Church members talk about Jimmy Carter’s legacy at Plains church where he taught Sunday school

PLAINS, Ga. — Former President Jimmy Carter is very connected to Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia.

On Sunday, churchgoers spoke with Channel 2′s Richard Elliott about Carter’s life, celebrating him even though they are sad.

“Plains is sad. We’re all sad. We knew this day was coming,” Jan Williams, a longtime member of Maranatha Baptist Church, said.

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Williams is also a longtime friend of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter.

She was Amy Carter’s fourth-grade teacher.

Williams helps run the church and was inside when the former president’s niece Kim Fuller taught Sunday school, something Carter did for decades.

Fuller taught a lesson about King Solomon’s legacy and hinted at its meaning Sunday.

“Maybe it’s time to pass the baton. Who’ll pick it up? No clue. I don’t know because that baton is going to be a really big one,” Fuller said.


The Carter Center issued a statement Saturday saying Jimmy Carter would be receiving home hospice care instead of additional medical interventions.

Zac Steele is a deacon at Maranatha and tried to explain to us the former president’s legacy here.

“It’s a big one. I don’t even know where we start or where we finish because it’ll never be finished what he’s done here,” Steele said.

When Carter taught Sunday school here, crowds as big as 400 and 500 people would line up to listen.

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But since health reasons forced him to stop, Williams says the crowds have dwindled down to barely a handful.

Still, she rejoices at how her friend “Mr. Jimmy” touched so many lives inside and outside Maranatha Baptist Church.

“I want to say something because I want people to know this man may be leaving this world, but what a wonderful place he’s going to,” Williams said.