Trumps Attend Christmas Eve Services at Florida Church Where They Married

Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church
An exterior photo of Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church where the wedding of Donald Trump to 34-year-old Slovenian model Melanai Knauss will take place in West Palm Beach, Florida, January 22, 2005. |

President-elect Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, attended Christmas Eve services at the same Florida church where they were married 11 years ago. 

The worship service the Trumps attended was held at 10:30 p.m. at the Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea in West Palm Beach, with The Washington Post reporting that the Trumps' arrival sparked "a round of applause from fellow congregants as they entered the sanctuary."

"The service ended after midnight, and the Trumps returned to Mar-a-Lago, where they were expected to celebrate Christmas with family and friends at the private club," reported the Post.

"The Trumps attended Christmas Eve services at the church last year during the campaign, and they returned for Easter services there in March."

The Post also noted that while the church rector, the Rev. James Harlan, avoided politics in his sermon, at one point he did seem to offer advice for the president-elect and other congregants. 

"All of us have some hurts, some resentments, some fears, some ways that someone has hurt us or offended us in the past that we won't let go of," said Harlan.

"I can tell you over time those little hurts, those little slights, those little things consume us, and they will push out that space for God's love all too easily."

While campaigning to be elected president, Trump denounced the practice of many businesses to use the phrase "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas," vowing the bring the latter term back into more common use.

For example, during a speech given at a 2015 dinner hosted by the Iowa Faith and Freedom Center, Trump bemoaned Macy's lack of using the phrase "Merry Christmas."

"You take your boy to Macy's and you take your boy to these stores and they don't have the word. And I want Christmas ... I want people to be able to celebrate Christmas," said Trump, receiving a loud ovation in response.

"Somebody said 'well that's not the biggest part' — let me tell you that's a big part! It's a big part. You know what they're doing. Every year it gets worse and worse and before you know it, you won't be able to go to church the way they are doing it."

The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea was founded in 1889, with its current historic building having been completed in 1925.

"2014 marked Bethesda-by-the-Sea's 125th year of worshiping and serving God, and together we the year celebrating all aspects of our mission and ministry," noted the church's website.

"In addition we have undertaken an critical and ambitious restoration project, along with a drive to preserve our buildings and grounds for many generations to come."

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