Central Square Congregational Church, United Church of Christ

Steeple Sounds
December 2019


We are a Christian community of people who are reaching out to our neighbors, 
at home and abroad, sharing our faith and our resources.


Central Square Congregational Church, UCC, of Bridgewater, Massachusetts is an open and affirming
church. No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.


From the Desk of Rev. Beth

Rev. Elizabeth Stotts, Pastor

     

December 1st marks the first Sunday in the season of Advent –  the four-week period of time leading up to Christmas. Some call it “The Season of Expectant Waiting”.  


Expectant waiting. While the central question of Advent is about hopeful, expectant waiting, we need to stop and ask ourselves, what are we waiting for?


There are so many things we expectantly wait for during Advent.
- We wait for the semester to end so we can enjoy a time of rest and relaxation after loads of hard work.
- We wait for the family time and get-togethers, to see those we love and maybe haven’t gotten to see in a long time.
- We wait to make and eat our favorite dishes; food that at first bite holds deep memory.
- We wait to see the look on a loved one’s face when they open that perfect present we picked out for them.
- We wait to open our own presents, to see what new toys and gadgets we’ll get to play with.
- We wait for our favorite Christmas carol to play on the radio, or for our favorite Christmas special or Christmas movie to air on TV.
- We wait to see our kids or grandkids perform in their Christmas programs and pageants, singing the songs we sang as kids, re-enacting the story that has been done and re-done, year after year.


But what we really wait for, expectantly, is the birth of a tiny, helpless baby, “asleep on the hay” and what that baby represents.
In the gospels, we are introduced to a cast of characters also in a period of waiting. Elizabeth and Zachariah, Mary and Joseph are all waiting for babies.  


We wait too. Have you ever gotten out your nativity set and imagined putting yourself in it? Where would you stand? Would you be next to the angel? Next to Mary looking into the manger with pure love and awe? Maybe you’re next to the donkey, thanking it for its hard work.


As we wait this Advent season, I wonder, with all depth and seriousness: “Where are you in the story?”  “What are you waiting for?” and furthermore, “What does it represent to you?” I’ve lived through many Advents in my life, and I’m not sure I know concretely what I’m waiting for this year. Do you? I’d love to hear what you think.


In Christ's love,
Rev. Beth

csccpastor@hotmail.com, 508-697-6016




December Meeting


A tradition is a long, established custom or belief that has been passed on from generation to generation. Our church has several customs and traditions in which we participate each year during Advent. We begin Advent with an Advent Workshop — a time for children, youth, and adults to create ornaments for the home and to decorate the church to wait for the birth of the baby Jesus. The children and adults participate in a Christmas pageant retelling the story of the birth of Jesus. The Women’s Guild and Fellowship has established its own tradition or custom of having a Christmas worship service. On Wednesday, December 4th at 6:30pm  the Women’s Guild and Fellowship will begin their meeting with a worship service in the Sanctuary led by Rev. Beth. A meeting and refreshments will follow the service in the Fellowship Hall. All the women of the church are invited to attend the service, meeting, and refreshments.  
Co-Presidents: Beth Basler – 508-468-0328  •  Terry Reynolds – 509-942-9531

 

Thank you to our wonderful volunteers that make our after-worship time welcoming and delicious. If you are able to help one of our dedicated committees with this ministry on one of the dates below, contact Mike at mm.bundock@comcast.net, or Gail at wershing@ptd.net or 551-265-3943.

Dec. 1*—First Sunday..................Board of Christian Outreach & Board of Stewardship
*Note that fellowship hour today is in the Fireplace Room
Dec. 8—Second Sunday...............................CSCC Officers & Women’s Guild & Fellowship
Dec. 15—Third Sunday...........................Growth Committee & History & Memorials Committee
Dec. 22—Fourth Sunday............................Board of Trustees & Board of Christian Education
Dec. 29—Fifth Sunday..............................Board of Deacons & Music Committee

    

Please note:
No church breakfast on December 1, as we make our Fellowship Hall available for Christmas on the Common later that day.


Your breakfast crew will be back on December 15th 9:00-9:45 with Baked French Toast on the menu! 


Our breakfasts are — Pay what you CAN! 
If you can’t pay...eat for FREE!  
If you are doing ok…pay the going rate 
$5–$15 family limit 
If you are blessed…leave some extra!


Most months from September - June, our breakfast service is offered the first and third Sundays of the month. Please join us — everyone is welcome!

Old-fashioned Christmas Caroling!
Sunday, December 1

...between noon and 2 p.m., join in to sing your favorite carols of the season. Bring your voice, your uke, a costume for the season. Stay as long as you like for this pop-up choir. We have free hot chocolate with marshmallows to add. This is our church welcome to the community’s Christmas on the Common in Fellowship Hall. We will gather and sing in the church entryway. —Sponsored by the Growth Committee.


HISTORICAL CHURCH RESTORATION COMMITTEE

On November  3, the congregation approved the funding to hire Gale Engineering Company to assess our building and prepare the necessary documentation for our primary grant application. 


For the last two weeks a crew of engineers have been seen at our church high in a lift near the top of the steeple, studying and evaluating the condition of the entire exterior of the church building. Samples of wood and metal were taken to be analyzed. We are experiencing this feeling of excitement that great things are really going to be happening to our church building. 


In December, we submit our grant application to the Bridgewater Community Preservation Committee. All of us on the HCRC have positive feelings that we will be approved.


We also have hired a grant writer, Joe O’Neill from Hingham. Joe is a graduate of UMass Amherst and has received a Certificate in Grant Writing from BSU. In addition to writing our CPC grant application, Joe will also be applying for many other grants he feels we may qualify for. 


We would also like to keep you updated  with our renovation news every 3rd Sunday of the month when the History & Memorials Committee members co-host coffee hour. It will be an informal time to ask any one of us on the committee questions you might have. Please feel free to seek us out and ask anything.


—Barbara I. Morey, Terry Reynolds, Carol Chaffee, Dave Sheibley, Gloria Weinrebe, Rachel Lawson, and Jim Driscoll
(consultant)



Calling all Youth Grades 8-12:
Cookie Fundraising Event!
Saturday, Dec. 14, 6-10:30pm

Needed: Bakers and Decorators
(Donations for supplies also accepted)

8-12 are invited to join Beth Basler for an evening of cookie baking and decorating! Cookies will  be sold to the congregation the next morning to raise money for the youth mission trip. 


Pizza and salad will be provided for dinner.
• All participants are asked to bake 4 dozen cookies to bring for decorating (some of the recipes will only require you to prep the dough for rolling/baking).
• Beth will provide the list of cookies and recipes. If you can’t bake, please consider donating money for supplies (packaging materials and chocolate).
• If you have a festive cookie recipe that you would like to bake, send Beth the recipe so she knows what’s coming (BethBasler@rcn.com).
• Please, no peanuts or pistachios of any kind. We have one participant with a nut allergy.


Cookies, candies, and chocolate bark will be sold Sunday, Dec. 15, so everyone participating (and any other willing volunteers) will need to meet in the Fellowship Hall at 8:30am to set up a table and finish packaging. It’s a breakfast Sunday, so bring your appetite!


PLEASE LET BETH BASLER KNOW IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN BAKING, DONATING, OR ATTENDING:

508-468-0328 (text/call).


Watch the “CSCC Youth” Facebook page for additional information and updates.

​​​​​​​

If you are a youth in grades 8-12, or are the parent or family member of one, and are on Facebook, please join the CSCC Youth FB page. Information on “all things youth” is posted — community service opportunities, youth group and mission trip meetings, mission trip details, fun things the youth of the church are invited to, and more. It’s a great way to have direct communication with each other and the church leadership, as well as get up-to-date info on upcoming matters of importance.

​​​​​​​

Simply search within FB “CSCC Youth”, and the group should come up. Click through to the page and request to be a member. If you have any questions, contact the church office at office@csccucc.com or 508-697-6016.


Destination: Rutland, Vermont

Dates: June 28-July 3, 2020


Mandatory Mission Trip Meeting

​​​​​​​December 1, 11:30am

All youth currently in grades 8-12 interested in participating in the mission trip in June 2020 should meet in the upstairs meeting room on Sunday, 12/1. Youth only needed; parents not required.


Chocolate!

There are still Hilliard’s chocolate bars available for sale to benefit the mission trip — crunch, dark, and peanut butter flavors. Great stocking stuffers! All proceeds go toward the trip expenses. Buy them for yourself, or take some to sell at work or amongst friends.


Sunday, December 22

We’re excited to be trying an all-congregation “improv” pageant this year. Our children will naturally be a highlight of sharing this experience as a community, but we hope that God’s children of all ages will join us as we have fun sharing the story of the birth of our Christ on Sunday December 22nd.  


What should you do to prepare? Just show up! We will have story tellers to read the story and props to illustrate the many wonderful aspects of the Christmas story so everyone can be a part of the telling!


Junior Youth Group

Sunday, Dec. 15

Who: All students in grades 4,5, 6, or 7
When: 11:30-1:00 

Where: the upstairs meeting room at church

Every month we’ll gather for food, drinks, games, and maybe a craft. Join us for some lively conversation, even if you’ve never been before. Feel free to bring a friend!


See you on the 15th! Lunch will be provided.


Jess Stearns  •  jessicastearns1231@gmail.com
774-454-5202 (call or text)

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Senior Youth Group

Sunday, Dec. 22

Who: All students in grades 8-12
When: 11:30-1:00 

Where: the downstairs youth room
Newcomers welcome!


Last month was a blast! We had some great laughs and made fabric pumpkins. They were all uniquely creative, but there was not wrong way to do it. 


Every month we’ll gather for some conversation and inspiration. Feel free to bring a friend or two! Lunch will be provided.
Jess Stearns  •  jessicastearns1231@gmail.com
774-454-5202 (call or text)


A "Thankful Wreath", courtesy of our kids!



Sunday Stories with Rev. Beth: Christmas Edition 

Sunday, December 8


9am in the nursery

Special Christmas theme! Hear a story, sing songs, and play! All infants and toddlers (and their parentsguardians) welcome.



Mom & Baby Playgroup

Saturday, December 14


9-10:30am in the nursery

Bring your baby or toddler and hang with other moms! No agenda or program, just a fabulous play room for the kids and time to be with other moms! 


-> Nursery is open every Sunday  9am-12pm
-> Bible Study, Tuesdays, 7pm

-> Mission Trip Meeting, 12/1, 11:30am
-> Ask A Pastor Anything/Faith Uncorked, 12/5, 7pm

-> Sunday Stories w/Rev. Beth: Christmas Edition, Nursery, 12/8, 9am

-> Mom & Baby playgroup, Nursery, 12/14, 9-10:30am
-> Advent Book Study, 12/14, 10am

-> Youth Cookie Fundraising Event, 12/14, 6-10:30
-> Junior Youth Group (grades 4-7), 12/15, 11:30am-1pm

-> Senior Youth Group (grades 8-12), 12/22, 11:30am-1pm




Greyhound Tavern, 39 Broad St, Bridgewater

Thursday, Dec. 5, 7pm



Weekly Evening Bible Study

Tuesdays, 7pm

Join Rev. Beth in the Fireplace Room each Tuesday at 7pm to read the lectionary scripture together, discuss what sticks out, how it relates to our lives, and how it relates to the Spiritual Enrichment topic of the month, and to pray. 


Guest leader Dec. 17 , Jess Stearns. “Chocolate cookies and scripture... what could be better!”


*** Scheduling note: there will be no bible study on December 24 or December 31. ***


​​​​​​​

Advent Book Study

Join Rev. Beth in the reading of Those Who Wait: Finding God in Disappointment, Doubt and Delay by Tanya Marlow. Copies are available from Smile.Amazon.com (be sure to order through “smile” amazon so the church benefits!).


The book invites us to enter into the stories of four Bible heroes who waited impatiently: Sarah, Isaiah, John the Baptist, and Mary. Through gripping storytelling and prayerful reflection, we’ll immerse ourselves in their lives this Advent. These stories will help us find empathy and perspective for our disappointment and doubt. Above all, through this study we’ll find God in the “Expectant Waiting” of the Advent season. Whether you read the book all the way through or just skim a chapter or two, we’ll gather Saturday, December 14 at 10am in the Fireplace Room. We’ll meet to discuss our engagement of the book and its spiritual value on our lives.  (Snacks will be provided.).


Questions? Contact Rev. Beth at 508-697-6016 or csccpastor@hotmail.com



December's Theme is:

EXPECTATION


Special December Worship Opportunities

Dec. 15 — Music Sunday
Dec. 22 — Pageant Sunday
Dec. 24 — 5pm Family Worship Service
Dec. 24 — 10pm Candlelight Worship Service
Dec. 29 — Hymn Sing Sunday

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Central Square Services are Available Live Streaming and On Demand!


     Booth Video Productions and BTV Access Corporation team up weekly to bring you live stream productions of our service. The link to watch the service live, as well as an electronic copy of our bulletin so that you can follow along, is available each week on our website homepage, www.csccucc.org.
    Central Square Congregational services are available on the go! You can watch weekly sermons live on YouTube courtesy of Paul Holmes and Booth Video (search Central Square Congregational Church) or on Replay on BTV Channel 9, here in Bridgewater. You can also watch replays and download copies, courtesy of the BTV Video on Demand Page, available at btvaccess.com. Services air on Channel 9, weekly on Sunday at 8pm (previous week), Mondays at 1pm, Tuesdays at 10am, and Fridays at 3pm. BTV also airs coverage of church events, when covered by volunteer producers. 


Come Sing with Us!

   

Rehearsals for the senior choir are at 8am on Sundays in preparation for that day’s 10am service. All levels of experience are welcome. 


The children’s choir rehearses at 9:15am on the second and fourth Sundays of the month, and at 9:30 on the third Sunday of the month; performance is on the fourth Sunday of the month at the 10am service. All children are welcome!


Come Play with Us!

Do you play an instrument, and would you occasionally like to be included in the Sunday worship service? Contact our Minister of Music Julia Scott Carey at  juliascottcarey@gmail.com or contact the church office. We love guest musicians!



IMPORTANT: SUNDAY, DECEMBER 1

Just a quick reminder that Christmas on the Common is Sunday, Dec. 1. The roads on both sides of the common will be closed starting at 10am, so please don’t park there for service (you may not be able to anyway). Church Street will likely not be accessible to the common, either, starting around then, although it will be open at the Union Street end. Please consider leaving the curb area on Church Street between the common and the library driveway available to people that need to park close to the door for health and mobility reasons. (Some of these folks often park out in front of the church along the common.) All others should try to park farther down the street or in the library parking lot. 


In addition: 
• Coffee hour will be in the fireplace room, as Christmas on the Common vendors will be setting up in our Fellowship Hall.
• Due to Christmas on the Common using our Fellowship Hall, there will be no church breakfast on Dec. 1. 



 Volunteer opportunities and service

 

Why wait for nominations?

What do you like to do? What brings you joy? You could get involved in CSCC today in a way that you’re passionate about. Currently we have more than a dozen board and committee openings, but you don’t need to join a committee to be a part of everything going on here at CSCC. You know that company that says, “What’s in your wallet?” at the end of every commercial? So... “What’s your passion?”


If you aren’t sure where you might fit in best, contact Ellen in the church office, or Rev. Beth, and they’ll likely have some suggestions. Do it for the church, but more importantly, do it for yourself.




Minister’s Discretionary Fund & Deacons’ Fund

At Central Square Church we provide cash and gift card grants to community folks in dire need through the Minister’s Discretionary Fund and the Deacons Fund. We provide funds for prescriptions, rent, transportation, short-term housing, diapers and baby stuff, school supplies, etc. Almost all of our gifts are to people outside of the church, especially folks living on the edge economically or experiencing homelessness, unemployment, or underemployment.  Any donation would be a wonderful gift!  Simply put your check or cash in one of the small envelopes in the pews and place it in the Sunday collection plate, or drop it off at (or mail it to) the office. Just be sure it’s clearly marked which fund you want your donation to go to. 


Thanks in advance for your prayers and generosity. 


From Our Board of Christian Outreach...

At this time of year, we focus on reaching out to those in need as the holidays and cold weather quickly approach us. Cold weather has set in early this Fall.


Food Pantry Donations

Although large amounts of food will be coming in from local food drives at this time of year, please consider a food donation to our pantry. Think about what special foods you like around the holidays and buy an extra for the food pantry. Donate something exceptional that local food drives will not necessarily gather in. And thank you for your continued generosity.

Christmas Eve Meal for Mainspring

It’s not too early to think about Christmas Eve and Day.  With Christmas Eve falling on the fourth Tuesday of the month this year, CSCC is  responsible for the meal at Mainspring House in Brockton. Speak to Rob Basler for details on how you can help serve the homeless population on this most special night of the year. Rob can be reached at rbasler7@gmail.com.


Warmth, in Cold Places

The Warmth in Cold Places clothing donation will take place  in early January, date to be determined. Please continue to bring in winter clothing items for our distribution at the Our Daily Bread soup kitchen in Taunton. Socks, hats, gloves, hooded sweatshirts, and hand/toe warmers are much appreciated. Toiletry items will continue to be collected and go to the L Street mission in Brockton. All items can be deposited in the big boxes just inside the Church St. door of the church.


Thank you!

A huge thank you to all of you. Through the portion of your pledge money that goes to the Board of Christian Outreach, we have made recent monetary donations to the Minister’s Discretionary Fund and Operation Santa. 


OUR GREETING CARD FUNDRAISER CONTINUES!
If you would like to purchase any of these boxes, contact the church office. Only while supplies of each type last. THESE MAKE GREAT GIFTS!

 


OFFICE CLOSED DEC. 25-26-27

Please make a note that the church office will be closed December 25-27 for the Christmas holiday.


Community Book Study


 

Our Community Book Study for this year is the book “Canoeing the Mountains” by Tod Bolsinger. Be on the lookout for upcoming discussion groups about this book. You can find it on Amazon or at the Bridgewater Public Library. According to Rev. Beth, “I’m only a few pages in and it’s REALLY GOOD!” To purchase it from Amazon, CLICK HERE.


Poinsettias!

History and Memorials will have Poinsettias available, during the Christmas season, for purchase in memory of loved ones. During coffee hour on December 1st, 8th, and December 15th you will have the opportunity to order poinsettias from members of History and Memorials. Look for either Rachel Lawson, Barbara Morey, or Terry Reynolds. The flowers will be placed in the sanctuary for the Christmas Eve services and you may take them home following the service. A list of people who are being honored will be published in the bulletin.

-- Barbara Morey, Rachel Lawson, Terry Reynolds


Hear ye, hear ye!
Cookies, Candies, and Chocolate Bark for Sale!
Sunday, Dec. 15

Bring your wallet and your sweet tooth to church on Dec. 15, as the youth will be selling homemade and home decorated cookies and candy, as a fundraiser for the June 2020 Youth Mission Trip. YUM! 


Items will be on sale during breakfast and following worship (while supply lasts).


Our own Cameron Shave had the honor of jamming on trumpet with Wynton Marsalis on piano, playing some blues backstage after The Wynton Marsalis Quintet's performance at Symphony Hall in November.


Christmas on the Common... and in our Church!

CSCC is proud to lend our Fellowship Hall to the Bridgewater Business Association for the annual Christmas on the Common. Mark your calendar! It’s the ideal way to cap off your Thanksgiving weekend, and officially launch the Christmas season!


There will be vendors of all kinds, food, pony rides (not in our Fellowship Hall however), and, of course, Santa. Vendors will be inside CSCC as well as the Masonic Hall, and out around the Common. Both sides of the Common will be closed to cars, so wander from vendor to vendor at your leisure! Lots of fun for kids and adults. See you there!


End of Year Giving

If you find that you need to do some catching up with your pledge giving, or you are able to give a bit more this holiday season, note that the Treasurers need to receive all gifts no later than 11am on Sunday, December 29 in order for it to be counted toward your 2019 giving.


Payments are accepted by check, cash, or paypal payment through the website.


Inspirational Themes

This year our congregational life will be centered around monthly themes. These themes will be the topics for our Christian Education during Children’s Spiritual Enrichment, youth group meetings, Sunday Stories with Rev. Beth in the Nursery, and in our weekly Sunday Worship at 10am. They will also (along with the lectionary texts) be a focal point in our weekly Bible Study which is each Tuesday at 7pm in the Fireplace Room.   


Upcoming Monthly Themes are:
December - Expectation
January - Light
February - Loving Our Neighbors



Vitality Team

From time to time, it is important for a church to examine its vitality and consider new ways to meet the needs of the congregation and the church. To that end, we have established a Vitality Team.


Purpose of our campaign: Discovery. To listen to God and our congregation. To get input from the entire congregation as to where we would like to see our church grow, what is important to us, and how we would like to see our church in 5 years, 10 years, etc. How is God speaking to us? 


What brings you Joy at our church?


All are welcome at our next meeting, Thursday, December 5 at 7 pm. If you are unable to attend, but have thoughts to share, please connect with Rob Basler, Kathleen Mosher, Gail Wershing, and/or Anne Malmquist.


It’s Getting To Be That Time of Year:
 A Reminder of Our Policy on
Delay or Cancellation of Worship Services Due to Acts of Nature

The Chair of the Board of Deacons (BOD) in conjunction with the Senior Pastor will discuss the need and reason for cancellation of worship service. Upon the decision to cancel worship service the following procedures shall be put into effect:
1. The Pastor will notify the Music Director no later than 6am the Sunday morning of the service in question. The Music Director will in turn notify the choir.
2. The Pastor will notify the Sexton and other staff, including the Congregational Administrator.
3. The Congregational Administrator will update the office answering machine with the cancellation announcement, notify the appropriate television media, send a general church email, and update the website and Facebook page.
4. The chair of the BOD will notify the Moderator and Vice Moderator and the other members of the BOD.


The main factors used to decide a cancellation of worship are:
1. Excessive amounts of snow
2. Parking availability (or parking ban)
3. Damage to the church
4. State of Emergency
5. Power Outage

Remember to ‘Smile’ while Christmas Shopping!

Remember that when you shop on Amazon, type “smile.Amazon.com” into your browser rather than just “Amazon.com”, and designate Central Square Congregational Church as the charity to benefit from your purchases. It costs you nothing extra, but the church gets a percentage of most of your purchases. And tell your friends, too! Contact the church office at office@csccucc.com or 508-697-6016 with questions or to help you get set up.



 

To find the below Lectionary online, go to www.macucc.org/Lectionary.


 

For the current CSCC calendar of events, click here: CALENDAR



Church Administration
Pastor: Rev. Elizabeth Stotts,
csccpastor@hotmail.com
Congregational Administrator: Ellen Atherton,  
office@csccucc.com
Sexton: Rich Sullivan
Minister of Music: Julia Scott Carey,
juliascottcarey@gmail.com
Director of Christian Education: Jess Stearns,
jessicastearns1231@gmail.com
Treasurer:  David Sheibley,  
treasurer@csccucc.com
Office telephone:  (508) 697-6016
Website:  www.csccucc.org
Facebook page:
facebook.com/csccuccbridgewaterma


Steeple Sounds submissions deadline is the 15th of the month prior to publication.


Calling All News and Events!


Have something that should be mentioned or highlighted in the January Steeple Sounds? Send it along to the church office by DECEMBER 15. Please be sure that there is a point of contact listed that we can print.