Volunteers begin restoring historic Mother Neff Baptist Church

Published: Mar. 11, 2023 at 8:35 PM CST
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MOODY, Texas (KWTX) - Over the years, the condition of the Mother Neff Baptist Church has started to deteriorate. But now Moody resident Jessica Owens is stepping in to bring back the church’s charm.

Owens, along with a team of volunteers, spent Saturday clearing brush to prepare the space outside the historic church for monthly Sunday services. The first service is planned for an Easter Sunday sunrise service at 6:30 a.m.

”We want to invite our neighbors, our neighborhood and really even the City of Moody,” Owens said.

In the early 1900s a group of church members held regular services at Mother Neff State Park. Then in 1945 that church community collected enough money to purchase their own building that later became Mother Neff Baptist Church.

Former Texas governor Pat Neff loved the group and even donated the six acres of land that the church building still sits on.

”There’s a lot of history here and it’s fun to try to continue the process of maintaining land and building a community and building a church,” volunteer David Dietsch said.

Eventually, the church association fell under the Horse Creek Ranch HOA who was responsible for maintaining the property. But when the pandemic hit in 2020, the church association fell apart.

”We saw the information for the HOA president, his phone number on the church door, so we just gave him a call,” Owens said. “He informed us that they hadn’t been meeting and they weren’t going to be meeting anytime soon.”

Owens was eventually appointed the new president of the newly formed church association board in late 2022.

”In January we hosted our first community prayer and church meeting,” she said.

Her long-term goal is to restore the inside of the church and eventually turn it into a museum.

”In here we’re hoping to put the history of the area, of Mother Neff,” Owens said.

The church is asking for cash and check donations to assist with revival efforts. Donations will be accepted at all monthly community prayer and church meetings. The next one is on April 3 at 6:30 p.m. Any donations can also be mailed to PO Box 92 Moody, TX 76557.