Bakker sets up camp in Florida
© St. Petersburg Times, published May 22, 2001
LYNN HAVEN -- Former television evangelist Jim Bakker says he is planning to open a camp for inner-city youths in the rural Florida Panhandle, where he now lives.
"The Camp of Hope is not yet open, but there are many people helping," Bakker said during a book signing Saturday in Lynn Haven, a Panama City suburb. Bakker, 61, and his wife, Lori Graham Bakker, recently moved to Sunny Hills in neighboring Washington County and were given land near there for a youth camp.
He said he plans to open the camp by July 4 and invite the Blackwood Brothers and other Christian musicians to sing and speak. The couple wants to bring youths to the camp next year.
The program would start with an Atlanta ministry called Revolution, where Bakker's son, Jay, works with street children and punk rockers.
"Lori and I had been actively involved in an inner-city ministry in Los Angeles for a couple of years," Bakker said. "We're setting these camps for older inner-city kids who want to get out of the drug culture and get out of gangs."
He said he wants to continue the camp with ministries in Nashville, Tenn., and New York City. He served five years in prison after being convicted in 1989 of defrauding followers of $158-million. His PTL Christian television and theme park empire in South Carolina crumbled with the 1987 disclosure that he used ministry money to pay Jessica Hahn to conceal their affair.
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