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Trip report to Plains GA to hear Jimmy Carter teach Sunday School

Trip report to Plains GA to hear Jimmy Carter teach Sunday School

Aug 24th, 2008, 07:03 PM
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Trip report to Plains GA to hear Jimmy Carter teach Sunday School

This has been on my "to do" list for a while and I just returned from a little trip.

I joined folks from Georgia, Florida, Alabama, South Dakota and Kansas as well as folks from Greece, Belarus and Bulgaria in the sanctuary of Maranantha Baptist Church to hear Jimmy Carter teach Sunday School.

He teaches Sunday School quite often and the calendar is listed on the church's website -

I enjoyed the experience very much. A friend had gone and warned me that one should go early and wait before the church doors open at 8:30 am for the 10:00 Sunday School lesson. We were experiencing a tropical storm and hoped that would have an impact on attendance. It did. The numbers there were much smaller than usual.

He teaches Sunday School in the sanctuary that seats 300 and there is room for an overflow of 150 in another room. "Miss Jan" who gives the orientation that the Sunday that 875 showed up was a challenge.

"Miss Jan", a former schoolteacher, makes sure that EVERYONE understands the rules. No applause as he enters or leaves. They DID applause the Sunday after he won the Nobel Peace Prize. She shared how he will ask those attending where they are from and during that time you can take pictures. If you take pictures during the lesson, she will take the camera away and you can discuss the situation with the Secret Service agents who have your camera . She reminded everyone that this is a worship service and he is not here to entertain. He studies hard before each lesson and this means a lot to him.

You can tell. The lesson was wonderful. I have been a fan of his for three decades now, and that was only increased today. But, I was awed by his humility and spirit. It was amazing to glance up during a prayer and realized that he had entered and was sitting within 6 feet of me. He walked around as he taught and at the beginning my mind was processing "He's right in front of you!" - but my the end of the lesson I was just intent on what he had to say. The lesson was very interactive and there was a bit of a delay when I realized that one the soft spoken voice responding to a question about the book of James was Rosalynn on the other side of the sanctuary.

We stayed for church, of course, and he and Rosalynn posed for pictures after the service. "Miss Jan" runs that show too and makes sure you are ready for your photo opp and makes sure that you delay the process with chit-chat. The Carters were very gracious throughout.

There are pews roped off for the members and one really did feel that we were guests in a rural church, rather than "tourists". I was a bit surprised when Jimmy and Rosalynn sat a couple of pew behind me but really did pretty much forget their presence during the service. But, then, during the last hymm, I HEARD him - and leaned over to DF and whispered "That's Jimmy Carter singing!". He smiled. That's one memory I don't think that will ever fall away - hearing President Carter's voice from 3 feet behind us singing "There's Something About That Name" with us - and hundreds of others from across this country and from around the world.

starrs is offline  
Aug 24th, 2008, 07:12 PM
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The best friend chicken I can remember eating -

"Miss Jan" recommended Mom's Kitchen (as the only option too) and it was wonderful, home-cooked food. I wished Carrybean had been with us because it was the best friend chicken I can remember eating. The other meat options were turkey with dressing and hamburger steak.

The veggies were fabulous southern cooked veggies: butter peas, creamed corn, fried okra, rice and gravy, etc.

The homemade lemondade WAS... home-made lemonade.

DF said the pecan pie was out of this world!

They offer other items on the menu including fish and quail. This IS quail company, after all.
starrs is offline  
Aug 24th, 2008, 07:16 PM
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Where to stay -

We stayed in a private home, but for visitors I would recommend the historic Windsor Hotel in Americus, GA.


A nice hotel with a restaurant on-site. I've stayed there on business quite a lot - and they took great care of me when I broke my foot there a few years ago - drove me to the hospital (after "borrowing" a wheelchair from the pharmacy across the street) and nursed me and made sure my foot stayed elevated with ice until the next day. This is small town Americana

The Carters have opened a bed and breakfast right in Plains (and if I heard "Miss Jan" correctly, she's going to be running it soon )
starrs is offline  
Aug 24th, 2008, 07:18 PM
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It sounds like it was a great experience Starrs. I'm so happy that you were able to attend and that you enjoyed it so much.
andrew8 is offline  
Aug 24th, 2008, 07:25 PM
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Here's a link to the Carter's inn in Plains -

And the lodging list from the church's website -
starrs is offline  
Aug 24th, 2008, 07:38 PM
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Things to do in the general area -

The varied Carter sites in and around Plains -

Westville - Georgia's working 1850 town -

Andersonville National Historic Site (Camp Sumter)

Cloudland Canyon State Park (Georgia's little Grand Canyon) -

The Mennonite restaurant in Montezuma, GA -

Misc. links -

And, to see it all, you'll be driving through pretty rural flat roads through cotton, peanut and soybean fields with pecan orchards every so often. (We stopped to look at a homestead for sale in the midst of a walnut orchard. Oh, to have the money to renovate that house!)
starrs is offline  
Aug 24th, 2008, 07:48 PM
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Have you stayed at either of the Inns in Plains Starrs?
andrew8 is offline  
Aug 24th, 2008, 07:54 PM
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No. The Carter's inn has gotten good feedback though. I'd like to someday - but "free" was too good of a price to pass up
starrs is offline  
Aug 24th, 2008, 07:56 PM
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What an amazing experience! Thanks for clueing me in. We go to Georgia every year to visit relatives. Maybe we can take this trip some time.

We participate in our local Habitat for Humanity build every year. Carter was instrumental in the success of this organization. I visited the Carter Library in Atlanta a few years ago and was impressed with all he has done for humanity. I believe he will be remembered for the legacy he left in human rights in the future.
Orcas is offline  
Aug 24th, 2008, 08:00 PM
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This post made me smile. Ran across it just browsing. Love many things about Jimmy Carter. He's my favorite ex-president. Never thought about going to hear him teach Sunday School though.
LisaMS is offline  
Aug 24th, 2008, 08:04 PM
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A friend who had been on a build with him was supposed to come - but had to work.

Another friend who worked at the Carter Center (on a project) had to cancel because of a conflict.

I understand he can be/ has been a polarizing public figure, but I haven't met anyone who has met or worked with him who hasn't become a fan - even if their politics differ.

It was interesting to hear his thoughts on the Katrina aftermath, his struggle with Rowe vs. Wade and even his thoughts on gay Christians in his opening remarks.

There were several pastors/ mission workers present and a Catholic nun was honored to be asked to give the opening prayer.

Just a very neat (low-key) experience.

I will be going back.
starrs is offline  
Aug 24th, 2008, 08:19 PM
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My mom and aunt did this and enjoyed it very much.

My mom is a huge fan of President Carter. She once stood in line three hours to have him sign one of his books. As she stood in front of him, she said, "Please, please, won't you consider running for president again?" My dad said he looked up with a look of shock and exclaimed, "Good Heavens, No!!
rascat is offline  
Aug 24th, 2008, 11:14 PM
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Hello starrs, thank you for sharing your lovely and wonderful day. I thought of you today and was so pleased that you had time to post this evening. What a beautiful way to end the week!
LoveItaly is offline  
Aug 25th, 2008, 05:39 AM
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What a great experience!

My Mom went with her Sunday School class to tour the White House when Carter was President and he gave them the tour himself. It was one of the best moments of my Mom's life as she was a huge fan of Carter.
JanetKMR is offline  
Aug 25th, 2008, 12:10 PM
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Thank you for sharing Starrs. So glad it was a great trip!
MomDDTravel is offline  
Aug 25th, 2008, 05:43 PM
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Just saw Carter at the Democratic Convention. They showed a movie of him helping out Katrina victims and others who are working to improve their lives. It was really moving. He's a man who doesn't just talk the talk; he walks the walk. He and Rosalynne are really great. How lucky you are Starrs, to have gotten to hear him!
Orcas is offline  
Aug 25th, 2008, 05:51 PM
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I saw it! He told us that he had filmed in in NO and they were going to edit it down to 4 minutes. Well, that's how much time he got - 4 minutes flat!

I'm a bit disappointed. I was hoping he would be able to speak there. But, they looked good - especially Rosalynn.

Thanks Orcas. It was nice meeting him. I will definitely be going back.
starrs is offline  
Aug 25th, 2008, 06:24 PM
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You're really on a roll these days Starrs. Now you have a fun filled trip to Italy to look forward too.
andrew8 is offline  
Aug 26th, 2008, 10:14 AM
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Lovely, starrs. Thanks so much.
stokebailey is offline  
Aug 26th, 2008, 11:59 AM
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What a wonderful report. I have wondered about driving through Plains on my way from Northwest Florida to visit relatives on the Georgia coast, but did not realize that they have so much for visitors. Thanks very much for posting.
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