DURANGO, Colo. (AP) - Mancos United Methodist Church looks much the same as it did when Rosa Sabido started living there a year ago, except for the birds outside Fellowship Hall.
The Mexican national, who sought sanctuary in Mancos after her request for a one-year stay of deportation was denied last May, received a bird feeder as a gift from a supporter to hang outside the building where she has lived since June 2, 2017. She said she requested an additional feeder after seeing small birds get hurt in the struggle for food, and both feeders have been busy this spring. So have Sabido and the church staff, who will hold a public event June 2 to mark the anniversary of her year in sanctuary, and are planning for another year of uncertainty.
Last June, neither Sabido nor the church knew how long her time in sanctuary would last.
“When I came, I didn’t have enough time to think,” she said.
The Cortez resident approached Mancos First United Methodist Church, which had voted to become a sanctuary congregation, because she didn’t know where else to go after Immigrations and Customs Enforcement denied her stay of removal. She had met several members of the congregation, including Pastor Craig Paschal, through her side business of selling homemade tamales.
Paschal said being a sanctuary church hasn’t been easy, but it has brought the congregation closer together.
Since the church announced it would shelter Sabido, Paschal said “95 percent” of the response from Mancos residents has been positive. Neighbors regularly send gifts and notes of support, or just drop by to talk with Sabido. A “Dollar-A-Day” fundraiser on the Rosa Belongs Here website has raised more than $5,000 to cover her expenses while in sanctuary.
“With that, you will get, on occasion, the nasty email or the nasty post or something like that, but it’s really very minor compared to the support,” Paschal said....Support for Sabido spread quickly across the nation. Supporters have sent letters and gifts to the church from across the U.S. The Washington Post published a lengthy story about her in March, and she said she has been contacted by numerous other media companies, including Netflix. The visibility can be overwhelming for Sabido and church staff.“It’s people wanting to be supportive and include Rosa in the life of the community as much as possible,” Paschal said. “But then it can also present some challenges because it’s almost too much.”Sabido said she likes to stay busy. She is unable to work while in sanctuary, but she cooks for church events and for neighbors who ask