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Monica Coleman: Bipolar Faith

  • The Well @Queen Anne UMC 1606 5th Avenue West Seattle, WA, 98119 United States (map)

Monica A. Coleman, MDiv, PhD, is a Harvard graduate, an ordained minister, and the first African-American woman to be appointed full professor of theology at Claremont School of Theology (Claremont, CA). Her faith has repeatedly been undermined by the desperate lows of depression.

In a new memoir, Coleman reflects on the legacies of slavery, poverty, war, and alcoholism, and how these conditions can mask a history of mental illness. At once spiritual autobiography and memoir of madness, Bipolar Faith is the book Dr. Coleman was hoping to find when she was diagnosed with bipolar II, a mental illness. She could not find a single memoir written about living with bipolar II, which is characterized by periods of deep depressions balanced by periods of productivity and energy. Moreover, she found precious few memoirs that engage religion and faith in truly constructive ways.

Monica A. Coleman, MDiv, PhD, teaches theology and African-American religions at Claremont School of Theology in Claremont, CA. At CST, she was recently promoted to the position of full professor--making her the first African-American woman full professor at CST. She is a philosophical theologian who works with a process metaphysic, and the black and womanist theological traditions. Her writings cover womanist theology, sexual abuse, and the African-American experience.

Dr. Coleman is an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and a sought-after speaker and preacher. In 2005, the African American Pulpit names Coleman one of the "Top 20 to Watch--The New Generation of Leading Clergy: Preachers under 40." Dr. Coleman has been featured as an expert in religion and mental health on NPR,,, and Huffington Post Live. She blogs on faith and depression at

Buy tickets for Monica Coleman: Bipolar Faith $10 admission, scholarships available by emailing