Obama, first family attend boisterous Easter service

US President Bararck Obama looks on while making a statement at the White House in Washington, DC, on April 2, 2015 (AFP Photo/Nicholas Kamm) (AFP/File)

Washington (AFP) - President Barack Obama attended a spirited Easter service at a historic black church on Sunday, in keeping with the first family's tradition of visiting local Washington area congregations.

The president, his wife Michelle and their two teenaged daughters attended the Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia, its pews filled with congregants who could barely contain their excitement over the visit.

"How fitting that on the day we celebrate the rising of our Lord and Savior, we also welcome our sitting president," Pastor Howard-John Wesley said to applause from enthusiastic worshippers, whom he urged to keep their cellphones in their pockets and purses.

"This is not selfie time," he said to laughter. "Let the brother worship in the house of God."

The congregation, including the president, rose to their feet during a rousing hymn sung by the choir, with Obama bobbing his head, clapping, and swaying to the accompaniment by a live band.

One congregant couldn't refrain from posting a tweet.

"Y'all...I'm worshipping on Easter Sunday with the First Family. I...LOVE...my...church. The Resurrection is indeed real," read the message, retweeted by the Alfred Baptist Church from its own Twitter account.

The president and his family, rather than selecting one church to frequent as some other presidents have, have attended various Washington area churches from time to time.