Bishop Richard J. Wills Jr.
3325 Bridgefield Drive
Lakeland, FL 33803-5972
Richard "Dick" Wills was born in Texas, graduated from Florida Southern University with a B.S. in psychology and received his M. Div. from Candler School of Theology, Emory University. He was granted honorary doctorates from both Bethune-Cookman College and Florida Southern College.
Dick accepted Christ and felt the call to be a pastor while in the seventh grade in South Houston, Texas. His family moved to Miami, and Dick was ordained in the Florida Annual Conference as a deacon and as an elder. For 18 years he served as senior pastor of Christ Church United Methodist in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. It was while serving there a friend suggested he attend the World Methodist Evangelism Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. This was the beginning of a spiritual renewal in his life that deeply affected his life and leadership in the church. In 2000 Dick authored the book, Waking to God's Dream.
On June 12, 1965, Dick married Eileen Willis. They have four children and ten grandchildren. Eileenserved as theprincipal of Andrew Jackson Elementary School in Old Hickory, Tennessee.
Dick was first elected a delegate to the General Conference in 1988 and then to successive General Conferences, 1992-2004. Twice he was the head of the conference delegation. In 2004 the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference elected him to the episcopacy and he was assigned to the Nashville Area.