Cluster churches unite
The Caston/Fulton Cluster in the Northwest District (comprised of Bethlehem, Fletcher’s Lake, Fulton, Grass Creek, Kewanna, Lucerne Zion and Twelve Mile United Methodist Churches) started slowly, but once congregations found their groove, things seemed to fall easily into place. The pastors found everything from a place to celebrate the successes of their individual churches and advice on how to tackle situations, to a safe place to vent their frustrations with colleagues who shared their trenches.
The Caston/Fulton Cluster joined forces to canvas two of their respective communities, Fulton and Twelve Mile, with homemade bread and a flyer telling what each church has to offer, yet all under the umbrella of the United Methodist mantra, “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors!”
There have been more than 200 loaves of bread distributed by biblical pairs of disciples (Mark 6:7) going out into the community. More canvas days are slated for summer.
Another outreach the cluster worked on was a Cross Carrying project. Once the concept was shared, news spread quickly. The cluster gave it incredibly enthusiastic support. While many of groups and churches had previously carried a cross on Good Friday in memory of the crucifixion of Christ, no one had heard of seven churches doing it together, to tell those remembering of the sacrifice that Christ made different churches collaborating to make it happen. What a testimony about Jesus Christ.
Carrying a six-foot cross 22 miles, down four different highways, stopping to do the 12 stations of the cross along the way, with sheriff deputy escorts, culminating in a funeral for Jesus Christ, might haveseemed like an extreme endeavor, but “when two or more gather in his name” amazing things can happen!
One car pulled off the road, the driver got out of the car to and tearfully explain she had never seen anything like it. She was taking her children to school and said that she just had to come back and talk to us.
There was a woman in her late 60s recovering from heart surgery, who was determined to make the 6½ mile trek between Grass Creek and Fulton churches. While the last to arrive, her spirit remained mighty.
Several cancer survivors making the journey made statements like “God is stronger than cancer and with Him “all things are possible!”
Fourteen-year-old Summer Garver was so determined to carry the cross she asked to be first so she could make it in time for school. A Caston Junior High student wrapped up the trip, by carrying the cross to its’ final destination at Twelve Mile UMC.
People spoke of being humbled, excited and a little unprepared for the emotions carrying the cross brought. One person made the entire trip as a tribute to his mother who died from cancer a year ago. He found that even though exhausted, once the cross was placed in his arms, he had a renewed spirit.
The funeral of Christ, through the eyes of Mary, mother of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene was the culmination of the day. Nearly 100 people were present and our prayer was they did not leave the same as they arrived.
Caston/Fulton Cluster leaders say working together with their brothers and sisters in Christ for the glory of the Lord has been enlighting and their goal is that light will continue to shine and be an example to others of what can be accomplished for God.
Teri White serves as pastor of Bethlehem UMC in Twelve Mile, Ind. northeast of Logansport.