Our Pastor



Reverend Dr. Ernestine Howell Battle is the Pastor of New Hope Free Will Baptist Church, located on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Elected to this position on October 1, 1999,    Dr. Battle made history as the first woman to be elected as the leader of a congregation in the Northeast Conference of the Free Will Denomination. Prior to her election, she served as Associate Minister, New Member Orientation Instructor, Bible Class Teacher, Christian Education Director, Missionary, and Sunday School Teacher at New Hope.

Dr. Battle has been a minister for over 30 years and has ministered the word of God as a preacher and teacher throughout the East Coast Region of the United States, East and West Africa, and the Dominican Republic. She has also served as a Substitute Instructor and Executive Assistant to the  President of Maple Springs Baptist Bible College and Seminary.

As Pastor of New Hope Free Will Baptist Church, her leadership has been exemplary as the church continues to progress spiritually, physically, and financially. She has been instrumental in organizing and developing several ministries and educational opportunities at New Hope, including Heavenly Lights Ministry (Seniors), Daughters of Destiny (Women's Ministry), Outreach Ministry, Pastoral Care Ministry, Overcomers Ministry (for individuals and their families suffering from or coping with various types of abuse), Culinary Ministry, Family Life Ministry, Library, Enrichment (tutorial) Program, and a Standard Bible Study Program.

Dr. Battle is a native of Rocky Mount, North Carolina, where she received her spiritual foundation and formal education. She received a four-year Theological Diploma from the Washington Baptist Seminary (1989); Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biblical Studies from Maple Springs Baptist College and Seminary (1992); Master of Divinity Degree from Howard University School of Divinity (2003), and a Doctor of Ministry Degree (Excellence in Leadership) from Wesley Theological Seminary (2008), where her project title was: "A Training Model for Empowering Servant-Leaders in the New Hope Free Will Baptist Church - A Prototype." She is the author of "Training Leaders for Service," A Standard Curriculum and Leader's Guide for Ministers, Deacons, Mothers/Deaconesses, and Trustees.

Dr. Battle has been married to Deacon Clinton Battle, Sr. for 55 years. They are blessed with three children, eight grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. 

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)



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