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Modeling faith at home

The Rev. Neema Cyrus-Franklin of Around the Table is a guest on the ‘New Way’ podcast

by Beth Waltemath | Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Neema Cyrus-Franklin, Around the Table’s project coordinator for its nationwide initiative supporting faith practices in the home, recently appeared as a guest on the “New Way” podcast.

Cyrus-Franklin is a pastor, parent, part of a clergy couple, an advocate for youth, a certified coach, a trauma-informed yoga instructor and a group facilitator. The “New Way” podcast is hosted by the Rev. Sara Hayden, associate for the 1001 New Worshiping Communities movement, and produced by the Rev. Marthame Sanders of Mudeif Productions.

In the first of two episodes, “Modeling Lives of Faithful Transparency,” Cyrus-Franklin discussed the “third phase” of her ministry and reflected on how God has been faithful in the midst of constant change and flux.

As a preacher’s kid, Cyrus-Franklin described a childhood surrounded by a household of faith and a community of faith with parents who expressed their faith publicly.

“My dad’s a Presbyterian pastor. I’m not one of those who didn’t grow up with faith in the home,” Cyrus-Franklin said as she described how affected she was by her parents’ practice of “casting our cares” (1 Peter 5:7). “My parents were very intentional about showing us and not hiding the concerns, problems, issues that they faced as ministry leaders, as parents and as folks who had bills to pay.” In front of her and her siblings, her mother talked to the Lord out loud in plain language while doing household chores. “My dad was the pastor, but my mother was the practical theologian at home,” Cyrus-Franklin said.

As an adult, Cyrus-Franklin answered the call to ministry and found the constantly changing landscape of contemporary congregational ministry. She found herself called upon to be creative and offer solutions to new situations, especially regarding supporting the faith formation of families.

In the second episode, “The Gift and Challenge of Parenting in the Faith,” Cyrus-Franklin, who lives in Los Angeles, described the challenges of parenting children in a world where gun violence in schools and racist crimes and policing policies are an ever-present reality. She also discussed some of the ways her spiritual practices have evolved through life’s difficulties and the surprising ways the faith she models has empowered her kids.

Cyrus-Franklin brings her experience to her work with the Around the Table initiative. She shares insights through the Around the Table blog and will be launching online cohorts of others involved in supporting faith formation in communities and in the home in the fall of 2025 and the spring of 2026. Around the Table also offers resources like a faith practices toolkit with offerings on prayer, Sabbath, hospitality, service and retreat. The initiative is also developing ways to explore topics like holy listening, mental health, sharing individual stories and God’s story, and trauma-informed parenting.

“We’re looking to work with individuals to help us to craft a way forward in this new, untraversed terrain,” said Cyrus-Franklin. “We call this initiative Around the Table. It’s a callback to the table because most people aren’t gathering around the table.”

Time together may not be traditional, but it can be intentional and formational, according to Cyrus-Frankin, who described the initiative as “a place where we can learn, because what we know for sure is the way that we’ve done ministry in the past is not going to be the way forward for how ministry is done in the future.”

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