The Center for Faith and Children at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS) is thrilled to announce the hiring of its inaugural staff team. Through the generosity of Lilly Endowment Inc., TEDS opened the Center for Faith and Children this summer and has recently completed the hiring of key staff. For Dr. Mimi Larson, Executive Director of the CFC, the process of hiring staff has been a faith-strengthening experience, confirming that God is doing something exciting here at TEDS.
Ahyuwani Akanet will serve as the Managing Director of the center. Ahyuwani holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Theological Education from the London School of Theology and a PhD in Educational Studies from TEDS. With his rich academic background in educational studies, years of experience working with children and families in church contexts, and grant management experience, Ahyuwani was a clear choice to direct the day-to-day operations of the center and facilitate collaboration among the CFC staff and the larger TEDS community. Ahyuwani envisions the center as “a place that initiates and nurtures conversations on children’s faith formation and expression.” Ahyuwani is excited about the ways that the center can provide a bridge between academic study surrounding children’s ministry and discipleship and practitioners. This combination is vital to growth both in the academy and the church. In Ahyuwani’s words, “As practice informs scholarship and scholarship informs practice, we grow in our understanding and practice of Children’s ministry.”
Lindsey Goetz has been hired as the Resource Manager of the CFC. Lindsey is a current student in the MA in Educational Ministries, and a Trinity College Alumni. She has spent the last decade working as a children’s minister in various churches and is the co-author of The Gospel Story Hymnal. Lindsey’s understanding of practical ministry and children’s spirituality, along with her creativity makes her ideal to coordinate the center’s resources and projects. Lindsey is excited about creating an online presence for thoughtful children’s ministry leaders and collaborating with the CFC team to develop resources to equip the church for intentional ministry with children.
Joseph Seo and Alair August will act as Research Fellows for the CFC. Joseph Seo has a PhD from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. His dissertation focused on children’s faith formation in immigrant families and the influence the parents have on their children. Alair August has earned an EdD at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Her research is in the Montessori approach to children’s spirituality and the implications for Christian educators.
The Center is also excited to provide an internship for Paula Chang, a current doctoral student at TEDS. Along with learning about academic centers, Paula will be working with the team to develop resources to serve children’s ministry leaders and parents. Reviah Kim, Dr. Larson’s Graduate Assistant, will also serve as an assistant to the CFC. Both these women bring a wealth of experience, knowledge, and creativity to their roles here at the CFC.
This first year, the Center for Faith and Children is focused on building on Dr. Larson’s work, positioning itself as a hospitable place for collaboration and innovation and developing a bridge between academic theory and ministry practice. To stay updated on the center’s work, visit our temporary website and subscribe for updates. In the future, look for our full website and podcast, and plan to attend the Children’s Spirituality Summit, where scholars and practitioners will come together to experience and learn from A Child’s Way on the TEDS campus in May 2024.