The community of Huntley, Minnesota, is firm on the number of residents. They have counted everybody. Seventy-five people.
There is one church—Community Covenant.
Five years ago when the church was celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary, the evangelism outreach commission began to dream about a project that would integrate the church with the entire community.
“We know everybody in town, but we really wanted to have good connections with people. We needed to do better,” said longtime member Carol Sands. “We wanted something the whole town could get behind.” The idea of a community cookbook came up, but the project sat idle. Then last year Sands and fellow church member Nina Patton picked up the project, rolled up their sleeves, and the Huntley Community Cookbook began to take shape.
In cooperation with the popular Huntley Cafe, the church collected more than 500 recipes. The group illustrated the book with historic photographs and old maps from a nearby museum. They also discovered “antique” recipes—one which was used for decades to bake the bread for local schoolchildren. The same recipe is used at Community Covenant to bake communion bread on the first Sunday of the month.
“We wanted it to be more than a cookbook,” says Patton. “We wanted it to give a sense of what the town is now and also what it was.” When all was said and done, they produced a 225-page book from three generations of local families.
The book rolled out last summer in time for the church’s thirtieth anniversary. The initial print order was for 400 cookbooks, which the church sold for $12 apiece. They sold out immediately.
As of early March, the church had sold around 1,600 books. Positive press from nearby Mankato Free Press and the Minneapolis Star Tribune have boosted sales.
In gathering recipes and stories, the church realized its goal of increased interaction with people in town and a more cohesive community. In an effort to build on that connection, Community Covenant began to host a meal on Wednesday evenings, often using recipes from the book. Several visitors who came to the church for the meal have begun participating in congregational life.
Although the cookbook project is winding down, with just over 100 books left to sell, the church has no plans to slow their evangelism efforts. “We look for ways of connecting with people so we always want to be thinking ahead,” says Dennis Anders, senior pastor. “The ultimate goal is to see people come into the kingdom. This was just a tool to make that a reality.”
Huntley School Brown Bread
Darlene Mair from Kelly Robertson
1 c. white flour
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. soda
2 c. graham flour
2 c. buttermilk or sour milk
Mix white flour, sugar, salt, and
soda together. Add graham flour.
Mix together and add buttermilk.
Bake 1 hour at 350° or until brown. Makes 1 large loaf.