Today it was publicly announced that I will be leaving my post at Woodlawn UMC in Derby to spend more time working on the SoCe Life project. Below is the letter that was sent to the congregation.
I am writing to announce that as of July 1, 2016 I will be leaving my position as Associate Pastor at Woodlawn United Methodist Church. As many of you know I have a deep passion for working with families and individuals in lower income settings. In 2014 my wife and I followed this call by moving to the SoCe Neighborhood in Wichita. (SoCe is located directly south of downtown.) After living in the neighborhood for a year we joined with our neighbors to form a non-profit called SoCe Life. (www.socelife.org) SoCe Life has two primary goals: first, we mobilize neighbors for the common good through community organizing; and second, we offer retreats for churches and colleges to explore nontraditional gatherings of Christian community.
Starting this non-profit will require me to be bi-vocational moving forward. In addition to my work in our neighborhood I will continue to develop my business as a trainer in effective communication and positive conflict. These trainings are similar to Servants by Design, but tailored for small businesses, colleges, and schools. I conduct that work under the sole proprietorship called SoCe Leads. (www.soceleads.com)
Woodlawn has a great history of sending missionaries into the world. While I am not going to Africa, I do see my new work as that of a missionary and hope to maintain relationship with Woodlawn in that way. Over the next several months I hope to share more about SoCe Life and offer opportunities for the Woodlawn family to participate in that ministry.
Our Staff Parish Relations Committee has already begun communicating with our District Superintendent about Woodlawn’s desire for a new associate pastor. Along with Pastor Paul, they will be reviewing candidates and will share that information as it is appropriate. Between now and July 1 I hope that we can grieve well, be encouraged by one another, and discover a new form of relating to one another. It would be my great pleasure to talk with you directly regarding this upcoming move.
Rev. Adam Barlow-Thompson