The church is named for Charles Follen who was the first minister called by the church, in 1835. Follen served the congregation from 1835–1836 and from 1839-1840. Ralph Waldo Emerson was the interim minister of the congregation, then called the Second Congregational Society in Lexington, from 1836 to 1838. This was his last ministerial position.
Follen Church, built in 1839, is the oldest standing church building in Lexington. The unique octagonal sanctuary was designed by its first minister, Rev. Charles Follen.