Chicken soup may indeed be good for the soul, but with some help from Chris Moyer and her friends, so are Dreamy Blueberry Soup, Tejas Chili, and Crab and Corn Bisque, to name just a few.
Moyer and six other members of a Bible study group at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Vienna, Va., used their gifts from God to write, publish and sell Bowls of Blessings, a soup cookbook. The Lenten project raised $1,250 for a Lutheran World Relief-supported orphanage in Kenya.
"Our Bible study group had been meeting for three years. We found that we didn't share a lot in common other than the fact that we were all mothers," Moyer said. "So for Lent last year we decided to assess our individual spiritual gifts, and we placed them all on table tents so we could see each others'."
About the same time, the seven women had agreed to cook for one of the congregation's annual Wednesday Lenten soup dinners. Their creations were so popular people suggested they collect the recipes for a book.
"The next day we had our Bible study, and when we looked at our spiritual gifts on the cards we realized that although none of us could make a book individually, we had all of the gifts to do it as a group."
Each woman was only asked to do the tasks they enjoyed, except for the writing. Each person contributed at least one devotion to accompany the recipes.
For inspiration, everyone brought an item from her kitchen. This led to devotions such as "My Mother's Ladle," a heartfelt metaphor of accepting God's love.
The book, which was bound with a large metal ring for easier use in the kitchen, contained more than 40 recipes, many of which were identified as congregational favorites from Lenten suppers. The first printing of 200 copies sold out almost immediately. Eventually 400 books were sold.
The women aren't planning to go into the publishing business, but their soups continue to be made frequently around the community.
"We had the spiritual gifts, and all we had to do to make this happen was use them," Moyer said.
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers