Gov. Ralph Northam attended his home church on the Eastern Shore Sunday morning as some of his strongest allies in Virginia's Democratic Party took their calls for him to resign to the national airwaves.

As demands intensified for him to step down over the discovery of a racist photo on Northam's 1984 medical school yearbook page, he retreated to his family home near the village of Onancock with his wife, Pam, to reflect on the situation, according to one person who has been in contact with the governor.

On Sunday morning he attended his longtime church, First Baptist Church in Capeville, Virginia, whose pastor - Kelvin Jones - is African-American and had been in Richmond the day before to pray with Northam.

Northam initially apologized Friday for the image that appeared on his medical school yearbook page of one person dressed in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan robe, but reversed himself Saturday and insisted he was not in the photo.

After a nationally televised press conference Saturday in which Northam said he was not in the photo but admitted another incident in which he wore blackface to imitate Michael Jackson, Northam told several supporters privately that he would continue to defend his honor.

But as he worshipped in church on Sunday, top Virginia Democrats repeated their assertion that he had broken the public trust and needed to step aside.

Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who helped Northam win the state's top office and under whom Northam served as lieutenant governor, said he was "heartbroken" over the discovery of the photo. But he said Northam's insistence that he was not in the photo was irrelevant.

"It doesn't matter whether he was in the photo, or not in the photo at this point," he said on CNN's "State of the Union. "We have to close that chapter."

McAuliffe, a possible 2020 presidential contender, also defended Northam, saying he will be remembered for doing some great things, including helping McAuliffe restore the voting rights of Virginians who completed their sentences for felonies - many of whom are African-American.

But McAuliffe said part of Northam's legacy should be choosing "the right moral course for Virginia" and resigning.

Host Jake Tapper noted the nickname "Coonman" appeared in Northam's Virginia Military Institute yearbook and cited other examples before asking McAuliffe is Northam is racist.

"I have zero indication of that," he said.

Yet he strongly rejected any suggestion that blackface was somehow acceptable in a different time and place.

"I knew at a young age, blackface, 1985, you just didn't do it, it was offensive," he said.

During Saturday's news conference, Northam disclosed that he had once applied shoe polish to his face as part of a Michael Jackson costume that he wore when he won a dance competition in 1984.

When a reporter asked Northam if he could still do Jackson's signature "moonwalk" dance, and it appeared that Northam might demonstrate it in front of dozens of reporters on live television, McAuliffe said he "winced." Northam's wife stopped him from doing the move.

"We're talking about a very, very serious issue," McAuliffe said. "I agree with the first lady of Virginia. I agree with Pam Northam."

On NBC's "Meet the Press," Rep. A. Donald McEachin, D-Va., speaking as a member of Congressional Black Caucus leadership, said there's nothing Northam can do to convince him to give him more time in office.

"He's lost the authority to lead," said McEachin, who served in the Virginia state Senate with Northam. "He's lost the authority to govern. He has to resign. It's in the best interest of the commonwealth. It's in the best interest of the party."

In his news conference Saturday, Northam seemed to suggest that appearing in blackface was an accepted part of the culture in 1984 where he grew up on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

McEachin said there was a time when slavery, Jim Crow and the refusal to integregate public schools known as Massive Resistance were commonplace but that doesn't excuse the atrocities.

"If blackface was commonplace in 1984, that doesn't make it right and Ralph Northam should have known better," McEachin said.

Also on "Meet the Press," Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., the chair of the CBC, said Northam's apparent willingness to do the "moonwalk" until his wife stopped him shows he continued to underestimate the seriousness of his actions.

"He was completely disingenuous when he talked about he didn't understand this in 1984 and that this was commonplace," Bass said. "He basically said he participated in it."

Lamont Bagby, chair of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, said despite his repeated calls for Northam to resign, impeachment isn't publicly on the table yet.

"I encourage the governor to step aside so that we can start the healing process," Bagby said on ABC's "This Week." "I'm not at a point where I want to publicly have a conversation about impeachment."

Former Virginia congressman Jim Moran, a Democrat, emerged Sunday as the virtually the only person defending Northam and encouraged him to ride it out.

"I hate to be on the other side of virtually all of my friends on this," he said on "This Week."

"But I do disagree with their judgment because I think it is a rush to judgment before we know all of the facts and before we've considered all of the consequences," Moran said.

Moran said Northam should be given a chance to redeem himself and invoked President Lyndon Johnson's ability to work with conservative Republicans because of his background in Texas.

"No untarnished liberal from the North could ever have gotten the Great Society programs passed," Moran said, "but he was able to work with his Southern colleagues because he knew where they were coming from. We still have a conservative Republican legislature and, frankly, I think that Ralph will have the highest motivation possible to bring us further away from this horrible past of racism."

Then Moran brought up Robert Byrd, the long-serving Democratic senator from West Virginia, who was a member of the Ku Klux Klan in the early 1940s but after many decades in the Senate helped set aside land on the National Mall for a memorial to Martin Luther King Jr.

"That's the power of redemption," Moran said.

Ralph Northam's page in the 1984 yearbook of Eastern Virginia Medical School in which two people are wearing blackface and a KKK costume. MUST CREDIT: Obtained by The Washington Post
Ralph Northam's page in the 1984 yearbook of Eastern Virginia Medical School in which two people are wearing blackface and a KKK costume. MUST CREDIT: Obtained by The Washington Post