Gerald May Seminar—Re-Envisioned
The Gerald May Seminar will be held on Zoom this year, live and interactive with Michael Battle. The Friday night talk will include a time for interaction at the end. Saturday will be a retreat, with time for silence, guided meditations, sharing in pairs and small groups.
“Purgation: Beginning the Journey into the Heart of God”
Friday, July 16, 7-9 PM
Drawing upon the three-fold stages of Christian mysticism, Dr. Battle’s evening talk will explore the first mystical stage of purgation for insights into the concepts of restorative justice and contemplative prayer. Affliction in Christian spirituality will be a central point in this first evening talk which will include an opportunity for questions and answers.
“Illumination: the Scales Fell from My Eyes”
Saturday, July 17, 10 AM-1 PM
In this seminar/retreat day, we will explore the concept and practice of illumination, the second stage of Christian mysticism seeking insights that might enrich the connection between contemplative prayer and social activism. Exemplars such as St. Antony of Egypt, Hildegard of Bingen and Desmond Tutu offer such illumination as to how to bring contemplation and action together.
“Union: Unearned Intimacy with God”
Saturday, July 17, 1 PM-4 PM
Dr. Battle will introduce the last mystical stage of union with God. Caution is urged in recognizing this last mystical stage, especially for the Christians who live in the global north. We will consider such caution as well as explore vestiges of union with God through restorative justice, pilgrimage and forgiveness.
This will be a spacious, open, experiential, and interactive day, with presentations, prayer, art, and music. We will also utilize sharing in pairs and/or small groups.
Michael Battle, Ph.D.
Currently appointed as Herbert Thompson Professor of Church and Society and Director of the Desmond Tutu Center at General Theological Seminary in New York, the Very Rev. Michael Battle, Ph.D. has an undergraduate degree from Duke University, received his master’s of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, a master’s of Sacred Theology from Yale University and a Ph.D. in theology and ethics, also from Duke University. He was ordained a priest by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 1993. Battle’s clergy experience, in addition to his current church work, includes serving as vicar at St. Titus Episcopal Church in Durham, NC, rector at Church of Our Saviour, in San Gabriel, California; rector at St. Ambrose Episcopal Church, Raleigh, N.C.; and interim rector or associate priest with other churches in North Carolina and in Cape Town, South Africa.
On two occasions he moved into churches located in ethnically changing neighborhoods (to Asian in one and to Hispanic in the other) and helped both to adapt and grow. He also served as provost and canon theologian for the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. In 2010, Battle was given one of the highest Anglican Church distinctions as “Six Preacher,” by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. A distinction given to only a few who demonstrate great dedication to the church that goes back to 16th century England and Thomas Cranmer. Battle’s academic experience includes service as interim dean of Students and Community Life at Episcopal Divinity School, dean for academic affairs, vice president and associate professor of theology at Virginia Theology Seminary; as associate professor of spirituality and black church studies, at Duke University’s Divinity School; and as assistant professor of spiritual and moral theology in the School of Theology at the University of the South. Battle has published nine books, including “Reconciliation: the Ubuntu Theology of Desmond Tutu,” and the book for the Episcopal Church’s General Convention, “Ubuntu: I in You and You in Me.”
In his PeaceBattle Institute he works on subjects of diversity, spirituality, prayer, race and reconciliation. Almost since its inception, he has served as pastor and spiritual director to hundreds of clergy and laity for CREDO for the Episcopal Church. He has also served as chaplain to Archbishop Tutu, Congressman John Lewis, the House of Bishops and, in 2008, was chaplain to the Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops. He is a featured keynote speaker and has led numerous clergy and lay retreats, including the bishops’ retreat of the Province of the West Indies. In addition, Battle has served as vice president to the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Arun Gandhi’s Institute for Nonviolence. Battle and his wife, Raquel, were married by Archbishop Tutu and are parents to two daughters, Sage and Bliss, and a son, Zion. All of whom were baptized by Archbishop Tutu as well.