SUNDAY SCHOOL WITH A FORMER PRESIDENT
Out of the many attractions and suggestions that Atlanta has to offer, this surely will be one off the beaten path. It’ll require some patience, getting up before dawn, and a bit of a drive…But those who’ve done it, describe it as a unique once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States, was born and raised on a peanut farm in rural Plains, Georgia. Prior to becoming POTUS, he served as Georgia State Senator from 1963-1967 and Georgia Governor from 1971-1975.
Shortly after leaving the White House in 1981, he went back to Georgia, where he would split his time between Plains and Atlanta. On Sundays, President Carter would teach Sunday School at Maranatha Baptist Church-and has done so ever since. Now, visitors flock from all over to hear the humble man teach the musings of the scripture. His tenure in the Oval Office might have been unpopular, but he is well-known for his worldwide humanitarian efforts.
At age 95 (at the time of this writing), President Carter still keeps busy schedule. You might find him building a house for Habitat for Humanity or overseeing an election for the United Nations. Be sure to check the church’s website below to see which specific days he’ll teach Sunday school. When President Carter is teaching, doors to the church open at 8a.m. However, people typically start lining up as early as 5:30a-6:00a.m. so get there early!
From Jonesboro/Lovejoy, it’s a 2-hour drive (see opening sentence). There is an orientation at 9 a.m. and Sunday School begins at 10 a.m. and will last an hour before worship service begins at 11 a.m. It is recommended that you only bring what you need, Secret Service (which protects all former living presidents) will be doing searches of bags and purses.
The Sunday School room has a capacity of 350, with an additional 175 in an overflow space with closed-circuit television access. You can make a reservation for up to a family of 4, but this doesn’t guarantee you a seat if you’re late. Normally there is a receiving line to take pictures with President & Mrs. Carter. But this is only if you stay for BOTH Sunday School and Worship Service.
The town of Plains is very small and can be driven through it in 10 minutes. Practically everything in Plains is dedicated to the Carters and members of their family, including his childhood home, his father’s gas station, a rehabilitation center named after his mother, and a big peanut statue fashioned after his family smile.
The closest big city to Plains is Columbus, 58 minutes away in the direction of Alabama. While en route back to Jonesboro, we recommend you stop in historic Macon (see next article) and make an afternoon of it.
Note: COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines could alter any or all of the above information- check with the church’s website and local state and county officials on any ordinances or mandates.
Maranatha Baptist Church 148 GA-45
Plains, GA 31780