Friday, January 22, 2016

If you don't like Clarkston, you won't like heaven

Clarkston, GA, is just 11 miles from downtown Atlanta. Because it has ample affordable housing and public transportation to jobs in the city, aid agencies and Uncle Sam decided in the 1990s that it was a perfect place to resettle vulnerable refugees. By 2007, at least a third of Clarkston residents were foreign born. Most were hard workers who improved the economy because, instead of tension and hatred, they found love and appreciation. Immigrant children, like those shown below, who had been deprived of education in their native land and were unready for public school can begin in first grade at Fugees Academy, the only school in America dedicated to refugee education.

                                                                                                                        Fugees Academy photo
When Clarkston Baptist Church transformed itself into Clarkston International Bible Church, attendance grew from about 100 to 300. Now white-haired Southern women sit in pews with immigrants from Philippines, Togo, Liberia, Ethiopia and Afghanistan. The Sunday potluck features Asian vegetables and African stew along with hotdogs and peach pie. Rev. Phil Kitchin likes to say heaven is a place for people of all nations, "so if you don't like Clarkston, you won't like heaven."

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