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Faith Tapestry Community Church (New Haven, CT and online) is a multicultural gathering of LGBTQ+ seekers, woven together by faith and Love. We are an independent church closely affiliated with the Alliance of Baptists, the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, and the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America (BPFNA)-Bautistas por la Paz.
Our story began in February 1972, when Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) of New Haven was founded. After several wax and wane cycles, the members of that church learned they would shutter their doors in 2015. In April of that year, several MCC New Haven members banded together under the leadership of both The Reverend Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff, an ordained minister who was at the time a Doctor of Ministry student, and G.V. Basbas, a Hartford Seminary/Andover Newton student and intern for ministry within the MCC. Together, the team formed a new group called “Elm City Oasis.” After awhile of existing as a remnant of MCC New Haven, the new "Oasis" began attracting regular attendees who had no prior affiliation to MCC New Haven. Our identity, then, began morphing and expanding in scope--from a monthly denomination-centric worship service, to become its own organic organization which began to include a monthly Bible study in a local pub.
In May 2018, G.V. graduated from Andover Newton Theological Seminary in its very last graduation ceremony, as it, too, like MCC New Haven before it, was to close. Our intern had ended his internship with Elm City Oasis, and so the board of directors raised the question: “Who are we going to be now?” The MCC denomination would not recognize Elm City Oasis as a “church” unless we met a certain attendance threshold, which the board found too burdensome. Our calling was clear... and very specific: be a multicultural, worshiping congregation for LGBTQ+ Christians, and the board felt this was leading us to becoming recognized as a church. The mission of supporting the trans* community alone justifies our need to exist, but it’s really the intersectionality of race, class, gender, and sexuality that makes this community special. Daniel, our continuing leader, took the board’s concerns into account but did not at all support leaving the MCC in order to fulfill the faith community’s calling. He wanted to explore all options, including earning additional ministerial credentials within the MCC, before considering a break from our historic MCC affiliation. But after a year and a half of soul-searching, generating a mission statement, and exploring our options within the MCC, the board realized there was no way forward for the community as an affiliate of the MCC.
In February 2020, Elm City Oasis’s leadership expressed unanimous support to move forward with declaring itself a church with or without the MCC. Who are we? Are we UU? Are we UCC? The majority of our regular attendees were raised Pentecostal, including every member of the board and Daniel, so... are we Pentecostal/Charismatic/Apostolic? Or are we an independent church without any ties other than the name Christian. In a moment of inspiration, while speaking with a Baptist ministerial colleague about something logistical, the conversation took an unexpected turn: “Have you ever considered affiliating with a Baptist denomination?” The conversation was at first about Daniel’s chaplain-endorsement process, but it soon turned toward church affiliation with the Alliance of Baptists. “And scales fell from his eyes.” Daniel sought guidance from Carol at the Alliance of Baptists’ main office regarding chaplain endorsement, and Paula and Jason came into the conversation with regard to a church becoming recognized as a Ministry Partner within the Alliance. By March, the board made a number of decisions: to become a church and to codify our mission statement which had a “woven together” theme. The new name, “Faith Tapestry,” came quickly to us out of our mission statement. While we were appreciative that the Alliance of Baptists was willing and excited for our church to affiliate, no one on the board wanted to have “Baptist” in our name--neither did Daniel want to be called a “Baptist Pastor.” When we presented this concern to the Alliance of Baptists' staff, Jason laughed and said none of this would be a problem. On April 18, 2020, the board and Daniel decided unanimously to disaffiliate with the MCC, to declare ourselves a church, to call Daniel as our Pastor, to affiliate with both the Alliance of Baptists and Association of Welcoming and Affirming Churches, to adopt our new mission statement, and to adopt our new name. Now in his new role as Pastor, Daniel encouraged the board to let all these decisions sit for a week. They agreed.
And so, on the morning of April 25, 2020, on the day of the Alliance of Baptists’ Annual Convention, which was held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, still with no reservations about any of the decisions made the week before, all these decisions became final. Now we are Faith Tapestry Community Church, closely affiliated as a Ministry Partner of the Alliance of Baptists, the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, and also our missional partner, the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America (BPFNA)-Bautistas por la Paz.
We look forward to your visit! And we hope you will stitch yourself into our tapestry, which will always be open to welcoming-in new colors, hues, patterns, designs, and textures.
Ask for prayer, information, visitation, get the weekly ZOOM link, or book the LGBTQ+ competency training by going to the Contact page:
Valerie Barnes ("Val")
Mike Pietrorazio (he/him/his)
Where do you live?: Waterbury, CT
Where did you attend school?: Kent Christian College – Dual major: Music, Theology
Your Favorite Music?: Gospel music is my first love
Your primary value?: Equality, as everyone has their God given talents.
Anthony Burroughs ("Tony')
Latasha Denson ("Tasha")
The Reverend Dr. Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff ("Pastor Dan") has served as Church Co-Planter then eventually Founding Pastor of Faith Tapestry Community Church (New Haven, CT). He also works as a Chaplain in a healthcare setting. Prior to his becoming Pastor and Chaplain, Pastor Dan worked as a Christian Education and Youth Minister. For fun, he sings with the Yale Camerata, a choir of Yale University, and also plays double bass with the American Chamber Orchestra. Pastor Dan loves anything related to dogs, fitness, yoga, nonfiction, and poetry.
His ministerial formation comes from the following institutions:
Pastor Dan (Photo courtesy Bob Handelman)