Worship & Wonder – for All Ages
“You are the God who works wonder,” (Psalm 77:14)
“The Lord of hosts is wonderful in counsel, excellent in wisdom.” (Isa. 28:29)
Worship & Wonder is a new ecumenical organization created to give the opportunity for all people to hear and to engage in God’s stories. The mystery and wondering of God and the stories of God are at the heart of faith formation. Over the last 40 years, Young Children & Worship has been used all over the world and people who have used it found it continually transcended its original purpose for children ages 3 to 7 years old in church settings. Young Children & Worship has been used from ages 2 to 100! It has been used in children’s hospitals, at camps, for adult retreats, in church board meetings, at General Assembly's, in family homes, and in nursing homes. The art of storytelling has invited people from all ages and in many places to come and experience the wonder and mystery of God. It is because of this transcendence of age and place that the Worship & Wonder board came together to offer trainings and resources and support to fit the needs of all ages in the Church and many other settings.
If you or someone you know is interested in a training or learning more about Worship & Wonder and its myriad of uses, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rev. Elaine W. Austin
Elaine grew up in First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), in Radford, Virginia. She received her bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education from Radford University and her masters degree in Christian Education and youth ministry from Union/Presbyterian School of Christian Education. She was ordained into ministry on September 20, 1987, and has served 7 Disciples of Christ churches in Virginia. In 2,000, she was trained as a storyteller in the Children Worship & Wonder program with the Christian Church in the United States and Canada. In 2,001, Elaine trained as a trainer for the program and has trained churches in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Indiana, Oklahoma, Maryland, and Kansas. She is also a trainer of trainers for Worship & Wonder.
Elaine has a passion for working with children, and enjoys sharing the stories from Young Children & Worship and Following Jesus in many settings, i.e. church camp, adult retreats, leadership workshops, to name a few. She is married and has two adult children, Sam and Mallory, who were introduced to W&W at the ages of 3 and 9; they too share in the love of the stories of God and the wondering of God.
Rev. Olivia Stewart-Shoemaker
Hello! I have had the blessing of growing up immersed in Worship & Wonder. I have experienced it as a child, listening to the stories told by my mother and grandmother. I became a helper when I entered middle school and watched Worship & Wonder at work in many different settings, small churches, big churches, camps, and trainings. When I entered college I was trained by my grandmother to become a trainer and after her death in 2006, to continue teaching the Worship & Wonder approach to churches and organizations worldwide.
I am a mother of a sweet son named Willem and wife to an incredible husband named Brock. I love to fish, hike, paddleboard, play Minecraft, and travel.
Kristyn (Kiki) McKendrick
In 2010 Kiki was trained by Olivia Stewart to set up and begin the worship center at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church. She has been the storyteller in the worship center for the last 12 years. In 2015 Kiki returned to Olivia Stewart and was trained to be a trainer of Young Children and Worship program. She has trained churches and preschools in Pennsylvania and New Jersey using the Worship and Wonder program. Kiki believes in holding sacred space and providing a consistent and safe environment for children to wonder and experience the holy.
Kiki graduated from the University of Michigan with her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology with a concentration in child and adolescent development. She continued her education at Eastern Michigan University in special education. Kiki has lived in the UK and worked with community mental health in southwest London. She is currently the director of the Middleton Counseling Center at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church.
Kiki loves working with children and youth of all ages and has been involved with church youth and family ministries in both the UK and the US. Kiki was the youth director for five years at her church in the UK. Upon moving to Pennsylvania she taught senior high school students Sunday School for ten years before being introduced to the Young Children and Worship program.
Kiki, mother of four adult children, lives in the greater Philadelphia area with her husband and two active dogs. She enjoys playing the Celtic harp and audio books.
The Rev. Sarah Iliff McGill grew up in Wheaton, IL attending the First Presbyterian Church. She graduated from Augustana College in Rock Island, IL and received her BA in English, Religion, and Spanish. Rev. Sarah graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2009 where she met her spouse, Rev. Trajan Iliff McGill.
Sarah was ordained at Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church in Oak Park IL and served there until 2015. During this time Sarah trained with the Rev. Olivia to become a trainer in The Young Children and Worship program. There was a shift in focus in life with the birth of her first child and the new career of her husband, Rev. Trajan McGill. This led Sarah to work as the parish associate for children's ministries at Westminster Presbyterian Church in SPringfield, IL. After the birth of her daughter Sarah transitioned to working part time with Ministry Architects and as a designated pastor at Buffalo Hart Presbyterian Church in a long term pulpit supply position, making her a pastor of a church during the pandemic until the summer of 2020 when she has transitioned to being a full time mom. She continues to partner with churches as a trainer and consultant on a part time basis as her family prepares to move closer to Chicago once again.