Life inside a sanctuary church

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(CNN) – The light in this Phoenix church window indicates this is a sanctuary church, and that a person temporarily living here is seeking sanctuary from being immediately deported from the United States.

That person is 48-year-old Sixto Paz, who has lived in the U.S. since moving from Mexico when he was 16 years old; has three children who are U.S. citizens, has worked as a roofer for many years, and said he has no idea why he has been denied citizenship.

Paz said, “I want to stay in the United States. I want to stay with my family. I don’t want to go back to Mexico because I’m not strong enough to take a new life there.”

Reverend Ken Heintzelman is the man who has taken Paz in. He’s the pastor of the Shadow Rock United Church of Christ.

(There is a policy in place for authorities not to come into places like churches that are sanctuary sites. Are you worried that Donald Trump can change all that?) Reverend Heintzelman replied, “I am worried that Donald Trump could change that.”

John Fife, the Pastor Emeritus of the Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Arizona agrees; “This was the first church to publicly declare itself a sanctuary for Central American refugees.”

Reverend Fife is the co-founder of the entire sanctuary movement which began in the early 80’s. Hundreds of houses of worship and American cities are now part of the movement.

He said, “I’m not scared, but I’m anxious of what we’re about to face…I will do everything I can to resist the human rights violations of much of Donald Trump’s proposals during the campaign.”

Both ministers, who both voted for Hillary Clinton, said they would tell Trump he should listen more, become more tolerant and more positive; “What I hear a lot of is, we can’t do this and we can’t do that, and we have to watch out for these people and those people; and he is really feeding fear. And maybe he’s a fearful man, maybe that’s why, so maybe he has to grow in courage,” said Reverend Heintzelman.

Both of these men of faith don’t have much faith that they will end up being pleased with Trump’s presidency, but they’re not giving up hope.

Heintzelman said, “I always have hope that people can change, and everyone gets second and third and fourth chances. God’s graces cover every moment of every person’s life.”

Fife said, “No one knows what Donald J. Trump will do after Friday. That I believe includes members of his staff and his own party. So we’re all preparing for the worst, and hoping for the better.”

Sentiments shared by Sixto Paz; who’s now lived in the church for eight months and waits to find out what his fate will be.

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