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James H. Battle

CONYERS — Celebration of life services will be held Saturday at Peek’s Chapel Baptist Church for Pastor James H. Battle, a long-time pastor in the community who built a legacy of Christian leadership.

Battle was called as pastor of Peek’s Chapel Missionary Baptist church in 1979, beginning a 40-year tenure of service to the church and the community. Services for Battle will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at Peek’s Chapel, 3185 Old Salem Road, Conyers. Interment will follow at Greenwood Cemetery in Atlanta. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, attendance will be limited.

Fellow leaders at Peek’s Chapel described Battle as a genuinely good person who will be missed by his church congregation and the wider community.

“He was a very, very good leader, and I learned a lot from him,” said Deacon Willie Benton Jr. “A lot of people have learned a lot from him. He was just altogether a very good person. You would not find another good man on this side like him.”

Benton said he and Battle spent a lot of time together for more than 10 years, visiting the sick and homebound, ministering to them and having communion with them.

“He was just like my brother,” said Benton.

Pastor Phillip Baker said Battle had been his minister since he was 14 or 15 years old.

“To many of us my age he has also been a father figure,” said Baker. “He licensed and ordained me as a minister. He always showed genuine love, care and concern for all his people, from the oldest to the youngest. It always amazed me how he knew everyone’s name. I always felt if I could love my people the way he loved his people, I would be successful as a pastor. He was a role model for all of us.”

Battle was officially installed as pastor of Peek’s Chapel on May 4, 1980. Shortly thereafter, Battle guided Peek’s Chapel’s growth from two services per month to four and followed a plan given to him by God to pay off the church’s mortgage early in 1987.

Under Battle’s stewardship, many ministries at Peek’s Chapel were formed and transformed, including the Male Chorus, Hospitality Committee, Pastor’s Aide Ministry, Women’s Ministry, Monday night Intercessory Prayer, Children Ministry, Children’s Church, Dance Ministries, and Youth Scholarship Fund. He also started Bible Study every Thursday night.

The need for expansion led the church to purchase 10 acres of land in 2002. Once again, Battle followed his God-given plan to retire the mortgage on the land. The church retired that debt in 2005 and subsequently remodeled the church sanctuary, completing that project on schedule and within budget. Under Battle’s leadership, the church is debt free.

In addition to guiding the growth of his church, Battle also helped to grow Christian leaders in the community. He had 14 “sons” and five “daughters” in the ministry, five of whom are pastors in the community. He ordained 22 deacons to serve at Peek’s Chapel.

Over the 40 years Battle was at Peek’s Chapel, he took just one Sunday off per year. Every second Sunday in August Battle would visit his home church, Randolph Baptist Church in Union Point. He faithfully visited and delivered communion to sick members and their family members, supported the bereaved families, performed wedding ceremonies, and counseled the brokenhearted.

Battle is survived by his wife, Mary Battle; two daughters, Glenda Battle and Teresa Todd; two granddaughters, Joy and Zoe Todd; sisters Lou Ellen Breed and Helen B. Williams; and several nieces and nephews.

Murray Brothers Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

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Editor

I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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