Out of touch, out of favor and out of time….

It seems that time has run out for the management of the Rescue Mission of Panama City. After years of ignoring the pleas of the community to reel in their operation and become responsible community neighbors, the rescue mission has now made themselves irrelevant. This arrogant and tone deaf attitude shows its ugly face in the comments made by Henry Hazard, Chairman of the board of the Panama City Rescue Mission in this news article. Mr. Hazard is quoted as saying “I assumed that it would not be in the public eye for a few weeks”. Really? Why would the rescue mission board of directors and management not be intimately involved in every discussion and decision made by the Community Resource Center Task force? As self professed experts on homelessness issues for Bay County, why is it the rescue mission has consistently been a no-show at intense discussions in a group that include national experts on homelessness, representatives from responsible civic and religious organizations and governmental bodies who have come together to offer true solutions to the cities homeless problem? Why is that when representatives of the rescue Mission find themselves painted in a corner to address real issues, they always want to fall back on religious talk with a most pretentious and belittling tone? Why would “people of faith” be so unwilling to listen to the blessings that the new facility potentially brings when those blessings don’t fall inline with their own agenda. The rescue mission has worn out its welcome. The community has become weary of their rhetoric and disgusted with how they have built a multi-million dollar business empire on the backs of the homeless and a naive community who blindly donate not knowing the truth of what the rescue mission really is. The sands of the hourglass have almost run out for the rescue mission chiming in a new era for the downtown community and a new facility which will truly provide the services to those in need, utilizing the resources and talents from a multiple agencies and organizations in a way that is responsible to the community at large. 

It’s being seen as the answer to Downtown Panama City’s vagrancy issues. City commissioners approved the purchase of land for a 70-acre Community Resource Center. While the city seems to be on aboard, some aren’t fully convinced.

When the commission voted last night to purchase this property. There was one group that was missing – members of the Panama City rescue mission. They say they were caught a bit off guard by the decision.

“I assumed that it would not be in the public eye for a few weeks,” said Pastor Henry Hazard, chairman of the board for the Panama City Rescue Mission.

Pastor Hazard says when approached about the plan by the city a few weeks ago, he thought there would be more time to figure out how the mission fit into those plans.

“We decided at that point we would investigate, we would pray about it, we would seek god’s will because it is God’s mission and we’re trying to minister in his way,” Pastor Hazard said.

At Tuesday night’s commission meeting, city leaders made the move, one that got the attention of the rescue mission and the residents in the neighborhood surrounding the center.

We went out to the nearby Cherokee heights neighborhood to see what residents think about their potential new neighbors.

“I just don’t think the location is very good,” said resident Justin Buschman. “It has nothing to do with them being close to the neighborhood, there has to be places more centrally located they can find.”

“People don’t have jobs, children don’t have food, anything that can help someone is a good thing,” said resident Sandra Fountain.

Opinions from the residents were ride ranging. Jessica Stone thinks the center is a good idea if executed properly.

“If it’s just going to be the same thing – a place to eat and sleep and they’re really not getting on their feet and getting out there – then it does worry me,” resident Stone said.

Pastor Hazard say their goals goes beyond that, but as far as their role with the new center the future is still uncertain.

“We’ve got to be absolutely certain that this is going to enhance our ministry and help us do our mission,” Pastor Hazard said.

The board is meeting next Tuesday to discuss the proposal and see how it works for them. Pastor hazard says don’t expect an immediate verdict – they want some time so they can arrive at the right decision.

source: http://www.wmbb.com/story/20101153/rescue-mission-residents-react-to-resource-center

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  1. To learn about plans for the new Bay Area Resource Center and Community Campus visit our website http://www.bayarearesourcecenter.com. This plan incorporates the concepts presented to us by Dr. Robert Marbut during his visit to Panama City and will be a positive step forward for the entire Community

    We invite you to join us in our efforts to bring a better solution to Bay County!

  2. Amazing……you are correct about them not wanting to cooperate. This has been going on for years and it is so sad. They are a part of the community whether they like it or not….I also hate it when people use religion as an excuse …..Thanks

  3. Steve

     /  November 22, 2012

    The mission has no intenetion or desire to move out of the heart of Panama City. The recent “improvements” in the effects that the mission is having on downtown PC is ,in my opinion, a calculated plan on the part of the mission. They are being turned down in every communiity in which they try to expand or establish a center due to their record. They are trying, for a short time, to “clean up” and take away a very powerful arguement against allowing them to enter or grow within a community. They are trying to establish a second actual mission site at their Springfield location and also start a location in Port St. Joe and are temporarily acting to reduce their impact so that they can take some of the bite out of the facts about their impact on communities they invade. I believe that after they get what they want here and in St. Joe they will resume their normal activities without concern about how they affect the working people in the communities they operate in. I still believe the answer lies not in helping them grow more effectively or in areas outside the city , I think the mission should be smaller. They seek to not just help the people in PC that need help but they actively recruit and import more of their “clients” from all over the country. They will have a larger budget if they have more people to “help”. I wish their was a way to prevent them from advertising in other states to bring people here who come here because they can be taken care of and not really have to put anything back. I have heard the stories about how the mission has “turned lives around” and on the surface that seems admireable. I just believe that we should expend more effort on those IN our comunity and not bring people from all over here just to help them. They have communities, wouldn’t money go further if we did not spend funds bringing people here? Instead spend that money on those who are already here? There are a number of fine organizations in our community that work very well to serve those in need and the mission not only duplicates those services but actively increases the number of those people by acting as a drawing card to homeless and other people who seek out orgaizations such as the mission to sustain them in lieu of self sufficiency. I am not a supporter of the mission but I am a supporter of other organizations within our community that provide assistance to those in need.


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