Campaign-Free Sunday for Obama, Romney


President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Malia, left, and Sasha walk through Lafayette Park from the White House to St. John’s Episcopal Church in D.C., August 19, 2012.

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By Dan Merica, CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The two men locked in an intense campaign for the White House marked one of the rare days that neither has a campaign event by attending church services with their families on Sunday.

President Barack Obama, along with first lady Michelle Obama and their two daughters, Sasha and Malia, walked across Lafayette Square on an overcast Sunday in the nation’s capital to attend mass at St. John’s Episcopal Church.

During the sermon, the Rev. Michael Angell spoke about what he called “a summer of violence.” He mentioned recent shootings, including the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, that killed 12 people late last month and the shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, that killed six people earlier this month.

Readings during the service included Ephesians 5 and John 6. The first family took Communion from Angell following the sermon.

This is not the first time the president has attended services at St. John’s. Earlier this year, on Easter Sunday, the president attended services there with his family. That was the last time Obama publicly attended church.

Throughout his almost four years in office, Obama has attended a number of different churches in Washington. According to the White House, the president and his family have attended services at nine different churches, including the historic Washington National Cathedral, Shiloh Baptist Church and others.

Romney, who is taking a reprieve from the campaign at his house in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, attended a Mormon sacrament meeting Sunday morning with his wife, Ann, as well as his son Tagg’s family of six children.

Romney and his family on Sunday morning August 19, 2102 attend services at the Mormon church in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.

During the services, the Romney family took part in singing hymns and exchanged pleasantries with other worshipers. Before entering the service, one woman gave Romney a hug and welcomed him back. Romney owns a house on Lake Winnipesaukee in central New Hampshire and has worshiped in Wolfeboro on a number of occasions.

After two members of the prominent Mormon Marriott family spoke to the congregation, the choir director asked for volunteers to join the women’s choir. Romney gave his wife an encouraging nod to join, after which Ann Romney and Tagg’s wife, Jen, joined about 40 women to sing “Because I Have Been Given Much” — a popular Mormon hymn about using the blessings you have been given.

Romney listened intently to the numerous speakers during the service and only occasionally looked away to entertain one of his grandchildren. After the final prayer, Romney shook hands with a man seated nearby.

After a day of prayer and family, tomorrow marks a return to campaigning for the presumptive Republican nominee. Romney will stay local, and his newly minted running mate, Paul Ryan, will meet him in New Hampshire to campaign in the swing state.

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