For anyone unsure what the United Methodist "connection" means, consider the "cluster."
The "connection" is a concept that began with Methodism founder John Wesley to refer to the entire church organization. Local churches are not independent entities but rather are connected and in relationship with one another, as well as with annual conferences.
Asking congregations to be in clusters is a way to try and experience again what the connection once was—a living relationship with one another.
Our church tended to follow the culture in American society. In the middle of the 20th century, American culture was dominated by certain kinds of corporations and bureaucracies. Our church started patterning our life after them, and that’s when each individual congregation started seeing itself as standing alone and each pastor saw him or herself as having a relationship only to the church to which she or he was assigned.
"Clusters encourage people to come together."
The Indiana UMC began cluster groups in 2009. The Boone County Indiana Cluster consists of:
Centenary UMC- Lebanon
Indiana United Methodist Children's Home- Lebanon
Jamestown UMC- Jamestown
Milledgeville UMC- Milledgeville
Otterbein UMC- Lebanon
Salem UMC- Zionsville
Thorntown UMC- Thorntown
Whitestown UMC- Whitestown
The Boone County UMC Cluster has been successful reaching goals only attainable as a group, as opposed to limitations individually. In 2011 the cluster raised over $5,000 for the "What's For Lunch?" school program by the Shalom Community of South Lebanon which actually qualified that program to obtain a grant equal in size.
In 2012 we repeated our support for the "What's For Lunch?" program, as well as being active in driving county-wide awareness and contributions to Henryville, IN Tornado Victims, The Caring Center, Love In The Name of Christ, Boone County, The Indiana United Methodist Children's Home, "Operation Classroom", a non-profit organization partnering with selected schools and health care facilties in Sierre Leone and Liberia, and much more.
The group is chaired by Tim Ottinger from Salem United Methodist Church of Zionsville, IN and meets monthly, usually the second Tuesday of each month at member locations.
For more information contact Mr. Ottinger at 317-873-4015.