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Jill Y. Crainshaw, Ph.D.


Wake Forest University, Bachelor of Arts, Religion

Southeastern Theological Seminary, Master of Divinity

Union Presbyterian Seminar, Ph.D., Practical Theology



Her dogs, Bella and Penny



Jill Crainshaw is a poet, preacher, and teacher. Through her writing and teaching, she celebrates life’s seasons and seasonings. She and her two dogs, Bella and Penny, look for poems each day in their back yard. Sometimes Jill writes them down.


Dr. Crainshaw emphasizes in her teaching, scholarship and administrative leadership the importance of self-awareness and spiritual intentionality to effective religious leadership. A University Ombuds, Dr. Crainshaw serves as a designated neutral for Wake Forest faculty and staff.


Dr. 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 Dr. 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. Dr. Crainshaw is a well-known author in her field of liturgical theology. She has written six 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 two books of poetry, Cedars in Snowy Places: 52 Poems (WFU Library Partners Press, 2019) and Footnotes and Endnotes (WFU Library Partners Press, 2021) and co-editor of a two-volume Encyclopedia of Religious Controversies in the United States (ABC-Clio, 2012).


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

Jill Y. Crainshaw, Ph.D.

Professor of Worship and Liturgical Theology and University Ombuds and Ethical & Inclusive Leadership Faculty

Wake Forest University

Conflict resolution, professional ethics, preaching, worship, leadership