Kellie Moore

Reporter

Kellie Moore  joined the KBIA news team in June 2012. She is the editor and community manager of Columbia Faith and Values. ColumbiaFAVS covers faith and values in mid-Missouri and is part of a partnership with Religion News LLC, the national non-profit behind Religion News Service. Kellie's first experience with KBIA was in summer 2011, when she was a reporter and afternoon news anchor. She has also been a reporter and assistant editor for the Columbia Missourian, and she earned a master's degree in journalism at the University of Missouri. She grew up in Nevada (the state), and she has a bachelor's degree in English from Concordia University Irvine in southern California. 

Ways To Connect

Courtesy MU Department of Health Psychology

What goes on in the brain during a spiritual experience?

The answers to that question are Brick Johnstone’s specialty.

Kellie Kotraba, Columbia Faith & Values / KBIA

Community members gathered in Flat Branch Park on Sunday for an interfaith worship service as part of MidMissouri PrideFest, which celebrates the LGBTQ community. The theme of the worship service was "let your light shine." Check out the highlights in this video from our local media partner, Columbia Faith & Values.

Kellie Kotraba, Columbia Faith & Values / KBIA

When school begins on Wednesday at Our Lady of Lourdes Interparish School, students will meet a new principal – again. 

Since 2007, the school has gone through four principals. That makes Elaine Hassemer, the new principal, the fifth one in six years.

Kellie Kotraba / KBIA

Just over a week after introducing the idea of a new property tax to fund the hire of 35 new police officers in Columbia, Mayor Bob McDavid has decided it's not necessary after all.

Kellie Kotraba, Columbia Faith & Values / KBIA

 

When Catholics used to abstain from eating meat every Friday, often eating fish instead, they earned a nickname: "mackerel snappers."

That practice has gone away – except during Lent, the season before Easter – and so has the nickname. 

 

But that nickname is now the title of a new book that seeks to explain often misunderstood teachings of Catholicism. 

 

The man behind the book is Spencer Allen, an apologist, husband, father of four and the principal of St. Joseph Cathedral School in Jefferson City. 

 

Pope Francis released his first encyclical this morning, completeing the work that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI had begun.

Kellie Kotraba, Columbia Faith & Values / KBIA

 Boxes of tissues lined the sanctuary of Missouri United Methodist Church on Saturday morning, but laughter frequently filled the air as family, friends and community members gathered to remember Columbia educator Eliot Battle.

Battle died in June from injuries sustained in a car accident, and he is most remembered for his role in desegregating Columbia’s public schools. The city’s newest high school is named after his wife.

Photo courtesy Columbia Public Schools.

When anyone asked Eliot Battle how he was doing, he would always answer, "Super."

Battle, a longtime Columbia educator, died Tuesday (June 11) from injuries sustained after a car crass Friday. He was 88. 

Battle had a key role in the desegregation of Columbia's public schools. And the new high school in town, Muriel Williams Battle High School, was named in honor of his wife, who died in 2003.

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS.com / KBIA

 

When Gavin Hooks' parents divorced, his Christian faith faded.

"I felt like God had left me, or I felt like my faith wasn't sufficient to work through this problem," he said. He didn't stop believe in God, but for about a year, he "dropped out" of his faith walk. 

Eventually, he returned. He'd worked through the issues of his parents' volatile split – or so he thought. 

Fast forward 20 years. Hooks' mother died, and he realized something: He still had deep issues that he hadn't dealt with. 

Twitter

A devastating tornado struck outside in Moore, Oklahoma, on Monday afternoon. As often happens in the wake of disaster, people took to Twitter.  KBIA's Kellie Kotraba took a look at what people in mid-Missouri were saying.

[View the story "Mid-Missourians respond to Oklahoma tornado" on Storify]

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS.com / KBIA

There are enough former Catholics in the United States to make up a large Christian denomination of their own.

According to the Religious Landscape Survey conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life in 2008, one in 10 American adults identifies as an ex-Catholic. And of the 25 percent of American adults who are still Catholic, only one in four attend mass regularly.

Kearston Winrow/ColumbiaFAVS.com / KBIA

  The American Humanist Association is demanding that weekly prayer sessions at Fayette High School be stopped on grounds that they are unconstitutional. 

Photo courtesy Porsha Williams

Porsha Williams knows a thing or two about walls – metaphorical ones, that is. She’s been up against a lot of them, whether religious, psychological or cultural.

She describes herself as a “raised Christian, converted to Pagan woman.” And that conversion is the source of many of these walls.

Williams has always been intrigued with Kemeticism, an ancient Egyptian form of Paganism. But it wasn’t until about three and a half years ago that she decided to start practicing it.

This story was produced in partnership with Columbia Faith & Values. Find more stories like this one at ColumbiaFAVS.com. You can get instant updates each day on Facebook and Twitter.

Columbia FAVS/KBIA

This story was produced in partnership with Columbia Faith and Values.

Two explosions went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon. Like people all across the country, many of those from around mid-Missouri are responding with Tweets of prayer. 

[View the story "Prayers for Boston" on Storify]

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS.com / KBIA

This story was produced in partnership with Columbia Faith & Values. 

When the world called, William Claassen said "Yes." 

The Columbia author has hitchhiked across North America, worked on a kibbutz in Israel and 

He recently published his third book, "Journey Man: A World Calling." The book tells of his travels through nine countries on four continenets over a 30-years span.

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS.com / KBIA

This story was produced in partnership with Columbia Faith & Values. 

Columbia residents took a trip to ancient Jerusalem on Wednesday night when they entered the doors of Valley View Community Church.

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS.com / KBIA

On Wednesday, the Cardinals of the Catholic church elected Jorge Mario Borgeglio of Argentina to be the new pope. He’s the first pope from South America, and the first from the Jesuit order of priests. He’s also the first to choose the name Francis.

We spent part of Wednesday and Thursay at Fr. Tolton Catholic High School in Columbia to find out what some of Columbia's young Catholics think of the new pope. 

Like many other people, Corrine Hubbard admires his humility.

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS.com / KBIA

Chase Freidel was taking a test in Spanish class when someone looked up at the TV and saw white smoke coming from the Sistine Chapel chimney. That meant one thing: A new pope.

"We all looked up, and we all started like cheering and yelling and screaming," she said. "We ran through the halls like saying, 'We've got a pope, we've got a pope!' And like, I ran to the office, and we told them to announce it."

Reuters

Update 4:04PM: The pope has been named.  76-year-old Jorge Bergoglio, a cardinal from Argentina.  He has chosen the name Pope Francis I.  NPR has the full story here.

White smoke rose in Rome on Wednesday, signaling the election of a new pope.  

FAVS photo courtesy Clyde Ruffin

Community and campus converge in the cast of MU's production of "The Amen Corner," a play by James Baldwin that finishes its run this weekend. 

The play tells the story of an African-American woman who starts a small storefront church in Harlem in 1965. She's recently migrated there from the south with her 18-year-old son, who plays the church piano.

But unbeknownst to the congregation, she has a secret past. She was once married to a jazz musician who was an alcoholic, but after their child died, she left him. His arrival one Sunday sends a scandal through the church. 

Photo courtesy Lana Wilson and Martha Shane.

This story is part of True/False Conversations, a series of in-depth interviews with the filmmakers of this year’s True/False Festival.  Find the rest of them here or download the podcast on iTunes.

Photo courtesy Amy Gearhardt

In some Christian denominations, it’s getting more common to see women preaching from the pulpit on Sunday mornings. Still, it’s a slow cultural shift – some denominations don’t allow female pastors, and many churches that do are just getting female pastors for the first time. All that’s to say that being a clergy woman has its own set of challenges – and those challenges come into play on the dating scene. 

Photo courtesy Catholic Church (England and Wales) via Flickr (http://flic.kr/p/81Az1d).

Fr. Thomas Saucier was on his way to the gym when a friend asked if he had heard the news: Pope Benedict XVI had announced his resignation

He learned more of the details during his workout.

"I'm doing my machine, and on all the networks, that's what they're telecasting," he said. 

Like most other people, Saucier was shocked. 

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS / KBIA

Awareness of death can lead people to strengthen and defend their own religious beliefs, according to a recent psychological study led by MU researcher Kenneth Vail. 

And that doesn't just apply to those who believe in a higher power already.  

The foundation of Vail's researcg comes from the idea that part of the motivation for religious belief is the awareness of death – an idea that has deep philosophical roots, Vail said. Recent experimental research also points to the notion that people use belief to help manage awareness of mortality. 

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS / KBIA

For some, there's a clear separation of religion from reason, reason from religion.

But that's not the way author C.S. Lewis saw it.

To him, religion and reason went together. That idea was the foundation of a talk on Thursday at Westminster College in Fulton. 

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS / KBIA

Four panelists Wednesday morning reiterated arguments against MU's potential hire of former Army psychologist Larry James, who is being considered for a leadership position in the College of Education.

James is currently the dean of professional psychology at Wright State University in Ohio. But in the past, he was in a leadership position as an Army psychologist at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. Since his role as an intelligence psychologist was during a time of intense abuse allegations, some people are concerned about his personal ethics.

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