BOARD OF DIRECTORS
MIMI LARSON, PhD
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.
KIRSTEN HITCHCOCK, MA
Awana and Child Grief Support ministry director at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, IL. She received her B.A. from Greenville College and a M.A. in Christian Formation and Ministry with an emphasis on family and children ministries from Wheaton Graduate School. During her masters work, she focused on researching the effects of divorce on the spirituality of children and its ontological effect on them. In her ministry experience at Willow, she has led different children ministry initiatives including divorce care for kids, grief support, and now Awana. Since beginning Willow’s chapter of Awana in January 2014, she noticed the need for children to have a safe place to ask questions of what they were reading in the Bible and to have a way to understand more fully the meaning of what they were memorizing. She has adapted the program to fit the needs and the culture of her community by championing the values of community, scripture understanding, and choice. Her husband, Jason, is pursuing a doctorate in theology from Marquette University. They live in the suburbs of Chicago with their infant daughter.
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.)
HOLLY CATTERTON ALLEN, PhD
DANA KENNAMER, 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.
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 MORGANTHALER, 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.
HENRY ZONIO, PhD
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.
Director of Children and Family Ministries, and Parents' Day Out Director at St. Augustine's Oak Cliff, an Episcopal congregation in Dallas, TX, Robin enjoys the process of implementing formation-focused practices in local church settings.. 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 her husband, Sam and son, Davy.
ROBIN TURNER, DMIN
ROBERT J. KEELEY, PhD
TREVECCA OKHOLM, MA
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.
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.