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Jimmy Carter’s Maranatha Baptist Church cancels Sunday service

n this Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, file photo, former President Jimmy Carter teaches Sunday school at Maranatha Baptist Church, in Plains, Ga. Nearly four decades after he left office and despite a body that’s failing after 95 years, the nation’s oldest-ever ex-president still teaches Sunday school roughly twice monthly at the church. (AP Photo/John Amis, File)
n this Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, file photo, former President Jimmy Carter teaches Sunday school at Maranatha Baptist Church, in Plains, Ga. Nearly four decades after he left office and despite a body that’s failing after 95 years, the nation’s oldest-ever ex-president still teaches Sunday school roughly twice monthly at the church. (AP Photo/John Amis, File)

Credit: Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Credit: Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Maranatha Baptist Church, regularly attended by former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, is the latest house of worship in Georgia to cancel Sunday services because of the coronavirus.

The Rev. Tony Lowden informed church members early Saturday morning that services would be halted at the rural church in Plains in southwest Georgia.

“The risks are just too great with an older population and a poor, rural community that doesn’t have all of the health care infrastructures others have,” Lowden told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Maranatha has about 40 members, including Carter and his wife Rosalynn, who attend every Sunday.

Reverend Tony Lowden greets visitors and members in the sanctuary of Maranatha Baptist Church following the worship service on Sunday, June 9, 2019, in Plains. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
Reverend Tony Lowden greets visitors and members in the sanctuary of Maranatha Baptist Church following the worship service on Sunday, June 9, 2019, in Plains. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Lowden’s decision to cancel services is a reminder of how the coronavirus is reshaping daily life. There have been at least two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in nearby Albany.

In Plains, Carter's birthplace and home, about 40% of the population lives below the poverty line.

The closest hospital is in Americus and the median household income is $21,731.