A scholar and activist, Monica A. Coleman is committed to connecting faith and social justice. An ordained elder in the Michigan Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Coleman has earned degrees from Harvard University, Vanderbilt University and Claremont Graduate University. Coleman is currently Professor of Constructive Theology and African American Religions and Co-Director of the Center for Process Studies at Claremont School of Theology in southern California. She has had previous academic appointments at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and Bennett College for Women.
Leading foundations in the United States have supported Coleman’s research and education. Coleman has received funding from the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation, the Association for Theological Schools, the Roothbert Fund and the Forum for Theological Exploration (formerly, the Fund for Theological Education).
Coleman’s writings focus on the role of faith in addressing critical social issues. In Bipolar Faith, Coleman shares her personal story of losing and finding faith while living with bipolar depression. In Not Alone: Reflections on Faith and Depression, Coleman offers a 40-day devotional wrestling with depression in a spiritual context. Coleman wrote about church responses to sexual violence in The Dinah Project: a Handbook for Congregational Response to Sexual Violence. In Making a Way Out of No Way: a Womanist Theology, Coleman discusses inter-religious responses to the joys and pains of black women’s lives. She is the co-editor of Creating Women’s Theologies: a Movement Engaging Process Thought and editor of Ain’t I a Womanist Too?: Third Wave Womanist Religious Thought. Her current writing projects focus on theories of religious plurality.
A survivor of rape, Coleman became committed to speaking out against sexual violence in 1997. She founded and coordinated “The Dinah Project,” an organized church response to sexual violence, at Metropolitan Interdenominational Church in Nashville, TN. Her expertise in religion and sexual violence has taken her around the country to speak at churches, colleges, seminaries, universities, and regional and national conferences.
Because of her work with religion and justice, in 2004 the interdenominational preaching magazine The African American Pulpit named Coleman one of the “Top 20 to Watch” – The New Generation of Leading Clergy: Preachers under 40. Coleman’s articles have been featured in a variety of publications including ESSENCE, Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Philosophia and Aspire: Women of Color Study Bible.
Coleman is active in ecumenical and academic religious guilds. Coleman served two terms as a member of the Faith and Order Commission for the National Council of Churches, USA. She was recently appointed to the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches. Coleman holds numerous leadership positions in the American Academy of Religion including the former co-chair of the Black Theology Group, a steering committee member of the Open and Relational Theologies Consultation, and membership on the Committee on the Status of People with Disabilities in the Profession. Coleman is also a member of the refereed societies, Society for the Study of Black Religion (SSBR) and the Institute for American Religious and Philosophical Thought (IARPT).
Coleman blogs on the intersection of faith and depression at www.BeautifulMindBlog.com and writes for www.Patheos.com, the website named by Newsweek as “the place to get smarter about religion.” She has been featured as an interviewed guest on NPR, blogtalk radio shows and www.PsychCentral.com. She is a research fellow with the Lilly Endowment-funded New Media Project that helps religious leaders become theologically savvy about technology. For her service online, she was listed as 2012’s Top 100 by the Digital Sisterhood Network.
Coleman often teaches Bible study in her local church, and speaks widely on religion and sexuality, religious pluralism, churches & social media, mental health, and sexual and domestic violence.