Since the early days of the 1800s, predecessors of The United Methodist Church have been found throughout Indiana. From the Michigan border to the Ohio River and everywhere in between, Brethren, Evangelicals, and Methodists founded churches in nearly every community. Institutions that trace their roots together with the United Methodists of Indiana include hospitals, universities, retirement communities, children's homes, and a variety of community-based ministries.
Since 1968, the Indiana Area of The United Methodist Church has been divided into a North Conference and a South Conference, with one bishop serving both. The two conferences have shared a state-wide newspaper and a website, an Area Office and an Area Foundation. Collaborative efforts include an Indiana Area Local Pastor's School and cooperative mission efforts such as Operation Classroom and Operation Doctor. In issues of social justice, groups from North and South Conferences have come together to speak with a united voice to particularly Hoosier concerns such as institutional racism and anti-gambling efforts, and to broader global concerns such as the genocide in Darfur.
In recent years, state-wide events and efforts have increased. Conference leaders have collaborated on joint projects in D'Iberville and Banda Aceh, Area Leadership Team retreats, Joint Cabinet meetings and mission work trip. A combined United Methodist Women's gathering, the Bishop's Confirmation Rally for Youth, and a variety of other events and cooperative mission efforts are examples of other places where Indiana United Methodists have found common ministries.
Yet, two cabinets, two lay leaders, two councils on finance and administration, two councils on ministries, two boards of laity, two boards of ordained ministry, two conference staffs, six clergy order groups, and other duplications require our bishop to divide his attention and energy between the multiple demands of two conferences. Likewise, the incompatibility of information systems greatly hinders the efficiency and effectiveness of area office efforts.