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new worshiping community leader

‘I was quickly approaching burnout’

For seven years, Nick Pickrell, organizer of The Open Table in Kansas City, Missouri, has been hustling to keep the new worshiping community afloat. There was a lot of grant writing and developing — not to mention the community’s antiracism training business. Finally, last summer, Pickrell was able to take a break, thanks to Sabbath & Sabbatical Grants from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s 1001 New Worshiping Communities movement.

Shining light in the darkness

From February through April, the Rev. Thirza Sayers was in bed, in another space of darkness. The leader of Light for the Darkness, a new worshiping community that serves as a mental health ministry in the Presbytery of Giddings Lovejoy and pastor at Hillside Presbyterian Church in House Springs, Missouri, has lived with treatment-resistant major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder for 30 years. Then came post-traumatic stress disorder. This combination, treated with 20 Electroconvulsive Therapy sessions, sidelined her from 2013 to 2017, when she took mental health disability leave.