May Letter from Coordinating Team

May 17, 2023

Dear Follen Members and Friends,

We are writing to share updates from meetings of the Program Council (“PC” – the operational governing board of the church) on May 8 and Parish Board (“PB” – responsible for church policy and financial oversight) on May 15.

Long Term Planning Team.  Parish Board is delighted to introduce the six wonderful Follenites who will lead us in a long term planning process next church year:  Brian Cali, Jane Spickett, Jose Trevejo, Julianna Stockton, Kyle Johnson and Margot Tracy.  During the 2023–2024 church year, this dynamic team will engage the congregation in a process of discernment and dialogue to consider important fundamental questions, for example: Who are we as a faith community? What does our faith call us to do?  We know the Follen community will offer them our full support and enthusiastic participation in the many important conversations to come.

Afghan Housing.  With the help of the Family Support Team and Jackie Hawkinson’s real estate expertise, the Afghan refugee family that has been living in the Marshman Center since June 2022 has found a new home.  They will be moving to an apartment in nearby Arlington by July 1.  The family received $11,250 in State funds through our resettlement support partner the International Institute of New England (IINE) to help pay rent in their new home.  In addition, generous Follenites donated approximately $14,000 at two Share the Plate (STP) collections to help the family.  At our May meetings, PC and PB approved an agreement transferring these STP funds to a private bank account to be managed by Family Support Team members Tempe Goodhue and Dottie Vacca to help the family with housing and other resettlement costs.  The deadline for any additional Share the Plate donations through Follen is May 31. After May 31, please contact Dorothy Vacca to see how you can help.

Follen Rentals.  The Rentals Committee of the Finance and Human Relations Action Team (FHRAT) has been working with Follen staff Meagan Cox and Angel Portella this year to update Follen’s building rental policies and template rental agreements for members, staff and outside groups. The draft policies and rental agreements were discussed by both PB and PC at our May meetings, and will be considered for adoption by FHRAT at their meeting on June 11, and by PB and PC and our year-end meeting on June 12.  Please reach out to any of us, or to Trapper Markelz, for a copy of the draft policies and rental agreements.

Summer 2023 Worship.  We are delighted that our wonderful Ministerial Intern Phoebe Eckart-Lee will coordinate and lead summer worship services at Follen.  Both PC and PB approved an amendment to her current contract to extend her services this summer.  Phoebe will be serving as Follen’s Ministerial Intern next church year as well.  We are so lucky to have her at Follen!

Follen Annual Meeting May 25.  Follen Members are invited to attend and vote at our Annual Meeting in the Community Center on Thursday, May 25.  Chocolate and strawberries shall be consumed starting at 6:30pm. The Meeting will officially start at 7pm.  Follen’s Annual Meeting is our vital year-end business gathering and celebration.  We will vote on ten “articles” in this year’s Warrant, and also acknowledge and celebrate all the Follen volunteers who have worked so hard this year. We need enough Follen Members at the meeting to have a quorum, so we can vote to approve important things like the budget for next church year.  The meeting will be available for viewing on Zoom; however you cannot vote on Zoom. If you cannot attend the Meeting, the only way to vote is by proxy. You can designate any Member who is present at the meeting to be your proxy.  Look for an email with the Warrant attached coming soon.  We hope to see you all there!

The final Program Council and Parish Board meetings of the year are a joint meeting and celebration on Monday, June 12 at 6:30 pm at Nick Hart’s home. If you would like to attend, please email Nick Hart at

And if you want to know more about what is happening at Follen or why, you are encouraged to reach out to any of us or Reverend Claire for a conversation. Follen members and friends are welcome to attend monthly Action Team, Program Council and Parish Board meetings. Check the calendar at for upcoming meeting dates.

Yours in Faith,

Follen Coordinating Team
Nick Hart, Program Council President
Jen Vandiver, Program Council Vice President
Lisa Snellings, Parish Board Chair
Anne Kelly, Parish Board Vice Chair
Reverend Claire Feingold Thoryn