Handmade with Hope

A new multi-generational Missional Community is enfolding moms and babies with love, one stitch at a time. 

In an era when efficiency and speed often are valued above all else, a small group of women has begun meeting monthly at Christ Presbyterian Church, Old Hickory Blvd location to practice the art of slowing and creating. 

Their circle is cozy. The ages vary. The women sit, exhale and enjoy a cup of coffee. They pull out yarn and needles. The work of their hands begins to quiet their hearts and mind. 

Jeri Melton proudly displays her handiwork.

Jeri Melton proudly displays her handiwork.

They’ll spend the next two hours knitting or crocheting together. This provides a pathway to connection as they impart wisdom, share laughter and pray over the baby blankets, washcloths, hats and burp cloths they’re making. All these items will eventually be donated to Nashville’s Hope Clinic for Women, one of our Missional Partnerships.

Established in 1983, Hope Clinic equips women, men and families to navigate unplanned pregnancies. It also offers access to women’s health care, prevention education and support for pregnancy loss and postpartum depression. Additionally, the clinic provides medical care, professional counseling, education classes, case management, mentoring and practical support regardless of age, race, religion or ability to pay. 

As Nashville’s population has skyrocketed, so has Hope Clinic’s needs. A lightbulb moment occurred earlier this year when several women from Christ Presbyterian and other area churches who enjoy knitting and crocheting realized they could combine their love for the craft with a purposeful vision of creating items for new mothers in need of material assistance. This led to the creation of a Missional Community called Yarning for Hope earlier this year.  

The baby items made by the Missional Community are placed in Hope Clinic’s gift room. As the women at the clinic attend counseling sessions or educational classes, they earn points they can redeem.

Elly Hulst, Mindy Orman and Kathy Lamberson gather to knit and crochet at the Old Hickory Blvd location.

Elly Hulst, Mindy Orman and Kathy Lamberson gather to knit and crochet at the Old Hickory Blvd location.

Leah Rader, a founding member of Yarning for Hope, says she wasn’t sure at first if the women would want handmade items for their babies opposed to store-bought supplies. “Yet the staff at the clinic tells us our knitted blankets, burp and washcloths and newborn hats are some of the first things to get selected,” Rader says. 

Attached to each item is a tag that indicates it was made by Yarning for Hope. 

“Our prayer is that the tag encourages women—that they feel really seen,” Rader says. “We want them to know our group is aware of their needs and desires to walk alongside them in some small way.”

In addition to knitting or crocheting, Yarning for Hope also supports Hope Clinic for Women through assembling gift bags for new moms and praying on site for the clinic staff. 

“There are many ways to get involved, even if you don’t know how to knit or you’re a beginner,” explains Rader. 

Each item is tagged with the Yarning for Hope logo.

Each item is tagged with the Yarning for Hope logo.

The Missional Community has been a life-giving experience for Rader, who doesn’t live nearby her mom or grandmother. “I’ve formed friendships with women who are much older than me,” she says. “Their wisdom, words of kindness and encouragement have been a gift.” 

Adds Jamie Schoepke, another one of the founding members of the Missional Community: “It’s exciting that we can make others feel loved through sharing the talents God has given us.”