Reverend Doctor Claude A. Shuford was born in Wetumpka, Alabama to the late Robert and Reverend Cora Shuford. He graduated from Wetumpka High School, Huntingdon College and Candler School of Theology of Emory University. In 2003, Livingstone College of Salisbury, North Carolina, bestowed upon him an Honorary Doctorate Degree. He answered the call to preach at age nineteen as a freshman at Alabama State University. Nine months later, Dr. Shuford received his first appointment to the Trinity A.M.E. Zion Church of Matthews, Alabama. After one year, the late Bishop John H. Miller, Sr. appointed Reverend Shuford to a circuit which included Zion Rest, Popular Springs and Tolbert Chapel A.M.E. Zion Churches. In April of 1982, New Pleasant Valley A.M.E. Zion Church welcomed Pastor Shuford to Hope Hull, Alabama as their new, twenty-two year old pastor. This was a great challenge, a blessing and a great developmental appointment for Rev. Shuford.
After five years, Reverend Shuford had led this congregation to renovate the sanctuary, increase attendance, activate the youth department and selected the first two female preacher’s stewards of the Central Alabama Conference. The first female trustees and stewards of this church were appointed by Pastor Shuford. New Pleasant Valley and Reverend enjoyed ministry together until Bishop Cecil Bishop surprised them by promoting Pastor Shuford to the historic, thriving, energetic and progressive Mount Zion A.M.E. Zion Church of Montgomery, Alabama.
He answered the call to preach at age nineteen as a freshman at Alabama State University. Reverend Shuford was appointed pastor of Mount Zion in October of 1987 at twenty-seven years old. Under his leadership, a new sanctuary was built (1989-1990), the Zion Center was purchased and renovated (1995), six other properties were acquired for parking and a forty-five passenger bus was purchased. In addition, the old church edifice has become the Mount Zion A.M.E. Zion Church Memorial Annex, a national historic site and a future museum.
The hallmark for Pastor Shuford’s tenure at Mount Zion is ministry. Over twenty new ministries have been started under his leadership. (see ministries). More than thirty persons have accepted their call to preach under Reverend Shuford over the pastor’s thirty-two years. It’s his theology that God has called all of us to a specific, special service. It is his aim to help every member discover it, embrace it and go forth in the anointing of it.
Reverend Doctor Shuford has participated and participates in the connectional ministry of the A.M.E. Zion Church in dynamic ways. He has served on the Connectional Evangelism Board, the Christian Education Board and the Connectional Budget Board. Pastor Shuford chaired the Commission on Stewardship for the Christian Education Board. Six times his collague elected him a delegate to the General Conference, electing him for the first time when he was only twenty-eight years old and elected him the first delegate the last four General Conferences (1996-2008). His ministry has been welcomed in fifteen states in the United States.
Reverend Doctor Shuford is married to the Reverend Brenda Booker Shuford, the choral director for the Robert E. Lee High School, Montgomery, Alabama. Immanuel Claude (27 yrs.), Mary Rebecca (19 yrs.) and Kaye Alexandria (8yrs.) are his wonderful children.