Rev. William D Howden, Interim Minister

Rev. William D. Howden is a retired Disciples of Christ minister who lives in San Antonio with his wife, Jan Davis.  Bill is a graduate of Milligan College, and holds M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary.

Dr. Howden served for decades as a pastor, in addition to academic positions in the United States and Germany. He is a member of Central Christian Church, San Antonio, and recently completed an interim ministry with First Christian Church, Kerrville, TX. Bill and his wife publish a twice-monthly e-newsletter, “Soul Windows: Reflection” (soulreflection.org). Bill’s sermons and articles have been published in various books and journals. He enjoys poetry, photography, his two cats, and the San Antonio Spurs.

The First Christian Church has installed “Blessing Box Pantry” filled with non-perishable food or personal hygiene items in front of the church. Anyone in the community who needs a little extra help can take items from the box, and anyone who wants to offer their help can add items to the box.

“Take what you need,

leave what you can,

Above All Be Blessed”

The box is not locked and is accessible at any time during the day or night. Auda and Mary Alice Ross were faithful members of the congregation. Of the many things they did for the church, one was to contribute food goods each week to the small basket in the gathering place that is distributed to LACARE.  There are other folks doing the same every now and then. A presentation was given to the chuch board members based on article in the Austin newspaper about a program called the Petite Blessing Pantry. That article stirred a passion and the light clicked that we should replace our Monday’s Kitchen mission with this Little Free Pantry and call it Ross’ Blessing Pantry. There’s a small-scale charity movement starting to take hold in neighborhoods across the country. Think of those “little free library” boxes, but with a twist: These are small pantries stocked with free food and personal care items like toothbrushes and diapers for people in need. They’re found near churches, outside businesses and in front of homes. The food pantries come in all sizes. Some have religious connections and are located near churches. Others are adopted by businesses whose employees want to pay it forward. All are serving up food and supplies to anyone in need. “We felt like this is something that our church could do — something small that you know, would benefit so many people so long as the word got out about it,” noted by Ron Petrick, Moderator of the Board of First Christian Church. The bright white box with Red lettering is about 2 feet wide and is mounted on a post near the street. Similar “yard-based” food pantries have gone up across the country, in states like Oklahoma, Indiana, Kentucky, Florida and Minnesota. “The frequency of the turnover it suggests that the need is tremendous”, said Mr. Petrick. All of the items inside the boxes are free and there are no forms to fill out. Those using the boxes come and go as they wish. And that sense of anonymity is something you won’t find at traditional community food pantries. Many Military Families Are Relying On Food Banks And Pantries

  • The support from the local community can be overwhelming
  • It’s also stocked with other essential supplies, like soap

The concept is simple. The box is a miniature food pantry — receiving items from those who want to donate, and offering it to those who need them. Petrick says “Whether you’re taking or giving, you can just go to the blessing box, seven days a week.”