Alcoholics Anonymous History In Your Area
Panama City, Florida
HOPEFUL SERENITY GROUP
In the Fall of 1973, several AA members in the Panama City, Florida area demonstrated their natural uneasy, uncomfortable, itchy selves by deciding to take the “geographical cure” and move out to new stomping grounds for their “AA” Due to overcrowding and lack of space, there had been much talk about the need for starting another AA group in Panama City.
Having heard all this talk, with little or no action, prompted Orville L. (formerly of Maryland) to take his own action. On the afternoon of Saturday, October 6, 1973, while he and several other AA members were visiting a fellow AA member in the hospital, Orville suddenly announced that there would be a meeting of a brand-new AA group on Monday, October 8, 1973, at 8 p.m. He further announced that he had already made all of the necessary arrangements for a location, which was to be at the First Assembly of God Church, on 3rd Street in the Millville area of Panama City.
Much to the pleasant surprise of everyone, Orville L. had, indeed, made all the necessary arrangements, and the first meeting of this new group was held at 8 p.m., October 8, 1973. While Orville claimed there was no connection, it is interesting to note that the Oct 8th “Thought for the Day” contains the statement, “AA grows by the starting of new groups all the time.”
It was at this meeting, attended by some seventeen people, that the new group’s name was voted upon -it was to be known as the “Hopeful Serenity Group” of AA That name still remains.
The first members of the Hopeful Serenity Group included Orville L., Jimmie C., Bill J., David H., Bill S., Eunice S., Bill M., and Mary X. From the very start, AI-Anon members were extremely active and membership in that group flourished. The times of the first meetings were, and still are, Mondays and Fridays at 8 p.m.
As was the case with so many other AA groups, attitudes toward smoking began making its mark on this new group from the beginning. The use of its first meeting place was short-lived, and within two months David H. had made arrangements with the pastor of the Trinity United Methodist Church to utilize its facilities at 2322 East 3rd Street, Panama City (Millville).
On January 30, 1974, the Hopeful Serenity Group of AA was formally registered by the General Service Office of AA.
The Hopeful Serenity Group continued to meet at the Trinity Methodist Church until January of 1975 when it had to move to a temporary location at the Serenity Junction Club which was then located at 515 ~ast 6th street, Panama City. The group met at this location for only a few months.
In the Spring of 1975, the Hopeful Serenity Group made arrangements with the pastor of St. Dominic’s Catholic Church on East 15th Street, Panama City, to use its Parish Hall for meetings. The group remained there for about a year-and-a-half.
In the Fall of 1976, the Hopeful Serenity Group moved its meetings to the Highland Park United Methodist Church on Baldwin Road, Panama City (Highland Park).
After six years, smoking once again became an issue, along with the stigma of the alcoholic, and the Hopeful Serenity Group was looking for a new meeting place. New facilities were found in a vacant service station on Ohio Avenue in Lynn Haven, Florida.
Following considerable work and clean-up, the Hopeful Serenity Group continued to meet at this service station until the Fall of 1985 when it moved to the school annex of the First Presbyterian Church at the corner of Magnolia Avenue and East 7th Street, Panama City. The group continues to meet at this school annex with a present membership of 34.
Current meetings of the Hopeful Serenity Group follow:
MONDAY, 8:00 p.m.
Closed Meeting & Al-Anon Meeting
FRIDAY, 8:00 p.m.
Open Discussion Meeting
NOTE: The District Public Information Committee meets on the FIRST TUESDAY of every month at 5:30 p.m. at the Hopeful Serenity Group
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