Membership Notes

What do you want to nurture at FUUSN next fall?

On Monday evening, FUUSN’s rebooted member services committee met for the first time, with a mix of returning and new members, and a broadened scope of membership for this congregation. I left the meeting energized and optimistic about the discussions we’ll have over the next year and the possibilities for action. More importantly, my sense was that others on the Zoom call did, too.

I also sensed a bit of trepidation around the possible scale of the scope. I think, when we step back and look holistically at so many possibilities, it can feel overwhelming, especially at a moment when daily life itself often overwhelms.

It reminds me a bit of the house we bought in 2018: a 1,200 square-foot home in Arlington that could be fairly described as a fixer-upper (no dishwasher, bedrooms with six-foot ceilings, worn-down windows that open only with substantial persuading, and other quirks). We bought in Arlington because we didn’t want to move our kids out of their schools, and figured we’d fix things up when we could. And we have, bit by bit. Yet, there’s still much that we would like to change so we can live more comfortably and entertain more than two people indoors.

When the pandemic hit, our quirky little home’s challenges receded as we realized anew and more deeply than ever how lucky we were to be there. Locked down, we found out that we loved the neighbors we got to know during our frequent dog walks. With a new vigor, we appreciated our proximity to the Minuteman Bikeway, Arlington Reservoir, and two local preservation areas. Our sunset views compelled our family of four to gather and watch the colors change. We can work on the house–how long it will take and how much improvement our budget will allow remains to be seen. Our trepidation has passed, and we’re now imagining home improvement phases, to keep the overwhelm at bay. A more perfect house might be easier, but it might not have the things about our location that are pretty ideal–the things that make it feel like home.

In the same way, many of you feel at home at FUUSN, and maybe the congregation has anchored you through the pandemic. Maybe it hasn’t, but you’re ready to dip back in. A human community will always have areas for growth and improvement, but if this feels like home, or as if it could be home, I hope you’re thinking about your place in this congregation’s next chapter.

As we await the arrival of FUUSN’s interim minister, Rev. Parisa Parsa, and the new DRE, Devin Shmueli, I encourage you to spend some time this summer thinking about your FUUSN community and your place within it. Who are you here? What do you hope the next two years will bring, pandemic permitting? Do you have the energy to help bring that hope to fruition?

It has been hard for many of us to have energy for life beyond home and work during these pandemic years. If that’s been the case for you, maybe your energy is returning, and you want to invest that into FUUSN. You can do as little or as much as you’d like–given that, what do you feel passionate about? In my role, I’m biased: I’ll encourage you to help foster a culture that’s welcoming to newcomers; to nurture the social fabric with programs; to help think of ways for FUUSN to connect with the Newton community. But what compels you? Teaching RE? Leading? Singing? Cooking? If you have energy, I hope you’ll consider what’s next for FUUSN and you, and return with intention in September.

In the meantime, I will mostly be away (I’m a 10-month employee). I will be at FUUSN the weeks of July 18 and August 1. If you’d like to touch base about anything, please let me know and I’ll be glad to talk–even if it’s just to get to know you a bit more.

Here’s wishing you all a summer filled with fun, laughter, and joy. I look forward to embarking on FUUSN’s next chapter with you.


Heather Beasley Doyle, Membership Director

More Membership Notes

  • Do you still feel new and want to connect with other FUUSNites? The member services committee will be organizing a potluck for newcomers the weekend of June 18 at 6:00 p.m. at Barbara Niles and Jay Flynn’s home. If you’re interested, please email Member Services Committee Chair Wayne Everett ( or Membership Coordinator Heather Beasley Doyle (

  • Save the Date!  Wednesday July 27- 5:00 to 7:00 pm. Barbeque at Ware’s Cove sponsored by the Member Services Committee. Come down and join your friends on a nice summer evening. Details to follow.