Living Hope Breaks Ground On New Community Center

Members of the Living Hope Assembly of God Board turned shovelfuls of soil to signify the start of work on the church’s new community center. From left: Ray Hanna, Ruth Hanna, Dick VanTilberg, Rev. Rick Scheer, Jackie Schoenlein and Joe Randall.
Staff Writer

With the turn of seven shovels, a new project is underway in St. Marys. 

Just west of Living Hope Assembly of God is the footprint of its future community center, cordoned off by colorful pennants. The church celebrated the coming of the new 5,000 square foot structure with a groundbreaking ceremony Sunday afternoon. 

Seen as a way for the church to extend its ministry, the community center is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2020 but several factors play into the projected opening, Living Hope Pastor Rick Scheer said.

“The weather is obviously a factor,” he said. “We were blessed to have a nice day today for this ceremony but we know not every day will be like this.”

The other large factor is that the church has contracted with US Maps to build the center. The group, which stands for U.S. Mission America Placement Service, is a mission of Assemblies of God USA that works to assist churches with construction and evangelism needs to further enhance their ministries.

Made up of an all volunteer crew called RVers, teams will come to the area in recreational vehicles — hence the name — complete their part of the job and move on to their next site. Since each team is focused on one job at a time, it will take several teams to get the building done.

“We’re hoping to have the building erected by this winter and then we can work on the inside through the winter and next summer,” Scheer added.

Inside the future building, guests will find space for just about any activity. Scheer said there will be a large area for entertaining in addition to a kitchen area for catering and living quarters upstairs to house missionaries and evangelists as they pass through.

“We’re going to have a big area that will be used as a multipurpose room that will be the size of half a basketball court,” he explained. “It will be tall enough that we can play basketball in there, it will seat 200 for dining and it will be available for whatever comes up. 

“We made a list of all the things it could be used for and we came up with birthday parties, wedding receptions, whatever God wants to use it for.”

The addition of the new building will not move the location of the church, it will simply expand the ministries Living Hope can offer its parishioners and the residents of St. Marys. Currently, the church’s building holds a large sanctuary and a small community room as well as daycare classrooms and offices for church staff. Adding on 5,000 square feet will expand the space and services Living Hope can offer.