By Bob Allen
Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Ga., announced Aug. 27 it would begin limiting the size of crowds attending a Sunday school class taught by former President Jimmy Carter.
Last Sunday Carter, 90, for the first time pulled double duty, teaching an extra Bible study session because an extra-large crowd the first weekend after he announced he is being treated for cancer could not fit inside the church sanctuary and overflow seating.
A statement on the church website said that “from a practical and safety standpoint,” church leaders decide to allow no more than 400 people into the church building, beginning this Sunday.
Visitors can show up as early as a minute past midnight. Each will be issued a number on arrival and must remain at Maranatha Baptist Church to ensure entrance into Carter’s class. No camping will be allowed, and visitors must stay in their vehicles, except to use the restroom, until 7 a.m., when they will line up by number for admittance into the church building by about 7:30.
Visitors who arrive after seating is filled may watch Carter’s 10 a.m. lesson on live video stream at the Plains High School, part of the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site managed by the U.S. National Park Service.
Members of Maranatha Baptist Church will be there to assist visitors, but only those able to fit inside the church building will be able to pose for photos with President and Mrs. Carter.
Carter’s updated schedule shows him planning to teach lessons Aug. 30; Sept. 6, 13 and 27; and Oct. 4, 18 and 25.