March 31, 2022
Dear Follen Members and Friends,
As we enter spring, we hope you get a chance to venture outside and witness the changing of another season. The world is still uncertain, filled with pandemic worry and geopolitical unrest, but what is certain is the strength of our Follen Community to learn from each other, support one another, and equip ourselves and the next generation with the temperament and tools to make a difference in the world.
In the last couple of months, the volunteer lay leadership of Follen has engaged on a number of important issues:
- Completion of the Music Program Steering Committee
The Music Program Steering Committee (MPSC) was tasked with building the charter and governance structure of Follen’s music program. They reported their findings and the mission, vision, core values statement and governance structure were unanimously accepted by Program Council and Parish Board. During the March 27th service, the members of the committee were honored for their amazing work. The MPSC has now been disbanded and a Search Team has been formed by Program Council to conduct the hiring process for a new Music Director. The search team consists of Melissa Howe, Nick Hart, Pritesh Gandhi, Rev. Claire, and Jack Donahue. The Worship and Music Action Team (WMAT) also is establishing a lay-leadership Music Team, a sub-committee of WMAT, to support and steward the Follen Music Program, and to provide counsel, support, and feedback for the Music Director.
- Revision of the Follen Hiring Process
This year a comprehensive review of Follen’s hiring process was conducted by Parish Board and the Human Resources Committee (HRC). This review led to the development of a new hiring policy document clearly outlining the steps, and roles and responsibilities of staff and lay leadership, in the hiring process. The hiring policy has been approved by Program Council and Parish Board. The policy recommends that staff be provided with more authority in the hiring process for some part-time, shorter-term staff positions to allow for greater agility. These recommended changes will require bylaws amendments to remove the Parish Board and Program Council from unnecessary oversight of the hiring process for some part-time, shorter-term staff positions. These bylaw changes will be considered at Annual Meeting on May 25, 2022. The updated hiring policy can be viewed here.
- Temporary Housing in Marshman Center for Afghan Refugee Family
Follen is entertaining a relationship with the International Institute of New England (IINE) to use the Marshman Center as temporary housing for a displaced Afghani family. This is an important opportunity to live our values. The initial proposal was unanimously approved by Program Council. A team at Follen is working with the IINE to understand the details and extent of commitment required of the Follen community. More information is in today’s Follen For You Newsletter. The first all-congregation information session to learn about the proposal and find out how you can help is happening at 11:45 am after church this Sunday, April 3. Watch the newsletter for more information.
Program Council’s next meeting is Monday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m. on Zoom. And Parish Board’s next meeting is Monday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m. in person at Follen. All Follen Members and Friends are welcome to join either meeting. Please reach out to Sophie Evett at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lisa Snellings at email@example.com for Zoom links and room details.
If you have any questions about what is happening at Follen or why, you are encouraged to reach out to any of us or Reverend Claire for a conversation. And if you are interested in being involved in Church lay leadership or operations, we are always looking for volunteers across all leadership positions, action teams, and committees!
Yours in faith,
Sophie Evett, President of Program Council
Nick Hart, Vice President of Program Council
Lisa Snellings, Chair of Parish Board
Trapper Markelz, Vice Chair of Parish Board