Sanctus Real to perform at First Baptist Church of St. Marys

Church plans events for Family Life Center

Photo by Jeff Baughan First Baptist Church of St. Marys Pastor John Strimer, left, stands with Family Worship Pastor Chris Callahan in the church’s Family Life Center. The center will host Sanctus Real Aug. 11 for a concert.

ST. MARYS — Less than two years ago, the First Baptist Church of St. Marys’ Family Life Center had a very large, empty lot beside it.

“There were a lot of prayers offered for direction as to what the future of this building would be,” said Pastor John Strimer.

Now, it is the site of a 14,500-square-foot multipurpose center. It has hosted a women’s conference attended by more than 300 women.

Strimer said the first major contemporary Christian music act has been scheduled, with a concert by Sanctus Real scheduled for Aug. 11.

Sanctus Real formed in Toledo, Ohio, in 1996. The group is made up of lead guitarist Chris Rohman, drummer Mark Graalman and lead vocalist Dustin Lolli.

Photo by Jeff Baughan A view of the Family Life Center’s activities area from the second floor. The church is located at 425 Barkwill St. in St. Marys.

The band is known best for the chart-topping singles “Lead Me,” “Forgiven,” “Whatever You’re Doing,” “I’m Not Alright,” “Don’t Give Up,” “We Need Each Other,” “Everything About You” and “The Fight Song.”

Strimer said the 9,680-square-foot events area has a capacity of 936 seated and more than 1,000 with standing room. Strimer said the concert is a festival-style event, meaning there are no reserved seats.

“We hope this is the first of numerous events here,” Strimer said. “The center holds three times as many people as our sanctuary does.

“St. Marys is at a crossroads with Route 16 coming over the hill, Route 2 on this side of the river, Route 7 on the other. There is close to 10,000 vehicles a day coming through St. Marys,” he said.

Chris Callahan is the family worship pastor at First Baptist.

Photo by Jeff Baughan The Family Life Center has hosted a women’s conference at the St. Marys facility.

“It’s our desire to reach families with affordable venues for sharing the gospel. It’s a place they can call home,” he said. “This being a large venue allows us to draw from surrounding counties.”

Strimer said the building was more than a decade in thoughts, planning and construction.

“God gave us the picture 12 years ago,” he said. “That’s how long it’s taken to get it here. But we’re (hoping) the church and town will benefit from its existence. All the red tape we had to go through, none of that matters anymore.

“The facility is open to conferences, weddings, receptions, concerts, youth rallies and events,” said Strimer. “We as a church (are) willing to sponsor events like that but the building does belong to the church. There are rules and regulations as to what we will allow.”

Strimer stated the women’s conference attracted groups from a multi-county area up to 90 minutes away.

“The facility is going to allow us to multiply our options as to what we can host here,” he said.

“It really puts us on the front edge of many things,” Strimer said. “We can’t envision what could come through here. We’re open to whatever God wants to happen.”

Callahan added, “we’ve been looking to bring in a group to see how the facility would handle the event. Sanctus Real happened to land first. “


Sanctus Real will perform at the First Baptist Church, located at 425 Barkwill St. in St. Marys, at 7 p.m. Aug. 11.

Tickets are $10, or for groups of 10 or more, the price is $8. Tickets are available at the church office 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday or at Phillips Pharmacy on Main Street in St. Marys during regular business hours.

There will be a will-call window for pre-paid orders. Tickets will be sold at the door, if tickets remain.

For more information, call the church at 304-684-2873.