Meet Our New Director of Cyclical, Neema Cyrus-Franklin
Neema Cyrus-Franklin, the daughter of a Presbyterian minister, has been a Presbyterian all her life. But, she says, there was a point at which she made the choice to continue that on her own.
“The Presbyterian Church is a place where I have grown, have been given a voice, and have been given the chance to lead,” she shared. It is a place that she also wants to help see grow as well, part of her enthusiasm for her role as Director of Cyclical for the Presbytery of Los Ranchos.
“I was an elder in my home church when I was 16 years old, and that really propelled me forward and gave me the trajectory for my ministry up to this point,” Neema continued. In college, she felt led to teach and so pursued a degree in early childhood education and psychology. When she began to work after graduation, she also began to volunteer at her church with the youth because there was no one else to do it. “About six months in I asked myself, why can’t I do this work with youth as my job?”
It was a question that led her to seminary, and then to a fruitful eight years working for the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta with youth and young adults. It was a ‘dream job’ for Neema, and gave her the opportunity to work with a variety of congregations and their youth and young adult ministries.
But, as happens, life brought change when her husband, Rev. Victor Cyrus-Franklin, a United Methodist minister, received an appointment to work with a congregation in Los Angeles in 2013. In Los Angeles, Neema began consulting for the Pacific Presbytery in the area of online communications, database implementation and assisting the Interim Stated Clerk as minute clerk. And in 2016, another ministry opportunity arose for Victor to work on a short-term project with Tennessee to strategize with three congregations to either revitalize or find a gracious way to bring their ministries to a close.
On a return visit to Los Angeles over this past Christmas, Neema had the chance to worship at New Hope and met with Rev. Chineta Goodjoin, a member of the Los Ranchos Search Team for this position. “I wasn’t looking for a position, but Chineta suggested the opportunity may be a great fit.” Little did Chineta know that Neema had been praying for 6 months. “I had been praying for a way to serve the Church that more directly touched the lives of God’s people and more directly aligned with what inspires me. Helping people to discern and support their calls into service and ministry is one of my greatest passions,” Neema shared. “Although my administrative skills have kept me close to work in the church, after I saw the job description for the Director of Cyclical it was as though my prayer had been answered.”
“I felt like God had answered a prayer in a way that would allow me to continue working within the denomination that I love and care for, to help people discern their calls, to help the church that is struggling to find its way as everything is changing around us.”
She and her husband have two children, 10 and 5 going on 15 and 12. “They really help us as they challenge us to be able to talk about faith in ways that they can understand and grasp – this helps me as I talk with others as they discern their path in this journey.”
Neema is excited about the opportunity to work with the Presbytery of Los Ranchos. “Just the fact that we have a presbytery that is willing to say, “We don’t have all the answers but we are seeking them’ gives me an excitement that we are willing to work to do something new and figure it out together.”