In medieval times, the church was at the forefront of artistic movements like the Renaissance. But over the centuries, it stopped being a trailblazer. We think outside the box and create a space for creative people to flourish and a place for everyone to belong.

Our Mission

Our mission is simple: GO. LOVE. LIVE. We GO to the missing, LOVE the marginalized and LIVE as God's kids. 


Sanctuary is a church in Over the Rhine that is all about creating space for people to belong - a church for the rebellious, creative and right-brained.

We feel strongly about our neighborhood, OTR. We hope to be a church that really reflects the city, where people from all walks of life feel like they can come and worship together in bigger ways.
— Greg Knake, Sanctuary OTR, lead team

the Hills we die on


We believe that everyone brings something to the table. We want to equip and encourage people to become all that God has intended them to be, to live in God’s big story with passion, intentionality, and knowing that we are each examples to others to do the same.


We believe that we have been blessed to be a blessing to others and that God is looking for conduits of his grace and generosity. Everything we have in life has been given to us to both enjoy and be a blessing to others.


We believe in being genuine with ourselves, owning our vulnerabilities and accepting who we are. Being open and courageous in self-disclosing and sharing who we are with others. We value authenticity over image management because biblical community is built on honesty and transparency.


We believe that missionaries are not just people who go “do” something. Our missional identity is primarily who we are - not what we do. As believers, we literally become part of God’s family. This is who we are―not what we do. To be missional is to have our lives radically oriented around being disciples and making more disciples.


We believe art and creativity have value because we are image bearers of God-because God is creative and the ultimate creator, so are we. Thus, if God does something, and models it for us, we should treat it as valuable. Our best efforts should be expended. We should eschew cheap knock-offs. Creative efforts deserve our best because God is worthy of our best.

How It All Began

In many ways, it is hard to tell a story that is only just beginning.  But consider this A New Hope (or Fellowship of the Ring, depending on which camp you belong in) and know that more is yet to come.  Starting a new church is never easy and often stupid (And this is coming from folks who love church planting and believe in it!).  There are a lot of churches in the world, especially in the midwestern part of America, where we happen to reside.  But we didn't start with the intention to do something no one has ever done before, we started with a calling.  

A few folks started having conversations about what it might look like to see a new church in our neighborhood, Over the Rhine. There are many wonderful and impactful churches in OTR, churches that have long histories spanning over a century, and yet this calling wouldn't leave.  What these folks decided this church wouldn't be is THE answer.  Instead if they are being called to a region, then they are called to work together for the Kingdom of God in that region with the co-laborers (and other mission workers) who make up that part of town.  After many conversations over beer and coffee about name changes and different expressions of church, Sanctuary OTR was born.  The truth is, though there are many churches in Cincinnati, statistics show that the best way to reach new people with the Gospel story is by planting new churches.  Churches that represent different expressions, different cultures and different people. 

As Sanctuary, we wanted to express ourselves as a place where everyone experiences what it means to belong.  In 2015, we started events to connect people in community like Beer and Hymns, Cincy Stories, and the OTR Potluck.  We started our first Missional Community to do life together and talk about what it would look like to be the church where we are.  We have this crazy notion that when Jesus walked the earth, he didn't waste his time with only people who agreed with him spiritually and philosophically, but instead, he went out to where the people were and loved them. Right there.

Sanctuary is on mission to go where people are and see them become who they were created to be: people who belong.  The entire story of the Gospel tells us that God Himself, created all things and saw His creation rebel against Him. But, it continues to show us that God furiously and passionately pursued His creation in love and made a way through Jesus to tell each person: You belong! We are made up of dreamers, innovators, and creatives. We all belong to a Kingdom that was founded and bought with love and we're inviting you to join us as we continue our story.