Central Square Congregational Church, United Church of Christ

Steeple Sounds

August 2020

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



I don’t know about you, but I’ve been experimenting with wearing different types of face masks during this pandemic.  I’ve tried the masks that go over your ears and the ones that go all the way around your head.  I’ve tried different kinds of cloth masks and the masks that are for one use only.  The thing all face masks have in common is that they make my glasses fog up.  LOL!

I’ve noticed that one of the surprising moments of this pandemic has been how wearing a face mask has become a political fight in our country.  Some folks speak about requiring masks to be worn as limiting their freedom.  The “you’re not the boss of me, don’t tell me what to do” argument, if you will.  There have even been videos of people being asked to wear a mask upon entering a store only to verbally or even physically assault those employees.  As if that’s the fault of the employee who’s just trying to do their job anyway!

When we move to worshiping in person, masks are going to be required.  I’m trying to figure out how to preach in a mask or if I will be far enough away from our congregation up front on the chancel/in the pulpit that I can wear a mask before and after worship but not when leading it.  Or maybe I can install one of those sheets of plexiglass in front of the pulpit so I will be visibly unobstructed, with a clear voice, and safe.  I have to tell you, I led a graveside service in a mask and it was incredibly difficult to take in the kind of breath needed to project my voice.  Anyway, there’s all sorts of things to consider when it comes to keeping everybody safe.

As challenging as it sometimes may feel to wear face masks, what helped recently was changing the way I thought about it.  Yes, wearing a mask does protect me, though it also protects those around me.  Jesus taught us to love God, love our neighbors, and love ourselves.  It’s been making the rounds in my clergy circles that perhaps wearing a mask these days is one of the best signs of our love for our neighbor.  That thought is beautiful.  Instead of thinking about wearing a mask as restricting our personal freedom, we could think of it as extension of Christian hospitality and love to our neighbor.  


In Christ,
Rev. Beth




Building Closure Extended until September 1

Updated May 20, 2020


Dear Friends,

As this pandemic continues to affect our community and our world, and with the least among us particularly in mind, the Central Square Congregational Church building, at the recommendation of the Southern New England Conference, the CSCC Board of Deacons, and the CSCC Cabinet, has extended its closure until at least September 1. 



• We will continue to worship online for the forseeable future.
• Use the link on the homepage of www.csccucc.org to access Sunday worship. Click on the COVID-19 update link to access the YouTube link for past services.
•  Sunday Worship will be livestreamed from the Sanctuary at 10 a.m. Only the Pastor, the Minister of Music, and the Director of Video Evangelism will be allowed in the building.  



•  Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at noon, visit our Facebook page - www.facebook.com/csccuccbridgewaterma/ - to engage in a live, interactive prayer session led by Rev. Beth.


•  Most building users are still prohibited from using the building. The Bridgewater Food Pantry, with procedures put in place to protect its visitors and staff, is an exception and will continue to provide food to our community in need. We are also working with the addiction support groups to possibly begin meeting again in our building. Their requirements would be specific and strictly enforced. They would include things like social distancing, the wearing of masks, prohibition from using the kitchen and from using tables, and using only one of the bathrooms. Proper sanitizing would be done between each group meeting.
•  Even if you have a key to the building, please do not enter the building during this time. Each one of us that enters is a potential carrier, even if we’re not feeling sick. If you are tempted to say, "well, I'm sure that doesn't mean me.", IT DOES. If you have any questions or think that you should enter the building for any reason, call the church office at 508-697-6016 (phone is being answered remotely during the shutdown).

Yours In Christ,
   Rev. Beth Stotts, Pastor            
   Anne Malmquist, Moderator        
   David Sheibley, Treasurer

   Ed Buckland, Board of Trustees

   Deb Sorgman, Board of Deacons 

         along with the rest of the CSCC Cabinet



Booth Video Productions and BTV Access Corporation team up to bring you livestream productions of our services. 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 that we are broadcasting on our website homepage, www.csccucc.org.You can watch weekly sermons live on YouTube courtesy of Paul Holmes and Booth Video (search Central Square Congregational Church).


Caring for our Community

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

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

To contact Rev. Beth, call the  church office at 508-697-6016 
(the church phone is being answered remotely during the shutdown)

or email her at csccpastor @ hotmail.com

CSCC Deacons
Deb Sorgman – debsorgman @ gmail.com
Lynn Pietras – lsypie @ aol.com

CSCC Care Team
CentralSquareCareTeam @ gmail.com
Carol Chaffee
Phoebe Hogg
Bev Mitchell

John Scott

Rev. Beth Stotts


Thank You for your Continued Gifts, Tithes, and Offerings

During this time, we encourage you to continue your support of CSCC, to the degree you are able. We know this may be a trying time for you financially as well as emotionally, so please know that we understand if you are not able to meet your usual giving goals. But for those who can, remember the church has ongoing expenses that don’t care that everything is shut down. And we are trying to do right by our staff as much as possible, even though our primary income mechanism is unavailable (Sunday offerings).


In addition, crucial annual fundraisers have had to be cancelled or are in jeopardy of being cancelled, such as our golf tournament (cancelled) and the annual church fair (status unknown). This puts our budget in even further crisis.


Donations and offerings can be made in any of the following ways:
* Checks can be mailed to the church (71 Central Square, Bridgewater, MA 02324)
* Bill-pay through your bank can be set up for one-time or recurring payments
* Payments can be made via the Paypal by CLICKING HERE (no Paypal account necessary)
If you have any questions, you can email the Treasurer directly and confidentially at treasurer @ csccucc.com.




The Bridgewater Food Pantry, hosted by CSCC, will remain open its usual days and times (Thursdays, 10am-1pm, first Mondays of the month, 6-8pm), although with slightly different format to respect the crucial physical distancing. 

Precautions have been put in place so that patrons will not come in contact with each other during their visit. If you have lost your job or have kids at home from school and need some assistance with food, please feel welcome to go (Bridgewater residents only). 

If you would like to help out, you can drop off non-perishable donations at the side door of the church every weekday from 9 to 1. Just leave them outside the door. They especially need ingredients for breakfasts and lunches. You can also donate money via check that can be mailed to the church (make check out to "CSCC" and put "food pantry" in the memo, and mail to 71 Central Square, Bridgewater MA 02324), or by electronically by CLICKING HERE.




I have been watching the Netflix series “When Calls the Heart”. It is a 6 season show and I have just started the last season. I don’t binge watch but I can see why some people do. It does leave you hanging and the next episode just rolls in unless you exit the show, but in a split second you are hooked. It is a Canadian American Drama and stage coaches are giving way to the automobile. I love it because it sends me to bed with a good God feeling. You may describe it as “sappy” but to me it is a refreshing look at small town folk that rely on the community to work together for the better of the town. It mentions prayer and God a great deal and often refrains to “God’s plan or God is in control”. Nothing wrong with those words to reinforce your daily life, or help you get out of bed in the morning.


There are many among who are hurting, struggling and just trying to get through another day,another hour,another minute. We can pray to our God for those we love and those who need our love.

PS  I believe there is a Season 8 of the show, but some of the cast have changed.

Prayerfully and lovingly,
Carol Chaffee



Join us for our summer book study on Saturday, August 8 at 9am under the big tree in front of the church. This year's book is "The Book of Longings" by Sue Monk Kidd. You can purchase the book at your favorite bookstore, or via this Amazon link: CLICK HERE



Historical Church Restoration Committee

We completed and submitted our grant application to the Town of Bridgewater Community Preservation Committee in December 2019. We have attended every CPC meeting in person at the Bridgewater Town Hall until the Covid-19 outbreak. Now we attend every CPC meeting virtually. Seven months later, and after several additional challenges set before us by the CPC, we are pleased to report that our application has been approved. We do not have a specific monetary figure that we have been awarded yet, but should know this sometime this month.

Our committee members have been very enthused, hopeful, and excited about our plans for the church. We hope you are too. Our 200th anniversary in 2021 is only months away. We had hoped to have had much of the restoration work completed by the anniversary, but It will be an accomplishment to at least have started it. And that in itself will be a blessing.

Did you know that CSCC is listed as a historical landmark in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts? We didn’t. We were under the impression that because our church conveniently sits within the Bridgewater Historical District, it is thought to be a historic building. Recently, we began the process of obtaining state historical recognition of the church, and in beginning this process, we learned that our building is already listed as a historical site in Massachusetts. When a district is mapped out and deemed historical, all the buildings within the district are labelled historical sites. How exciting!
    -- Barbara Morey, Terry Reynolds, Carol Chaffee, Dave Sheibley, Rachel Lawson, Gloria Weinrebe


Can You Spare ... an Hour's Worth?

We are very close to knowing what funds the town’s Community Preservation Committee is going to offer us for our much-needed building restoration. However, it would be overly optimistic to think that they will provide us with all the funds we need to properly fix and restore everything the building so desperately needs. The Historical Church Restoration Committee at CSCC has not only been working with the town, but also with an independent grant writer to seek out and apply for additional funds. But we need your help. 

CSCC is looking for individual sponsors to help support the work of the grant writer. If you are able, would you consider sponsoring ONE HOUR of his time, with a $45 contribution? All sponsorships received will go directly to paying for more of the grant writer’s time. And the more time he spends, the greater the possibility of us gaining more funds for restoration! Checks can be sent to the church with “grant writer” in the memo field. Or if you prefer, CLICK HERE to donate online. 

Thank you, as always, for your help!

Jess Stearns would like to take a moment to thank the youth at CSCC for the very thoughtful gift basket. Candy, movies, a blanket, a card with kind words — you made her day and she is very thankful for all of you. Keeping you all in her prayers, she hopes to see you around church this Fall. 



Churching Differently

History has shown that every 500 years or so, the Church goes through a transformation of some sort. I remember during Rev. Beth’s Pentacost service a few years ago she told us about the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and we all started to wonder what the next big change would be.  Now we know. Our Director of Video Evangelism, Paul Holmes, is a crucial member of our ministry team, just as important as the Pastor and the Minister of Music. We used to bemoan low attendance in our sanctuary, and now we have over 200 views of our weekly service, locally, nationally, and internationally. This is a new and ever-evolving tool for outreach, sharing our faith and resources, at home and abroad. And it’s a beautiful thing.

Church has looked different for several months now, and will continue to look different for some time to come. Even once we’re back in the building, we may not be able to have breakfast together. We may not be able to sing together. We may not be able to hug or shake hands or high five. We have had to figure out new ways to care for each other these last few months, share our faith, and have communion and fellowship. And even when we return to some form of in-person worship, many of these things still may be different.

And with all these changes and adaptations, going forward, some will work in the long run and some won’t. I hope we will have patience and grace with each other as we try new things, and as things don’t work the way they always did. I hope we find some amazing new practices that allow us to love and support our neighbors better and more effectively. I hope we can welcome people no matter where they are on life’s journey or where they are in God’s world.

I have faith that we will some day be able to hug and sing and eat and commune together. In the meantime, we are figuring out how to church differently.
-- Anne Malmquist, CSCC Moderator


The Thursday night Al-Anon group has resumed meeting at CSCC, under careful and specific protocols to keep the attendees safe from the spread of COVID-19. The group currently meets on Thursdays at 7pm in the Fellowship Hall. Please pass along this information to anyone you know who is in need of this support.




Sunday, August 2, 10am

On Sunday, August 2nd, at 10am, Central Square Congregational Church, UCC will present a special program featuring the Justice Choir Songbook, a collection of protest songs and civil rights songs compiled with the goal of helping communities “raise your voices together for change, equity, love, and peace.” The Songbook can be downloaded here, so you can get to know the songs and sing along at home during the performance: www.justicechoir.org

 The Justice Choir Songbook will be performed by vocalists James Dargan and Lisa Graham, accompanied by Julia Scott Carey on the piano. James Dargan will also perform some of his original compositions. Poet Charles Coe will also be writing new words to an old American hymn tune by Matilda T Durham, one of the first female hymn writers in the United States, called “America! America! To Glory Arise,” and James Dargan will be premiering Charles Coe’s hymn on this occasion. There will be additional live or pre-recorded performances and readings by Reverend Elizabeth Stotts, educator Zachary Boissonneau, organist Sylvia Berry, soprano Karen Slack, bass-baritone Ian Pomerantz, and countertenor Reginald Mobley. The service will be live-streamed on Facebook, YouTube, and cable TV (a link for the YouTube stream will be on our home page).

Live Discussion: Music as a Form of Protest
Sunday, August 2, approx. 11am

Following the Voices of Justice Service

Following the August 2 service (see above), we will have a discussion via Zoom about music as a form of protest, led by conductor and educator Anthony Trecek-King. You are all invited to join in the discussion. Email the church office at office @ csccucc.com for the Zoom login info.


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

Remember that when you shop on Amazon, use “smile.Amazon.com” rather than just “Amazon.com”, and designate CSCC as the charity to benefit from your purchases. It costs you nothing extra! Contact the church office with questions.


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 Video Evangelism: Paul Holmes
Nursery Coordinator: Maria Kean, mmkean14 @ gmail.com
Treasurer:  David Sheibley,  treasurer @ csccucc.com
Office telephone:  (508) 697-6016
Website:  www.csccucc.org
Facebook pages: facebook.com/csccuccbridgewaterma (main page),
facebook.com/groups/801550253194149 (youth page)

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