Vice Dean for Faculty Development and Academic Initiatives and Professor of Worship and Liturgical Theology

Crainshaw emphasizes in her teaching, scholarship and administrative leadership the importance of self-awareness and theological and spiritual intentionality to effective religious leadership. As Vice Dean, Crainshaw develops and implements faculty mentoring strategies and provides leadership for research and teaching initiatives. Crainshaw has received several awards for her work as a teacher, including the 2018 Academics, Research, and Engagement award from the Wake Forest Office of Sustainability and the 2015 Teaching Innovation award from the Wake Forest Teaching and Learning Collaborative. Both awards highlight Crainshaw’s course, “Saving Places; Savoring Graces: A Placed-based Study of Sacraments and Ordinances.” The course explores connections between local elements and actions such as water and bread baking, and central actions of worship such as baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

An ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Crainshaw is a well-known author in her field of liturgical theology. She has written five books exploring theological and practical dimensions of worship and religious leadership, including When I in Awesome Wonder: Liturgy Distilled from Everyday Life (Liturgical Press, 2018) and They Spin with Their Hands; They Open Their Hands to the Needy: Women’s Ordination Liturgies Shaping Priestly Communities (Order of St. Luke Press, 2014). She is also the author of a book of poetry, Cedars in Snowy Places: 52 Poems (WFU Library Partners Press, 2019) and co-editor of a two-volume Encyclopedia of Religious Controversies in the United States (ABC-Clio, 2012).

Crainshaw is a regular contributor to Pray Tell: Worship, Wit & Wisdom, the blog for The Liturgical Press.



Phone: 336.758.3221

Office: Divinity and Religious Studies Building 303C

Media Requests

The Office of Communications is responsible for communicating information regarding faculty research, programs, and other news to appropriate media sources. Faculty are available to provide comment for a story or be interviewed (recorded and/or live).  To request, contact Cheryl Walker, director of news and communications for Wake Forest University.


BA, Wake Forest; MDiv, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; PhD, Union Theological Seminary/Presbyterian School of Christian Education

Religious Affiliation

Presbyterian Church (USA), Minister of Word and Sacrament

Courses Taught

  • Contemplative Theology and Liturgical Practice
  • Introduction to Preaching and Worship
  • Healthy Boundaries for Clergy
  • Worship as Spiritual Practice
  • Sacraments and Ordinances: History, Theology, Practice
  • Theology and Disability
  • Roots and Branches: Eco-Judaism in Context
  • Children in Worship
  • Preaching, Worship, and the Care of Souls: Funerals, Weddings, and Other Pastoral Rites
  • Food, Faith, and Health: Navigating the Intersections in Community


  • When I in Awesome Wonder: Liturgy Distilled from Everyday Life. Liturgical Press, September 2017.
  • “They Spin with Their Hands”; “They Open Their Hands to the Needy”: Women’s Ordination Liturgies Shaping Priestly Communities. Order of St. Luke Press, 2015.
  • Encyclopedia of Religious Controversies in the United States. ABC-CLIO Publishers, 2012.
  • Wisdom’s Dwelling Place: Shaping a Wisdom-based Liturgical Spirituality. Order of St. Luke Press, January 2010.
  • Keep the Call: Leading the Congregation without Losing Your Soul. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2007.
  • Wise and Discerning Hearts: An Introduction to Wisdom Liturgical Theology.  Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 2000.

Select Journal Articles, Book Chapters, Book Reviews

  • “Teaching the Sacraments through Profane Religious Experiences,” in Grounding Education in the Environmental Humanities, Lucas Johnston, ed., Routledge, forthcoming, Fall 2018.
  • “O Taste and See: Daily Prayer as Wise, Savoring, and Saving Work,” Call to Worship (Winter 2014).
  • “The Work of the People: Connecting Worship, Cosmology, and Social Justice.” Call to Worship (Fall 2011).
  • “Wording Wisdom: The Wise, Strange, and Holy Work of Worship.” Proceedings of the North American Academy of Liturgy (Summer 2010).

Select Poetry and Flash Fiction Publications

Select Academic Lectures and Workshops

  • 2019 Yale Institute of Sacred Music Kavanagh Lecture
  • Speaker at “As Creation Groans: Worshiping God on Holy Ground,” Institute of Sacred Music Congregations Project, Yale University, Summer 2018.
  • “Marking Time: Aging, Ritual, and Spirituality,” Presbyterian Older Adult Ministry Conference, October 2017.
  • “We Never Made It to ‘Thank you,’: Reflections on Community Engagement, Faith, and Health,” Faith and Health Summit, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, North Carolina Council of Churches, Fall 2014.
  • “‘She Unnames Them’: Reflections on a Place-based Liturgical Theology,” North American Academy of Liturgy, Feminist Seminar Presentation, January 2014.
  • “Table and Font: A Liturgical Theologian’s Perspective,” North American Academy of Liturgy, Lutheran-Reformed Pre-Conference, January 2014

Select Sermons, Educational Series, and Church Presentations

  • “Cultivating Brave Spaces: Ministry, Leadership and Incarnational Conversations,” Virginia Lutheran Synod Ministerium, Fall 2018.
  • “What She Kneads; What We Need,” Lenten Series Sermon, First Baptist Church, Highland Avenue, March 2018.
  • “Blessing the Waters,” Forsyth County Creek Week, March 2018.
  • Speaker, Ein Feste Burg: Musical Celebration of 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, Home Moravian Church, Fall 2017.
  • “Savoring Places; Saving Graces,” Moravian Southern Province Leadership Conference, April 2016.

Select Honors and Awards

  • Recipient, WFU Office of Sustainability Academics, Research and Engagement Award, 2017-2018.
  • The Seventh Moon Prize recipient, Writing in a Woman’s Voice, for “Biorhythmic Resistance,” July 2017.
  • Recipient, Calvin Institute for Christian Worship grant, 2017-2018.
  • Recipient, WFU Teaching Innovation Award, 2015
  • Recipient, Summer Grant for Exploration of Technology Enhancing Teaching, Learning, Research, Scholarly, and/or Creative Work, 2015
  • WFU Magnolias Project Participant, 2015 (integrating issues of sustainability in teaching and learning)
  • Recipient, Religion NC Colloquium Grant: Project Title: “From Living Water to Running Water: A History of Baptistery Art in North Carolina”

Professional Affiliations

  • North American Academy of Liturgy
  • Advisory Board, Appalachian Ministries Educational Resources Consortium
  • Advisory Board, Journal of Appalachian Health, University of Louisville