Claudia May

Job Titles

  • Professor of Reconciliation Studies, Program Director
    Reconciliation Studies , College of Arts and Sciences


Dr. Claudia May is a sought after specialist in Reconciliation Studies and has more than two decades of experience working alongside, teaching, and learning from global and national practitioners and leaders in the practices, principles, and theology of reconciliation. Through her writing and teaching, Dr. May examines how Jesus and those he encountered live out reconciliation. She pays particular attention to the agency of those dismissed as irrelevant. She probes how Jesus co-builds relationships with the despised, the disinherited, and the wounded while confronting injustice, challenging abusive systems, and engaging with conflicting histories, beliefs, and cultures. Dr. May's work stresses that reconciliation acknowledges that the relational disparities and conflicts Jesus confronts can present us with practical approaches to dismantling the inequities and divisions that undermine our relationship with God and others. Through her analysis of psychological studies Dr. May also mines how the lives of Jesus and biblical characters interface with stories of trauma and our complex humanity. God, the Creator of love, inspires her work. Love drives reconciliation and stands at the heart of Jesus’ ministry. This extraordinary love transforms lives, liberates peoples, and sustains the healing pulse of reconciliation.

Started at Bethel



  • University of York, UK - B.A. in History, Politics, 1988
  • University of California - M.A. in Ethnic Studies, 1992
  • Pacific School of Religion/Graduate Theological Union - M.A.T.S. in Theological Studies, 2016
  • University of California - Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies, 1996

Courses Taught

Introduction to Reconciliation Studies

Principles and Methods of Intercultural Leadership

Fannie Lou Hamer, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Our Multicultural World

The Power of Story and Reconciliation

Hip-Hop, Spoken Word, & Reconciliation

Senior Seminar in Reconciliation Studies


“Can a Reconciled Relationship Exist Without Conflict?” Mercer University’s 15th Annual Building the Beloved Community Symposium, Mercer University, Macon Campus, Atlanta, GA. Keynote Address, 27 February, 2019

“From Whom Can We Learn?” Mercer University’s 15th Annual Building the Beloved Community Symposium, Mercer University, Macon Campus, Atlanta, GA. Keynote Address, 26 February, 2019

“From Whom Can We Learn?” Andrew Young Center for Global Leadership Colloquium Series, Morehouse College, Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA. Lecture, 25 February, 2019

When I Fly with Papa, Twin Cities Book Festival, Book Signing, October 2018

Kwanza Presentation: Sojourner Truth Church, Richmond, CA, December 29, 2018

Coherence: How do we live fully devoted to Christ, regardless of the space we find ourselves in (Christian, "secular,” or otherwise)? First Presbyterian Church, FoCUS group. Lilly Endowment Campus Ministry Theological Exploration of Vocation (CMTEV), September 29 – October 1, 2017

The Theology of Reconciliation, Summer Institute for Reconciliation, Duke Divinity School, June 2017

Professional Organizations, Committees, and Boards

Participant in Interdisciplinary Seminars in Science and Religion: Bridging the Two Cultures of Science and the Humanities II, 2017-2019 (SCIO: Scholarship & Christianity in Oxford) Project: "Racial Trauma, The Power of Story, and Reconciliation." 

Areas of expertise

Reconciliation Studies, Discipleship and Leadership Formation, Contemplative Practices and Spiritual Direction, African American and Caribbean Literature and Theatre, US Ethnic Literature, Popular Culture and Theology, Practical Theology, Reconciliation, Injustice and Inequity, the Power of Story and Reconciliation, Racial Reconciliation, Environment Stewardship, Nature Poetry, Storytelling and the Healing of Racial Trauma