However, the organization has also made a concerted effort to reach out to white evangelicals, the group most associated with the Christian right. Several white evangelical pastors turned out for the event, and at times seemed a bit bemused by the unfamiliar surroundings.
Although polling shows little sign that evangelical voters are moving to the left, some of those in the movement see subtle signs of change.
"It's not monolithic, especially with the millennials," said Rev. Dave Workman, pastor at the Vineyard Community Church in Cincinnati, referring to the generation that grew up around 2000. "It's changing rapidly, and they don't want to be known as just a two-issue church."
Those two issues, of course, are abortion and same-sex marriage.
Workman and others, including Beard, side with Republicans on those issues, as do most of their congregants. But they believe other issues are just as important.
Although he sees abortion as a "justice issue for a human being with a beating heart," Beard also believes in "a whole pro-life position" that focuses on what happens after someone is born. "The Scriptures," he said, "call on us to engage with the needs of the poor and the widow and the immigrant."
All of that can lead a theological conservative to a more liberal political position.
Beard is not taking a partisan stand on the presidential election. His congregants who do are all over the political map. He estimates that a third are Democrats, a third are Republicans and a third are independent.
Beard's church is an anomaly. When he became senior pastor of First Christian Assembly of God in 2001, the church was 98% white. He has pushed a theme of "racial reconciliation," and today the church has a new name — Peoples Church — and a new hue, with fully half its members being nonwhite. A church, Beard said, should look like "the kingdom of heaven": all colors.
Earl Hughes has been a member of the church since 1966 and has embraced its change. A retired teacher and school administrator, he is a political independent who voted for George W. Bush twice and for Obama in 2008.
This year, he's not sure. He doesn't approve of the president's healthcare plan or his handling of the economy, and he wishes Obama had gotten the United States out of Iraq and Afghanistan more quickly. "I feel like the way he's addressed these issues has not been decisive enough," he said.
At the same time, he likes Obama personally and believes the president demonstrates "family values." He wants a president who will attack social injustices such as racism. Although Hughes opposes abortion, Obama's pro-abortion-rights position is not a deal-breaker. As for Romney, Hughes doesn't know enough yet to decide.
He is, in other words, precisely the sort of independent, religious voter Obama needs. At the moment, he doesn't look like a good bet, but that could change. "I'm not anti-Obama," Hughes said. "I'm just not pro-Obama right now."
One in a series of occasional stories on the states that will determine the next president.