Cook-off Recipes

Published on March 25, 2015, by in News & Events.

Golden ladle mar15The Chili/Soup cook-off was a huge success! We had 12 different soups and chilis for everyone to taste-test. Ralph and Lori Vinicguerra shared pictures from their trip to Haiti. After everyone had eaten their fill, the votes came in, and named Beth Fiore and Chris Boyd the winners of the “Golden Ladle” for best soup and best chili, respectively. Here are some of the recipes from the cook-off.

Vegetable Chili Con Carne:

from Jane Brody’s Good Food Book

Chili Base:

1 large onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

2 large cloves of garlic, mince (about 2 teaspoons)

2 t. vegetable oil

1 lb very lean ground beef (I used ground turkey)

1 28 oz. can tomato puree

1 can kidney beans

1 or more jalapeño pepper (I omitted this)

1 cup diced green peppers

1 cup sliced carrots

1 cup diced celery

1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen (optional)


5 t. brown sugar

5 t. mild chili powder

1 T. ground cumin

1 T. oregano leaves

1/2 t. salt, if desired, or to taste

1/2 t. coriander

1/4 t. ground cloves

1/8 t. ground allspice

1.  Saute onion and garlic in large deep heavy skillet, until softened

2. Add meat, browning it, stirring it to break up the pieces.  Drain off any fat that accumulates in the pan.

3. Add the tomatoes and all the seasonings.  Heat the mixture until it is bubbly, reduce the heat and cover the pan and simmer for about 30 minutes.

4. Add the kidney beans, jalapeño peppers, green peppers, carrots, and celery.  Simmer the chili, covered about 20 minutes longer or until the carrots are softened.  If desired, add the corn kernels to the pot after 10 minutes.

Bean and Butternut Squash Vegetarian Chili (serves 12):

6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 cup chopped onion

4 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp crushed red pepper

2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp salt

8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

4 cups vegetable broth

3 cups cubed, peeled, cooked butternut squash (I sautéed in olive oil but you could boil)

2 (28 oz) cans no-salt added tomatoes

1/4 tsp Texas Pete or Tabasco (I added but this is optional)

1 (15 oz) can pinto beans

1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans

2 (15 oz) cans red kidney beans

1 cup thinly sliced green onion

Sour cream

Shredded cheddar cheese

Heat Dutch oven or large sauce pan over medium high heat. Add oil to plan, swirl to coat.  Add onion, cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cumin, red pepper, paprika, salt, and garlic.  Cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add broth, cooked squash, tomatoes and Texas Pete; bring to simmer. Cook 20 mins, stirring occasionally.  Add beans, simmer 25 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally.

Serve with green onion, sour cream, and shredded cheddar cheese.

Craig Boyd’s Award Winning “Golden Ladle Hearty Chilli Mac”

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Cook: 1-1/4 hours

MAKES: 10-12 serving


2 pounds ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped

1 can (46 ounces) tomato juice

1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained

2 celery ribs, chopped

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons chili powder (or to taste)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 cans (16 ounces each) kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup uncooked elbow macaroni (though I used a whole cup)


1 ) In a 12” Dutch oven, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomato juice, tomatoes, celery, brown sugar, chili powder, salt, mustard and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

2) Add the beans and macaroni; simmer 15-20 minutes longer or until macaroni is tender. 

Easy Chili  (Submitted by John Barnes)

1 ) Sauté onions, red, green, and yellow bell peppers, and fresh garlic

2) Add your favorite canned chili (we suggest Hormel Vegetarian with Beans)


Beth’s Butternut Squash Soup

2 Butternut Squash

1 ½ Tablespoon Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

¼ teaspoon Cinnamon

¼ teaspoon Cardamom

¼ teaspoon Ginger

¼ teaspoon Cumin

Dash of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

5 cups of Chicken Stock 

1) Preheat oven to 425.

2) Peel, seed, & cube the Butternut Squash.  Mix with Olive Oil, Salt, & Pepper.  Roast for 30-45 minutes, until tender.

3) Transfer Squash to a dutch oven or stock pot.  Add remaining ingredients.  Puree with an immersion blender.  Simmer over medium low heat for 30 minutes or until ready to eat.

(Can garnish with sour cream, crème fraiche, crumbled bacon, or chives.)

(Can add more or less Chicken Stock to reach desired thickness.)

Serves 8.

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Chili/Soup Cook-off

Published on March 3, 2015, by in News & Events.

March 22 after worship

It is an Old South tradition to have a cook-off in advance of a mission trip so get your taste buds ready for March 22.  Please join us to taste multiple delicious soups and chilis and vote for your favorite.  We will also get to hear from Lori and Ralph Vinciguerra about their experiences at the orphanage.  Please bring an item to donate to the orphanage. We are collecting batteries (AA & AAA), new boys underwear (all sizes, boxers preferred), soccer balls (un-inflated if possible), and notebooks. If you haven’t had time to shop, feel free to make a donation and we can shop for you. 

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Hunger Banquet

Published on February 27, 2013, by in News & Events.

You are invited to a Hunger Banquet sponsored by the Outreach Committee on Sunday, March 10, right after the service. The Banquet is an opportunity to learn firsthand about the inequitable distribution of food in the world.

Participants will draw tickets at random to find out if they are in the high, middle, or low
income tier and receive a meal that corresponds to their income level. We will have an
opportunity to learn more about the causes of worldwide hunger and how the global economy
and climate change affect the one billion people who endure chronic hunger and are powerless
to do anything about it. A free will offering will be taken to support the work of Oxfam
America, an international relief and development organization that creates solutions to poverty and hunger.

In order to help us plan the food, the Outreach Committee would appreciate RSVP’s in advance if possible. Please contact Hilary Trismen ( or
978-475-9868) or sign up the vestry on 2/24 or 3/3. People are also welcome to decide to attend on the day of the event. During this Lenten season, the Hunger Banquet is a time for us to reflect on all we have. Please join us as we learn more about how we can follow Jesus’
teachings to serve the least among us.

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MLK Day of Service

Published on January 11, 2013, by in News & Events.

A Day of Service and Remembrance for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  January 19th, 2013

We hope you will be able to join us for a community service project on the Saturday before MLK Day.  The purpose of this project is first to improve the lives of members of our larger community.  Equally important, however, is the opportunity to work together in fellowship and to remind ourselves that we each have the capacity to make a difference.  We will gather between 9am and 9:15 at the First Congregational Church of Reading for a joint service of commissioning before heading out to various tasks.

Please review the tasks below to see how you can best participate.  Most tasks are open-ended in time and in the number of people that can be accommodated.  Timing of shifts is estimated; actual timing may depend upon volunteer sign-ups.   We are using a sign-up sheet to make sure each task is covered, but feel free to move on to another project once yours is completed.  You can also go to Emarc or Old South at 1:00pm to help finish up those projects.    

Participation by children in encouraged, but keep in mind younger skill sets and attention spans.  Also, we request that all children under 14 years of age sign up with an adult or the permission of the project leader.  We have attempted to provide opportunities for all ages and abilities.                                                                                                               

  1. Food Collection @ Stop & Shop for Reading Food Pantry – Leader: Betsy Schneider
    9:30 – 11:30
    11:30 – 1:00 (move donations to OS)
    OTHER: Dress warmly 2. Food Pantry @ Old South –Leader: Phyllis Maxwell
    9:30 – 11:30 (check and sort)
    1:00 to 2:30 or when done (check and put away donations) 3. Making Bagged Lunches and Cookies for Lazarus House @ FCCR kitchen – Leader: Hilary Kopp-Trismen
    9:30 – 11:30 or when done
    Donations requested:  Sandwich breads, fruit, and money to offset food perishables purchases.
    4. Curtains for EMARC @ FCCR Dining Hall– Leader: Cindy Crampe
    9:30 – 12:30 or when done
    BRING: Your portable sewing machine and sewing supplies (scissors, etc.)

    5. Hat-a-thon @ FCCR Dining Hall –Leader: Laurie Tucker
    9:30 – 12:30
    BRING: Crotchet hooks and knitting needles.  Patterns and some yarn will be available at the site.
    Donations of materials needed: Machine washable yarn in any color. Baby or other softer yarns are especially appreciated for premature babies. Any excess donations of yarn not used for Hat-a-thon will be donated to the Senior Center knitters who do all their knitting for charities.

    6. Linus Blankets @ FCCR Dining Hall –Leader: Lesley Kerr
    9:30 – 12:30
    BRING: Your own sewing scissors.  Patterns and some material will be available at the site.
    DONATIONS OF MATERIALS NEEDED: Fleece – one-yard or 1-1/2 yard pieces.

    7. Painting @ EMARC – Leader: Len Corey
    9:00 – 4:00 or when done
    Report directly to 321 Haven Street Reading. Work to begin at 9 a.m.
    Sign up for ½ Shift (9 -1 or 1-5), whole shift (9-5) or any other time slot you can work
    Bring: Your lunch, drinks, if you are staying the whole day. Tap water for drinking will be available. All painting tools and materials will be provided.
    OTHER: Dress in painting clothes. Please, no children younger than high school age. Previous painting experience preferred.


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Christmas Eve Services

Published on December 21, 2012, by in News & Events.

Nativity sceneCelebrate the birth of Christ at Old South UMC this year.  We are offering two services on Christmas Eve: a 5pm family service, and a 7pm traditional service of lessons and carols.  Both services are family friendly, with special music and the telling of the Christmas story. All are welcome.

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Angel Tree Gift Collection Update

Published on December 6, 2012, by in News & Events, Serve.

Thank you to everyone who has “adopted” an angel from the Angel Tree and is purchasing a toy and article of clothing for a needy child.  Reminder– the first round of Angel tree gifts are due back at church this Sunday, Dec 9th, so we can get them to the Cooper Community Center in time for their holiday party.  Please return these gifts wrapped with the angel (well) attached to the package.

For those of you who are still interested in getting a gift for a needy child, Old South has just “adopted” a seven-member family from Lawrence through Lazarus House’s Project Bethlehem. For each child in the family, Lazarus House asks us to get two articles of clothing and the main item on their wish list.  Any additional toys, books, puzzles are also greatly appreciated.  We hope to get clothing items for the parents and one wish list item for the household (they would like an electric can opener).  The Outreach Committee will be splitting up these gift requests to make it easier to incorporate this family in your holiday shopping but please feel free to take more than one Angel tag if you wish.  Look for the yellow and blue angels going on the tree this Sunday (12/9).  Three important notes about this gift collection:  
— Gifts need to be returned to church by Sunday, December 16 (if you won’t be at church that day, let Hilary Trismen know and a pick up can be arranged)
— The mother and girls in this family wear skirts only for religious reasons so please don’t buy pants. 
— Please return gifts wrapped in GIFT BAGS or UNWRAPPED as we need to provide a list of gifts to Lazarus House when we deliver them.  Be sure to attach the angel tag to the gift so we know who it is for.

Thank you for helping to make the holidays brighter for a disadvantaged child.  It’s wonderful that Old South can share its Christmas spirit!

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Outdoor Worship Celebration

Published on September 2, 2012, by in Worship.

We’re kicking off the new school year and the Reading Street Faire with an outdoor worship celebration.  Joining forces with the First Congregational Church of Reading, we will gather for worship outside Old South to be a visible and welcoming presence for all of Reading.  The service will include a backpack blessing for all students, joint music, and a fun, participatory sermon.  Bring the whole family (and their backpacks), invite the neighbors, and helps us share God’s love in community.  Dress casually so you can enjoy the street fair afterward.

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Free Brass & Organ Concert

Published on September 1, 2012, by in Connect.

The Old South UMC Organ and Brass will perform a FREE organ concert this coming Sept 9 at 3:30 p.m. at Old South UMC. The concert will feature pieces from the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras, including music by Morley, Buxtehude, Telemann, Brahms, and Langlais, among others.

Old South UMC Brass and Organ is a dedicated, enthusiastic group of talented members and friends of Old South United Methodist Church who have come together through the sheer joy of playing brass and organ music composed for a small group. We enjoy playing an eclectic mixture of classical, sacred, secular, and jazz music with an emphasis on early music from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. We are now in our third full season performing together for special church services, church concerts, and community events such as the Reading Street Faire and the Town Tree Lighting.

Our members are: Henry Marcy, Jim Foltz (trumpets), Terry Rawlins (trombone), Alex Lachmayr (bass trombone), and Susan Holloway (organist and Music Director, Old South UMC).

Refreshments will be served after the performance. This concert is free and open to the public.  Old South United Methodist is handicapped accessible.

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New Small Group Study: A Disciple’s Path

Published on August 11, 2012, by in Grow, News & Events.

Have you ever had a sense that there ought to be more to being a Christian than just attending worship, making a pledge, and sitting on a committee?  If so, this study is for you.  Jesus calls us to discipleship, saying, “Follow me.”  But how do we do that?  A Disciple’s Path combines a uniquely Wesleyan understanding of our growth in God’s love and grace, with the time-tested spiritual practices that deepen a disciple’s relationship with God and others, ultimately leading to transformation in the world around us.

Our hope is that this would be a congregation-wide study, and we plan to offer three or four meeting times so as many people as possible can participate.  This will be a gateway into other small group offerings as we continue to grow as disciples in community with one another.

A Disciple’s Path will meet an hour a week for six weeks, and comes with a daily (5 days a week) workbook to help you practice the key concepts at home.  Sign up to let us know of your interest and availability, so we can find the best times for the most people.

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Save the Steeple!

Published on June 30, 2012, by in News & Events.

Reading’s most iconic structure, the steeple of Old South Church, is in danger of extinction.  An activist group consisting of concerned leaders from the church and the Reading community has banded together to raise much-needed funds in order to restore the steeple and preserve it for the future.  The group has formed the non-profit organization, “The Reading Steeple and Bell Tower Fund,” with the hopes of raising awareness to the need, and inspiring the Reading community to pitch in and save this beloved and historical landmark.  A new website features an image of the church with and without the steeple — indicating the potential future of the steeple without at least $130,000 in needed repairs.  The website also provides detailed information on the nature of the repairs, and the means to make a tax-deductible contribution directly online.  Visit the website at

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