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Leawood pastor gives sermon at inaugural National Prayer Service

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LEAWOOD, KS (KCTV) -

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and their families plan to attend a prayer service Tuesday morning at the Washington National Cathedral.

The 106-year-old Episcopal church has long hosted presidential inaugural services. It was also the site of funerals for former presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his last sermon there in 1968.

Earlier this month, the cathedral said it would begin hosting same-sex weddings that combine civil marriage ceremonies under local law with a blessing from the church.

Rev. Adam Hamilton, senior pastor at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, KS, will give Tuesday's sermon. Children from the Washington Performing Arts Society's Children of the Gospel Choir will sing.

"It's a rare opportunity to have a chance to preach to the first family," Hamilton said.

He asked for prayers to support him when he preaches Tuesday in Washington. It's a tradition on the day after the inauguration since George Washington's time.

"I hope you feel that's an affirmation of you as a congregation. I'm invited to preach because of the kind of people that you are," Hamilton said.

Hamilton ran through the service Sunday at the National Cathedral.

"One of the things that struck me as I was standing in the pulpit was just tomorrow is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and the last service Martin Luther King preached on a Sunday morning was preached from that pulpit," he said.

An honor adding even more weight to Hamilton's task. His congregation shares in the pride of the moment.

"It's quite an honor for the Kansas City community, and also for this church," said Managing Executive Director Dan Entwhistle.

But they also wonder what they would say if they had the ear of the president and the nation.

"How do you comfort a country that's very divided on a lot of issues," congregation member Diane Robertson questioned.

"We may not all agree on policies, we may not all be on the same platform when it comes to politics, but we are in this together," congregation member Mary Haines added.

And offering a sneak peak, Hamilton said that message of unity will be his focus.

"Helping America remember what it means to be America and finding a common vision that brings together Republicans and Democrats," Hamilton said.

A message church members believe everyone will embrace.

"I can't wait to see it and just woohoo in the background," Robertson said.

The church is also an American story of inspiration itself, growing from a very small congregation more than 20 years ago to more than 18,000 members open to all, now the largest United Methodist Church in the country.

Many of those members will be at the church on Tuesday, gathered together to watch their pastor's sermon remotely from Washington.

Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.)  All rights reserved.  The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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