Kathy and Dennis Moody were searching for a church home that was welcoming and inclusive when an online post brought them to Kingwood Christian Church about a year and a half ago.
“In the beginning we were just trying it out, we were leery,” Kathy said. “We were looking for like-minded people. We had gone to many churches, and gotten involved. We’re used to being way involved in our church. Then we would find out things that we didn’t agree with - like racial discrimination.”
Dennis explained: “People from other churches posted things on Facebook that were hateful.”
Or they’d hear inappropriate comments in small groups or social settings. “We’d hear things that turned our stomachs,” Dennis said. “Nasty stuff about immigrants. We knew we could be part of the group because we are white.”
But that didn’t jibe with the Moody’s values.
“We just think everybody should be treated the same regardless of how much money you have or where you live,” Kathy said. “We were looking for that. We kind of had that at home (in their native Illinois). But we weren’t finding it here. We were getting disgusted with Texas. We were ready to give up.”
So they were initially skeptical when they checked out KWCC.
“The contemporary service was a big plus,” Dennis said. “What roped us in was the welcome statement.”
The welcome statement says everyone is welcome and it means everyone.
Kathy belongs to a Facebook group called Kingwood TX Allies, a group supporting the LGTBQ community.
“When someone asks about a church, I tell them about our church and how welcome everyone is,“ she said. “No matter what - your race, your gender, your gender identity. Denny and I don’t have any skin in the game. That’s just how we feel - everyone should be welcomed.”
They’ve not only made KWCC their church home, they’ve introduced others to it as well, offering to meet them at a service and to introduce them to others.
And in a short time, they’ve gotten very involved. Both are deacons this year. They also are part of the Be the Bridge program on racial reconciliation in partnership with the Luke Church.
And they’re quick to volunteer whenever they can.
“If someone says they need help with something, we generally say yes,” Dennis said.
They moved to Kingwood in 2015 from Normal, Ill., to be closer to their daughter, Robyn, and her family.
Shortly after they arrived, Hurricane Harvey devastated much of Kingwood. The Moodys’ house in Oakhurst was spared from flooding. So they jumped in to help others who weren’t so fortunate, making and delivering lunches to people who flooded. They even helped plan a community Thanksgiving dinner just a few months after Harvey.
The Moodys met in high school.
They lived in two small towns about 50 miles apart and met through mutual friends. Dennis asked her out right after they met and Kathy said she wouldn’t go unless it was a double-date. He was persistent and knocked on her door again a week after that first date.
His persistence paid off. They were married right after high school in 1969.
Dennis graduated from Bradley College and then worked for Caterpillar for 12 years before the company had massive layoffs.
Eventually, he got a master’s degree from the University of Illinois studying nuclear jet propulsion. He worked as a nuclear scientist for what was then Illinois Power and is now Exelon, a division of Commonwealth Edison.
Kathy worked in fine jewelry sales.
They have two children. Brian and his wife, Melanie, live in Normal, Illinois, and have three children in middle and high school. The Moodys travel back to see their grandkids as often as they can.
Their daughter, Robyn, and her 9-year-old son, Mason, live in Kingwood. Robyn’s husband, Scott, died of Covid during the pandemic.
At their daughter’s urging, Dennis retired at 62 so they could move to Texas and be closer to Robyn’s family.
“We moved to help out,” Kathy said. “We felt it was a God thing. When Scott passed away from Covid, we were already here. We knew why we were here.”
Back in Illinois, they belonged to a non-denominational church that started with 18 people and grew to 10,000. But they prefer the intimacy of a smaller church like Kingwood Christian.
They encourage people they meet to give KWCC a chance.
“You can get involved as much or as little as you want,” Kathy said. “Some people just want to sit in the back for a while. We did that.”
But the Moodys don’t sit back for long. Now they’re among the first to welcome visitors at the Table.
This is one in a series of occasional profiles, written by Susan Bullard, on members of Kingwood Christian Church. Love 101: Do Your Part.