Central Square Congregational Church, United Church of Christ

December 2021

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.

An Advent Message from Rev. Beth

Rev. Elizabeth Stotts, Pastor 


9How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you? 10Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith. 11Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. 12And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. 13And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. 
                - 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13


This year has just flown by. Wasn’t it just summer last week? And now we’re preparing for Christmas?! This passage from the Apostle Paul to the people of Thessalonica reminds us that we live in the pull between the past and the future, the now and the not yet. The coming of the Advent Season, the season of expectant waiting, and the beginning of a new church year provides us an opportunity to reflect on how we live our lives. Like the Thessalonians, we wait and we grow weary of waiting. Paul understands this tension and reminds the disciples in Thessalonica, and us today, that we don’t wait alone and that while we wait there is God’s work to be done! Paul prays that love will increase among the people, for God is most fully revealed to the world through our love. This love that transforms and builds up, this love that forgives and shows mercy.  

My prayer for us all is to find a way to remember what this season is all about and join together in our waiting. I pray that we will seek out ways to pass on the message of Hope – for there are so many of our neighbors who need to be lifted-up. I pray that our hearts will be filled with Peace, as we live into this season of Christmas. I pray that we live our lives with Joy – as we go about our day-to-day activities, one joyful moment at a time. I pray that we will feel the Love of God in our hearts being constantly reminded that the love of God culminated on that first Christmas morning, overcoming the darkness that lingers all around us.

I pray that you will feel God’s hope, peace, joy and love this season! Letting every Christmas light, decoration, and ornament remind you of the light and love of God which was transmitted to all the world – at the dawn of the early light, on that first Christmas morning.

Have a Blessed season & a very Merry Christmas!  


In Christ’s love,
Rev. Beth Stotts

In-person worship is now available every week!

Masks are required regardless of your vaccination status, and other COVID protocols are in place for your safety and the safety of our community.


REMOTE WORSHIP ON FACEBOOK AND YOUTUBE will continue on Sundays even after in-person worship resumes.

• We will continue to worship virtually 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.


Mask Reminder

Remember that masks are required at all times inside the church building, regardless of your vaccination status or reason for being there. 


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





Next Cabinet meeting is Wednesday, Dec. 15, 7pm

Monthly meetings of the church leadership are currently being held in the Fellowship Hall. All church members are also welcome to attend. Mask and social distancing protocols are observed.


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 the Pastor, call the church office at 508-697-6016. 


CSCC Senior Deacon
Deb Sorgman – debsorgman @ 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.



Bridgewater State Alumni and Community Choir Winter Concert
December 18th at 7 PM

Horace Mann Auditorium in Boyden Hall at Bridgewater State University
For more info, please email Carol Chaffee - galchaffee@gmail.com



Just a reminder of our December 1st Annual Christmas Service with Rev. Beth in the Sanctuary, at 6:30 p m. This is always a meaningful worship service and helps get everyone into the true spirit of Christmas. And, of course, it is open to all women of the church. 

Also, please remember to bring a new twin comforter set for material aids. We are also collecting new/gently worn sweat pants, sweat shirts, and sneakers for John Scott to give to the homeless patients at Brockton Hospital upon their discharge. 

Thank you all for all you do! 
Bette and Sandy, Co-Presidents




Foundation - an excerpt from Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life

If a building has no support and foundation, it collapses.  In the same way, you need support from other people and a foundation to keep you strong in your walk with God. You find that loving support when you join your brothers and sisters in Christ’s church.

Not only is the church God’s family, it is called the body of Christ. When you become part of the family of God, you also become a member of Christ’s body. We are all connected and dependent upon each other.

The church is a body, not a business; a family, not an institution. God said, “I formed you to be part of my family.”

Whenever you feel discouraged, remember that you are not alone. God has a family to support you and encourage you. Reach out to your brothers and sisters for support.

The more you grow spiritually, the more you’re going to love and treasure the church, because Jesus died for the church. Nothing is more valuable to God than his church. He paid the highest price for it; Jesus loves the church so much that the Bible compares it to a beloved bride.


“As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you”. Isaiah 62:5


Submitted by Carol Chaffee/Care Team Member


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 26 in order for it to be counted toward your 2021 giving.

Payments are accepted by check, cash, EFT through your bank, or online payment by clicking HERE.



Winter Clothing Drive

The CSCC Board of Christian Outreach will once again be accepting donations of new and used winter clothing through December 9th, for their annual Warmth in Cold Places project.

Items needed include the following clothing items: winter jackets, sweaters, sweatshirts, socks, hats, scarves, and gloves. Donations can be dropped off in the big box just inside the Church St. door. Clothing will be distributed to homeless.


Holiday Gift Boxes for Overseas Troops

The Women’s Guild, in conjunction with St. Basil’s Chapel, is collecting items to send to our troops serving overseas. The following list is of the items most requested by the troops. They can be dropped off in the designated box at the church during office hours, or on Sunday morning. The items will be packaged for mailing following the church service on Sunday, December 5

Sandy Alley and Bette de Koning



(N.B. small sizes, please; they don’t have a lot of space and the boxes are not very large). No aerosol cans. 
flavor packets for water
men’s deodorant
toothpaste and brushes
black ball-point pens (NOT GEL)
coffee (ground)
women’s hygiene products
baby wipes
laundry pods and dryer  sheets
cocoa packets
beef jerky
Slim Jims
health bars
wash cloths
pillow cases
decks of cards
sunflower seeds
word find and crossword books
AA and AAA batteries 



Inclement Weather Policy

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 Minister of Music no later than 6am the Sunday morning of the service in question. The Minister of Music 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 & text notification, 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 are:
    1. Excessive amounts of snow
    2. Parking availability (or parking ban)
    3. Damage to the church
    4. State of Emergency
    5. Power Outage

To ensure you receive timely notification of weather issues, be sure you are on our email list as well as our cell phone text message notification list. Contact the office with questions.


Town Generosity to the Bridgewater Food Pantry

hosted at Central Square Congregational Church, UCC

Bridgewater continues to come thru for the less fortunate among us! Last month, the Bridgewater Food Pantry received over 200 boxes/bags of goods donated by the families of the Mitchell and Williams schools. Off-duty firefighters volunteered to pick up the food and bring it to the church. The food you see in this picture also includes donations from Bridgewater Square Chiropractic, Bridgewater Credit Union employees and customers, Crispi's Italian Cuisine, High Point residents, and Girl Scout Troop 67005 — over 300 boxes/bags total. Also add to that 100 bags of food donations from the Bridgewater Preserve Neighborhood Association, and numerous bags from the Bridgewater Citizens Club. A sorting party was held on November 20 to process it all,  sort out the items by type, and then Redbox them. This is a huge task, so many thanks to all the volunteers who came to help. God bless the residents of Bridgewater. And big thanks to Pantry director Jack Melcher and his team for coordinating the organizing and disbursement of it all!



Thank you to the many people who helped make our 2021 fair successful. With everyone’s help, we succeeded in meeting our budget goal of $7,000!

Thanks to all who helped organize, set up, clean up, bake pies, make crafts, donate used items, make raffle baskets, cook soup, buy turkey dinner takeouts (catered by Boston Tavern in Middleboro), and all who shared and promoted the event by word of mouth and on Facebook. 

And a VERY special and heartfelt thank you to the anonymous angel who sponsored the entire bill from Boston Tavern for the turkey dinner takeout, allowing the church to keep the entire amount for each dinner. We are truly blessed!

— The Fair Committee: Denise Molinari, Carla Jackson, Diane Sheibley, and David Hanson



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”. If you designate Central Square Congre-gational Church as your charity, then CSCC benefits from all your purchases. It costs you nothing extra! And tell your friends, too, no matter where they live! Contact the church office at office@csccucc.com or 508-697-6016 with questions or to help you get set up.



The Bridgewater Business Association is proud to announce that Christmas on the Common will be held on Sunday, December 5, 12noon - 4pm. 

Please take note of a few logistics:
• The streets along the common will have limited to no access between the hours of 10am and 4:30pm. (Be aware for worship that morning.)
• There will be no indoor tables this year, so there won’t be vendors in our Fellowship Hall, but shop our crafters and jewelry table inside the Hall, and visit Rev. Beth on the front lawn for special Advent activities!
• CSCC will be open all afternoon for guests to use our bathrooms as needed.



Are You Making Your Christmas Gift List?

• Kids—check
• Grandkids—check
• Spouse—check
• Best friends—check
• Neighbors—check
• Church— 


Christmas is a special time when we honor each other with our special gifts so appropriate to the season of Christ’s love. How about adding Central Square Congregational Church to your gift list? 


Here are some of the things your gift can do:
$20 - Heats the building for a day
$25 - Supplies water to the building for a week
$25 - Covers one week’s cleaning and maintenance supplies
$35 - Buys hosting of church web site for a month
$45 - Pays for the fire alarm monitoring for one month
$100  - Supplies electricity to the building for one week
$110 - Pays for one piano tuning
$150 - Pays for the internet service for one month (allowing streaming of services!)
$150 - Pays one month of telephone charges
$400 - Buys one tank of heating oil


What would you like to give from this Wish List? 


Christmas gift checks can be mailed to Treasurer, Central Square Congregational Church, 71 Central Square, Bridgewater, MA 02324 or put in the Sunday collection plate. Or, CLICK HERE to donate electronically.


For a complete guide of all the goings-on for Advent and Christmas at CSCC,

visit our Christmas page by clicking HERE.


Advent Readings

Advent began on November 28


Do you usually take a Christmas photo? We've brought back last year's popular Christmas-themed Photo Booth in front of the church for all of Advent.

Get your fancy Christmas clothes on! Gather the family! Pop by at your convenience. And if you are so inclined, share the picture with us (just email it to office@csccucc.com, or post it on Facebook or Instagram and tag the church)!


Advent Book Study
Sat. Dec. 11

In Dusk, Night, Dawn, Anne Lamott explores the tough questions that many of us grapple with. 

We begin, Lamott says, by accepting our flaws and embracing our humanity. Drawing from her own experiences, Lamott shows us the intimate and human ways we can adopt to move through life’s dark places and toward the light of hope that still burns ahead for all of us.

Read Lamott’s book on your own, then join Rev. Beth for an exploratory discussion on Saturday, Dec. 11, at 9am.



On the third Sunday of Advent, we will present this year’s pageant, written by Rev. Katherine Willis Pershey and filmed on location at Hanson Farm. It will be aired during service for both in-person and streaming congregations to enjoy. The castlist features:

God - Cristi Ciaramitaro
Angel 1 - Savannah Wells
Angel 2 - Liam O'Connell
Mary - Anna Sikora
Joseph - Logan Gaudette
Angels - Marci Langevin, Ellie Mackay, Lisa Mackay
Shepherds - Rev. Beth Stotts, Jamie Wells
Cow - Bobby Mackay
Sheep - Tristan Wells
Wise People - Josephine Stotts, Eric Stotts, Brianna O'Connell

Be sure to tell your family and friends to join us or tune in!




During our December 19th worship service, the fourth Sunday of Advent, we will be presenting the world premiere of “The Lady of the Inn,” a Christmas opera in one act. The opera will be performed by mezzo-sopranos Stephanie Kacoyanis and Christina English, members of the Grammy-nominated vocal ensemble Lorelei. The music was written especially for our church and for Lorelei, by award-winning composer and pianist Mari Kotskyy. The libretto was written by Katherine Garrison Chapin, a twentieth-century American poet who was best known for her collaborations with composer William Grant Still. Lorelei gives special emphasis to promoting the work of women’s voices.

In addition to being written and performed by an all-female creative team, this opera tells the Christmas story from a woman’s perspective, something which is unusual in dramatic accounts of Jesus’ birth. The characters in the story consist of the wealthy “lady of the inn” and her maid, who leads the lady of the inn to see the error of her ways after she turns Mary away from the inn on the night of Jesus’ birth.

A sincere thank you to Minister of Music Julia Scott Carey for bringing this amazing opportunity to Central Square Church. It is truly a Christmas gift for us.


Worship Services at 10am Eastern time (unless otherwise noted)

In person and streaming on YouTube and Facebook

December 5 - 2nd Sunday of Advent - “Peace”

December 12 - 3rd Sunday of Advent - “Joy,” including the Christmas Pageant

December 19 - 4th Sunday of Advent - “Love,” including the world premiere of “The Lady of the Inn”, a Christmas opera in one act

December 24 - 5pm - Story and song service with Rev. Beth

Rev. Beth will share a couple of her favorite Christmas story books, and she’ll lead us (with her trusty ukulele) in some Christmas music to sing along to, and we’ll light candles/glowsticks. Then we’ll process out the front door of the church singing “Silent Night”.

December 24 - 10pm - Traditional Christmas Eve Candlelight Service with Rev. Beth and Minister of Music Julia Scott Carey

December 26 - Christmas Hymn Sing Sunday 


Happy Anniversary to Us!


My favorite memory of Christmastime at CSCC is...

...seeing the candles in the windows


... Rev. Beth's first Christmas Eve service


... the children's presentation of the birth of Christ


... Christmas eve service


... the Christmas pageant ... and candlelight Christmas eve service


... singing "Silent Night" b candlelight at the end of the late service


... the Christmas eve candlelight service


... being dressed up as an angel (from one of our adult members)


... my grandmother coming to our house with gifts in her laundry basket and then singing Christmas carols in the car when we took her home


... the whole congregation participating in the pageant


... the pageant and the Advent workshop


... singing the Hallelujah chorus


... when m two sons Brandon & Matthew were baptized on Christmas eve back in the 90s



CSCC Cabinet Meeting – Minutes
November 17, 2021 at 7pm


The meeting was called to order at 7:05 by Anne Malmquist, Moderator.


Cabinet members in attendance: Rev. Beth Stotts, Pastor; Anne Malmquist, Moderator; Denise Molinari, Vice Moderator; Dave 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; Ellen Crawford, Music Committee
Also present: Deborah Lancaster, Congregational Administrator


Rev. Beth opened the meeting with a devotional.


Diane Sheibley did the roll call and verified that a quorum was present.


October Meeting Minutes
The minutes from the October meeting were reviewed. Terry Reynolds motioned to accept the minutes. Dave Sheibley seconded. The minutes were approved without any changes.


Pastor’s Report [also see written report] – Rev. Beth Stotts
Rev. Beth has been working with other local churches to create and coordinate the ecumenical Thanksgiving service, to be prerecorded and played next week. Time will be determined later. She spoke at the November Women’s Guild meeting, and will lead Christmas worship at the December meeting. She attended some training recently. She reported that she hosted a great Halloween story time on the church lawn and three families attended – none of whom have been to the church before! There have been many requests for Sunday school, and Denise Molinari has offered to conduct it during Advent. The Christmas pageant is already in process as well. It will be pre-recorded, and filmed at Hanson Farm. It will be played during the Dec. 12 worship service.

This Sunday is Thanksgiving and Confirmation Sunday. Christmas eve services will be at 5pm (Stories and Songs with Rev. Beth) and 10pm (traditional candlelight service). Sunday 12/26 will be “hymn sing Sunday”. Julia is presenting a one-act Christmas opera she had commissioned for our church, at the service on 12/19.

Rev. Beth made a motion to appoint Kathleen Mosher to the Board of Stewardship. Ellen Crawford seconded. It was asked if there was anyone else on Stewardship at this time. No, there is not. The motion was unanimously approved.


Treasurer’s Report [also see written report] – David Sheibley
Dave reported that we are about the same as we have been; revenues are aa little ahead of budget, and expenses are a little below budget. The fair brought in its budgeted amount of $7,000. $3,000 has come in for the Minister’s Emergency Fund; in addition Rev. Beth reported that she received a check for the fund in the amount of $500.


Congregational Administrator’s Report [also see written report] – Deborah Lancaster
Deborah reported that she has been very busy – a lot of food donations for the pantry that she helps acceptance of, and people stopping by with Warmth in Cold Places donations. She put donations boxes around to collect items for the soldiers’ boxes as well. There is a new brownie troop meeting at the church, and what she thought was a book club on Monday nights is actually a women’s AA group. The Bridgewater Alumni Chorus notified us that we will not be hosting their winter concert, but rather it will be held at BSU.


Food Pantry Report [also see written report] – submitted by Jack Melcher
The Pantry has been working hard to gather all the food they need for their annual Thanksgiving basket distribution. Baskets will be distributed on 11/23. Many food donations have come in, and there will be a food sorting event on Saturday 11/20. Volunteers are welcome. Thanks to Hanson Farm and Prisco’s for lending refrigeration for all the turkeys we have for the baskets.


Board of Christian Outreach – Bill O’Neil
The Board of Outreach has donated to the minister’s emergency fund, operation Santa, the Christmas Fund, and Father Bill’s. They are working on the Warmth in Cold Places collection of warm clothes and blankets, and will participate in the distribution of items on December 10th. 


Historic Church Building Committee – Terry Reynolds
Terry reported that the town’s Community Preservation Committee met on 11/4 and agreed to pay Brian Pfeiffer for the work he did before resigning as our restoration consultant. Virginia Adams is the person continuing Brian’s work, and as soon as Brian receives the payment, we can forward his work to Virginia. 

Gordon Brailsford, speaking as a Trustee, noted: 
* he has not seen an official document showing the $200,000 grant award from the town
* he has not seen the grant agreement either
* at the joint Trustees/HCBC meeting, it was decided:  we would continue in getting a deed restriction draft;  we need a list of the restoration items needed for the steeple; bids will be solicited for the work to see how much it will cost
* he estimates that the total repairs to the steeple could come to $500,000
* we’ll have the deed restriction drafted but won’t give it to the town unless we either can get a viable bid for $200k OR the town grants us more money
* we will send the list of requirements to a number of architects for bid; we may not end up going with Gale Associates. It was noted that it needs to be a company that does restorations.

It was asked if we can fix the roof instead of the steeple with the town money. No, the funds from the town are specifically earmarked for the steeple.


Christmas on the Common – Sunday, December 5, 12-4
The BBA (hosts of the event) will not be using the fellowship hall this year for vendors, as they have in prior years. They aren’t hosting any indoor tables. We will be selling church crafts and jewelry. A member of the church asked if she could rent a table and sell her own stuff in the fellowship hall. Discussion ensued. The majority opinion was no. We don’t want to intrude on the BBA’s event, and they sell tables to vendors; we haven’t made it available to anyone else, and it wouldn’t be fair to allow just one person to buy a table; and it might take away from our own craft and jewelry sales. We might consider it for next year, and make it available to church members, but not this year. We might also think about holding our own vendor event in the spring.

Diane reviewed the logistics of 12/5: the road on our side of the common will be closed from about 10:30am until about 5pm. There won’t be any parking available on our side of the common that day. Church Street may also have significantly more people parked there than usual, so people should keep that in mind when coming for Sunday morning worship.


Church Fair – Diane Sheibley & Denise Molinari
The fair met its budget goal of $7,000! An anonymous angel stepped up once again and paid for the entire Boston Tavern catering bill for the turkey dinner takeout, which helped tremendously. They were also happy that they were able to have part of the fair outside on the front lawn, and have the crafters in the Fellowship Hall with the other tables.


Board of Trustees – Gordon Brailsford & Ed Buckland
The Trustees are looking at the lights out front. Deborah also noted that the lighting down the handicap ramp at the Church St entrance is really dark the farther down the ramp one goes.


Women’s Guild & Fellowship – Terry Reynolds
The WG is collecting items for boxes for the troops. Deborah put donation boxes with attached lists around the church. They are also collecting sneakers and sweaters (used or new) for John Scott to bring to Brockton Hospital for people being discharged who might need them. The WG also donated to the minister’s emergency fund.


History & Memorials Committee – Terry Reynolds
The H&M Committee will once again be selling Christmas poinsettias. They will be displayed on the altar for Christmas eve services, then purchasers can either take them home or leave them there to be delivered to shut-ins and nursing home folks. Ordering will be available in person after worship during December, as well as online.


Sunday School 
Denise Molinari has offered to conduct Advent Sunday school. It will be held in the fellowship hall for safe distancing. Rev. Beth has given Denise the curriculum.


Advent Packets
Rev. Beth created this year’s Advent packet, as there will be no Advent Workshop this year. It is a guide and script for doing the Advent rituals at home.


Christmas Cookie Project 
Denise Molinari reported that we will once again be conducting the Christmas cookie project for the homeless. Donations of homemade cookies will be requested to be delivered to the church on Sunday, December 19, and they will be packaged up in individual packages and delivered to Father Bill’s/MainSpring house that week.


Reverend Beth closed the meeting in prayer. Meeting adjourned at 8:15pm. 


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)

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