President Carter's church attendance relieves Plains residents

President Carter's church attendance relieves Plains residents
Niece Kim Fuller
Niece Kim Fuller
Jan Williams
Jan Williams

PLAINS, GA (WALB) - Church goers in Plains say President Carter is in good spirits after his cancer diagnosis. Everyone was relieved to see the former President and first lady walk in the doors at church Sunday.

Now, they're preparing for a big crowd this Sunday as President Carter plans to teach Sunday school.

For more than 20 years, President Jimmy Carter has stood in front of hundreds of people at Maranatha Baptist Church and taught Sunday school.

"Even if he were not known for what he's known for being a former president, he would still be teaching for us because of all of his insight and wisdom," said Pastor Jeremy Shoulta.

President Carter is scheduled to speak several more weeks at the small church, and he's not letting this health scare keep him away.

"He made it very clear too that he would be teaching next Sunday," said Williams.

The church is preparing for a huge crowd as calls continue to pour in from all over the world. Doors will open at 8:30, but the 300-seat sanctuary will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.

"While we can't make any guarantees or know exactly what's going to happen, we just very much encourage people to get here early to have a seat," said Shoulta.

The 39th President of the United States announced his cancer diagnosis last week, and many wondered how that would affect his church attendance. Sunday, his fellow church members saw him walk in church like any regular Sunday.

"It was wonderful when he walked in. Everybody just had a sigh of relief. He looked great. He was glad to see everybody," said church member Jan Williams.

"We're going to do all we can to encourage him and to pray for him. In many ways, the same way we would for any other church members and we encourage everyone to do the same," said Shoulta.

President Carter will release more details about his cancer and possible treatment plans this Thursday through the Carter Center.
He's scheduled to teach Sunday school 9 more times through October.

Family members of the former President say the worldwide support has been overwhelming. His niece says calls have been coming in steadily since President Carter announced his diagnosis.

"[Calls have been coming in from] All over the United States. I spoke with a woman this morning from Wilmington North Carolina who's planning to come to the birthday party that we're having for aunt Rosalyn this next weekend. People just coming from everywhere, but it's been overwhelming," said his niece, Kim Fuller.

President Carter is still in Plains and will head to Atlanta sometime this week.

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