Maranatha Baptist Church: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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Jimmy Carter teaches Sunday School at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia. That’s where he announced he’s cancer free. (Facebook/MBCPlains)

Former president Jimmy Carter announced that he was cancer free during the Sunday School class that he teaches at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia. He also announced his grandson’s death at Maranatha Baptist, just before he taught a Sunday School class. Carter has been teaching Sunday School classes at this church for a long time. Why does he love the church so much and why did he keep teaching, even after tragedies and sicknesses?

Here’s what you need to know.

1. Carter Announced That He’s Cancer Free to His Sunday School Class at Maranatha Baptist

Carter announced that MRI scans couldn’t find signs of old or new cancer on Sunday morning, to a packed crowd of 350 people. Carter has been teaching Sunday School class at Maranatha Baptist for years. The class erupted into applause when he shared the good news, AJC reported. Jan Williams, who is a friend of Carter’s and spends the hour before his class every week letting visitors know all the do’s and dont’s for the class, said:

It’s like getting the biggest Christmas gift that you could ever want…

He added that he didn’t think God was through using Carter.

2. Maranatha Is Carter’s Home Church And He’s Been Teaching There For Years

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Maranatha Baptist is Jimmy Carter’s home church. (Facebook/MBCPlains)

Maranatha is Carter’s home church. It’s located in Plains, Georgia, and he’s been teaching and attending there for years. He never lets his personal news overshadow the real reason he’s there: teaching about Jesus Christ. On the day he made an announcement about his cancer diagnosis, he went on to teach about what Jesus said on loving your enemies and praying for those who persecuted you, NPR reported. 

3. His Marathon Classes After His Diagnosis Concerned His Friends

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Jimmy Carter taught a marathon of Sunday School classes at Maranatha after his diagnosis. (Facebook/MBCPlains)

After his cancer diagnosis, Carter actually started teaching even more, MyAJC reported. Just three days after one of his radiation treatments, he taught back-to-back classes at Maranatha. First he taught one Sunday School class at Maranatha, which seats 460 including an overflow room. Then he went to Plains High School a half-mile down the road and taught a second class to 240 people. He and his wife, Rosalynn, posed for pictures and then went back to Maranatha and posed for more pictures. It was all Carter’s idea.

4. Maranatha Had to Set Up Rules for Carter’s Classes Because Thousands Would Sometimes Show Up

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Maranatha had to set up specific rules because so many people were coming for Jimmy Carter’s classes. (Facebook/MBCPlains)

Some Sundays, even before the sun is up, a long line snakes around the church of people who want to attend Carter’s class, NPR reported. Once the church tried to seat everyone who showed up, but they ended up trying to fit in 900 people, which pushed the legal limits. The staff try to fit in who they can, but often hundreds are left outside. Carter tries to meet with the people who can’t get inside at a schoolhouse later, but sometimes everyone doesn’t fit in there either. The rules that Maranatha had to set up to accommodate so many visitors are detailed on the church’s website. They include opening the doors at 7:30 a.m. to allow more time for seating. Sunday School seating is still on a first-come, first-served basis.

5. Here’s How You Can Attend Carter’s Sunday School Class

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Here’s how you can attend Jimmy Carter’s Sunday School class. (Facebook/MBCPlains)

If you’re interested in attending, here’s what you should know. The doors open at 7:30 a.m. and there’s an orientation at 9:00 a.m. Crowds change from week to week and seats aren’t guaranteed. Carter teaches in the sanctuary, which seats about 300 people. If the sanctuary is full, you may be able to watch his class on a 36-inch TV in the Fellowship Hall. He greets people in the Fellowship Hall after his class concludes.

You can get one photo per family after the class, but you can’t reserve seats to his class ahead of time. He doesn’t give autographs at the church.

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