Rev. Glenna Shepherd


  • B.Mus. in Music Theory – University of Tennessee
  • M.Mus. In Conducting – University of Tennessee
  • M.Div. – Candler School of Theology, Emory University
  • D.Min. (ABD) – Pacific School of Religion

I have rich memories of communion with God from as far back as I can remember. In fact, memories of God are my first memories. I hold deep within me early experiences of being with God in joy and fullness. This strong, intimate prayer life was the centerpiece of my faith. Throughout my childhood and adolescence, I walked through my days in wonder and deep relationship with the Spirit.

I was raised Southern Baptist in the mountains of East Tennessee. I like to say that I experienced the best of what it means to be Baptist without much of the negative. In my late teens and twenties, I became familiar with a wide range of Christian theologies and worship styles as I served Baptist, United Methodist, Presbyterian, Church of God, and Anglican congregations as a music minister. Given the diversity of our denomination, this was excellent preparation for my ministry. Through participating in a wide variety of ministries (with youth; children; incarcerated women; homeless men, women and children) and my seminary experience, I forged deep connections between social realities, spiritual experiences, human suffering, theological and ethical inquiry, the church, and the Christian life and ministry.

My faith – both practiced and conceptualized – has deepened and broadened, has become increasingly relevant as I have met with the crises, disappointments, fears and changes of my life. I have come to rely on the companionship, care, and guidance of God through coming out and an ensuing divorce and custody battle; through a year and a half of betrayal and trauma which threatened my vocation; and through a variety of personal and pastoral struggles. Through these challenges, I have discovered a new and vibrant reliance on the Spirit. My faith has been remade and my ability to be honest and comfortable with my own weaknesses and strengths has transformed my life and ministry. I live in daily dependence, seeking the will and heart of God and finding contentment in God’s work with and in me.