Letter from Safety Team: Weddings and Funerals

Dear Follen Members and Friends,

By now you may have read or heard of the upcoming wedding that will take place in the Follen sanctuary on June 20.  The request for this event prompted the Safe Congregation Group to create the following policy with respect to building use during this pandemic prior to our agreement to allow it.

We spent some time working on a policy that we believe will allow Follen to fulfill  some of our core responsibilities related to the major life events of weddings and funerals.  We created this policy with our review of currently available scientific information regarding COVID-19.  We expect to be able to continue this policy as long as the progress of the virus remains at its state of stability or decline, but expect to revisit it periodically to determine if it should be revised.

We want to acknowledge that while we have been careful in the construction of this policy to ensure the safety of the participants involved, every act can have an impact beyond our control.  When we allow such an event to take place in our sanctuary, the people involved travel, order food, hire a musician or photographer and so on.  Then these acts have ripple effects.  And these ripple effects may have repercussions for people who feel compelled to participate for one reason or another, or for vulnerable people who must participate in such an event in order to make ends meet.  We must all be careful, if participating in such an event, to be aware of its potential effects, and proceed with that understanding.

We also want to acknowledge that we can support this limited use of the building because of our privilege of living in a wealthy, suburban location where the effects of the virus have been relatively mild.  Many religious institutions located in urban environments and communities of color remain fully closed.  This is not lost on us.  We would encourage anyone using Follen Church at this time to consider making a donation to an organization that supports those in the Boston area most significantly impacted by Covid-19.

Thank you, The Safe Congregation Team

Beryl Aschenberg (Director of Religious Education) Howie Bernstein (Incoming Program Council President) Tom Blumenthal (Lay Minister) Sophie Evett (Incoming Program Council Vice-President) Alexis Johnson (Parish Board Chair) Rev. Claire Feingold Thoryn (Minister) Rosemary Trowbridge (Program Council President)

Read Follen’s policy on weddings and funerals during the pandemic.