. . .

Central Square Congregational Church, United Church of Christ



April 2022

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



Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: 
I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
—Isaiah 43:14a,19


Dear Siblings in Christ,
Once again Spring is upon us — the days are lengthening and the earliest flowers are blooming — and the promise of new life quickens my pulse and catches my breath. And I thank God for this new life! 

I find myself peering intently at the ground as I pass: there! a new crocus! there! the daffodils are sprouting, and the tulips! Each new development brings a smile to my face and warmth to my heart. The new bulbs just planted last fall are, some of them, popping up; but some have been dug up by rascally squirrels and put to another purpose. Some of the old bulbs will again sprout a single bloom, as they have in past years. Best of all are the old bulbs that have split and split again, so that where one crocus used to grow, half a dozen now open their faces to the warming sun, a swath of purple against the rich brown of the ground.  


As we near the end of Lent, we, too, wait to see which of our practices and disciplines will bear fruit. Sometimes our new spiritual practices blossom and thrive; sometimes they are not meant to take root in us. Many of our old ways of being in the world are still healthy and vibrant; others no longer offer growth. 

May we use what remains of this Lenten season to look closely at our lives, to discern what is healthy and thriving and what gives us joy, that we may continue to nurture those things in ourselves and in our community. May we also have the discernment to recognize those things which no longer offer health or joy, and to move on from them. After all, our God does not cling to the old shadows of past ages, but rather is always doing a new thing, bringing healing and light and love and life where there was sickness and darkness and death.

Please join us for our Holy Week worship services, as together we walk with Jesus through his last days in Jerusalem. Our Palm Sunday service is at 10am on Sunday the 10th and will be followed by the Sunday School’s Living Gift Market on the church lawn. The Maundy Thursday communion service is at 7pm on the 14th and the Good Friday Musical Meditation is at 3pm on the 15th. Our Easter Sunday celebration begins at sunrise (6:30am) at Hanson Farm on the 17th and continues here in the church sanctuary with our 10am worship service. 

I pray that you will continue to support this community with your presence, your prayers, your talents, and your gifts.  


Blessings to you all this Easter, 
Rev. Beth


In-person worship is back!

We look forward to seeing you!



Use the link on the homepage of www.csccucc.org to access Sunday worship.

There is also a link to access past services, as well as past service bulletins.


Church office hours are Monday - Friday, 10am - 2pm


Please note that the office will be closed on Monday, 4/18 for the Patriots Day holiday.


Next Cabinet meeting is Wednesday, April 20, 7pm

at the church

Monthly meetings of the church leadership are currently being held either via Zoom or in the Fellowship Hall, at the discretion of the Moderator. All church members are also welcome to attend. Mask and social distancing protocols are observed for in-person meetings.



ATTENTION Boards and Committees

If you have budget requests for the 2022-23 budget year, please submit them to the Trustees no later than APRIL 15 (or send it to the church office and Deborah will put it in the hands of the Trustees).


Back in 2019 BC (before Covid), we had assembled a group to look at, revise and revamp the Constitution and Bylaws of Central Square Congregational Church, United Church of Christ.  Our needs are even more different now, and we have reassembled the group to deeply examine our governance structure with the goal of redesigning and streamlining our polity.

If you have questions or suggestions or would like to join the group, please contact me, Anne Malmquist, Gordon Brailsford, John Sharland, or Gail Wershing (or call the office at 508-697-6016).


With God’s Grace,
Anne Malmquist
CSCC Moderator, amalmquist @ comcast.net


Caring for our Community

Do you need a meal, a call, spiritual care, or even just a prayer or a chat?

Contact the Pastor, a Deacon, or a member of our Care Team.


To contact Rev. Beth, call the church office at 508-697-6016 or email her at csccpastor @ hotmail.com. 


CSCC Deacons
Deb Sorgman – debsorgman @ gmail.com

Jae Stotts - jaestotts @ gmail.com

CSCC Care Team
Carol Chaffee
Phoebe Hogg
Bev Mitchell

John Scott

Contact the church office if you need us!


The Bridgewater Food Pantry, hosted and supported by CSCC, is open Thursdays, 10am-1pm, and the first Mondays of the month, 6-7:30pm. COVID protocols are in place and adhered to for the safety of all. All Bridgewater residents who are in need of food are welcome.

If you are a Bridgewater resident unable to come to the food pantry, but are in need of food, please contact the church office by email or phone (below) and arrangements will be made for you.



Fundraising Ideas Needed!

Our Treasurer reported at last month’s Cabinet meeting that revenues are down so far this year (see later in this issue), and, as you know, our annual budget is already a deficit one. If you have an idea for a fundraising project that you’d be willing to participate in, please contact our Moderator, Anne Malmquist (amalmquist @ comcast.net) or contact the church office. You won’t have to go it alone! We’ll find other volunteers to help out. With Spring here, and the church building open, what would you like to see us do to help our church budget?


Easter Flowers

With Easter approaching, once again the History and Memorials Committee will take orders for Easter flowers in memory of loved ones. The flowers will be placed on the altar and the names of your loved ones you wish to honor will be published in the bulletin and Steeple Sounds. The flowers are $10.00 each and we will be offering Easter lilies, tulips, and daffodils. Look for Rachel Lawson, Barbara Morey, or Terry Reynolds downstairs in the Narthex after Sunday services taking orders. You will find us there on Sundays March 27, April 3, and April 10. You may also contact the church office with your order by April 10.
Barbara Morey, Rachel Lawson and Terry Reynolds 


The CSCC Minister’s Emergency Fund is in need once again.

Thank you in advance for how ever you are able to help.


Donations can be mailed to the church or you can CLICK HERE and earmark it for the Emergency Fund.


Spring is bursting forth and the Women’s Guild is bursting with activity! Our April meeting will be held in the Fellowship Hall on Wednesday, April 6 beginning at 6:30pm. Beth Basler will present a slide show of several of our national parks, so come join us for an evening of traveling.

Also in April — our annual spring rummage sale! This event will be held on Saturday, April 9 from 9am to 2pm (bag sale from 1 to 2).  

Donations can be brought to the church beginning Monday, April 4 between 10am and 2pm. Please bring your donations into the Fellowship Hall. We are looking for gently used, clean items including: spring/summer clothing, household items, paperback (only) books, toys/games, shoes and handbags, linens, home decor, and small furniture items. Please do not donate any electronics, no VHS tapes, no magazines or other periodicals, or broken items. 

We will be having “Soups to Go,” hot dogs, and a baked goods table.  

We need help with sorting during the mornings starting Wednesday, April 6. We also need help on Saturday morning starting at 7 am for setting up tables outside; and for cleanup beginning at 2pm on Saturday. If you can help, please call Sandy at 508-697-2716, or Bette at 508-479-9279. Thank you so much!

Save May 4 for our annual banquet at the Fireside.

Sandy Alley and Bette de Koning


We pray for peace in Ukraine.

(This sculpture, created by a local artist, is on display for a limited time in front of CSCC.)




Greeters and Liturgists wanted!
Help create a welcoming church community.

Contact Rev. Beth for more details. (Hint: It’s really easy! No longterm commitment!)


My Recent Best Read


If you are Mitch Albom fan (“Tuesdays with Morrie”), don’t miss “the stranger in the lifeboat”.

A worthwhile novel, to read with ease, during Lent, finding God and answers to our prayers where we least expect.

I can share my copy as long as I get it back to share with my daughter, Jill, when she visits this summer.  Just ask.

The Lenten Pretzel is a reminder of Lenten prayer since the 5th century, the crossed “arms” of the pretzel are a universal reminder of Christians at prayer:
1 package of dry yeast
1 ½ C warm water
1 T sugar
1 t salt
4 – 5 C flour
1 beaten egg
coarse (kosher) salt for sprinkling on pretzel
Combine yeast, warm water, salt and sugar. Add flour gradually, forming a fairly stiff dough. Continue kneading for 10 minutes. Divide dough into pieces – then roll each piece like a rope. Shape the rope like a pretzel. Place pretzels on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake at 425 degrees for 12 – 14 minutes. Enjoy and be at prayer. 


Carol Chaffee

Care Team


The Living Gift Market is Coming!

Sunday, April 10, 11am



Take a ride on a llama, eat some chicken legs or bacon, play pin the tail on the donkey. You never know what you will do or see at the Living Gift Market, the culminating event for Heifer Project. Each year is different and dependent on the imagination of the children. We invite you to come and participate in the Living Gift Market, the children’s fund raiser. 

You will have the opportunity to eat the food and purchase the crafts made by the children and their families. The money donated by you will be used to purchase animals. These animals will help needy families around the world buy food and clothing, and provide shelter. Save this date on your calendar, Sunday, April 10 at 11:00 a.m., which also happens to be Palm Sunday. Come to the Living Gift Market! It will either happen on the front lawn of the church or in Fellowship Hall (depending on the weather).

This message is for the boys and girls in the church: Krissy Cannizzo and Terry Reynolds invite you to join them the two Sundays before the Living Gift Market, March 27 and April 3. The Sunday school classes will happen during church time, but downstairs in the Fellowship Hall. 

We need your help in planning the living gift market, make some crafts to sell, and share ideas. The only thing we ask is you bring your imagination. 
• You may have already brainstormed with your families some food you would like to make at home to sell at the Market. 
• You may have made some of the activities we sent you in the Sunday school kits. If you still have these activities you can display them on your table at the Market.  
• We have some craft ideas we can make during the Sunday School classes. 

Parents, if you would like to help during these classes please come and join us. If your child has never been to Sunday School he/she may feel more comfortable with your presence. The culminating activity is the Living Gift Market and will occur on  Sunday, April 10. We cannot wait to see all our young friends come together in community once again!  

Krissy Cannizzo and Terry Reynolds.

The food pantry opened on March 3, 2013. Last month we celebrated 9 years of successful operation, growth, and service to Bridgewater residents in need. When the pantry first opened, it was quite small, offering mostly non-perishable items with a few dairy and frozen meat options along with some fresh produce from Hanson farm in the summertime. Over time, we have been able to expand the pantry significantly.

We became an agency partner with the Greater Boston Food Bank in late 2014, allowing us to procure a wide variety of food items, including meats, fish, dairy, bakery, fresh produce, dry goods, paper goods, and personal hygiene items. We subsequently established enabling agreements with Stop & Shop and Aldi’s where we get donated dry and frozen products. We also established an enabling agreement with Cumberland Farms where we get sandwiches and salads on a weekly basis. Most recently, we arranged with Lepage’s Bakery in West Bridgewater who donates bread and bread products on a weekly basis.

We have expanded our cold storage capacity to include 2 side-by-side refrigerator/freezers, one upright refrigerator, 2 upright freezers and 1 chest freezer. We added storage shelving in the pantry as well as in the storage closet.

We have worked to get community recognition of our available services through various methods, including contact with the school system, senior center, town clerk and manager, as well as advertising on the church web site, the town web site, Buzz Around Bridgewater, Senior Center monthly newsletter, and weekly postings on multiple Bridgewater Facebook pages.

The success of the food pantry is attributable to the wonderful collaboration between the businesses and residents of Bridgewater who donate 100% of the food and money needed to stock the pantry; members of CSCC including the congregation, church administrator, and Sexton; the Food Pantry staff; and the clients who are served because of the efforts of all those mentioned.

On a personal note, I am honored and humbled to have been a part of this effort since its beginning. I am also extremely proud of my team — Pat, Bill, and John — for their hard work and dedication to keeping the pantry running smoothly week in and week out.

Following are some statistics about the overall success of the pantry over these 9 years:
Number of clients served:
6,621 household visits
8,562 Adult visits
4,029 Children visits
2,110 Senior visits
27,407 bags distributed


Other Statistics
364,250 estimated pounds of food distributed
$804,376 estimated retail value of food distributed
$124,438 donations received. 313 unique donations ranging from $2 to $5,000
$101,825 expenditures
$20,275 in gift cards distributed
$121 average retail value received per household visit. This number is an average over 9 years, however the value today is much higher and probably closer to $200 per visit.

Respectfully submitted,
Jack Melcher

Our Sanctuary Ceiling is Looking Great!

Big shoutout to Gordon Brailsford and the Board of Trustees for getting the ceiling in the sanctuary repaired and repainted, AND for getting insurance to pay for it! Thank you, all!



The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution
and the
Central Square Congregational Church Steeple

Our restoration has begun! I’m pleased to report that because of our grant award from Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), we were able to begin some much needed work on the steeple. 

It was completed in mid-March by our steeple jack man Chris Burgess, of The Burgess Company, based in Orleans. (Chris worked on our steeple back in 1999 when he refurbished the weathervane and installed 4 new clocks in the base of the tower.) The front louvres on the steeple were totally damaged and had been removed. The opening was boarded up to prevent the birds from entering the tower and to keep out the weather elements. It was an eyesore for all passers-by coming through the Bridgewater common. 

With the generosity of the DAR, we were able to replace the louvres on all four sides of the steeple! We wish to express our true appreciation to DAR for their generosity to Central Square Congregational Church.

This is just the beginning of restoring the steeple. We are still waiting for the Town of Bridgewater CPC grant money to be released to us as soon as the deed restriction is in place. My estimate is this Fall (2022). Working with a historical preservationist to obtain the deed restriction is a multi-step process and time consuming, but we continue to push all of the parties that play a role so that our project can keep moving forward.

Thank you,
Barbara I. Morey
Historical Church Building Committee Chairperson


Thanks to Gordon Brailsford and Dave Sheibley for the pictures, and to Gordon for being onsite for all the work to take place!




CLICK HERE for the "Lenten Micro Practices" booklet that accompanies the above calendar.

Lenten Book Study, Saturday, April 2

at Restoration Coffee (on the common in Bridgewater)

With dry wit and unflinching honesty, Kate Bowler grapples with her cancer diagnosis, her ambition, and her faith as she tries to come to terms with her limitations in a culture that says anything is possible. She finds that we need one another if we’re going to tell the truth: Life is beautiful and terrible, full of hope and despair and everything in between—and there’s no cure for being human.

Join Rev. Beth at 9am on Saturday, April 2 for a discussion of “No Cure For Being Human”.



The Maundy Thursday worship service commemorates the Last Supper that Jesus had with his disciples prior to his death. During this service we offer ritual foot-washing (optional!) and communion.  


Our Good Friday worship is a meditation service through music and scripture in which we travel with Jesus to the cross until he takes his last breaths on Earth. This service is led by our Minister of Music, Julia Scott Carey.


Do you have everything in order should you die tomorrow?  Over coffee and donuts, Rev. Beth will go over preparing Advance Directives, explore death and dying options (do you want a Death Doula? do you have a DNR completed?), review funeral options and services, explain writing an obituary, and outline steps for planning your funeral. We live our lives so uniquely - why should our funerals be any different?



CSCC Cabinet Meeting – Minutes
March 16, 2022 at 7pm

The meeting was called to order at 7:02 by Anne Malmquist, Moderator.


Cabinet members in attendance: Anne Malmquist, Moderator; Denise Molinari, Vice Moderator; David Sheibley, Treasurer; Diane Sheibley, Clerk; Gordon Brailsford & Ed Buckland, Board of Trustees; Bill O’Neil, Board of Christian Outreach; Terry Reynolds, History & Memorials Committee and Women’s Guild & Fellowship.
Also present: Deborah Lancaster, Congregational Administrator


Anne Malmquist opened the meeting with a prayer.


January and February Minutes
The minutes from the January and February cabinet meetings were reviewed. Dave Sheibley motioned to accept them as written. Denise Molinari seconded. The minutes were approved.


Pastor’s Report [also see written report] – Anne Malmquist for Rev. Beth Stotts
In addition to what’s on Rev. Beth’s report, Anne gave Gordon Brailsford a shoutout for all the work and time he’s put in at the church lately. Thank you Gordon! Diane also highlighted the upcoming book studies Rev. Beth will be hosting. 


Treasurer’s Report [see financials] – Dave Sheibley
Dave noted that we’re falling behind a bit on giving. February was the lowest month in 3-4 years; January and February were off-pace compared to past two years. Dave included a chart of giving for the past couple of years in his written Treasurer’s Report.

He noted that we have transferred $30,000 so far this fiscal year, and the plan was to need to transfer a total of $40,000. Hopefully there will be some more fundraisers held to help with needed revenues, like a golf tournament. He also noted that investments are doing as well as they had been. 

$14,000 was transferred from the capital campaign fund to pay for the sanctuary ceiling repairs, although Gordon said it’s looking promising that insurance will pay for it. [edit—since the Cabinet meeting, insurance has, indeed, agreed to pay for the ceiling repair work]


Congregational Administrator’s Report [also see written report] – Deborah Lancaster
Deborah noted that, with the return of in-person worship, the bulletin format is back to the old “book format”. The print is a little smaller, so if needed, she can produce some large-print versions. There are two new girl scout troops meeting at the church. There are a lot of special events coming up.


Food Pantry Report [see written report] – Bill O’Neil
Food Pantry report was discussed. Bill reported that there has been a little uptick of people coming in. Jack submitted a recap of the last nine years that we’ve hosted the food pantry. [edit—the recap report appears in the April issue of Steeple Sounds] There is new shelving on the lower level. Gordon asked about the new freezer and concerns about an increase in the electric bill, but Bill noted that the freezer was a replacement, not an addition. 


Historical Church Building Committee – Terry Reynolds
Brian Pfeiffer (who was formerly working on the deed restriction) sent all of his paperwork and work in process to Virginia Adams in Rhode Island, who will now be working on it. Barbara said it could be another 8 months or so to get the deed restriction process done. The HCBC will be submitting a new proposal to the Town of Bridgewater for phases 2 and 3 of the project, to get the ball rolling on those approvals. The Daughters of the American Revolution gave us a grant of $10,000, and it was used to replace the louvres on the steeple. And the project is done! Chris Burgess, who did the old restoration of the weathervane, did the louvre work. We’ll be publicizing it in Steeple Sounds, on the website, and on Facebook, as publicizing the project and recognizing the DAR is part of our contract with them, in order to get the second half of the grant money.

The deed restriction has a long way to go and there are several items to be addressed, regarding being in the historic district of the town. The vinyl siding likely needs to be removed from the outside of the church (phase 3). We still don’t have the award letter from the town, although we’ve requested a copy many, many times.


Governance Review/Constitution-Bylaws Committee – Anne Malmquist
Anne noted that this committee that was formed prior to the pandemic is now beginning to meet again. Our needs are even more different than before the pandemic, so tweaking our current Constitution/Bylaws probably won’t work; it will take a complete rewrite. The committee is currently comprised of Gordon Brailsford, Gail Wershing, Anne Malmquist, John Sharland, and Rev. Beth. If anyone else would like to be involved, let Anne know.

After an analysis period, the next step will be a congregational meeting to approve/discuss the new governance structure. As part of their work, they are looking at what other churches are doing; what “membership” means in 2022; and how they can be inclusive of our online community.


Heifer – Terry Reynolds
The Living Gift Market will be held on Palm Sunday, April 10. They are hoping to do it on the front lawn of the church, depending on the weather. They will be having Sunday school on the preceding two Sundays to help the children prepare for the market. Dave Hanson is hoping to bring some animals. Terry asked if it’s OK to bring food to sell at the market, even if it’s in the fellowship hall, regarding current COVID restrictions. As long as it’s prepped prior to being brought to the church, there’s no problem. 


Music Committee – Anne Malmquist for Ellen Crawford
Ellen is working on finding out from Julia when the choir might be starting back up again.


The Peace Sign sculpture
The peace sign sculpture in front of the church is in honor of the prayers for peace for Ukraine. It was done by a local artist who asked if they could put it out there for a while.


Women’s Guild & Fellowship – Terry Reynolds
The spring rummage sale is Saturday, April 9, inside and outside. Donations for the sale will be accepted the week of April 4. The next Guild meeting is Wednesday, April 6. Beth Basler will be doing a presentation on National Parks. The annual banquet will be held in May.


Board of Trustees – Ed Buckland
Ed noted that the pastor’s discretionary (emergency) fund is getting quite low, and asked if we could solicit donations to it again. Re: town food permit. We need to have people certified for “serve-safe” practices. The qualification can be gotten with an online course. Bill O’Neil asked to have the requirements sent to him and he’ll ask his wife if she is already qualified and/or would do it.

Nic Cannizzo is doing his eagle project to fix up the side door entranceway. (This planning began pre-pandemic.) It has been noted by the fire department that the mailboxes should not block access to the electrical panel, as they partially do now. A preliminary solution in Nic’s designs has the door to the long closet behind the coathooks that is nearest the office be blocked off and converted to a space that houses the mailboxes. There was much discussion on this solution. The trustees are meeting with Nic this Sunday (3/20).


Budget requests
Dave noted that annual budget requests from boards and committees are due to the Trustees this month. After some discussion, it was decided Deborah will email the boards and committees, and let them know that their requests must be in the hands of the Trustees no later than April 15.


Other business
• It was noted that Bob Spencer, former member, Trustee, and fill-in pastor, has passed away.
• The need for more fundraisers was noted. Will there be a golf tournament this year? It is an important fundraiser that is in the approved budget. Terry will talk to Barbara Morey to get her thoughts on holding the event, and how she might be involved.


Next month’s meeting is April 20 at 7pm at the church.  


The meeting adjourned at 8:09pm.



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


Church Administration
Pastor: Rev. Elizabeth Stotts, csccpastor @ hotmail.com

Congregational Administrator: Deborah Lancaster
Minister of Music: Julia Scott Carey 

Director of Video Evangelism: Paul Holmes
Treasurer:  David Sheibley 
Office telephone:  (508) 697-6016
Website:  www.csccucc.org
Facebook pages: facebook.com/csccuccbridgewaterma (main page),
facebook.com/groups/801550253194149 (youth page)

Instagram: @centralsquarechurch 

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