The idea for Tapestry Church began as a seed planted back in 2007, when Heather and Clay Utley began praying about pastoring in Clay’s home state of Texas. As a newly-engaged couple with new ministry jobs, the timing to plant a new church wasn’t right…yet. They tabled that dream and focused on their ministry context in Washington. They grew through deep spiritual practices, 11 years of marriage, therapy, Seminary, the ordination process, and parenting two boys.
Over their 17 years of ministry in Ohio, Indiana, Texas, Arizona, and Washington, Heather and Clay gained valuable experience, pastoring at churches and leading at non-profits in towns large and small. They started new ministry programs, trained leaders, and walked with people through their difficult life challenges, including divorces, deaths, and recovery from addictions. Through this work, Heather and Clay grew to love creating Christian soul care communities for people looking for healing, belonging, and hope.
After a season of focused prayer and discernment in 2018, Heather sensed God’s invitation to step towards senior leadership, and Clay sensed a calling to relocate closer to their extended families in Ohio or Texas. During this time, they met Dr. Michael Traylor and Dr. Amelia Cleveland-Traylor, whom God had called to San Antonio to catalyze a multiplying church movement in the Free Methodist Church. Through much prayer and many conversations, Clay and Heather discerned that God was inviting them to lead a new church community in Clay’s hometown of San Antonio, TX.
12 years after that first prayer to pastor in Texas, God has led Heather and Clay and their boys to begin a new church community in San Antonio. They are praying that from there, God will launch a multiplying church movement to seed new churches in San Antonio and beyond.
Rev. Heather Baker Utley grew up in Ohio at invited Jesus into her life as a middle schooler at a United Methodist Camp. She attended undergrad in Indiana and moved to Washington State in 2004 to serve with an adventure-based youth organization. While there, she began attending a Free Methodist Church. She met her future husband, Clay, on the Congress Street Bridge in Austin when she ditched a work conference to find live music. In 2011, Heather responded to God’s calling for her to be a pastor and began the ordination process a few months before her first of two sons was born. In 2016, she was ordained as a Free Methodist Elder, and in 2018, she completed a Master of Divinity from Seattle Pacific Seminary.
Rev. Clay Utley grew up on the Northeast Side of San Antonio and graduated from Churchill High School and Abilene Christian University. He eventually moved to Washington State via Tucson. He was raised in the churches of Christ, and after he and Heather met, they began talking much and often about their future together. Clay also found a home in the Free Methodist Church, which fully included women in ordained ministry and embraced his passion for justice work among marginalized people. He’s served in youth ministry at suburban, rural, and urban churches for 15+ years and was ordained as a Free Methodist Elder in 2013.
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