The Remedy is the Anti-Church. It’s not a doctor’s office, but its members fight “RTDs” or “Religiously Transmitted Diseases."
Jeremy LaDuke welcomes the questions and quizzical looks to this alternative way of worship. The lead pastor said The Remedy is not a church building, but a radical movement within the church. It is located on Gill Street in Alcoa between a bar and a cash advance business.
The Remedy is a ministry that grew from Fairview United Methodist Church and is considered a Fairview “planted” church. Visitors to the church receive a T-shirt with a message printed in bright blue and white letters. It reads: No Perfect People Allowed.
There are earplugs on the table when visitors walk in the foyer. LaDuke said the plugs are for anyone who finds the music a little too loud.
The Remedy began in early 2008. LaDuke, then a member of Fairview, realized there was a great need to specifically reach young adults. Fairview members began The Remedy as an alternative service in the Capital Building off Broadway Avenue in Maryville.
“We started as an alternative service, as just another option for members at Fairview United Methodist." LaDuke said.
“A year into it we realized a few things. In our Capital Building location we were closing ourselves off to the black community, whom we want to reach, and we started seeing that we had a little bit different DNA and mission than Fairview United Methodist. That’s when The Remedy became a church-plant,” he said.
From there, The Remedy relocated twice. They have finally found themselves happily occupying 326 Gill St., in Alcoa.
In their new location, The Remedy will be able to seat around 80 people. There are three nursery rooms, and child-care is offered every Sunday. They hope to more than reach their capacity, LaDuke said.
“The ‘church’ as we know it totally wrong and screwed up,” said the pastor. “When we get back down to Christ, He is the only solution for the needs of the world. Our mission is this: We want to be intentional about combating the perceptions that church has given this generation.”
LaDuke said the approach is much like a church would approach a foreign mission field.
“We want to do this the same way we do when we send missionaries to other countries and cultures,” he said. “We have to learn the language and the culture and learn to appropriately communicate the life changing message of Christ.”
The Remedy is ready to be known for what they are for - not for what they are against, LaDuke said.
“We will do anything short of sin to reach the un-churched people,” he said.
LaDuke said it has been an amazing journey to see all the transformations in people’s lives. “We’ve seen several people find favor and rediscover their faith through this process. They’ve found some freedom in the fact that they are free from the rules they’ve been bound by in church -- by dress, language, things you could and could not share. They are now free,” LaDuke said.
LaDuke said that Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The eleven o’clock hour on Sunday mornings remains the most segregated hour.”
LaDuke said The Remedy wants to remedy that. They are actively working to bridge the racial gap in Alcoa and Maryville, he said.
“Through proclamation, through preaching, through action, through finding needs in our community that we can meet, whether it be the free-will changes for single moms or bridging the racial gap in Blount County, we are trying to do whatever we can to reach out to that community,” LaDuke said. “We are divided in our churches and in our society as a whole.”
LaDuke said the church should lead the way.
“The church has to be the first people over that line," he said. “We are learning as we go, but we are trying to be intentional about closing that gap.”
With 105 churches in Maryville alone and 23 or more in Alcoa, LaDuke said The Remedy may seem like just another church-plant, but the pastor said there is a different attitude among its founding members. “We are getting rid of all the fluff. If it’s not essential, then we can change it. We are removing anything that clouds out Jesus.”
The Remedy is holding their kick-off this Sunday, Aug. 29, with services at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Check out www.remedyalcoa.com for more details. The Remedy is also hosting a block-party on Sunday wrapped around the services from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. LaDuke said everyone is invited, but he advises people to “leave their perfectionism and church-attire at home. No perfect people are allowed,” he said.