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“Among the most wonderful experiences we have had!”

Maranatha Baptist Church
Ranked #2 of 12 things to do in Plains
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Former President Jimmy Carter occasionally visits this church for Sunday services.
Chattanooga, TN
Level 5 Contributor
56 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Among the most wonderful experiences we have had!”
Reviewed August 5, 2013

My family went to see Jimmy Carter teach Sunday School back in March. It was truly among the best experiences we have had. We arrived around 8:15, and the doors were opened at 8:30. Shortly after we got in line, Mrs. Jan came out on the porch to tell us the rules. She said that we needed to put things in the car, basically. Bags/purses, etc. were not viewed positively. Although, my two year-old yelled out that she had a backpack and Mrs. Jan was so sweet to her telling her that it was just fine. The secret service checks your bags then you get wanded. They had to chase my two preschoolers around to wand them, but they were extremely patient (and they seemed to actually enjoy them a little...as much as secret service really can). We went in and were seated. We were told the childcare would not be available until time for class to start (another hour or so). My kids got antsy enough that Mrs. Jan offered for me to take them on back to the nursery to play, which I did. That was one of the better decisions I made all day. I got to meet several church members and the pastor and his wife. They were all very very friendly, and they seemed genuinely pleased that we were at their church. The best, though, was when Jimmy Carter came into the nursery to introduce himself to my children and I. It was just us. Then Rosalyn came in shortly after and talked to me for a few minutes. Unbelievable.

The nursery volunteer never showed up, unfortunately. But eventually one of the church members came to take care of my kids so that I could go in and watch Sunday School. It was really an incredible experience.

We stayed in Cordele in the Fairfield Inn. The drive the next morning wasn't very far, but Google Maps did not send us to the right place. That was really frustrating. When you get to town, you really turn right almost as soon as you get there. If you do that, you will find it. And once you find it, you know. Afterwards we had lunch at a little place there in town. Sunday School was full when we were there, but it wasn't overcrowded. If you have the money (and you don't have children with you) I would stay at the bed and breakfast there in town (I think Mrs. Jan owns it). Folks who stay there have reserved front row seating for Sunday School and church. If you do have children with you, ask Mrs. Jan when you first arrive if you can go on back to the nursery. She will most likely let you, and it is really fun to get to see how small the church is and how everyone is volunteering together to minister to the people who come from all over the world. It doesn't hurt to get one on one time with the Carters, either!

Again, I would do this a hundred times over.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank BeckyD423
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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128 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Tallahassee, Florida, USA
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Marvelous Experience - President Carter's Sunday School Class”
Reviewed August 5, 2013

I have always wanted to hear President Carter teach Sunday School. It was even better than I expected and I wish I had done it years ago. If you are able, make plans to attend right now! We took our 3 teenagers and spent the night in Americus at the Windsor Hotel which was fabulous. You really need to be at the church no later than 8:30am in order to get a good seat. This allows time for the Secret Service security check. It is a ten minute drive from Americus. Miss Jan gives great instruction and is thoroughly entertaining while you wait until the President begins at 10am. It really is an amazing experience from watching the interaction between the President and Mrs. Carter, listening to an update on what they have been up to -visiting Columbia, finding cures for river worm blindness, mental health initiatives to his Sunday School lesson. For people in their mid to late eighties they are remarkably ambitious, curious and energetic! President Carter is a great teacher and has great rapport with his students. You come away with a profound respect for his abilities and his faith. You need to stay for church to get your photo with President and Mrs. Carter. We went to lunch at Minnie's afterward and so did the President and Mrs. Carter. Visiting Plains and the different sites really gives you an insight that these are the same people they were forty years ago. My kids were actually impressed which says alot for 13 and 15 year olds. Great, great visit for anyone but so glad that my kids got to have this experience as well as my husband and myself.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank TallyGator90
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baltimore, Maryland
Level 6 Contributor
120 reviews
69 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Who else can say President Carter taught them Sunday School?”
Reviewed August 4, 2013

Inspirational and relevant, the drive to Plains was worth the message. It is easy to find and access, and is just such a unique experience. After church, the President and Mrs. Carter took photos with everyone who wished to have one. Such a refreshing experience.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank MilHistory_Traveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tyrone, Georgia
Level 6 Contributor
166 reviews
63 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
“What a Thrilling Time”
Reviewed July 30, 2013

If you are in the area on a Sunday, I highly recommend this experience.
A line was already formed when we arrived shortly before 8:30. Very soon though a lady named Miss Jan came out to talk to the crowd and explain what would be happening with the Secret Service in order to enter the building. My 11 yr old son thought this was all very exciting. My kids were rather discouraged that we were there so far ahead of President Carter's Sunday School class beginning at 10:00 but once inside the sanctuary, Miss Jan continues talking to the group explaining dos and don'ts, what to expect during the class, sharing stories and the time really passes quickly. Miss Jan is part drill sergeant, kind school teacher, and stern disciplinarian. You need to do what she says!!
Seeing and hearing President Carter teach was a thrill. He spends a few minutes doing where are you froms and then talking about what he has been doing and his travels.
His faith is so important to him and he was so well prepared with his lesson. Still such a sharp man at the age of 88. It was an honor to sit under his teaching.
You must stay through the worship service after Sunday School in order to get a picture with him and Mrs. Carter made. The church is so very prepared and organized in handling all the visitors that come to hear him teach.
This is an experience I am so glad I gave my children. I highly recommend it.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
4 Thank PatriotGal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pensacola, Florida
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Sunday School with President Jimmy Carter”
Reviewed July 29, 2013

Attended Sunday School taught by President Jimmy Carter. We had a fantastic time. A great opportunity to witness a great man sharing the love of Jesus. This will be a lifelong memory.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank acerydr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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