What I Wore: President Carter’s Sunday School

This past weekend we went to Americus, Georgia to visit dear friends.  Amidst many other adventures, we visited local thrift spots to see what gems they held, but alas, came up empty-handed (though I will post some photos of some fab would-be finds this week).

Our friends had invited us to help with hospitality for Sunday school at Maranatha Baptist Church, the 35-member congregation where former President Jimmy Carter teaches Sunday school each week.  You may have heard that crowds have swelled to 800+ since the announcement of his cancer diagnosis, because this is one of the few engagements to which Mr. Jimmy, as he’s known in the 700-person town of Plains, has committed until his death (may it be a long time from now).

Knowing we had to be up early to greet would-be attendees at the overflow location where video feed of the lesson would be simulcast, I threw on the dress I wore Friday to work, traveled in, and spilled coffee on, and forwent (?) a shower in favor of enjoying a cup of coffee with our hosts.  I was going to be handing out graham crackers and bottled water to sleep-deprived visitors in similar, if not worse, shape, so why worry about how I looked?

That was before the crowds turned out much smaller than expected (thank you, Labor Day), we got a seat in the sanctuary, Mr. Jimmy called on me to give the opening prayer, and we took a picture with the Carters after church.

Let’s just say I was thankful for a college mentor who told me that I should never let what I happened to be wearing or how I happened to look stop me from doing anything.

And the pics didn’t turn out half bad, either.


Sharagano dress, thrifted; jewelry, heirloom.



When have you been caught “unprepared” for a spotlight moment?  How did you make what you were wearing or how you looked work regardless of the circumstances?  Scroll down to comment!


7 thoughts on “What I Wore: President Carter’s Sunday School

  1. Okay, I’m officially jealous. I’ve seen Mitt Romney wandering around Belmont, MA and met Michael and Kitty Dukakis, but never have I gotten to sit in the same room and hear the very personal thoughts of a former President and awesome humanitarian like you have. Oh yeah, it’s also pretty great that you did so in such a stylish and thrifty getup.

    P.S. – Did Jimmy Carter do an Andy Kaufman impersonation?

    1. No he did not, alas! But he did tell a funny story about catching the most fish on a fishing excursion the day before and then falling in the lake and cutting up his thumb for being “arrogant.” And he talked a lot about love.
      I hear Mitt Romney is actually really funny, when he’s not running for president…

    2. Also, when my friend/host introduced him at the Clarence Jordan symposium, where we last heard him speak, he talked about how Carter basically invented the role of badass former president, totally eclipsing his presidency by the sheer impact he’s had on housing (Carter builds w/Habitat, another place I’d heard him speak), public health (nearly eradicating Guinea worm and other devastating diseases in developing countries), and democracy (election monitoring). He is amazing. Week before last, I preached on how he said he wanted to see the last Guinea worm die before he did.

  2. Compensation for my less than sophisticated attire? I add some well-aligned posture and a sincere smile. Looks like you nailed it in the pic. Thanks for this post.

    1. I LOVE this, Beth!! It’s all in how you carry yourself…and unless the person is a total fashion snob (or you’re wearing a giant yellow bird costume), what s/he’s going to remember anyway is your presence and that smile, not what you wore.

  3. Lela- you rock!! On the list of coolest things my friends have done – praying to open jimmy carter’s Sunday school class in a thriftchic dress is right up there at the top of the list!

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