The Rev. Michele Racusin, an Episcopal priest widely skilled in accounting and ministry, has been named to serve the Diocese of Los Angeles as missioner for financial stewardship and chief financial officer following a nationwide search to fill the position, Bishop Coadjutor John Harvey Taylor announced Nov. 27.

A certified public accountant for more than 30 years, Racusin has extensive corporate experience including as a senior manager with Deloitte Tax LLP and as a senior tax consultant with Ernst and Young. A three-time deputy to General Convention from the Diocese of San Joaquin, she currently leads the congregation at St. James’ Cathedral, Fresno. From 2009 to 2016 she was rector of Holy Family, Fresno, having been ordained to the priesthood in 2005 in the Diocese of California.

Racusin, 59, has roots in the Diocese of Los Angeles. She was confirmed and married at St. Peter’s Church in Santa Maria where she served as the parish’s first female acolyte. She later attended St. Augustine’s by-the-Sea in Santa Monica and Canterbury Westwood when a student at UCLA.

She will attend Diocesan Convention’s annual meeting Dec. 1 – 2 in Ontario and will begin office hours Dec. 18. In the role of CFO, Racusin succeeds Canon Ted Forbath who earlier this year accepted a new position at the Breck School in Minneapolis.

“Michele’s multi-faceted background, strong organizational, interpersonal, and leadership skills will be a valuable asset to us in the Diocese of Los Angeles,” said Bishop Suffragan Diane Jardine Bruce, who led the churchwide search that culminated in Racusin’s hiring. A former bank vice president, Bruce has been charged by Taylor with new oversight of diocesan financial operations.

“Michele’s breadth and depth of experience in the church and in the business world will stand her in good stead as she, Bishop Bruce, and all of us on the diocesan staff work to bring more transparency and equity to our budget and finance process,” Taylor said.

“What a blessing to return to the Diocese of Los Angeles where I look forward to interweaving my priesthood and knowledge of the Church with gifts of finance and stewardship,” said Racusin.

“What a blessing to return to the Diocese of Los Angeles where I look forward to interweaving my priesthood and knowledge of the Church with gifts of finance and stewardship,” said Racusin.

The first woman to serve as rector of a parish in the Diocese of San Joaquin, Racusin has has held numerous leadership roles in her diocese including president of the Standing Committee, vice chair of Diocesan Council, member of the Diocesan Sustainability Committee, member of the board of the diocesan camp and retreat center (ECCO), Title IV intake officer, and Education for Ministry coordinator.

She helped to establish books and records when the Diocese of San Joaquin was reforming after its recent schism and did the same when the conference center returned after a prolonged court battle. Racusin taught seminars for diocesan treasurers on internal controls and avoiding potential fraud. She also developed and managed a diocesan School for Deacons, which included recruiting faculty and teaching.

As a General Convention deputy, Racusin served on its Program, Budget and Finance Committee and the Audit Committee as well as the Assessment Review Committee. Through the Church Pension Group, she serves as a member of the finance faculty on CREDO teams and is part of a group that travels to dioceses to explain the changes to the pension plan.

Her published works include “If I Could Sing,” a chapter in the book Hurt, Joy, and the Grace of God, and “A Pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago: To Walk the Way of Saint James,” an article in the Pacific Journal. She has been featured on National Public Radio and KNXT Catholic Television.

Her passion for helping people in need has resulted in a ministry of preparing delinquent tax returns for ethnic farm workers who have never filed or understood the filing requirements.

An avid hiker, Racusin and her husband, Samuel, have four adult sons.