Church Under the BridgeBookmark this
A church for San Antonio’s homeless
I stepped out of my car on N. Frio and W. Martin Streets by the railroad tracks on the edge of downtown San Antonio to minister. With the many people standing around this area it was easy to see San Antonio’s large homeless community. My heart was broken at the sight.
I was approached by one gentleman. “Excuse me ma’am, but do you happen to have any food on you? I am hungry.”
However, before I could answer, another gentleman interrupted. “If you go right now, then you can get dinner at Church Under the Bridge. They have service first then they feed their congregation. The dinner is homemade, hot and fulfilling.”
“Our biggest impact is the opportunity to mentor, disciple and respond to felt needs on a consistent basis. This allows us to develop real relationships that build trust – thus greater success in helping our members change their lives for the better.”
– Senior Pastor, Greg Goodrich
I looked at the hungry gentleman. “Do you want a ride?” The man nodded as he looked back. Approaching was a woman who came to stand next to him. “This is my girlfriend,” he said. “Can you take both of us?”
I nodded to my car. The hungry couple got in as I put the location into my GPS. This was the first time I had encountered Church Under the Bridge, or CUB.
A city’s census of the homeless is a difficult number to pin down. Every January in cities across the nation, police officers, volunteers, and partner agencies combine efforts and hit the streets. As The Beacon goes to press, the 2019 tally is taking place, says KSAT 12. According to San Antonio and Bexar County’s “Point in Time Count” summary report, which gives a one-night snapshot of the homeless population in San Antonio each January, the homeless population rose by 12 percent from 2017 to 2018. Combining those in shelters and those unsheltered, this took the total from 2,743 in 2017 to 3,066 in 2018 in our city.
“ I truly believe and teach that we were created for two reasons – to love God with all our heart, soul and mind, and to love our fellow man. Church Under the Bridge (CUB) acts on these principles every single day. Their efforts rely on the generosity and financial gifts of concerned people. Feeding and carrying for the less fortunate is a responsibility we all have. Please consider becoming a financial partner to insure CUB remains strong and effective. The bottom line is even more changed lives in our community!”
John Lujan, Vice President – Sistema Technologies
I drove up to CUB, located at 724 Chestnut Street. As the couple and I entered the building, we were greeted by one of the many groups that not only volunteers their time to feed the homeless, but holds worship services as well.Dianne Talbert, Director and Church Administrator for CUB explains, “We have about 60 partners right now. Most churches’ operating budgets are made up of tithes and offerings. Our church is made up of the homeless, so we do not have the luxury of depending on their tithes and offerings. The meals, clothing and hygiene are all 100 percent donated through our partners and the community. Partners get on our schedule for one of the three nights a week that we serve. They purchase and cook dinner for about 160-200 people and then serve the meal. We operate a licensed commercial kitchen so we provide a trained food service manager to assist them.”
CUB was originally founded in 1996 by Pastor Dennis Cawthon who had a heart for the homeless and was encouraged further by Community Bible Church. He began the ministry of providing church services with food and clothing afterward (out of cars) under the freeway by the Pearl Brewery, which is where the name “Church Under the Bridge” originated. The church eventually moved to several locations before finding their home on Chestnut Street, which is just a few minutes north and east of The Alamo.
Dianne explains the vision. “The primary charter was given to Pastor Cawthon – by God – to feed the homeless, first spiritually then physically. A beautiful 1.3-million-dollar building complete with sanctuary, dining room, commercial kitchen as well as a two-seat dental clinic was built by the generosity of three godly anonymous businessmen. They handed the keys to Pastor Dennis — free of charge.”
"Most churches’ operating budgets are made up of tithes and offerings. Our church is made up of the homeless, so we do not have the luxury of depending on tithes and offerings.”
– Dianne Talbert, Director and Church Administrator for CUB
CUB is currently negotiating a partnership with The Christian Medical and Dental Association for ongoing medical and dental services. “For the chronically homeless, dental work is one of the main needs. They don’t have access to that care unless they are in a program,” Dianne explains.
Recently, CUB also struck up a partnership with Life Restored Church. The two churches will be providing winter shelter for the homeless at CUB once the weather dips below 35 degrees. They plan to remove the chairs in their sanctuary, then put mats and sleeping bags out for 90 homeless people. The stay will also include dinner, an hour of entertainment, lights out, and breakfast the next morning.
“As a successful business in San Antonio, it is important to be a part of improving our community. Sharing our love, time and money with people less fortunate improves not only the lives of people we are helping but it allows us to view the purpose we should all have in our life – loving people. CUB is a shining example of what this looks like in real life. We are honored to partner with their efforts.”
Joe Vallejo, President – Sistema Technologies
Current senior pastor, Greg Goodrich, adds, “Our biggest impact is the opportunity to mentor, disciple and respond to felt needs on a consistent basis. This allows us to develop real relationships that build trust — thus greater success in helping our members change their lives for the better.”
I saw the couple sit down among the group of homeless who were eager to know more of God. I stayed for the service. At the end, when the altar call was made, the couple made their way to the front to give their lives to Jesus.
Afterward, they asked if I would join them for dinner. I felt a peace as I explained to them — I had to go. I knew from their smiles that they were okay. At least tonight their bellies would be full — both spiritually and physically, thanks to special ministries such as Church Under the Bridge!
Be A Light.
Give. Because of who they minister to, the primary need of CUB is financial. CUB is looking for individuals and even churches in our community to join their efforts as financial partners so even more can be done in serving our homeless population. Please prayerfully consider an ongoing donation to this amazing ministry. Tell Your Church. Let the leadership in your organization or church know about this special ministry. Volunteer. Adopt this church as a home-based mission. They are not tied to a parent church or organization. Pray. Ask God to move in lives of the homeless and lead them to Christ as the needs of CUB are being met.
Sistema Technologies, Inc.
5750 Epsilon SAT 78249
Sistema focuses on serving local and state government IT development opportunities. Companies and agencies rely on Sistema to provide talent and insightful solutions to both business and IT challenges. We help your agency increase productivity, reduce operating costs and get more IT projects completed within tight budgets. Sistema believes that a strong IT infrastructure can be created to address the needs of our city if we educate, mentor and create intern opportunities for our children. We are a community-minded company and give back to ensure a vibrant San Antonio for years to come.