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Who is Jay Haizlip? Jay Haizlip is among the six pastors due to be featured on “The Preachers of L.A.” a new Oxygen reality series headed Oxygen in the fall of 2013. Jay Haizlip is the founder and senior pastor of the Sanctuary, the Orange County church where he preaches “a powerful message of hope, purpose and passion in Christ,” according to his official website.

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Haizlip is perhaps better known as a former professional skateboarder, and the Alabama native, nicknamed Jay “Alabamy,” earned a great deal of notoriety in his youth and an endorsement deal from Vision Skateboards. Unfortunately, with fame came drug addiction, and it was after a 12-year struggle with substance abuse that he found Jesus and became a minister.

“Who is Jay Haizlip?” is a question bound to yield different answers, depending on who you ask. Skateboarding fanatics will praise his aggressive pool-skating techniques, which he displayed throughout the ‘80s, riding alongside the likes of Tony Alva and Steve Olson and appearing in such magazines as Thrasher.

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Born in Gadsden, Alabama, he began skating as a teenager, after receiving his first board as a Christmas present. While skating brought him money and acclaim, it led him to Newport Beach, where fell into drug abuse and spent 12 years as a junkie. His life changed when he “encountered a man who told him about Jesus,” according to his website, and “asked Jesus to be Lord of his life.”

“Who is Jay Haizlip?” gets a much different answer in the seedy drug dens of Huntington Beach, where the married father of three now does the bulk of his work. As Oxygen says in a press release describing “The Preachers of L.A.,” he’s “back in the crack houses again,” only now, he’s not looking to score drugs. Instead, he “reaches out to troubled youth, finding them in prisons, skate parks and the same crack houses he once shot dope in.”

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