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January 2023

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


God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.”  God said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”  God also said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’:  This is my name forever, and this my title for all generations.”               -Exodus 3:14-15 


When we enter into a new year, we can't help but reflect on the past. We think about the past year; about the struggles and joys, highs and lows. Maybe we hit a major milestone. Maybe we overcame something we never dreamed possible. Or maybe we lost a loved one and are swimming in grief. 

Similarly, in the New Year we also tend to set goals for ourselves during this time; set hopes and wishes for the coming year. There are also ways in which we can feel overwhelmed by the possibilities for the future and what may or may not be on the horizon. 
While there is rich ore to be mined from self reflection of our past, and in clarifying our desires for the future, I’m drawn to the idea that God identifies as “I AM”. God is in the present, active, living. In her meditation on God, Helen Mellicost says, “When you live in the past, with its mistakes and regrets, it is hard. I am not there. My name is not ‘I WAS’. When you live in the future, with its problems and fears, it is hard. I am not there. My name is not ‘I WILL BE.’ When you live in this moment, it is not hard. I am here. My name is ‘I AM.’” 

In the United Church of Christ, when we talk about a “still speaking God”, we are embracing the “I AM” and the idea that each of us has the power, like Moses, to meet God in the present moment and make a difference in the world. As we welcome in 2023, let us live today in partnership, in co-creation with the divine. Jesus calls us to love God and each other with our whole being. Let us live this love right now! 


Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me; 
Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me. 
Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me. 
Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me. 


Happy New Year!


In Christ, 
Rev. Beth  

Tuesday thru Friday, 9am-1pm

or by appointment




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.



NEXT CABINET MEETING is Wednesday, January 18, 7pm

at the church

Monthly meetings of the church leadership are currently being held in the Fellowship Hall. All church members are also welcome to attend. 


Please note: there is no in-person worship on Sunday, January 1.

Streaming service will be available on YouTube and Facebook.



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

Rev. Beth Stotts

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 (except holidays). 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 (office@csccucc.com) or phone (508-697-6016) and arrangements will be made for you.




We continue to make it easier than ever to contribute to CSCC. The church now accepts donations via Venmo! Aim your phone camera below, or use the Venmo app to send your donation to @cscc-ucc



January 8, 15, 22 (9:15)


January 22 at 10am


Community Breakfast at CSCC
Sunday, January 15, 9am

Are you thinking you want to be a part of this awesome ministry? Volunteers are needed. More info at www.csccucc.org/time-talent, or contact the church office.

And invite your friends, and those that might like a meal and fellowship. All are welcome!



Coins for Kids Church : January 8


Don’t forget to bring your spare change for the Coins for Kids Church collection on the first Sunday of each month! This helps to pay for Kids Church supplies and teaching materials.

Attention all Boards, Committees, Project Coordinators, and Select Officers: Annual Reports Due Jan. 15

Please remember that your annual report is due to the church office no later than January 15. Share your accomplishments and what you worked on in 2022, to record for posterity! If you need a copy of a prior year’s report to use as a guide, CLICK HERE, or contact the church office.



January Book Study


Privilege is a social consequence of our unwillingness to reckon with and turn from sin. But properly stewarded, it can help us see and participate in God's inbreaking kingdom. Subversive Witness asks us to grapple with privilege, indifference, and systemic sin in new ways by using biblical examples to reveal the complex nature of privilege and Christians' responsibility in stewarding it well.

Rev. Beth will lead a book study discussion on Saturday, January 28 at 9:30am for all who are interested. She has several copies in the office for those that are interested in purchasing it.

The Women's Guild and Fellowship will meet on Wednesday, January 4, 2023, at 6:30 pm.

Our program name for the evening is "Getting to Show You". We're going to find out more about the women in our group. Please bring one memento or keepsake that you treasure, and share a short story about it. After we share our stories, we will have refreshments and our business meeting. Looking forward to seeing everyone after the holidays!

Jane O'Connell, Co-President



The first meeting of this group will be on Sunday January 8th at 11:30 in the fireplace room. I have had a lot of interest expressed for this group and am excited to meet with everyone. The group is open to all women of faith in the Bridgewater area. We will be discussing our gendered experiences in the church, problem solving and deciding on what types of social justice causes we want to promote or start.

Our first meeting will be a brainstorming session where we decide, as a group, what we want this group to be. Don’t worry — I do have a framework for us to follow. This group should be about us all, so I didn’t want to have a strictly set agenda without getting input from all of you. We will be meeting monthly after church at 11:30 (day to be decided).

Bring your drink, snack, and ideas!
Kathleen Mosher


Finding Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy throughout the year!

Is it possible? Well, anything is possible with God, so let’s do this!

As I have referenced in past newsletter articles, The Book of Joy ~ Lasting Happiness in a Changing World, a book collaborated with the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Abrams, is a resource I keep out, in view, as a reminder to take the time to refresh and renew.

It is an amazing written piece full of smiles and full of sadness, but finding JOY in the daily burdens of our own lives. Starting your day, on the right foot, figuratively speaking, can make all the difference in the world.

Maybe, just maybe —
· it’s a breathing practice, focusing on stress relief
· or a morning walk or exercise routine
· it could be series of prayers
· some journaling of thoughts
· maybe it is something that just makes you laugh

My New Year prayer for you is that find that quiet moment each and every day, to find joy in even the humdrum of life, for it’s bound to lighten the load that we all carry.


Matthew 11 Verses 28 to 30
“[28] Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. [29] Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. [30] For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. “


New Year Blessings to one and all,
Carol Chaffee
Care Team


PS — I have always loved Dr. Seuss and found great joy in reading his books. This one is now in my Amazon Smile cart, waiting for me to finalize my order.  I recall, as a family of five, visiting my parents in Shelburne, MA for Thanksgiving and the following day, the city of Springfield, MA, hosted their Christmas Parade. Well, to my delight, many of the themes for the parade for geared toward Dr. Seuss, because the City of Springfield, MA is his birthplace.

Central Closet Thrift Shop
January 11, 2023 at 10:00

Donations are needed!

Donations are needed and will be accepted the week before (Jan 3 - 5) during office hours. Please drop donations off at our nearly-renovated shop in the fellowship hall.

Starting Jan 11, donations will be accepted during store hours only. Shop hours will be Wed and Sat 10-1. 


Items needed:
New or gently used in-season clothing (no stains or rips) and footwear.
Accessories  - hats, pocketbooks, scarfs, etc
Linens ( no stains )
Housewares ( no chips )
Books and DVDs
No electronics 

With your help we can make this work.

Thanks in advance,
Connie Chandler, Jane O'Connell, Lynn Pietras, & Gail Wright

Name Tag Project

Marci Langevin will be setting a date for a Sunday in January after church to lead a discussion group on why we are including pronouns on our name tags. Marci works with transgender people and will be able to give valuable insights and science-based information. As an open and affirming church, pronouns on nametags are a very important and meaningful step for us to take as a community. We need to be mindful when someone shares their pronouns, they are exposing themselves in a most vulnerable way. They are saying, “This is who I am. Please don’t turn away from me.” When we, as an open and affirming community, add our pronouns to our name tags we are saying, “We see and respect you. We join you in sharing our pronouns, so you are not alone.” With this in mind please consider the following information as we begin asking you to share your preferred pronouns.

1.  We have multiple people in our church community who use pronouns besides she/her and he/him. By the simple act of kindness and understanding involved in including your pronouns on your name tag you are helping to create an inclusive environment. When we all have our pronouns on our nametags no one stands out—we are one in community.

2. Studies have shown that suicide decreases when transgender/non-binary people are treated with respect and dignity. Part of that is easily done by using the pronouns they identify with. We are most familiar with the gender binaries of male or female. Some people know their gender is both male and female or a gender that is different from either male or female. Some people don’t identify with any gender and other people find their gender identity changes over time. It is okay if this seems confusing to you. I still grapple with this in many ways. However, the most important thing for us to remember is by using someone’s preferred pronouns, we are giving them the respect that everyone deserves.

3. We are an Open and Affirming Church. According to the UCC website this means: “Open and Affirming (ONA) is a public covenant of welcome into their full life and ministry to persons of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions.” This covenant compels us to do our best by loving our neighbors as ourselves. Our name tags have our names on them, so people know who we are. By including pronouns this does not change that in any way. What it does do is show that we are not only an open and affirming church but we are also a community that truly means, “Whoever you are, and wherever you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.”

Contrary to popular belief, transgender people and non-binary people have always existed. This is not something new, a fad, or a way to get attention and stand out. The existence of different ways of experiencing one’s gender is not new. What is different is modern society is slowly changing and people are more comfortable showing us who they truly are. Transgender people and the non-binary among us haven’t changed, the rest of us have because we have become more educated.  The differences in our fellow human beings that we were taught to hate or marginalize because they were sinful or wrong have been shown to be normal and valid. Now that we know better, we must do better.  As Martin Luther King, Jr. stated in 1963, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”


They’ll Know We Are Christians by Our Love
Peter Scholtes
We are one in the Spirit; we are one in the Lord.
We are one in the Spirit; we are one in the Lord.
And we pray that all unity will one day be restored.
Chorus: And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love,
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.


We will walk with each other; we will walk hand in hand.
We will walk with each other; we will walk hand in hand.
And together we’ll spread the news that God is in our land.


We will work with each other; we will work side by side,
We will work with each other, we will work side by side,
And we’ll guard each person’s dignity and save each person’s pride.


All praise to the Father, from whom all things come,
And all praise to Christ Jesus, His only Son.
And all praise to the Spirit who makes us one.


Resources for further information (click on the title to read the article):
“Understanding Pronouns” - LGBT Life Center
Understanding Pronoun Use and Inclusion!”, Princeton Gender + Sexuality Resource Center
A Guide to Understanding Gender Identity and Pronouns”, NPR

In Community,
Kathleen Mosher

It’s That Time of Year Again: 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.

Christmas Eve Poinsettias

Given with Love by..................... in memory of
Kay Wheeler ....................................................... Julie Lybarger
The Sheibley Family ..................................... All our loved ones
Bev Mitchell Family .................................... George H. Mitchell
Carol Howe ................ My father, Herman Daiker; My mother, 
     Madeleine Daiker; My son, Scott Walker
Jenne Foronjy .................................... Patricia “Patty” Gannon
The Shave Family ................ Our Shave & Langevin loved ones
Gail Wershing ................... Frank Wershing; Al & Mary Wilson
The Ciaramitaro Family ...................... Adam & lost loved ones
Jane O’Connell ....................................................... Loved ones
The Lyons Family .................................................... Loved ones
Bill & Terry Reynolds .............................................. Loved ones
The Molinari Family ............................................... Loved ones
Ellen Crawford ....................................................... Loved ones
Troy Hubbell ......................................................... Kelli & Wally
Diane & Peter Glass ........... Our parents & our nephew Jordan
Bruce Maclay ........................................................ Mom & Dad
Gail Wright ....................................................................... Scott
Lynn Pietras ............................................... Fred & Alice Yeaton
Anne Chaffee ................................ My husband David Chaffee
Rachel Lawson ........... Janice Lawson, Greta Holmberg & Brad


Thank you to all who donated cookies to the cookie project. 

We bagged up over 150 personal cookie bags! Special thanks to Denise Molinari and Diane Sheibley for doing all the bagging and coordinating the event, and to Judy Pino for delivering them to Father Bill’s. 

Informational Meeting 
January 15th, 11:30am

We are working on starting up middle and high school youth group again. There will be a meeting on January 15th at 11:30 for parents, kids, and anyone who would like to volunteer to help out with the program. If you have any questions please e-mail me at katmosher@comcast.net or contact the church office. See you there!
Kathleen Mosher



Heifer Project International

Did you know:
1. Goat’s milk is more nutrient-dense than cow’s milk. Shop your local farmer’s market for goat products to try for yourself.
2. Chicken eggs contain choline which helps with brain development. Buy local and make eggs part of your breakfast.
3. Save the bees. Put a shallow container of water in your garden so bees have a place to rehydrate.
4. Plant trees! Not only are they great for the environment, but trees also count as major self-care to improve your mental health.  
5. The covid-19 pandemic caused a food harvest and distribution crisis on a scale we’ve never seen before. Tragically, the number of people living in hunger has DOUBLED.
6. Alpaca fiber is almost three times warmer than sheep or any other kind of wool.  


These facts and more will be shared with our children in Kids Church during the month of January as they learn about the Heifer Project and how it helps families in need. 

During the month of January the children will choose an animal that they would like to fundraise for, learn about their animal (the care and feeding of that animal), learn where the animal will be sent, and plan how to raise money to purchase that animal. They will make crafts and items to sell as well as make food to sell related to that animal. They may even have a few surprises for us. 

Save the date for the Living Gift Market, the culminating event for Heifer, which will be Sunday, February 5th, immediately following worship. We look forward to seeing everyone at the Market!

Terry Reynolds 

Privilege - (Set Me Free)

For 2023, the Board of Stewardship will be continuing to encourage everyone to come up with ideas to help erase the church deficit. With all the hard work of our church community we have erased almost half of the over $43,000 needed to balance the budget. I firmly believe we have it in our power to erase all of it within the next year. As I type this, I admit this is a very scary and kind of absurd thing to say. However, I have decided to be brave and admit it. We have the power to erase all the debt within the next year. See, I said it again!

In my past writings I have asked questions that make us think of what the church means to us and what it would be like if we had to close our doors. This is a reality we could face if we are not able to adjust to what a modern-day community needs in a place of worship. We must be brave and look inward to ourselves and our congregation. What more can we do to keep our beloved community thriving? What do you think you could do to help? Stewardship is not just about raising money. It is motivating people to want to help continue the church’s growth and look bravely to the future with the belief that we have been around for 200 years and will be around for 200 more.


This leads to my next set of questions for you. What do you think you can do to help us erase the deficit? What do you think you can do to encourage people to join our church? What do you think you can do to help us move forward into the future? Some of the new works and projects we have started in 2022 are: 40-for-$40k, which will be ongoing as a starting point for new members to think about tithing; Coins for Kids Church; the Central Closet Thrift Shop; the pronoun project; and the Feminist Women of Faith group. We have restarted breakfast, and are working on getting the middle and high school youth groups started again with an eye on having service trips in the future. The annual church fair and the Women’s Guild rummage sales continue with great success. All these efforts pay off by raising money and/or advertising our church community, and giving us a place to gather and have fun.


“Stewardship is not just about raising money. It is motivating people to want to help continue the church’s growth and look bravely to the future.“



When you read that list what ideas do you have? What areas do you see that you can help improve? What do you think you can contribute to help us meet the goal of erasing our deficit in 2023? You may not have time to head up your idea. Tell us anyway. There may be someone who does. You may not have more money to give but you may have time to give to help staff an event or help with setup or cleanup. You can add your prayers, kind words, and support. That is meaningful as well.
Facing harsh truths about our deficit does not mean it will break us. It does not mean we should give up or stop striving. We need to face the future with a bravery and faith that nothing is impossible with God and community. We are all a part of stewardship. When we attend church, go to meetings, buy things at the church fair, take communion together and simply gather - that is stewardship. Let’s step bravely into 2023 and work toward a deficit-free future.

Kathleen Mosher


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


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

Congregational Receptionist: Jenne Foronjy, office@csccucc.com
Minister of Music: Julia Scott Carey 

Director of Video Evangelism: Paul Holmes
Treasurer:  David Sheibley 

Communications Coordinator: Diane Sheibley

Office email: office@csccucc.com
Office telephone:  (508) 697-6016
Website:  www.csccucc.org
Facebook pages: facebook.com/csccuccbridgewaterma (main page),
facebook.com/groups/801550253194149 (youth page)

Instagram: @centralsquarechurch 

Venmo: @cscc-ucc

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