Josh Moody always knew he wanted to spend his life helping people in some way.
East Setauket's Three Village Church welcomed Moody as its new pastor in early September, but before he decided to pursue a career as a pastor, Moody spent three years as a police officer in Baltimore hoping to make a difference.
"Even though I had a good experience in law enforcement, it can be frustrating because you spend your days enforcing the law and sending people to jail," he said.
"Law and jail don't tend to transform people's lives. It doesn't make a lasting positive impact on people."
Already a man of faith, Moody said becoming a pastor was a clear calling.
"What I do know is that knowing God can leave a lasting impression," he said. "I wanted to spend my life doing something that would make a long-term transformational impact."
Formerly the pastor at Manhasset's Shelter Rock Church, Moody, 35, said the two institutions had a complementary relationship, in which he filled in at Three Village Church for some time. Both churches are of non-denominational Christian faith.
"I think to both sides it was clear that God was leading us to this partnership for some time," he said.
Moody, who grew up in Tennessee, arrived on Long Island in 2007 with his wife Kim. They live in East Setauket with their four children, ages eight, six, three and seven months. He said they have been enjoying and exploring the Three Village community, and said the congregation seems to have embraced him.
"We love the church family," he said. "There’s a diversity of thinking here – what I might call a unity in the essentials, diversity in the non-essentials."
Moody said his vision for the Three Village Church is one of communication, trust and growth.
"People here are ready to really reach into the community to meet needs and to embrace people," he said. "They’ve been lacking leadership in that for a few years. I think they’re ready for that and I’m excited for the prospect of walking together into the future."