A little about us...

Sanctuary International Fellowship Tabernacle - SIFT is the vision of (Apostle) Dr. Lee Ann B. Marino. While not Apostle Lee Ann's first church plant, it is definitely her longest-lasting. It has also made the biggest impact. Born out of a crisis situation by which she desired a place to seek God while going through emotional and spiritual turmoil. When no place was to be found, Apostle Lee Ann promised that if she lived through the situation (melodramatic as we often are in trial), she would create a place where people could come and no one would have to experience that lack of spiritual safety in times of trial or distress.

Now, over ten years since that initial experience, Sanctuary has transformed, expanded, and changed to meet the spiritual needs required to create this same "safe space" for people seeking connection, spiritual education, family, and a different day in Christianity. With locations in Gastonia and Charlotte, North Carolina (and more coming!), Sanctuary's unique "neo-Apostolic" (new-Apostolic) model exists to equip believers in communities all over the world, no matter how small their startup group may be.

Described as "a force to be reckoned with," Sanctuary provides refuge for believers questioning and deconstructing their faith; healing for those who are recovering from church hurt, purity culture, or abusive pasts; insights for those who want to understand Scripture, faith, and the things of God better; answers for those who have questions; and ultimately, the essence of Christian community as applicable in our modern times.

So, no matter who you are, what you've done, what you think, where you've been, or what you've been through, feel free to come, pull up a chair, and have a conversation with us about the heart of what it means to be people of faith in the here and now.

Our mission

Sanctuary International Fellowship Tabernacle - SIFT seeks to provide a place of spiritual refuge; a place where God can dwell, living and active in the hearts and presence of those who are His people. We believe that as the Kingdom of God is within, among, and around believers (Luke 17:20-21), the Kingdom of God should be made manifest, powerful, living, and active when those who seek Him come together in one place. We believe this hapens as we come with open hearts to cry, "Abba, Father!" (Romans 8:15), as we extend our hearts, our hands, and our service to both heaven and our neighbor, in grace, truth, and love.

As a result, we are all about creating connection: Love of God for those who seek it (John 3:16, Galatians 2:20, 1 John 4:9-11); family for those who need it (Psalm 68:6; Ephesians 2:19-22); support for those who desire it (1 Thessalonians 5:11, 1 peter 4:8-10); and purpose for those who pray to develop it (Exodus 9:16, Romans 8:28, Philippians 2:12-13). It is our desire to remind all people that with God, all things are truly possible to those who believe (Matthew 19:26, Mark 9:23, Mark 10:27, Romans 8:31, Philippians 4:13).

Our vision

We seek a new day in the Kingdom of God, one that is relevant for our times and still connects us to the "ancient paths," so we never forget our history, nor where we have come from (Proverbs 23:10, Isaiah 30:21, Jeremiah 18:15, Jeremiah 25:5). We believe the Kingdom of God becomes a reality, one soul, one impacted life, and one loving action at a time. Here in this place of spiritual safety and truth, we ourselves learn how to better exemplify our call as temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:9, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20), thus making us a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, and a holy Body of believers, one in faith, hope, and love (Ephesians 4:1-32, 1 Peter 2:9).


This is the House of God:

immigrant, refugee, foreigner or wanderer;

LGBT or Q-plus, straight, or in between;

Conservative or liberal, or whatever falls in the middle;

Married or single, partnered or free;

we all need our found family!

Young or old, or somewhere in between,

vision is essential for more than we see;

Hoping, expecting, knowing, or still unsure…

We are here to welcome you,

Be your friend, encourage you, and always remind you:

No matter who you are,

what you've done,

what you think,

where you've been,

or what you've walked through –

You are welcome in this place.

So, we leave politics outside this door.

We do not argue, nor debate them here

and we respect differences of political opinion.

We do not preach or tolerate hate within these walls,

and we open the door for discussion of different ideas.

We believe in deliverance and restoration,

and that God's got an answer for anything that ails you,

no matter what it might be – Spiritual, physical or emotional.

– And that we are here for you:

Rich, poor, middle class, or what’s next,

Feminist, womanist, black, white, or Hispanic;

Asian, Indian, or indigenous,

Full-figured, plus size, curvy, or thin,

There’s no room for shame, we all fit in;

selective focus photography of You Are Loved book
selective focus photography of You Are Loved book

Our team

Communities are built by a team of dedicated builders who believe in the essence of faith connection. Learn a little about each of us, all in our own words.

(Apostle) Lee Ann Marino

Founder / Overseer

(Minister) Nik Lewis

Minister of Music / Worship Leader

(Minister) Charlie Reep

Teacher / Adult Sunday School

(Prophet) Nina Marino

Elder / Children's Sunday School