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In Brief

In Brief

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

In Brief 

An e-Review News Item | May 15, 2009 {1019}

This series includes:

• Florida United Methodist Children’s Home receives EAGLE accreditation
• Historic garden named for Evelyn and Warren Willis

Florida United Methodist Children’s Home receives EAGLE accreditation

By United Methodist Association of Health and Welfare Ministries Staff

VANDALIA, OHIO — The United Methodist Association of Health and Welfare Ministries (UMA), a national network of health and welfare-related organizations, announced that the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home in Enterprise, Fla., successfully retained EAGLE Accreditation this year.

The Educational Assessment Guidelines Leading toward Excellence (EAGLE) accreditation is a quality enhancement process offered to faith-based organizations providing care to older adults, children, youth and families, community services ministries, and hospitals and health systems.
The intensive self-assessment and peer review process encourages and recognizes excellence in Christian mission and ministry. EAGLE accredited facilities are stringently reviewed based on business practices, social principles and their Christian mission. Relationships with the local community, The United Methodist Church and/or their faith-based connection are considered, as well.

Florida United Methodist Children’s Home was recognized for its accomplishment March 6 at the annual EAGLE Gala at UMA’s 69th National Convention in Indianapolis, Ind.

UMA is a national, nonprofit network of approximately 400 health and human service organizations that provides more than $2 billion in charity care annually, serves more than 32 million people each year in 1,555 locations across the United States and employs 354,000 individuals providing care in the name of The United Methodist Church. UMA provides its members with education, accreditation, networking, communication and business services while keeping with the rich, historical, Wesleyan traditions and practices of The United Methodist denomination.


Historic garden named for Evelyn and Warren Willis
By Florida Southern College Public Relations Staff

LAKELAND, Fla. — Florida Southern College dedicated the Evelyn and Warren Willis Garden of Meditation this year, officially naming the garden, with its restored Hindu-style temple and reflecting pool, after a United Methodist youth leader and his wife. 
The late Rev. Warren W. Willis, who served as the Florida Conference’s youth director in the days immediately after World War II, graduated from Florida Southern in 1938. He was instrumental in the development of the Florida Conference camping ministry, and today the United Methodist youth camp in Leesburg is named for him.

The Rev. Dr. Waite Willis, his sister Diane Willis Stahl (left) and his mother, Evelyn, wait to be recognized during the report of the Florida Conference camp and retreat ministries at the 2008 Florida Annual Conference Event. 2008 marked the 60th anniversary of the Warren W. Willis United Methodist Youth Camp. File photo by Caryl Kelley. Photo #08-0957. Originally accompanied e-Review Florida UMNS #0897, 8/10/08.
Evelyn Willis also graduated from the college with a teaching degree and taught at Padgett Elementary School in Lakeland. She was an active member and junior choir leader at College Heights United Methodist Church, where she still attends.

The Willises’ family and friends donated the funds for the garden restoration.
The Hindu elements of the garden — a temple, two elephant statues and a sacred cow statue — were donated to the college in 1938 by Dr. Frederick B. Fisher, a former Methodist bishop to India who fell in love with the Florida Southern campus when he visited during Founders Week. Indian villagers whom Fisher had baptized carved the temple and gave it to him as a token of their gratitude for introducing them to Christianity.

Florida Southern began in 1882 as a school of the conference. Over the years, it became a seminary and a high school, moving several times. In 1887, the school moved to Leesburg from Orlando where it became known as Florida Conference College. In 1922, the school moved to Lakeland and in 1935 was renamed Florida Southern College.

Florida Southern is a private, comprehensive college with a liberal arts core. It offers 50 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business administration, education and nursing. It is ranked in the Top 10 “Best Baccalaureate Colleges in the South” by U.S. News & World Report and included in The Princeton Review’s “368 Best Colleges” guide and The Fiske Guide to Colleges 2009. Located on Lake Hollingsworth, Florida Southern is home to the world’s largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture.


News media contact: Tita Parham, 800-282-8011,, Orlando

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.