Rebecca Wyant, a community member, is turning The Bridge East into a rehabilitation center for drug and alcohol addiction based on Christian ideals, the program will be called Arch of Freedom.
The Bridge, a local church, sold its east campus building to Wyant Nov. 29, 2019.
Chad Mayne, pastor for The Bridge, said the east campus wasn’t being used anymore by the different groups that attended The Bridge, so they had no reason to keep it.
“It wasn’t really active as far as having services. This (The Bridge main campus) has been our main location since 2013,” Mayne said.
The only use of the building was for youth services, but even the youth group found themselves using the main campus more.
Mayne said that working to fix a building that the church wasn’t using wasn’t something they were looking to do.
“The building itself is older, and we were putting repairs into it when it wasn’t being used, so we decided to sell it,” Mayne said.
Wyant said because of her family's history in drug and alcohol abuse, she was led to the decision to open this center.
“One of my family members went to something similar in Des Moines, Iowa, called Hope Ministries. Their recovery is completely Christ-based,” Wyant said. “One of the things we found missing in our community was Christ-centered support for people fighting addictions.”
Wyant said that they are working to become a nonprofit, but the paperwork and approval is a long process.
“Right now, it’s just myself paying for the building and utilities. So, anything to expand it beyond what we can use the building as is, without major improvements, is what we’re trying to do,” Wyant said.
Maryville already has two other rehabilitation services to offer. New Beginnings is an outpatient rehabilitation center. According to their website, they offer counseling sessions, individual classes and group sessions. Family Guidance, according to their website, is a program that assists families dealing with mental illness and helps them return to an independent lifestyle.
Wyant said this isn’t something that is going to take the place of what Maryville already has to offer but that her service will offer more of a Christ-based recovery.
“We don’t want to replace what our community already has. We’ll work with New Beginnings and Family Guidance and the hospital. It’s just to fill that gap of the spiritual healing,” Wyant said.
Wyant said the program will work closely with the churches in the area so the people in the program are able to find their own path.
“We would like to touch base with all of our surrounding churches because one of the fears that a lot of the people that go through these programs is that they think they’re being judged if they go to a church,” Wyant said. “To have different ministry to come in to get people acquainted with the different churches in town is one of our missions.”
Wyant said eventually they want to turn the recovery center into a place for housing, but that’s pretty far into the future.
“The first phase would be counseling, having pastors from surrounding areas come in and maybe even do some services,” Wyant said. “Long term, we would like to become residential, but that would take a lot of funding and improvements to the building that just aren’t there yet.”