Warren Willis Camp Turns 75
As the Warren Willis Camp turns 75 this year, it's still "a sacred space". The year was 1944, and Florida Methodists had a dream. Their vision was to build a camp, but not just any camp. It would be designed for young people to encounter Jesus in ways they had never imagined.

There would be exploring, camaraderie, lessons, and songs that leaves an indelible mark on the individual. They would savor his creation of nature and beauty. They would form lifelong relationships with fellow campers and workers who joined them on their journey of discovery.

It is a sacred place, or what Mike Standifer called "active isolation, that intentional moment of separation that allowed them to grow closer to God when they were able to walk away from everything else."

Standifer serves as the Director for the Warren Willis United Methodist Camp and Conference Center and the Florida United Methodist Camps and Retreats Director.
It took four years from the original vision until the camp opened on 47 acres acquired from the city of Leesburg and the Central Florida Boy Scout Council. And this year, the camp is still going strong, celebrating its 75th anniversary amid remembrance of the past and a watchful eye for what is to come.

Camp programs continue to take place every summer, with youth programs in the spring and fall. The camp hosts retreat groups from churches, schools and colleges, and nonprofit groups across the state.

"It has been a place for 75 years for young people and adults to come to this holy ground. When folks are here and away from our norm, we're more in tune with actually hearing God. This place has been set aside for that distinct work to happen," Standifer said.

"Way back when incredible folks had a vision for this place, they truly put in motion a place for folks to begin a relationship with Christ or deepen a relationship with Christ if they already had one. They could celebrate the past, current, and future."

For access to the complete article, go to this link.

Joe Henderson
Florida United Methodist Church
8002 U. S. Highway 301 South, Riverview, FL  33578  813-677-5995
175 Years
About Us

RESTORE Food Pantry is open from 10 AM until Noon every Tuesday and Thursday.  Do not come onto the property before 10:00 AM.  The RESTORE Food Pantry is an Equal Opportunity provider for all eligible recipients regardless of race, age, or gender.

On Tuesdays, recipients can also enjoy hot meals in our Fellowship Hall--courtesy of Metropolitan Ministries.

On Thursday, recipients can also receive fresh produce and/or frozen food courtesy of Feeding Tampa Bay.

Valentine’s Day at the Florida UM Children’s Home
Report on Hurricane Ian Recovery in the SW District
Our new Bishop, Tom Berlin, recently visited the South West District to review the disaster recovery efforts there firsthand. He heard from many of the clergy and laypeople impacted.  Click here to view the video of Rev. Berlin’s visit. If you would like to support our ongoing rebuilding efforts, please consider giving at www.flumc.org/ian.

THE RECAP Provides UM National 
and International News Items
The RECAP is an effort by the United Methodist Church to provide a national and international perspective to its laity and clergy.  Go to this link to access the latest content from this resource.
The Special Virtual Session of the Florida Annual Conference
Pursuant to paragraph 603.5 of the Book of Discipline, Bishop Berlin has called a special virtual session of the annual conference for April 22, 2023. This session concerns the matter of churches seeking to disaffiliate from The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church. Because we are having a special session prior to the regular 2023 Annual Conference session, the lay members for the special session will be the lay members or alternates “last seated," meaning seated at the regular 2022 Annual Conference session. This includes district at-large lay members. This will only apply to the April 22, 2023 special session.

Renew, Revive, Reclaim
In a “Mid-term State of The United Methodist Church Address” on March 2, 2023, Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton, president of the Council of Bishops, called members to “be the architects of a renewed, revived and reclaimed United Methodist Church.”  This webpage lets you listen or read the bishop’s address.

A Word of Comfort from the 
Florida United Methodist Foundation
You may have heard about the recent issues with Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), Signature Bank (SBNY) and others starting late last week and over the weekend. Problems for U.S. banks with exposure to the frothiest asset classes coming out of the COVID pandemic — crypto and tech startups — boiled over last week with the wind-down of the crypto-centric Silvergate Bank.

While that firm’s demise had been long expected, it helped ignite a panic about banks with high levels of uninsured deposits. Venture capital investors and founders drained their SVB accounts Thursday, leading to its seizure by regulators midday Friday. Without being too technical in explanation, the basic issue was that SVB purchased large amounts of bonds when rates were historically very low. As rates rose, the value of the bond portfolio was reduced dramatically. Additionally, the bank saw a reduction in deposits, creating a liquidity issue. The combination of these two events caused the bank to fail.

What does all this mean for the average American? Regulators have, in recent hours, arranged to cover all depositors at SVB and Signature Bank. They are also putting together a borrowing facility to stabilize other financial institutions caught in the downdraft.

It is very important to remember the Florida United Methodist Foundation makes loans to churches and other not-for-profit entities related to Christian ministry. These loans are collateralized by real estate within properly margined guidelines. Our cash position remains strong and stable. As of today, we remain very well capitalized and have cash levels in excess of $25M, which includes cash and equivalents being held in certificates of deposit and treasuries.

On behalf of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, we appreciate the relationship we have with our churches and individual account holders. We will continue to skillfully manage all of God’s resources placed in our care.

Rev. Edward New
President, Florida United Methodist Foundation

The Chapel at Warren Willis Summer Camp looks out on the lake and provides the worshippers with an inspirational view.