Michael Battle to serve Los Angeles diocese as Cathedral Center provost, canon theologian

June 5, 2007

The Rev. Dr. Michael Jesse Battle has been named provost of the Cathedral Center of St. Paul and its Congregation of St. Athanasius, and canon theologian to Bishop J. Jon Bruno of the Diocese of Los Angeles.

"With the appointment of the Rev. Michael Battle, we are moving into a new era of broadening the spectrum of the Cathedral, not only in Los Angeles but for the world," Bruno said.

Battle, in his dual role as provost and canon theologian, "will bring awareness to the walls that separate" and God's power to unite people, Bruno said.

Battle said he will be working closely with Bruno in "realizing the unique aspects of the diocese" and it being "one of the most multicultural dioceses in the world."

"I think that most of the religious movements have come from the West Coast," he said. "So I'm just very excited to try to understand a movement in the church, as opposed to just an institutional way that we tend to gather."

"The kingdom of God image; the reign of God image is something that has been at the center of my academic and spiritual work, as well as my ministry," said Battle. "I don't know of a better location for my sort of complicated identities -- being a priest, professor, writer, speaker, lecturer, global person -- to really practice who I am, than in Los Angeles."

Built in 1994 in L.A.'s Echo Park district, the Cathedral Center is the ministry and administrative hub of the six-county Diocese of Los Angeles. Bordering on Echo Park Lake near downtown, the Cathedral Center is home to a congregation that worships in Spanish, Korean and English. The complex includes community outreach programs, a retreat center, the Episcopal Community Federal Credit Union, the Cathedral Bookstore, and diocesan offices. Formed in 1864, its Congregation of St. Athanasius is the oldest Episcopal parish in Southern California.

Before his election as L.A.'s bishop coadjutor in 1999, Bruno was founding provost of the Cathedral Center, working in collaboration with Bishop Frederick H. Borsch. Battle will succeed the Very Rev. Ernesto Medina, who served as provost from 2000 until April 2007 following his call to serve as co-dean of Trinity Cathedral in Omaha, Nebraska.

Battle has served as associate dean for Academic Affairs and vice president and associate professor of Theology at Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) in Alexandria, Virginia since 2005. Prior to joining VTS, he was assistant professor of Spirituality and Black Church Studies at Duke University, the Divinity School (1999-2004) and rector of St. Ambrose Episcopal Church in Raleigh, North Carolina (2001-2004).

He is well known in the House of Bishops, where he served along with the Rev. Mark Macintosh as chaplain from 2000 to 2006 at the appointment of Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold.

Battle received his B.A. from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina (1986); M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey (1989); S.T.M. from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut (1991); Spiritual Direction Certification from Shalem Institute in Washington, D.C. (1994); and his Ph.D. from Duke University (1995).

He was ordained to the Anglican Episcopal priesthood in 1993 by Desmond M. Tutu, the Anglican archbishop emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa, under whom he studied in South Africa.

Battle has authored several books and has two forthcoming: "Heaven on Earth" (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley), 2007; "Desmond Tutu: South African Confessor" (Louisville: Westminster John Knox), 2008/2009.

Battle, his wife Raquel and their three children -- Sage, Bliss and Zion -- will move to the West Coast in July.

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