Pastor David Gay has worn a lot of hats in his lifetime.
For 30 years, the Tuscaloosa native worked at Bryce Hospital, becoming its first black CEO in 2000. From 1976 to 2003, he was in the Army National Guard and retired at the rank of major.
He was the executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of West Alabama from 2004 to 2006. Also in 2006, he ran for Tuscaloosa County probate judge against longtime incumbent Hardy McCollum. He lost to McCollum in a runoff 5,124 votes to 4,511.
Today, Gay wears a new hat. In May, he was selected as the new pastor of Beulah Baptist Church when the Rev. W. J. Long retired after 21 years of service.
To celebrate his appointment and to honor the church that he was raised in since he was a child, Gay and his wife, Flora, are buying the entire 500-member congregation Thanksgiving dinner this Sunday with all of the trimmings. The invitation to worship and eat is open to the public as well, he said.
“I want to give back,” Gay said. “The Lord has tremendously blessed my whole career and I want to give back.”
Gay said Thanksgiving is a time to fellowship with family, give back, share and be thankful for the Lord’s blessings. So he felt that Thanksgiving was the perfect time to express his gratitude.
“People don’t want to know how much you know,” Gay said. “They want to know how much you care. Being a pastor is about giving and taking care of the congregation.
“We — Christians — are the only hands and feet that the Lord has, and He expects us to be servants of the people.”