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Church that hosted Rosalynn Carter funeral played key role in her and her husband’s lives

PLAINS, Ga. (AP) — The church where those closest to Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter bid farewell to the former first lady Wednesday played a central role in the lives of the famous couple from tiny Plains, Georgia.

Maranatha Baptist Church, which hosted the funeral for Rosalynn Carter, held its first services just months into her husband’s presidency, and the two were heavily involved with it over the years.

Jimmy Carter, who is 99 and attended the funeral in a wheelchair, having entered home hospice care early this year, taught Sunday school at the church for decades. His lessons, often on what the Bible says about forgiveness and serving the poor, drew hundreds of people from far and wide, even overseas.

Rosalynn, who died Nov. 19 at 96, would listen in, and the two would pose for photos afterward with anyone who wanted one.

Jimmy Carter, who built the wooden cross that hangs behind the alter, continued teaching even after he announced his cancer diagnosis in 2015. His niece Kim Fuller took over for him when he had brain surgery in late 2019, though he continued to attend her lessons.

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