Kellie Moore


Kellie Moore left KBIA in the spring of 2014.

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. 

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Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS / KBIA

Larry James, the former Army psychologist being considered for a leadership role in the College of Education at MU, spoke to an audience of about 60 people today. 

Community members have expressed concern about the possible hire of James -- he was in a leadership position as an Army psychologist during times of intense abuse at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. About 40 people gathered on Friday to protest his potential hire . 

Kellie Kotraba / ColumbiaFAVS

About 40 protestors gathered today in response to MU's possible hire of Larry James, a former psychologist at Guantanamo Bay, for a high-ranking position in the College of Education.

Note:  KBIA's faith and values desk is trying something new. Each week, we'll bring you a quick look at the religion news happening all over the state. Here's our first Midweek Missouri faith fix. 

On the Columbia faith front, there's quite a conversation going about faith in the workplace -- and a lot of "out" atheists have jumped right in.

Photo courtesy of Jimi and Cristi Cook

It's one thing to say you'll go on a big volunteer trip. But doing it? That seems much harder. Just ask Jimi and Cristi Cook. 

The Cooks are the co-founders and directors of Be the Change Volunteers, an organization that coordinates trips to impoverished countries around the world to build schools. It's the kind of volunteer effort the Cooks refer to as "the big one" – the kind that takes people out of their comfort zones. 

Alexis Grimou [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Pentagon announced Thursday that women can serve in combat positions. But take a look through history -- and religious traditions -- and you'll see that female fighters are nothing new. 


Kellie Kotraba/ / KBIA

Some monasteries make jelly, creamed honey, even world-class beer.

Kellie Kotraba\ColumbiaFAVS / KBIA

Atheism is not usually considered a faith -- so why has our faith and values desk covered it? In this week's update, we bring you an answer.

Greg Lammers, the atheist writer for Columbia Faith & Values and the organizer for Columbia Atheists, sat down with Kellie Kotraba to talk about atheism, values and the relationship between the two. 

You can also listen to the full 10-minute interview below:

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS / KBIA

In this week's faith and values update, we hear from Kelsey Gillespy, the Catholic writer for Columbia Faith and values. She just finished a made-at-home documentary called "This Little Light," which aims to dispel misconceptions about Christianity – some of which she used to have herself, even though she grew up Christian. 

Regional news coverage from the KBIA newsroom, including:

  • Shippers on the Mississippi River fear a halt to barge traffic
  • MU students spend Thanksgiving on the Pacific Ocean
  • Columbia Public School libraries increase use of mobile technology
Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS

Happy Thanksgiving – that’s one holiday greeting you hear at this time of year that’s not part of a specific faith tradition.

The idea of giving thanks transcends religious, social and cultural boundaries. Thanks can be expressed in any language or tradition.

And that’s just what happened Sunday at an Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. Christians, Muslims and Jews, Baha'is, Buddhists and Hindus, and people from several other faith traditions came together to share. Beliefs and languages converged as sounds of thanksgiving and peace rose through the air.

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS

The role of religious affiliation in the United States is changing.

According to a recent survey from the Pew Forum, one in five Americans is not affiliated with any religion

A small part of this growing group is made up of atheists.

Last weekend, hundreds of atheists gathered in the Bible Belt – Springfield, to be exact – for Skepticon, a national skeptics convention. Not all skeptics are atheists, but many of them are.

Photo by Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS

The presidential election is just a few days away, but that’s not what this week's faith and values update is about. 

Instead, we’re going to talk about something that was making news about 500 years ago in Germany: The Protestant Reformation. This past Wednesday was Reformation Day – the anniversary of the day in 1517 when the movement began.



During the day on Tuesday, Memorial Baptist Church in Columbia will function as a polling place. But after the polls close, Pastor Kevin Glenn hopes to bring voters from all different perspectives together.

  “People of faith have become known more for their political affiliation than for their proclamation of the way of Jesus and his ethic of unconditional love,“ he said.

Laura Davison\ColumbiaFAVS / KBIA

Columbia’s Hispanic population is growing, and so are opportunities for worship in Spanish.

The majority of Columbia Hispanics are still Catholic, but a Pentecostal congregation and the the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are among those reaching out by ministering in Spanish.

Laura Davison\ColumbiaFAVS / KBIA


Columbia’s Hispanic population is growing, and so are opportunities for worship in Spanish.

The majority of Columbia Hispanics are still Catholic, but a Pentecostal congregation and the the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are among those reaching out by ministering in Spanish.

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS

Craig Roberts teaches plant science at the University of Missouri. But he also has another passion: music. He’s spent the past few years helping with a new project – a book of Christian hymns entitled “Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs.” If you appreciate poetry, there’s a good chance you’ll like this.

Looking at the big picture, hymns have always been an important part of church life -- at least, according to Mark Noll. He teaches history at Notre Dame University. He’s also co-edited books on the history of hymns in American Protestantism. 

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS / KBIA


In this week's Faith and Values update, we take a trip to the Museum of Art and Archaeology at MU, where the current exhibit explores the divine in Hindu art.

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS / KBIA

For just $1, congregants at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church could purchase a square of the old orange carpet that used to cover the sanctuary floor.

“People either hated the carpet or loved the carpet,” said Urb Molitor. He’s the head of the building committee for the church’s recent renovation. 

The congregation celebrated the completion of the renovation Sunday with an open house. They had food in the fellowship hall, a bounce house out back and music on the portico. Members mingled in the new narthex, admiring the extra space and new doors and windows.

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS / KBIA

Hundreds of volunteers packaged thousands of food packages to send to hunger-stricken countries during CRUSH Hunger on Sunday. 

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Remember those old sayings about not talking religion and politics? Well, this week's faith and values update has both. We’re looking at the faith angle of Republican Congressman Todd Akin’s campaign.

Akin has been criticized since he made a comment about what he called “legitimate rape,” which he later apologized for. He recently made the news again for saying his opponent in the Senate race, Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, was more “ladylike” in a previous campaign.

But he still has support from several conservative Christian leaders and organizations.   

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS / KBIA

Religion was one of those things Cliff Cain's mother raised him not to talk about in public – that, along with politics and sex.

With religion alone, he's breaking that rule – in his words, "Religion is as polarizing as politics and as passionate as sex."

Cain is a religious studies professor at Westminster College in Fulton, and he was the chair of the committee for the school's annual symposium. This year, the topic was religion, and more than 40 experts came to give lectures and facilitate discussions. 

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS / KBIA

For 19 years, Dan Barker preached from a Christian pulpit. Now, he’s co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and is an atheist activist. He said he outgrew his religious beliefs. These days, that’s not unusual.

“Agree with it or not, atheism is really growing," he said. "Millions and millions of good Americans don’t believe in a God.”

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS / KBIA

In this week's faith and values update, we learn about a religion that was founded in Vietnam less than 100 years ago. It’s called Cao Dai, and those who practice it see it as one religion to unify the rest.

Dignitaries of Cao Dai came Columbia earlier this week to do a presentation on the religion and spread the word about the religion – but not in the way you might think. 

Proselytizing is forbidden in the religion, so they weren't trying to gain converts. Instead, they were looking for prospective researchers.

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS / KBIA

It’s been about one month since a fire destroyed the only mosque in Joplin. Now, members of the Islamic Society of Joplin – and the interfaith community there – are picking up the pieces.

The mosque was burned down before daylight on August 6, during the holy month of Ramadan.

The FBI is still investigating the cause of the fire. Earlier in summer, on July 4, someone tried to set fire to the roof. That incident is still under investigation, too. 

vote here sign
KBIA file photo

Missouri voters voiced their support for Amendment 2 yesterday.

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS

An amendment to the Missouri constitution is under debate as voters prepare for tomorrow’s primary election. 

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS

Summertime is coming to a close, and with it, Vacation Bible School season. 

For Vacation Bible School, a tradition among Christian churches, children come to church for a few hours a day for about a week. But it's not just formal Bible lessons – they play games, sing songs, do crafts and eat snacks. 

The producer behind KBIA's new Columbia Faith and Values desk visited some of the Vacation Bible Schools that happened in Columbia this summer and spoke with volunteers, leaders and of course, the children. 

File Photo / KBIA

A newly formed secular lobbying group is one step closer to finalizing its leadership after its second state-wide organizing call Thursday. 

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS

Columbia came together on Saturday to remember a fallen soldier. A radical protest group had said it would be in town for the funeral, but it was overshadowed. The event was much more than a response to a protest. 

Kellie Kotraba/ColumbiaFAVS

The Patriot Guard placed flags around First Baptist Church on Broadway in downtown Columbia in preparation for the funeral of Spc. Sterling Wyatt. 

Wyatt died July 11 while on duty in Afghanistan. Groups of supporters lined the streets of Columbia Thursday  during a procession from Columbia Regional Airport to Wyatt's home.