The Glenmary Group Volunteer Program in Tennessee is in large part about service to the local community, but there’s more to it. The young men and women missionary volunteers also spend time getting to know the people of the surrounding area, many of whom have been helped by Glenmary’s efforts.
Near the current volunteer program location on Joppa Mountain in Grainger County, one couple’s home and business is a must-stop location. Husband and wife team Ann and McDonald Crosby operate Joppa Mountain Pottery. They have been in a mutually beneficial relationship with the volunteer program since Glenmary moved to the mountain in 2013.
“Since the first group, Ann and McDonald have welcomed us to their shop, sharing time and showing us the beauty of pottery,” says Joe Grosek, Director of the Glenmary Group Volunteer Program. “Groups have benefited greatly from their time at Joppa Mountain Pottery. It is an opportunity for them to participate in the Ministry of Presence. They also get a lesson in pottery and the joys and challenges of being a full-time artist.”
In addition to experiencing the local culture with the Crosbys, the volunteer program also benefits from fallen trees on the property. The volunteer program provides firewood for many in the community and the Crosbys are happy to help the cause.
The missionary volunteer program provides opportunities for groups of high school and college students to spend time in service to others. Joe and his team of long-term volunteers, called Mountain Managers, lead visiting groups in fixing leaky roofs, building accessible entrances, insulating trailers and doing anything that needs to be done in an area where many don’t have money for basic repairs.
The Crosbys have benefitted from that service as well. Just this winter, missionary volunteers built a ramp for the Crosbys’ trailer. They also put in insulation and skirting to help keep the house warm. Though she and her husband are experienced artists, Ann says sometimes money can be tight until Glenmary brings a group of students to see their work. Many buy souvenirs.
“It has been a blessed thing to have Glenmary in our lives,” Ann says. “We would not have made it if it wasn’t for Glenmary bringing kids through many times. We’d be down to our last dollar and I’d need medication from the pharmacy. They would come through and purchase something to let us have dinner that night and get my medications.
“The kids keep us young,” Ann adds. “They have such youthfulness and a beautiful attitude toward life. As we get older, it’s good for us to see that attitude is still out there. I can never tell the neighbors enough about Glenmary because of everything they do. It’s a big blessing to Grainger County to have Glenmary here in Appalachia, period. People don’t realize everything they do for our community.”
The Crosbys aren’t the only neighbors that missionary volunteers regularly visit. There’s also the Kingswood Home for Children, a local nursing home, and of course Glenmary’s St. John Paul II mission in Rutledge, Tennessee.
“Since the beginning of the Glenmary Group Volunteer Program in Kentucky, Glenmary has sought out relationships that highlight the beauty of the rich Appalachian culture that we serve in,” Joe says. “From the Tollers, to the Kinneys, to Wild Woman Edith Smith and Charley Campbell, the Crosbys are the latest in that line of wonderful friends.”
Learn more about Ann and McDonald at JoppaMountainPottery.com