Eager churchgoers began lining up outside Jimmy Carter’s church in Georgia on Saturday night for the chance to hear the 90-year-old former teacher deliver a sermon on Sunday.
Crowds lined up before the sun rose outside the Maranatha Baptist Church on Sunday. Some in the queue had slept on porch of the church. Others in their cars. All in an attempt to get a seat to see former President Jimmy Carter teach a Sunday school class, according to NPR.
Carter teaches a class on occasion at Maranatha, which is his home church. He plans on teaching another class in a few weeks, which is good because many who waited in line did not make it inside.
It wasn’t that long ago that the church tried to seat everybody who wanted to watch a Carter-led lesson, but that pushed them to their legal limit of 900 people. They decided right then to never do that again.
— Paul B. Raushenbush (@raushenbush) August 23, 2015
The demand for an audience with Carter might continue to rise as the 90-year-old recently announced that he has melanoma, and that the cancer has spread to his brain.
Those who did gain access to the event heard Carter speak about the Sermon on the Mount from the Book of Matthew. “We are studying the most important aspect of Christianity,” he said. “I say to you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” reports Religion News Service.
Carter taught two classes in all, then returned to the church sanctuary to pose for pictures.
While the location and content were rather traditional, nothing else about this Sunday school event was run of the mill. The first person got in line at midnight, and everyone who eventually entered the facility had to be searched by the Secret Service.
Perhaps Jane Gurley, who traveled from North Carolina to see Carter, said it best. It was a typical Sunday school class except it “Just happens to be a different teacher. A mighty fine teacher.”