church of Christ's Washington office, says this of the UCC landscape:
Though there is another black UCC church in town, Stief warns that its pastor might be too "far left" for the First Family -- "I'm not sure Obama would go to that church after the experience with Jeremiah Wright."
• Diana Butler Bass of Virginia Theological Seminary pulls out all the stops in lobbying for The Church of the Epiphany (the one Episcopal congregation that did make the list):
"Epiphany is a downtown Episcopal church with a congregation that is fifty-fifty white and black," she says, "and it has a full spectrum of social class diversity as well as a long history in Washington." Indeed, several members of Lincoln's Cabinet belonged to Epiphany, and it was also very active in supporting the civil rights movement in the 1960s. "It would be an interesting choice that appears to resonate with the new First Family's politics and theology," says Bass. "Plus, my 11-year-old daughter wants Malia in her Sunday school class."
Congratulations to Ms. Bass for taking a page from Beth Dozoretz, who delivered a letter from her fourth-grade daughter asking that Malia become her classmate at Sidwell Friends School.
Sullivan consults two conservatives for her story. Michael Cromartie of the Ethics and Public Policy Center recommends Metropolitan A.M.E. Church and Joseph Loconte thinks Washington Community Fellowship is worth consideration.
Burns Strider, religious outreach director for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, keeps his advice within Sen. Clinton's Methodist circle, but instead of the Clintons' favorite, Foundry (which has ties to Abraham Lincoln), he points the Obamas toward Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church.
Flo McAfee takes the prize for least predictable advice, however, in making the case for the Memorial Chapel at Fort Myer:
There are services for a large number of traditions on base throughout the weekend at both Memorial Chapel and the Old Post Chapel. On Sundays at noon there is a gospel service that precedes Sunday school. "There are always a lot of military kids who live on base," says McAfee. "There would be plenty of activities for Sasha and Malia."
There's one other brilliant touch in this charming feature: Sullivan works a Goldendoodle reference into her lede. May the Goldendoodle lobby gain power by the day.
Photo of Memorial United Methodist Church used with the permission of Pirate_J.