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Around the Table initiative cohorts launch later in 2024 and in 2025

Deadline to apply to first test cohorts is May 31

by Beth Waltemath | Presbyterian News Service

Application for the first cohorts of the Around the Table initiative is open until May 31. These first cohorts are experimental in nature and will help inform the larger launch of more cohorts in 2025.

Around the Table is a grant-funded initiative of the Office of Christian Formation of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). According to its webpage, “the Around the Table initiative empowers church leaders to nurture faith at home and transform faith communities.” The vision behind the coached cohorts is that they will help to “guide faith communities to become thriving intergenerational communities, fostering a holistic integration of Christian faith in daily life.”

Three to six test cohorts plus one conducted in Spanish and several grandparent cohorts also to include Spanish speaking will launch in October. The cohorts will cover five key faith practices: prayer, hospitality, service, storytelling and retreat. They will have a first look at the new materials created by the Around the Table initiative and will work with specially trained coaches in addressing the faith formation needs of their contexts.

Throughout the process, participants will offer valuable feedback on the resources, platforms and coaching models before the official launch of the Around the Table cohorts in 2025. Participants in the test cohorts receive grant money to hold an intergenerational retreat in their community.

The cohorts are part of a multi-pronged approach to faith formation within the home, the community of faith and the larger community. Through a partnership with the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation, it has already developed reader guides for home and congregational use. A blog and six-episode podcast featuring seasoned faith formation practitioners on issues of greatest concern earlier this year.

“Just five months into my role as program director, I’ve seen incredible progress in our work so far,” said the Rev. Neema Cyrus-Franklin, director of the Around the Table initiative. “I’m thrilled that our mission to empower church leaders and deepen connections within faith communities is taking off!

Cyrus-Franklin envisions this cohort model as a powerful medium aligned with the purpose of the initiative, which is “infusing everyday life with Christian faith.” The groups will include participants from a variety of locations, languages and identity groups. They will meet six times over Zoom between October 2024 and May 2025.

“Through group learning guided by trained coaches, Around the Table cohorts will transform houses of faith into vibrant, intergenerational communities that foster faith at home,” said Cyrus-Franklin.

The Office of Christian Formation will hold a community circle on May 22 to address any questions about the cohorts.

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