Our architect Maryann Thompson has come up with four schemes to achieve our primary capital campaign objectives. You can review the preliminary drawings and prices right here. If you have any comments or questions, please submit them on this site or in the comments.
Building for all
Follen Community Church is an exceptional place. In recent years, while other churches have lost membership and resources, we have thrived, growing both in size and activity. We know the reasons: our creative and committed minister, Reverend Claire Feingold Thoryn, our talented and dedicated staff, our strong lay leadership, and a lively, multigenerational culture with enduring traditions and open hearts. We have fostered an active community, centered on spiritual nourishment for ourselves and care for the world.
At Follen, we embrace life’s biggest questions: Why does my life matter? How do I raise my children to be wise, moral and kind? How do I get through periods of suffering? How can I love better? How can I help? Where can I rest and renew, take in beauty and experience the sacred?
Follen does that, and so much more.
With such a thriving and active community, however, our physical spaces have come under severe stress. Our beautiful and historic sanctuary, center of our worship life, is ill-served by inadequate and inconvenient accessibility. Our gathering spaces for social time, religious education, covenant groups, administration and more are outdated and need renovation. Space planned for a much smaller church 30 years ago has left us bursting at the seams. These spaces need expansion and re-imagining to fulfill our promise to ourselves, to all those we welcome through our doors, and to future generations.
Our goals combine practical needs and our commitments as Unitarian Universalists:
This campaign envisions the next chapter in Follen’s history. The challenges we face – universal accessibility, minimal climate impact, welcoming community and educational spaces – can be met if we work together to realize a Follen home as beautiful as our community itself.
Follen Church has always depended on the dedication of its members. Just as our abolitionist founders built a strong foundation for us, it’s time for us to strengthen and renew that foundation – for ourselves and for all those who will follow us in the future.
We believe in these goals. We invite you to join us.
Our architecture firm Maryann Thompson as put together a PDF to distill all the wonderful post-it comments that were received at the Sunday April 9th meeting. The PDF is organized by boards (themes) and then each image is presented with its associated comments.
Some 75 Follenites got to meet Maryann Thompson, the architect the Capital Campaign Committee has selected for the renovation and restoration, at a meeting after the service last Sunday. It was a lively meeting with lots of ideas and suggestions. If you couldn’t make it, check out the examples she brought to stir up ideas and give your feedback. If you were unable to make the meeting, you can still participate by filling out the online survey by this Sunday, April 16th
Thank you to everyone who attended the meeting with our capital campaign architecture firm Maryann Thompson, and participated in the photo board experience. Those who attended were able to attach comments with Post-It Notes. The images were not meant to show plans for Follen, but rather to spark creative thinking about what could be done at Follen.
12:15 PM in the Community Center
Maryann Thompson, the architect the Capital Campaign Committee has selected for the renovation and restoration, will join us after the church service to hear your dreams and aspirations for renewing our beloved building. It’s an important part of the information-gathering the firm needs to do to start coming up with the basic concepts for the work, as well as a way for the congregation to get to know Maryann and her staff.
A light lunch and childcare will be provided.
Follen has chosen Maryann Thompson Architects (MTA) as the architect for the upcoming capital campaign, pending completion of a contract.
The committee reached out to six recommended firms, received four proposals, interviewed three firms, and unanimously voted to hire MTA.
During its 20-year history, the firm has compiled extensive experience working with complex architectural projects throughout New England. Their initial work will focus on developing a clear understanding of Follen’s needs and priorities through sessions with church leaders and a congregation-wide meeting Sunday, April 9 after the service.
All eight members who have met with Maryann—including Alice Dunn, Valerie Perkins, Stephen Ervin, Mark Metzger, Greg Shenstone, Chris Walters, Claire Feingold-Thoryn, and Brad Howe—have come away enthusiastic about the creativity and energy that Maryann and her staff bring to their projects as well as their commitment to engage in a lot of active listening with their clients. Claire in particular has spoken well of her work with Claire’s former church in Lincoln, which is currently in the midst of significant renovations designed by MTA. Maryann and her associate, Stephanie Morrison, will be meeting weekly with the Architectural Sub-Committee during the next three months as the first step in bringing our Big Dreams to reality.
Program Council has authorized a $1.5 to $2 million capital campaign, with universal access as the top priority. Brad Howe was unanimously elected by the Council to serve as General Chair of the campaign. Read the full Dream BIG Committee recommendations for a capital campaign.
In developing the recommendations, the committee drew on the 135 individual suggestions it received, the responses to a survey on 10 possible initiatives, and a feasibility study carried out by consultant Dan Hotchkiss. The recommendations were presented at Program Council’s Nov. 7 meeting and were approved at its Dec. 5 meeting.
Brad, a Follen member for 35 years, was a leader of Follen’s last two capital campaigns. In consultation with church leadership, he will assemble a Capital Campaign Committee to raise the funds and a Construction Oversight Committee to map out and manage the projects. Fund-raising is expected to begin in the spring, with public outreach in fall 2017. Detailed plans for construction projects will be developed in consultation with Program Council as the budget scale becomes clear.
Keep an eye on this page for the latest news and updates from the capital campaign. Important updates will also be posted to the Follen newsletter, Facebook page, and other channels.