What started out as a cookbook fundraiser for one congregation has evolved into a call for a national Presbyterian scrapbook of sorts, with the hope that the final product will celebrate the denomination’s history of connectionalism.

Like many churches, First United Presbyterian Church of Clinton, Iowa, is facing some financial challenges. When brainstorming ways to raise money, someone suggested selling a cookbook made up of recipes submitted by members. Another person, thinking about the connectional nature of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), suggested opening up the call for submissions to the wider church.

So last month, the Rev. Scott Nesbitt, pastor of First United, sent out the invitation to every presbytery and synod across the country.

“The hope is that as people contribute, they’ll also share pictures of their church and members … and share a little bit about their church,” Nesbitt said, adding that other churches will also have the option to sell the cookbooks as a fundraiser of their own.

“Our hope is that it really expands into something that us a blessing beyond ourselves,” Nesbitt said. “We’re not here by ourselves. We work together. The Holy Spirit works in community.”

So far, First United has received about 50 recipes from across the nation. Depending on how many submissions it receives, the church might publish several volumes of the cookbook or produce companion materials like a CD-ROM. The price of the cookbook will depend on how big it is.

The deadline to submit recipes, photos and stories is March 31. Email submissions to first.united.pres@gmail.com