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Trump begins inauguration day activities with church service

(Photo shows US President-elect Donald Trump and his wife Melania speak with Reverend Luis Leon at St. John’s Episcopal Church before Trump’s inauguration. Credits: Nicholas Kamm/AFP)

US President-elect Donald Trump on Friday attended the first event of his jam-packed inauguration day -- a prayer service just hours before he takes the oath of office.

Trump, his wife Melania and his adult children arrived at St. John's Church near the White House for what was expected to be an hour-long service before he heads for morning tea with outgoing President Barack Obama.

The sermon will be given by Southern Baptist pastor Robert Jeffress, who has drawn sharp criticism for his inflammatory remarks about Muslims, Mormons, Catholics and gays.

Jeffress, who leads the First Baptist Church in Dallas, once accused outgoing President Barack Obama of "paving the way" for the Antichrist, and has called Islam an "evil religion."

Vice President-elect Mike Pence and his family were also to attend the service.

Jeffress tweeted a picture of himself in front of St. John's with the message: "Delivering sermon for Trump/Pence private family service at 8:30am CT. Topic: 'When God Chooses a Leader' from Nehemiah."

The Obamas and the Trumps will then travel the 2.5 miles (four kilometers) down Pennsylvania Avenue to the swearing-in ceremony on the steps of the Capitol.

Topics: US , politics , inauguration , Trump , church
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