New Hope Church hosts chilli cook-off in Detroit Lakes

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The October 31st event followed their afternoon service and ensured that many of the parishioners eat and socialize long after the final prayers.

“It smells nice in here,” said Zach Priddy, senior pastor of New Hope Church. “I preached quickly today. It’s probably my shortest (sermon) in a long time.”

Priddy said his church tries to hold these community events once a month and is encouraging ward members to bring a friend to see the kind of special religious community they have created.

Zach Priddy, senior pastor of New Hope Church, will vote for the three best of thirteen chilli recipes at New Hope Church’s chilli cook-off on October 31, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

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“We want it to be like a community, we want it to be like a family and just love each other and love God,” he said. “We want to be a church that enables people to start over.”

Priddy pointed out that the sign by the front door read, “Hope starts here.”

“When people come in, I want them to know that regardless of their past, they are getting a fresh start,” he said.

Samantha Jerger, a New Hope Church chili contestant, said chili is fun to make, but better if it’s for a competition.

“I actually use a different recipe every time,” says Jerger. “I feel like it just brings everyone together and has so much community.”

She added that she is making her chili gluten-free because her children have celiac disease, a condition that causes an immune response in the body to gluten.

“You just have to make sure that the broth you use or anything you use in it does not contain wheat,” Jerger said. “Otherwise it’s just a normal chili.”

Jerger also started a program through the Church called Trauma Reboot to get more people to talk about traumatic events and to build fellowship with others who may have had similar experiences.

“The one we’re doing right now is only for trauma in general, but there are other courses we’ll be offering in the future,” she said.

The winners of the event were:

  • First place – Zach Priddy
  • Second place – Jim Jenson
  • Third place – Joe Graham

After the competition, Jim Jenson shared his secret for making great chili.

“It’s that extra hint of brown sugar,” said Jenson. “I started this yesterday afternoon, it’s a slow cook, good 12 or 13 hours.”

He added that people who make chili shouldn’t be afraid of cumin, which is an important ingredient in Jenson’s chili, either.


Jim Jenson of Detroit Lakes smiles with his wooden spoon for second place at the New Hope Church chili cook-off on October 31, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

Jim Jenson of Detroit Lakes smiles with his wooden spoon for second place at the New Hope Church chili cook-off on October 31, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

“(The Cook-off) has been great and this church is great,” said Jenson


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