April Letter from Coordinating Team

May 4, 2021

Dear Follen Member and Friends,

We hope you are all enjoying spring!

A few announcements:

  • While we had originally planned a leadership retreat this spring to begin our discussions about the future of our music program, we have decided to move the leadership retreat to the fall so that we can build on the energy and momentum generated by such an event, rather than allow that energy to dissipate over the summer.  Instead, there will be two events:
    • On the evening of Thursday, May 20 from 7pm-8:30pm, we will host a presentation with Allegra Martin, currently the Director of Choirs at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester.  Allegra grew up UU at Follen, and will discuss the intersection between worship music and anti-racist thought and action. Claire will help facilitate, and there will be time for questions and discussion.  We are excited to begin the work of envisioning the future of our music program, living into our anti-racist resolution, and realizing that it touches everything we do as a community of faith. Please put it in your calendar, and watch the newsletter for the Zoom link.
    • Early in the fall, we will host a leadership event to begin the work of defining our music program.  The event will likely be scheduled for several hours on a Saturday.  All will be invited.  Our hope is that we will develop a vision for the music program and form a team to refine that vision and develop job descriptions for staff that will help to execute our vision.
  • In the interest of governance transparency, the Program Council meeting minutes are available upon request.

We periodically hear questions about how the church is governed, and confusion about the roles of the Program Council and Parish Board. I (Howie) freely admit that I was confused as well before I started learning about our governance structure.  It is really quite logical, which appeals to me as a computer scientist, and in my opinion functions quite well.

Put simply, the Parish Board, with a chair, vice chair, members at large, treasurer and trustees is responsible for the policies, procedures, and long-term strategic planning, and the Program Council, with a president, vice-president, action team chairs and church staff, is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the church.  The Coordinating Team, with the leadership of the Parish Board and Program Council, and our business manager Linda, discuss upcoming issues and plan the agenda for the Program Council and Parish Board.  Claire, our minister, is a member of all three governing bodies.  You can read all about it here.

This past month, the leadership teams at Follen continue to tend to the functions of our church:

  • Parish Board voted to approve new wording in Follen’s Personnel Handbook to clarify our vacation policy. Thanks to Follen’s HR committee for crafting a clear and concise write-up.
  • Program Council and Parish Board continue to move forward with our long-term commitment to Anti-Racism through reading, discussion and UUA courses.

Program Council met on Monday, May 3 and will meet for the final time this church year on Monday, June 7 at 7:30pm. The next two Parish Board meetings are Monday, May 10 and June 14 at 7:30pm. All Follen Members and Friends are welcome to join either meeting. Please reach out to Howie Bernstein at president@follen.org or Lex Johnson at parishboardchair@follen.org for zoom links. Please do not hesitate to be in touch anytime with questions or concerns.

Yours in faith,

Howie Bernstein, President of Program Council
Sophie Evett, Vice-President of Program Council
Lex Johnson, Chair of Parish Board
Trapper Markelz, Vice-Chair of Parish Board