“I was excited about the thought of serving an institution committed to the education, nurturing, and preparation of young women to both know and reach their potential in serving the world.” – Donna Battle
Meredith College recently welcomed Donna Battle as its new Chaplain. In order to help the community get to know her better, she shared some thoughts about her background and her vision for the Chaplain’s Office.
What led you to accept the position as Meredith’s Chaplain?
DB: I have served collegiate communities in some form my entire vocational career, including as a college chaplain. Meredith was a draw for me in particular because of my own experiences as a woman. If walking in my strengths can grant someone else permission to do the same, then I feel I have made a lasting contribution. I saw in Meredith the opportunity for me to do that.
What do you see as the primary role of the Chaplain?
DB: I see my role as being a life-giving presence. As Chaplain, I facilitate, advocate for, and create spaces for everyone in the community to have a safe space for spiritual connection and access to opportunities to live out their faith. This sounds broad because it is. How this materializes will be organic, but the goal and outcome is the same. I don’t consider myself to be a spiritual guru of all people. On the contrary, I am who I am as fully as I can be, while encouraging others to be who they are as fully as they can be. Sometimes I am a spiritual guide to individuals on this campus, and other times I connect individuals with others who can better fill that role for them. Either way my hope and prayer is that my role will promote life and wholeness within the individuals that make up the Meredith community.
What do you expect to bring to the campus community?
DB: Mostly I bring who I am. More concretely, I am hoping, with the input of others on campus, to reshape the Wednesday Chapel hour. The goal is to have at least one service each month that most in our community will feel a desire to attend. In addition to Christian worship opportunities, there will be opportunities to explore the role of spirituality as it intersects with StrongPoints® and culture, as well as to hear about the diverse faith journeys of others.
What are you excited about as Chaplain?
DB: I am excited to initiate and strengthen more relationships with students, staff, and faculty. I am excited about discovering the gifts and talents (especially the hidden ones) of those in our community. I am excited about learning new things and hearing new stories. And, I am excited about witnessing all of Meredith’s famous traditions!
About the Chaplain
Donna Battle is a native of Yanceyville, N.C., and is passionate about facilitating spaces that are life-giving by supporting knowledge of truth, fostering healthy community and healing, and encouraging others to operate within their strengths.
Donna holds a B.A. in public relations from North Carolina A&T State University, an M.Div. from Duke University with a concentration in spirituality, and she is currently completing a Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy at Eastern University. Prior to coming to Meredith, she served several local churches, was the executive pastor of The Way Christian Center in Berkeley, Calif., and was both a life coach and associate dean of the chapel at Shaw University.