Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter return to church after COVID-19 vaccinations

Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn returned to their beloved church in Plains, Georgia after being vaccinated against COVID-19.

In a Facebook post, Maranatha Baptist Church in Carter's hometown announced that the couple was back to attending worship in-person at the church.

The Carters sat in their usual spots and wore masks.

Pastor Tony Lowden announced from the pulpit that the couple had been vaccinated to protect them from the virus.

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"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."

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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 pandemic, visitors usually gathered around the couple for pictures at the end of worship.

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The Carters celebrated their 74th wedding anniversary last July and are the longest-married presidential couple in U.S. history.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.