You may not be aware of the fact that the records of Follen Church are housed at the Harvard Divinity School’s library, as part of its mission to document the founding and development of Unitarian Universalist congregations. I spent a couple of hours there this week, reading through the earliest of our records from the 1830s. (Why, you might ask? Well, it’s a long story, having to do with needing to find an early constitution or some such document for an IRS application.)
Valuing the Past
But really what those early documents evoke for me is a sense of reconnection: religare is one of the roots of the word religion, a gathering together with a sense of purpose. And here is that very story before me, in a faint spidery hand, a reminder of our long and rich history, and the committed and loving (and no doubt flawed) community of people who came before us. It is also a reminder that we are sustained, and our hearts opened, by being in such a community where every day we’re called to live out our values.
Charting the Future
What does Parish Board have to do with all of this? We support Follen’s operational infrastructure by approving contracts, creating policies, and making sure our financial house is in order. Our agenda might range from the minutiae of insurance policies to the creation of a visionary long-term plan. Members include a chair and vice-chair, the treasurer, auditor, a trustee, three representatives at large, a clerk, and our minister.
This year we are meeting every other month. At our September meeting we reviewed our finances, discussed the process by which we could take votes by email when time is short, and looked at the church’s current vision and mission with a view to whether we wanted to create a congregational covenant.
Please email me or any of our members (we’re listed on the cover of the Follen phone book) with any questions, ideas, or concerns. Visitors to Parish Board meetings are also welcome!
Parish Board Chair, 2015-2017