PACIFICA (KPIX 5) Pastor Steve Cosgrove opens the worship time with the hymn, Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee, gives a short Bible lesson, then serves a homecooked lunch at Pacifica Baptist Church.
It's what he's done every Monday for more than 30 years.
Why Monday? Because it's the day after Sunday. He said on Mondays, some ministers tend to get depressed because Sunday church may not have gone as planned. So he was determined to make Mondays more joyful. He started waking up early to cook. At first, he cooked for senior citizens, because about three decades ago, there wasn't a hot meal program for them in Pacifica. Then the native Texan welcomed other people in need.
"So I just said, 'Y'all come,'" he said simply.
Though the meal is free, donations are accepted. Senior citizen Anna Boothe looks forward to the pastor's creative menu.
"He puts it all together every week from his own imagination," she marveled.
"I really enjoy people coming in and slicing and dicing, chomping and drooling and talking. It makes me feel good," smiled Pastor Steve.
He usually gets up at 4 o'clock Monday morning.
On this particular day, he prepared turkey and several side dishes, like turkey soup, creamed spinach, beans with chorizo and Mexican squash.
The church pays the grocery bill, but he does all the shopping and cooking.
"I love to cook!" he declared.
Pastor Steve usually receives up to 25 guests for the Monday lunch, from the homeless to senior citizens.
Most of the guests do not attend his church.
But like Frank Cross, who's on a fixed income. many depend on the minister's weekly cuisine and counsel.
"He's a good friend, he has great spirit," said Cross. "He's honest. He's real."
Pastor Steve wants his guests to leave with three things:
"Number one, a relationship with God. That's the most important thing I do. Secondly, nutrition. A good meal," he said. "And to have finally, joy."
His service extends to regular visits at convalescent homes and retirement centers.
And he's opened his church to shelter dozens of evacuees whose Pacifica apartments teetered over the ocean.
Some people have painted his picture as tokens of thanks. The portraits are hung on the church walls.
The lunch guests say Pastor Steve is always there for them.
They told us of one Monday lunch time when a man came in needing a ride to the doctor. Some guests told them, "There's a bus stop outside," but Pastor Steve grabbed his car keys and drove him to the appointment.
Pastor Steve says he would not be able to keep his ministry going without the support of his wife of 44 years.
So for his ministry that feeds the body and spirit this week's Jefferson Award in the Bay Area goes to Pastor Steve Cosgrove.
for more features.