One of the things I love about the Presbyterian Church (USA) is our commitment to be in relationship with Christians of other traditions and even people of other faiths. Our Book of Order guides to to visibly manifest the unity of the body of Christ through conversation, cooperation, and action with other churches. We are also called to converse with and understand people from other religions like Jews, Muslims, Hindus . . . the list goes on. As it relates to the latter, I am grateful for George Grove’s recent series here on Islam. For the former, I am grateful to partners in our community who have been eager to engage in ecumenical partnership, especially for the sake of “the least of these” in our community.

Service in the name of Jesus Christ often draws us together despite our theological differences. Members of St. John’s Lutheran Church and Seaside Vineyard have been volunteers at SIPC’s cold weather shelter this winter. Fifteen congregations worked side-by-side to feed over 800 families at Thanksgiving. Clergy from at least 6 different traditions were in attendance at St. John’s Lutheran for the recent chili cook-off to benefit HELP of Beaufort. While the theology, worship, and governance of the PC(USA) ring most true for me, I am pleased to learn from and serve beside brothers and sisters of diverse perspectives. May you likewise find ways to love, understand, and serve beside your neighbors who worship in other traditions – but don’t let them forget that it’s a Presbyterian who makes the best chili in town!

I’m not much into secrets, so here’s the winning recipe. Just don’t share it with those Lutherans down the street!

Texas Chili with All the Fixin’s


  • 2 Tablespoons Bacon Grease
  • 3 Medium Yellow Onions, Chopped
  • 6 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 4.5 Tablespoons Chili Powder
  • 3 Tablespoons Paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons Cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano
  • 1.5 Pounds Ground Chuck
  • 1.5 Pounds Italian Sausage, Crumbled (hot or mild to taste)
  • 2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt (or more to taste)
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 Cans (28 ounces each) Crushed Tomatoes With Puree (I prefer Pomi brand because it contains only tomatoes, no added salt or preservatives.)
  • 1.5 Cans (15 ounces each) Barbecue Baked Beans, Drained (I prefer Bush’s Original Recipe because it contains no high fructose corn syrup.)
  • 2 Cans (15 ounces each) Low Sodium Kidney Beans, Rinsed and Drained
  • 3 Tablespoons Minced Canned Chipotle Chilis in Adobo Sauce (or more to taste)

Heat the bacon grease in large heavy stockpot or saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the chili powder, paprika, cumin, and oregano and stir until the spices are well combined. Add the ground chuck, sausage, one tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, and one teaspoon salt. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook the meat, stirring frequently, until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes.

While the meat cooks, mix the remaining ingredients together in a large crock-pot on high heat. Add the cooked meat mixture to the crock pot and continue cooking on high, stirring occasionally, for one hour. Adjust seasonings with more salt, Worcestershire sauce, or spices and continue cooking on low until ready to serve.

Serve with grated sharp cheddar cheese, chopped green onion, sour cream, crumbled corn chips, and chopped jalapeno chiles. (10 to 12 main course servings.)

This recipe is adapted from one of the same name in Bride and Groom First and Forever Cookbook by Mary Corpening Barber and Sara Corpening Whiteford and given to Eric and I as a wedding gift by dear friends.