As in many small towns across the South, the prospects for economic upward mobility or even stability for locals here seems to have stalled and withered on the vine over time — ever since cotton’s reign as king ended following the Civil War and the arrival of the boll weevil in Georgia around 1915.
Last year Samuel Porras was focused on a career as an insurance adjuster and on his family. This May, he was welcomed as a priest to the Diocese of Atlanta. He now offers services in Spanish and an open door for spiritual growth for a fast-growing congregation in north Georgia — in a sense, creating a new kind of family.
It all started on a low day for Terence and Cecilia Lester about 10 years ago. Young, newly married, trying to get their foothold in life — they were feeling a little down. But then Terence had an idea to flip the situation, get themselves out of the house and lift their spirits: “Why don’t we serve someone who has less than us?”