December/January Letter from Coordinating Team

January 12, 2021

Dear Follen Members and Friends,

Happy New Year!

We hope you and your loved ones had a wonderful holiday season and that the new year is treating you well despite all our challenges. We sincerely hope 2021 brings good health, truth and justice to our nation and, here at Follen, we hope 2021 brings us back together again. This letter is a combined December/January update from Follen’s Coordinating Team:

We have had some discussion in the Coordinating Team and Program Council about what our music program will be in the future, and the timing of a music director search and hiring.  Our discussions so far have yielded no surprises.  We are all in agreement that the congregation has some work to do to understand what we want from our music program.  Still overcoming the loss of our music director last spring, we need to understand what went wrong, and how our music program could have been different to accommodate many different and competing goals.  We think the timeline looks like this:  We (the congregation) will spend the next year discussing and designing our new music program.  In the spring of 2022 we will be ready to begin a search for music staff to implement our program, and finally we’ll have staff hired to implement that program beginning in the 2022-2023 church year.

A special thanks to our talented and hard working staff for creating meaningful holiday programming this year. This was our first holiday season in virtual church and our staff did a remarkable job innovating and leading our community in the creation of holiday magic. Thank you!

Parish Board has formed a Covenant of Right Relations Working Group to determine how our community can better embody our covenant. The need for a working group stems from two sources – (a) concerns voiced last year during listening sessions regarding our Director of Music’s departure as well as (b) the UUA’s “Widening the Circle of Concern” report which asks our entire denomination to reckon with issues of racial diversity, equity and inclusion. Many thanks to our working group members, Karen Carruthers, Beth Davenport, Rev. Claire Feingold-Thoryn, Bernie Harleston and Maggie Herzig, for stepping forward to support our community in this work.

In other news:

  • Follen’s policies and procedures are now online. Go to Follen’s website, click “About” and then “How Follen Works”. You’ll find a policies and procedures link on the left side of the screen.
  • Follen’s Business Manager, Linda Hein, was recently honored by The Alexander Technique Institute with a scholarship in her name. The Linda Hein ATI ACGM Scholarship helps defray the cost of attending their annual conference for one trainee in recognition of Linda’s dedication and commitment as administrative coordinator for over 12 years. Congratulations, Linda!
  • Program Council and Parish Board are working with Follen Responds to Racism to move forward with anti-racism work called for by the UUA’s Widening the Circle of Concern report. As a small, first step, both governing bodies are dedicating 15-20 minutes of each meeting to raise awareness of white supremacy culture. Many more steps are planned and we will keep you informed as we move forward.
  • The next Program Council meeting is Monday, Feb 1 at 7:30pm and the next Parish Board meeting is Monday, Feb 8 at 7:30pm. All Follen Members and Friends are welcome to join either meeting. Please reach out to Howie Bernstein at or Lex Johnson at for zoom links.

Please do not hesitate to be in touch anytime with questions or concerns. As we move forward into the New Year, we send you wishes for good health and happiness all year long.

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