Why the SIFT Abbreviation?
SIFT stands for Sanctuary International Fellowship Tabernacle, the full name of our church movement. We abbreviate it SIFT because we are more than just a church on the corner that everyone thinks they should attend. We are a transformation movement; a press to bring needed interest, purpose, and vision to the church, as a whole.
We are SIFT because we are people who have been sifted; who have been sorted out, refined, changed, and made better by the hard lumps which hit up against us in our lives. We have been sifted; what the enemy intended for evil, God used for good, that we might be here to serve and worship with others.
The term "sanctuary" has had many meanings throughout history. Its original relates to the word "holy," meaning "set apart for a purpose." The original sanctuary was the "Holy of Holies," found in the portable and later structural temple found in the Old Testament. The sanctuary of old served as a place of sacrifice, worked by temple priests - and the temple priests alone.
After the death and resurrection of Jesus, the temple sacrifices were no longer needed, as they typified His ultimate sacrifice for sin that, once and for all, was a means of salvation for humanity. Now all people could come to the Father through Christ, and were no longer in need of distant means by which to try and approach God. The Savior came, becoming a sanctuary within His body, and transforming us through his death, unto our lives.
The church (as in, the place where the followers of Christ gather to worship Him) has, thus, throughout history, taken on this representation of sanctuary. While each believer is now the dwelling of the Holy Spirit, having a place to gather to worship, to study, to experience and meet with God as a collective body, also represents a place of safety and security. Throughout history, the church building has been used as a place of refuge for those running from the law, from the government, who were homeless and needed a place to stay, for those who wanted education or greater spiritual development, and for those who found themselves otherwise in need of that sacred touch in their lives - to go to a place that represented separateness and peace.
As a result, the sanctuary is the holy place - a place that is not used for ordinary, common things. It represents the presence of God, present there, where people are able to meet with Him. It is a break from the ordinary, wherein people are able to meet with the extraordinary. At Sanctuary International Fellowship Tabernacle - SIFT we continue to herald this place of safety, where people seeking refuge from worldly cares, politics, and problems that so often plague modern churches are able to come, just as they are, and experience their God.
Leaving Our Mark
What Do you Do?
We also seek to provide sanctuary for those who are in genuine need. There is more than one to be in need, and there is more than one way to require the intervention of serious, spiritual people in one's life. We are all about creating connection for people who don't have connection: whether it is because they don't know God, they do not have a family situation that welcomes them (for whatever the reason), they find themselves on the outskirts of society or the outskirts of traditional church, they are lonely, or they are just not accepted anywhere else...we are here for them. We are community-minded, creating individuals who are spiritually and socially conscious, assisting those who are in physical need as well as those in emotional need. We believe in educating men and women; children and teens; helping the hungry, thirsty, imprisoned, naked, uneducated, and sheltered. We seek to encourage, bless, and empower people, showing them God reaches out to us where we are to bring us everywhere we need to be.
What Does it mean to be inclusive?
Inclusivity is a basic Gospel principle that is often difficult for people to explain piece by piece. In a general sense, an inclusive church is one that is welcome and open to everybody. This becomes problematic, however, because many churches claim that anyone is welcome in their church, but they do not uphold this precept. Once someone comes to church who is different, they spend their time trying to conform and make that person like everyone else in the church. If someone comes along who has a situation outside the “norm,” such as a specific disability or condition that sets them apart from everyone else, many churches are unable to accommodate the special circumstances and needs that such an individual might have. Even though churches might claim to welcome everyone, the cold, hard truth is that many do not embody this principle. Their own limited understandings, lack of education, and sometimes lack of Biblical perspective limit churches in their interests of inclusivity and understanding where others are coming from. This is not taught to congregations and, in process, Christian churches are often thoroughly trained against principles of inclusion, rather than on being inclusive.
To us at SIFT, inclusion is simple: we make room for anyone and everyone that is a “whosoever” and desires to come into our churches. We welcome anyone from any walk of life, and we make special consideration for any and all who are different. This includes, but is not limited to, those of the LGBTQ+ community, minorities, indigenous communities, immigrants and refugees, individuals who are classified as more liberal in politics or ideals, individuals with disabilities, families with disabled family members, women, the disenfranchised, and those who might have ideas or concepts about spiritual matters that they are trying to sort out. In inclusion, it’s not our position to jump all over you, but to walk with you, show you the way, and be here for you, every step of the journey.
We are here to pray with and for you, to teach and show you God’s way that can enhance and better your own life, and to love you as a human being. If you have any questions about what you hear or see or would like more thorough information, just ask and we’ll make sure your questions are answered. Also, if there is some way that we can make your walk easier or we can make your participation with our church more comfortable, let us know. We are here for you!
About the SIFT Logo
The SIFT logo has gone through minor changes since its original inception in 2013. It is a simple design intending to send a powerful message about worship, church, and the role of the church in our communities and the world at large. The logo features a simple, modern, black-outlined church with people, who are all different, worshiping and praising God in front. Behind the church and the people, a beautiful rainbow extends out over both. We chose the rainbow because it is a powerful symbol of covenant, revolution, and diversity as has been used throughout history. In modern times, the rainbow is often associated with the LGBTQ community, and by extension, to represent diversity and difference in people. We use it for this purpose, and we also use it to echo the promise of God’s covenant with humanity throughout history. The first covenant ever made in history was with Noah, and the rainbow was a symbol of God’s promise that He would never flood the earth again. God promised to look upon humanity and to institute times and seasons, seedtime and harvest, for as long as earth remained. Every time the rainbow appears in the sky, it proves we have a God Who loves us and Who cares about each and every one of us. He has created us differently, but He loves us all with the same powerful and abiding love that can only come from above.
The rainbow has been used throughout history as a sign of revolution and impending change. It was used by Reformationists in the 16th century during the German Peasants’ War, is a lasting sign of peace in Italy, as an LGBT social symbol, for the Rainbow Coalition that stood against conservative politics which were exclusionary and encouraged separatism rather than diversity, in South Africa as a symbol of post-apartheid, and for various other social movements since the 1970s. We use it in this same tradition, proving diversity is first spiritual, and then social; and that by doing so, we welcome and embrace people of all backgrounds to worship with us, find refuge and safety, and the love of God here in this place.