PLAINS, Ga. (AP) — Now that former President Jimmy Carter and his wife are vaccinated against COVID-19, they have been able to return to worshipping at their beloved church.
Maranatha Baptist Church in tiny Plains, Georgia, announced on its Facebook page Wednesday that the 96-year-old Carter and Rosalynn Carter are again attending worship in person.
Jimmy Carter hasn’t resumed teaching his Sunday school class, which once drew thousands of visitors annually. But video from last Sunday’s service shows both of the Carters sitting in their customary spots and wearing masks.
Pastor Tony Lowden announced from the pulpit that both have received vaccinations to guard against the virus.
“They’ve both had their shots,” Lowden said from the pulpit. In a reminder to keep a safe distance from the couple, Lowden said if someone gets tackled by him, another man or Secret Service agents, “it’s because we’re still practicing social distancing.”
With the Carters once again in church, Maranatha Baptist posted rules that also include mandatory face masks and temperature checks; limited building capacity; reservations and no photographs. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, visitors usually gathered around the couple for pictures at the end of worship.
The Carters celebrated their 74th wedding anniversary last July and are the longest-married presidential couple in U.S. history.