BOARD OF DIRECTORS

MIMI LARSON, PhD
Board Chair

Visiting Assistant Professor of Christian Formation and Ministry at Wheaton College and adjunct Assistant Professor of Educational Studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.  She received her B.A. from Wheaton College, a M.A. in Educational Ministries from Wheaton Graduate School, a M.A.T.S. from Covenant Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from Concordia University - Chicago.  Her research specialty is in the area of young children’s faith formation.  Having served in practical church ministry for over 25 years, Mimi also serves as the Children’s Ministry Catalyzer for Faith Formation Ministries, a ministry for the Christian Reformed Church in North America and has developed curriculum for various organizations including Big Idea/Veggie Tales.  Mimi, her husband Keith, and their very spoiled rescued pit bull Millie live in the Chicagoland area.

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ROBIN TURNER, DMin
Vice-Chair

Director of  Family Ministries at All Saints Church, and Anglican Mission in American congregation in the heart of downtown Dallas, TX, Robin is enjoying the process of building a ministry that integrates children with the greater congregational community and utilizes formation-focused approaches for engaging children in worship and studying the Bible. She earned her Doctorate of Ministry in Leadership and Spiritual Formation at  Portland Seminary. Her dissertation,"Children's Faith Formation as Mutually Transforming Opportunity: Leading Systemic Change," focuses on equipping pastoral and lay leaders to value and learn from the children in the context of the local church. Additionally, Robin runs www.worshipwithchildren.com, a site committed to providing resources for biblical literacy and formational practices for church families.  Robin earned her BA and MA in Christian Formation & Ministry at Wheaton College (IL) and served congregations in Raleigh, NC and Sewickley, PA before settling in Dallas, TX with her husband, Sam and son, Davy.

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Kirsten Hitchcock works as a freelance children's ministry curriculum and content developer and serves as the volunteer Children's Pastor at The Practice Church. In her ten years of children's ministry experience, she has served in many capacities including curriculum and content development, divorce and grief care for kids, and ministry director. She has served in many contexts from megachurches to nonprofits to church plants. She is passionate about helping hurting kids and equipping leaders to walk alongside kids through the ups and the downs. She has an MA in Christian Formation and Ministry and focused her studies on the ontological root of divorce and the spirituality of children. She is a wife and a mom, is an extreme extrovert, and loves to meet people over a cup of coffee. 

ROBERT J. KEELEY, PhD
Treasurer

Professor of Education at Calvin College, Visiting Professor of Discipleship and Faith Formation and Director of Distance Learning at Calvin Theological Seminary (both located in Grand Rapids, MI) and a collaborating partner with the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. He received his B.A. from Calvin College, his M.A. from the University of Colorado and his Ph. D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Denver. He and his wife, Laura, also direct children ministries at their church, 14th St Christian Reformed Church in Holland, MI. He is also a musician and often leads worship with his guitar. He has written a number of articles, chapters and books including Helping Our Children Grow in Faith (Baker, 2008), Celebrating the Milestones of Faith (with Laura Keeley, Faith Alive Christian Resources, 2009) and an edited volume, Shaped by God (Faith Alive Christian Resources, 2010.)

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KIRSTEN HITCHCOCK, MA
Secretary

HOLLY CATTERTON ALLEN, PhD

Holly Catterton Allen, PhD, President, serves as Professor of Family Science and Christian Ministries at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee where she holds a joint appointment in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the College of Bible and Ministry. She teaches undergraduate courses such as Nurturing Spiritual Development in Children and Family Ministry. Dr. Allen's areas of scholarly interest are children's spirituality and intergenerational issues. Her most recent book is the edited volume from the 2017 InterGenerate Conference held in Nashville, TN; this book is called InterGenerate: Transforming Churches through Intergenerational Ministry (Abilene Christian University Press, 2018). She has also written (with Christine Ross) Intergenerational Christian Formation: Bringing the Whole Church Together in Ministry, Community, and Worship (InterVarsity Press, 2012). Her first book, Nurturing Children’s Spirituality: Christian Perspectives and Best Practices (Cascade), an edited volume, was released in 2008. She has published articles in Christian Education Journal, Lutheran Education, Lifelong Faith, Christian Scholar’s Review, and Christianity Today, along with chapters in several books. She is currently working on a book for InterVarsity Press on children’s spiritual formation.

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ANDREA CHAVEZ-KOPP

Andrea brings 20+ years of experience in Catholic education and ministry. She is a nationally recognized expert and thought leader in the field of Catholic education, particularly in the area of digital transformation. Andrea began her teaching career in 2000 as a high school social studies teacher at St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples, FL. Andrea also served as Confirmation Coordinator and High School Youth Minister for the St. Paul Catholic Community in Pensacola, FL and later as Middle School Lead Teacher, 6-8 STEM Co-Teacher, Faculty Technology Mentor, iPad Coordinator and G-Suite Administrator as well as Youth Minister for St. John the Evangelist School in Panama City, FL.

She served for 5 years with the National Catholic Educational Association in multiple roles including Director of Formation and Director of Business Development.  Andrea gained national recognition as a leader, innovator, writer and speaker. She vastly improved and expanded professional development offerings available to NCEA members and led the charge in content creation and strategic partnerships.

Since 2020, Andrea has served as Chief Program Officer for The Procedo Project, an organization that supports Catholic schools in innovation and sustainability.  She holds a B.A. in Secondary Education and History, an M.Ed. in Instructional Leadership and an MBA in Marketing. She resides in Northern VA with her two teenage sons. 

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DANA KENNAMER, PhD

Dana Kennamer, Ph.D. serves as the Associate Dean of the College of Education and Human Services and the chair of the Department of Teacher Education at Abilene Christian University where she teaches courses in early childhood education and children's ministry.  Dr. Kennamer,'s publications include Along the Way: Conversations about Children & Faith, Let All the Children Come to Me: A Practical Guide Including Children with Disabilities In Your Church's Ministry, and I Will Change Your Name: Messages from the Father to a Heart Broken by Divorce. Despite Dana’s busy life as an administrator and academic, on Sunday mornings you can find her with her kindergarten and first grade friends at church who know her simply as "Teacher Dana."

SHIRLEY MORGENTHALER, PhD

Distinguished Professor of Education at Concordia University Chicago in River Forest, Illinois where the triennial Society for Children's Spirituality: Christian Perspectives conferences have been held since 2003. Her publications include Right From the Start: A Parent's Guide to the Young Child's Faith Development, Children and Worship: Lessons from Research, and Exploring the Spiritual Formation of Children: Foundational Issues. She served as president of the Chicago Association for the Education of Young Children and the Illinois Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators.

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TREVECCA OKHOLM, MA

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Trevecca Okholm, MA,  Adjunct Professor of Practical Theology at Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, California. Certified Christian Educator in the Presbyterian Church/USA and professional Christian educator for more than twenty-five years before moving into academia where she teaches courses on effective teaching in the church and family development and ministry. She also serves the church as a family ministry coach and consultant, speaker for parent groups and retreats, and as a trainer/facilitator for Worship & Wonder models of faith formation. Trevecca is author of Kingdom Family: Re-Envisioning God’s Plan for Marriage and Family (Cascade, 2012). Other publications include various articles and book chapters addressing ministry with children and families.The implications of church being the family of God together and intergenerational worship and learning experiences are areas of passion for Trevecca. She has researched Christian faith formation of children and the role in parents in the faith formation process. Trevecca has an MA in educational ministry from Wheaton Graduate School.

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JOSEPH SEO

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KAREN F. WILLIAMS, DMIN

Writer, editor, and an author with a diversified career in journalism, book publishing, and Sunday school curriculum.  She recently served as the Children’s Editor for the Sunday School Publishing Board in Nashville, Tennessee. Karen has written Sunday school curriculum, devotionals, plays, and is the author of Lights, Drama, Worship! (a collection of dramatic presentations for the church). She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English/Journalism from North Carolina A&T State University, a Master of Arts Degree in Communication (Creative Writing concentration) from CBN (Regent) University, a Master of Theological Studies from Vanderbilt Divinity School, and a Doctor of Ministry (Arts and Theology) from Wesley Theological Seminary. She has also received several book publishing certificates from the Graham School of General Studies, The University of Chicago.

Karen Williams, DMin

Joseph Seo has been serving a local Korean American church in Chicago land as a Family and Children ministry pastor. Joseph was born in Korea, grew up as a missionary kid in Japan. He is married and has a pre-teen son.

 

Currently Joseph is finishing up his PhD (Educational Studies) at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. His research focus is “Parental influence on children’s faith development in immigrant families."

HENRY ZONIO, PhD

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Henry Zonio earned his MA in Sociology at San Jose State University and has taught at Asbury University, the University of Kentucky, and Eastern Kentucky University. His research focuses on children, families, social inequalities, and religion. Currently, Henry is a Sociology Ph.D. candidate at the University of Kentucky researching how young children learn about race and gender in the context of religious education programs at the churches they attend. Henry brings 25+ years of practical children’s ministry to his research. He also is a frequent writer for Children’s Ministry Magazine and has contributed book chapters to edited volumes on child research methodology and children’s spirituality.