Who is going to lead Follen into the future?

A Message from the Nominating Committee:

Every year at the May annual meeting Follen elects its leaders for the coming church year (July 1 to June 30), and the Nominating Committee is responsible for presenting a full slate of candidates. We are looking for (among other positions):

  • A new Vice President of Program Council to succeed and work with Jen Vandiver, who will become President next year (when Nick Hart our current President completes his one-year term on June 30), and
  • A new Parish Board Chair to succeed Lisa Snellings, who will be stepping down after her two-year term ends June 30. The new Chair will work with Vice Chair Anne Kelly.

If you have any suggestions for candidates, please send them to the Nominating Committee at nominating@follen.org. Below are some more detailed descriptions.


Vice President of Program Council

The VP works with the president to lead the Program Council in carrying out the work of the church, and is expected to become the president the following year. So, serving as VP is a two-year commitment. The issues vary from year to year with the church’s needs, but you get to learn a lot about Follen, working closely with Rev. Claire, Action Team leads, and Parish Board Chair and Vice Chair on the Coordinating Team.

The Follen bylaws describe the role this way: “The Program Council Vice President shall assume the powers of the Program Council President whenever he or she is unavailable or unable to act on behalf of the Church and circumstances require that action be taken. The Program Council Vice President shall be considered the Program Council President-elect and shall be the nominee for Program Council President at the Annual Meeting held prior to the expiration of the Program Council President’s term.” And they describe the president’s role this way: “The Program Council President shall preside at all meetings of the Membership, of the Program Council and of the Coordinating Team. The Program Council President shall sign contracts on behalf of the Church, shall act as the official representative of the Church, shall submit an annual report to the membership and shall have such other powers as the Program Council or the Membership shall authorize by resolution.”

The current VP, Jen Vandiver, estimates she spends about 4-12 hours a month on the job. The current president, Nick Hart, says about 24 hours a month.

The Program Council, composed of representatives of the seven Action Teams and headed by the President and VP, is responsible for the operations of the church, including staffing and budgeting.  It creates a one-year plan for the church. The Parish Minister is a non-voting member of Program Council and staff members regularly attend. Program Council meets once a month on Monday evening.


Parish Board Chair

The Parish Board Chair leads the Parish Board, which sets general congregational policy, oversees long-term planning, and has review authority over legal and financial matters. The treasurer and a trustee, plus three elected at-large representatives are members. The Parish Minister and Clerk are non-voting members of the Parish Board. As with the VP/President, the issues vary from year to year, but the chair deals with many complex, nuanced issues of policy and visioning that the church faces. The current chair, Lisa Snellings, estimates that she spends about 15-20 hours/month chairing PB, between PB, Coordinating Team meetings, and the Sunday welcome. The Vice Chair is elected on alternate years from the chair; the Vice Chair does not succeed the Chair. Parish Board generally meets once a month, usually on the Monday evening following the Program Council meeting.


Coordinating Team

The Program Council President and Vice President, Parish Board Chair and Vice Chair, and Rev. Claire are also members of the Coordinating Team (and the Vice President and Vice Chair are non-voting members). The Coordinating Team, headed by the Program Council President, provides the operational glue, surfacing issues that have not come before any of the other bodies and determining, as needed, to which body issues should be referred for action. While not a decision-making body per se, the Coordinating Team has the authority to call meetings of the Program Council or the Parish Board and to set their agendas. The Coordinating Team meets monthly, currently on Thursday evenings.


Action Teams

Interested in joining an Action Team? Read about our seven Action Teams in the “Action Team of the Week” features:

If I had a Hammer …
BGAT (aka Buildings & Grounds Action Team) is an all-volunteer group – some highly skilled, some just committed to the work – who take on the oversight, care, and regular renewal of the church building itself, the neighboring Marshman Center and the surrounding grounds. From emergency plumbing repairs to annual all-church work-days, major re-modeling projects, and multi-year strategic plans, B&G members do it all. For more info, click here or email Chair Hugh Truslow at BGATchair@follen.org.

Wanna go to a FHRAT Party?
If you’re looking for some fun – and finding out what goes on at Follen – think about joining the Financial and Human Resources Action Team (FHRAT). It oversees the management of Follen’s resources of people and money to help assure that the church is able to accomplish its mission. It plays an advisory role to Program Council, which has the authority to make personnel decisions, allocate funds, and approve the annual budget that is presented to the congregation at the annual meeting. You don’t need an MBA, just an interest in the church. Want to know more? Click here or email Chair Maggie Pax at FHRAT@follen.org.