Jesus reminds us, “I am the vine and you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
Joy in Learning creatively shares God’s gifts of play through the arts and other activities. As we gather in community, we promote connection, understanding and caring relationships. This is a welcoming environment for all ages as well as those from diverse cultural, ethnic and economic background. Activities include classes in cooking, baking, weaving, painting, pottery, chess, music, crafts, woodworking, sewing, basketweaving and more. Service type projects also connect us with many ministries in Nashville and around the world!
Joy in Learning began with a lot of what if’s, listening and praying.
- What if we provided opportunities for individuals to find and expand on their strengths through hands-on “play” activities?
- What if we provided opportunities for individuals to share an interest as leaders and helpers?
- What if we brought together children and adults from a wide variety of backgrounds and interests?
- What if we partnered with ministries that Westminster was already supporting?
Slowly, we found our answers and in faith, decided to try out this new idea.
In the fall of 2013, we breathed in faith and began this wonderful ministry with 3 classes, 3 leaders, 21 volunteers and 19 children. Half the children were from Westminster while the other half came from other communities. Our first classes included: clay fun, cooking and crafts. Over the years, we have added on many classes and activities for kindergarten on up. We expanded our age range and have been thrilled to continue to have participants from within Westminster along with our many surrounding communities.
One focus in 2013 was on clay. But, where do we fire our items? Mid-South Ceramics offered to help us with that request. But, with the transportation issue and many broken projects, we knew we should plan for something that would better for our needs. In order to have really nice items with two firings, we knew we needed a kiln at the church. After many years of saving, we did just that! In addition, we added on three pottery wheels and an amazing glazing station. (Check out the pottery site!)
Over the years…
…we have added on many classes and activities for all ages. We expanded our age range and have been thrilled to continue to have participants from within Westminster along with our many surrounding communities.
Even through the pandemic, Joy in Learning continued to listen to God’s call to remain faithful.
Knitting and crocheting have met weekly for two hours via zoom since June of 2020. These dedicated and very busy women created 92 dishcloths for our Westminster seniors, lap blankets for our veterans at Alive Hospice, hats for the homeless through Room in the Inn, and blankets and caps for babies through Strick’s Gift. In addition, note cards and rice heat/cold packs were made for our Westminster Seniors through Congregational Care.
Additional ways we reached out:
- We provided children’s books, pumpkin supplies, tennis shoes and a variety of craft items to our refugee neighbors through the Nations Ministry Center.
- Clay to Go! was organized and through Cass Fagan’s leadership, pottery was taken online through zoom classes! Items were made at home with glazing and firing at church. Many bowls were made for a future chili dinner to raise money for a well in Mozambique.
- Our Baking For Others connected with Congregational Care and packaged individual baked fresh items for our Westminster Seniors.
- We funded school supplies, donated items and provided meals for children and youth at Preston Taylor Ministries.
We do not know what will come tomorrow, but we are listening to God’s call on how to reach out today.