Time for New Generation of Interfaith Talk

Time for New Generation of Interfaith Talk

By David Cohen / david@atljewishtimes.com

Five years ago four longtime Atlanta religious leaders embarked together on an interfaith journey to lead positive change. Now that journey is coming to an end.

The Higher Ground Group is (from left) Imam Plemon El-Amin, the Rev. Joanna Adams, Rabbi Alvin Sugarman and the Rev. Joe Roberts.

The Higher Ground Group, composed of the Rev. Joanna Adams of First Presbyterian Church, Imam Plemon El-Amin of the Atlanta Masjid of Al-Islam, the Rev. Joe Roberts of Ebenezer Baptist Church and Rabbi Alvin Sugarman of The Temple, is calling it quits. Since 2010 they have been active through a weekly blog, strong social media presence and special-event panels where the leaders held conversations with inspired members of the metro Atlanta community.

Calling themselves “faith-based but not faith-biased,” the group explored current issues and hoped to demonstrate that humanity can work together through differences in background and religion.

After ending the blog in February, the group of emeritus clergy will meet in March to close out the partnership.

“Over the last five years, we’ve gotten older and had a few health issues, so I imagine that has something to do with it,” Rabbi Sugarman said of ending the collaboration. “We are going to continue as individuals. We’ve worked together on different projects over the years, and we will continue to work together on our own as far as I know.”

The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta formed the organization, which has covered such issues as racial equality, homelessness, social justice and discrimination. The group planned to lead the way for future generations to make communities more welcoming through social action.

The full collection of Higher Ground blog posts will remain available on the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta’s website (www.cfgreateratlanta.org). The Higher Ground Group has won many awards, including Emory University’s 18th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Innovation for Change.

Higher Ground helped raise awareness and inspire action on issues affecting all of Atlanta. Rabbi Sugarman said he hopes another group steps up to fill the group’s shoes.

“It’s wide open,” he said. “The market is out there. I would urge that the generation behind us form some type of group that would pick up where we are leaving off. Whenever we did appearances as a group, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. So I think we were received with great gratitude, and we were successful.”

read more: