Glenna Shepherd was born and raised in Knoxville and received bachelors and masters degrees in music from the University of Tennessee prior to beginning her career in ministry. She graduated from Candler School of Theology/Emory University (M.Div.) and finished the coursework in the D. Min. program at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA.
Glenna spent years in music ministry prior to seminary, serving congregations in a number of denominations; so, doing this work gave her first-hand experience of the spectrum of Christian theologies and liturgical styles.
She was ordained in 1992 by Metropolitan Community Churches and spent eighteen years in ministry with MCC, serving congregations in Georgia, Minnesota, Florida, Texas, and Oregon. In 2006, she was elected Elder and, in that judicatory role, worked with congregations in western Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. She came into the UCC in 2010 and has standing in the Southeast Conference.
Teaching and mentoring students who are preparing for ministry has been an important part of Glenna’s work. She has developed and taught courses in the areas of preaching and worship, church growth, congregational systems and structures, and feminist and queer spiritualities. Since 2010, she has shared her experience and knowledge as a consultant for the Center for Progressive Renewal, thereby, serving the work of the wider UCC.
Glenna’s ministry interests are preaching and worship, global/ecumenical/ interfaith ministries, and theological exploration. She is the author of Creating a Life That Matters, an 18-week spiritual development program (2004, published by MCC), Job Generation: from Chaos to Character (Self-published in 2011), and Out on a Limb: Sermons of Risk and Revolution (2015, Tollington Press).
Glenna is married to Clare Summerskill, a writer and performer who lives in London, but spends about half of the year here in the States. She has two children, Erin Shepherd Murray – who lives in Atlanta with her husband, Gregg Murray – and Philip, who lives in Brooklyn, NY.
In addition to her ministry and life in the church, Glenna enjoys reading, performing music, traveling, cycling, eating good food, and SCUBA diving.