Carter shows up for Sunday school, church service

Four days after he told the world he had cancer, former President Jimmy Carter did what comes most naturally to him.

He went to church.

Actually, Carter showed up a little over an hour before the 11 a.m. worship service at his longtime church here, Maranatha Baptist. The lifelong Plains resident — except for when he’s in Atlanta or traveling the world on behalf of The Carter Center — attended Sunday school. Accompanied by his wife, Rosalynn, they exhanged long hugs and chatted with many of the approximately 30 church members who’d shown up for this week’s lesson held in an annex room. Then they settled into a pair of folding chairs to take part in the class that this week was being taught by their niece, Kim Fuller, another longtime Maranatha member whose father was Billy Carter.

As many as 350 visitors have been known to show up when President Carter teaches Sunday school, causing the classes to be held in Maranatha’s main sanctuary. Carter has long been on the schedule to teach next Sunday’s class, but has said nothing publicly about his plans since releasing a three-sentence statement through the Carter Center last Wednesday confirming his diagnosis.

But before heading into the sanctuary for the worship service, Carter stopped to greet a reporter.

“Kim was good, wasn’t she,” he said. “I’ll be teaching Sunday school next week.”