Claudia May, PhD
Spiritual Director

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About Claudia May, Spiritual Director

Claudia May, Spiritual Director

Claudia May, Ph.D., is a spiritual director, consultant, author, scholar, lecturer, public speaker, preacher, and specialist in African American and Caribbean literature and theater. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. For more than a decade she has ministered to several leaders of color, and men and women serving on the front line of ministry. Dr. May has also partnered with congregations and denominations, examining how communities can apply biblical principles to building empowering relationships across cultures inside and outside the church environment. She also leads courses and facilitates workshops and one-on-one sessions that enable participants to discover how their practice of self-care strategies can benefit their vision for ministry, and transform how they serve others. She is a member of Spiritual Directors International.


Claudia has taught in higher education for more than seventeen years in the US and the UK, and lectured on subjects related to sports and spirituality, African American literature and Christian expression, religious sentiments in the blues, Christian discipleship formation, creative and non-fiction writing as a gateway to Christian spiritual practices, and writing as an avenue for personal healing. She also lectures on how individuals can forge an intimate relationship with God through prayer and reflective writing. She has presented papers in UK seminaries such as the Queen’s Foundation, Birmingham; St. John’s College, York; and the University of Birmingham on the intersection between popular culture and religious expression.

 

From 2013 to 2014 Claudia was a member of the inaugural class of Changemaker Fellows at the Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, California. This program presented fourteen leaders of color, who had proven expertise in their vocation and fields, with the opportunity to further their theological training so as to enhance their leadership skills.

 

May is a Visiting Scholar in the Department of African American Studies and African Diaspora Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and a recipient of the Pacific School of Religion (PSR) President’s award. She earned her certificate in Theological Studies (PSR) in 2014 and will complete her Master of Theological Studies (PSR) in 2015.

 

Her writing has been published by Oxford University Press, Taylor & Francis, Lexington Books, and Routledge, among others. 


Claudia is the author of Jesus is Enough: Love, Hope, and Comfort in the Storms of Life (Augsburg Fortress). Her book can be ordered via the following link: http://store.augsburgfortress.org/store/search?ss=jesus+is+enough&c=-1&x=0&y=0


May has published several academic papers in peer-reviewed journals. Her most recent non-academic article, “Walking on Water”, is published in Radix Magazine.

 

For all that she has accomplished, Claudia identifies herself as God’s beloved daughter.


Faith-based spiritual direction


Mission Statement

I model my ministry on the woman in the Gospel of Mark who suffered “from hemorrhages for twelve years” (Mark 5:25–34*). This unnamed woman sought help from many physicians to no avail. She “had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse” (Mark 5:26). Her condition invites stigmatization. She is a pariah to many, being considered unclean, untouchable. She is alone. And yet, “she had heard about Jesus” (Mark 5:27). In her despair she turns to Jesus because she knows he can heal her. She believes that if she touches the hem of his coat she will be healed. As she pushes her way through the crowd her only focus is that she must get to Jesus. The narrator does not reveal whether she notices those around her. Although many would have distanced themselves and treated her with contempt, and although she had suffered for many years with only a glimpse of hope in sight, she still believes she is someone of value. As one preacher I heard state in a sermon said, this woman knows she is worthy to be healed.

When the woman touches the hem of Jesus’ cloak he is “immediately aware that power had gone forth from him” (Mark 5:30). Rather than rebuke her for reaching out to him, Jesus publicly acknowledges her. He sees her. He feels her. He hears her. This woman matters to Jesus. He commends her for having faith in his ability to heal her. In the midst of the adversity she endures, she holds onto the faith that Jesus can change her life. And Jesus praises her for her courage. She is a woman of valor.

My hope and prayer is that others will receive the peace and love that Jesus offers. My role as a spiritual director is to accompany you as you make your way to Jesus. His love, forgiveness, and compassion embrace all who come to him for help, comfort, assurance. He cherishes you.

 *All Biblical quotes are taken from the NRSV.