Georgia church limits entry for Jimmy Carter's Sunday school

Fri Aug 28, 2015 3:43am EDT
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By Mike Cooper

ATLANTA (Reuters) - The Georgia church where Jimmy Carter teaches Sunday school lessons said it would limit visitors starting this weekend to deal with crowds hoping to see the former U.S. president who is undergoing treatment for cancer.

Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia, where Carter taught two classes last Sunday to accommodate attendance, said on Thursday on its website that it had room for only 400 people "from a practical and safety standpoint."

The church, which seats about 300 people in its sanctuary, was packed last Sunday after Carter, 90, announced to the world that cancer had spread to his brain.

The church said that on Sunday mornings visitors would be given numbers "to ensure orderly and fair entrance into President Carter's class." Another hundred or so people would be permitted to watch the class on a television in the church's Fellowship Hall.

It said overflow crowds would be directed to the old Plains High School to hear Carter's class through an audio feed.

"The Carters will only pose for photos with those who are able to fit into the space at Maranatha Baptist church," the church said.

Carter, a lifelong Baptist and deacon who has taught classes at the church for more than two decades, is scheduled to teach next Sunday and six other dates in September and October.

"I intend to keep on teaching here at Maranatha as long as I'm able," Carter told the packed sanctuary on Sunday.   Continued...

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter takes questions from the media during a news conference about his recent cancer diagnosis and treatment plans, at the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia August 20, 2015. REUTERS/John Amis