The rector of the Episcopal church just around the corner from Temple Sinai is leaving Sandy Springs, but Rabbi Ron Segal is confident that the close friendship between the congregations won’t suffer.
“Congregationally, we certainly won’t let his departure diminish what we’ve tried to build over the years that he’s been here,” Rabbi Segal said about the Rev. Michael Sullivan, who has led Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church the past seven years.
Sullivan has been named the president of Kanuga Conferences, an Episcopal retreat, camp and conference center in Hendersonville, N.C. He is scheduled to start the new job Nov. 1.
He and Rabbi Segal have developed a close friendship as their congregations have become good neighbors over the years. They have provided space for each other during construction projects, for example, and together brought in Vanderbilt University religion professor Amy-Jill Levine for a scholar-in-residence weekend shared by the church and the synagogue in January.
Rabbi Segal said Sullivan is scheduled to deliver a sermon from the Sinai bimah in December, and he hopes the Episcopal priest still will be able to return from North Carolina for the occasion.
“He has helped to create a culture of bridge building and emphasized the importance of interfaith relations during his leadership of Holy Innocents’, and I have every reason to believe that whoever serves that congregation next will follow in his footsteps,” Rabbi Segal said. “We will certainly do our part to try to continue and nurture that relationship.”
While personally sad to see Sullivan go, Rabbi Segal said he’s happy for his friend, who is thrilled by the opportunity.
“I cannot imagine a more promising and exciting call than Kanuga,” Sullivan said. “I’m elated to step into the work we are called to, building upon the foundations of past generations, while also trusting G-d to guide us as a bolder and stronger Kanuga for the future of the church.”