Next Year’s Leadership Team Forming

Nominating Committee Announces Leadership Slate

The Nominating Committee has announced its nominees for top leadership next year. A full slate of candidates will be voted on at the annual meeting in May.

Melissa Howe will be the candidate for Program Council Vice President, succeeding Jen Vandiver, who will move up to the presidency. Melissa, currently the Program Council Representative for the Worship and Music Action Team (WMAT), is a professional violinist who has performed for decades with well-known classical music ensembles in Boston, and has served as faculty and in leadership at Berklee College of Music. Stepping aside from her playing career during the pandemic, Melissa emerged from that time with a singular focus on improving access to higher education. “It is a completely concrete and unequivocally positive thing I can do for this world of ours,” she states.

Melissa, her bass-player and composer husband Bruno Råberg, and their three now-adult children, have been coming to Follen for many years. Melissa has served in a number of volunteer roles, ranging from baking brownies and vacuuming the Anne Smith Room to leading Parish Board, the Human Resources Committee, and WMAT (twice). She uses she/her pronouns.

Beth Bernstein will be the nominee for Parish Board chair, succeeding Lisa Snellings, who is stepping down after her two-year term. Beth has been a member of Follen church since 1995. She is a wife, mother of two, and now a grandmother! She earned degrees as her interests changed, working at different times as a lifeguard, in human resources, as a software engineer, and, ultimately as an occupational therapist in the Somerville public schools for 25 years as she raised her children with Howie. She retired in November 2021, during COVID, and has been enjoying reviving crafting and building skills and having more time and freedom to enjoy family and friends. 

Beth has served on the Social Events Committee and the Nominating Committee. She volunteered for several years on the Gulf Coast Reconstruction trips and at the East Village Fair (Flea Market), and she has taught Religious Education. She is looking forward to serving the Follen community in this new role!