Todd was born and raised in Smyrna, Georgia (home of Ms. Julia Roberts), in the Atlanta suburbs. As he grew, he was always drawn to the spiritual side of life. He was baptized (full immersion!) in the Southern Baptist Church, he dated the Catholic church for awhile, he spent some time getting to know the Mormon faith, found his preaching hero in the Episcopal Church, and he lived and worked at the Wesley Foundation of the United Mothodist Church while in college. Ultimately, however, it was the "middle way" of the Presbyterian Church that drew him in and gave him a spiritual home. Todd could appreciate that body's struggle to take a stand on a theology that stands for something and isn't simply "everything, everywhere," while still working to keep its boundaries broad and its spirit inclusive.
He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama. In college he studied music and drama and performed in several plays and musicals. He was sure back then that he was on his way to becoming a music teacher. ...Or an actor. Or a rock star, police officer, or politician. Or a superhero. Instead, he became a pastor so that he might find a way to be all of those things at once!
Rev. Todd D. Shumpert was ordained in 1998 and has served the Presbyterian Church (USA) in a number of different ways. He was a Church Intern in North and in South Carolina; he worked as a Theological Student Worker at the Presbyterian Peacemaking Jubilee at Hofstra University & the United Nations; he's been a Chaplain and Lecturer at a Presbyterian-related college; he has served churches as a Choir Director, as an Associate Pastor, and, including Pleasantdale, twice as a Solo Pastor.
Rev. Shumpert received the Master of Divinity degree from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, a seminary of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Since then, he's been trying to figure out what being a pastor, a Christian, and a seeker-after-God really means. Todd is convinced that God can be most easily found in community - especially when that community is actively working together to create something beautiful together for others. That's why even now he feels drawn to music and theatre. Take "Community Theatre," for instance: it's a group of people who come together to form a community; they learn a shared story together where they hear it and rehear it ("reHEARsal"); they then work to create ways to tell this story in ways that are beautiful and moving (through atmospheric lighting, music and melody, through interpretation and focused communication); and, finally, they bring in the broader community to share this beautiful story they have found in ways that bring meaning and inspiration to those it touches. Think of it: community built around a story, who desires to hear and rehear the story over and over again, and desires to share this story with everyone they can reach in ways that edify the human spirit -- that is, at its essence, what the Church hopes to be. At least, it's what Todd hopes the church will be.
If you're trying to find a place to attach your spirituality to your creativity; if you're searching for opportunities to share your uptapped gifts in ways that will awaken your own potential and advance the possibilities for others; if yours is a spirituality that happily claims its own story while respecting and relating to others who cherish stories that are different from your own, then you'll find a kindred in Pastor Todd, and a home at Pleasantdale. Welcome!
Check out how our sanctuary space was remodelled to allow for different ways of experiencing and celebrating God's presence in our midst