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January 2024

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


It’s been sung by the Byrds. It’s a scripture that many don’t realize is a scripture. But as the calendar turns from 2023 to 2024 it’s a good time to remember that there is a time for every season under heaven. 


Recall these words from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: 2a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 3a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; 7a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.” 


As we begin 2024, I want to invite us into new seasons.

On January 7th in worship, we will welcome the New Year and begin the season of Epiphany.  We will worship, we will ponder, we will pay attention, we will discern, and our spirits will grow.  Through it all, I long for us to embrace that we will all be changed in our time together, that together we will laugh and dance, and we might just weep and throw away. I want us to always love one another, and recognize that there may be times when we do not love what the other is doing. It’s a time for us to search for things and a time to let go of other things. In this time ahead of shared ministry, we can know that our God is with us through it all!

A little later in the 3rd chapter of Ecclesiastes, the poet/philosopher/writer has this to say: “So I perceived that there was nothing better for human beings but to enjoy what they do because that’s what they’re allotted in life. Who, really, is able to see what will happen in the future?” [verse 22]. We can’t know what the future will hold for us, but I hope you will join together as we share in ministry and look forward to the future God is inviting us to. Even though we don’t exactly know what the future holds, I know that together, God is going to do amazing things at Central Square Congregational Church, UCC in the coming days, weeks, months, years, and decades!


Thanks be to God!


In Christ,
Rev. Beth

PLEASE NOTE new hours for 2024:

Tuesday, 9-11

Wed - Thu - Fri, 9-1

or by appointment



August worship services will not be livestreamed, but there will be weekly devotions and worship video available at 10am each Sunday. 
Use the link on the homepage of www.csccucc.org to access Sunday worship, or visit our Facebook page.


Past worship services are also available in both places.



NEXT CABINET MEETING is Wednesday, January 17, 7pm




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 at hotmail.com. 


CSCC Deacons
Deb Sorgman – debsorgman at gmail.com

Jae Stotts - jaestotts at gmail.com

Savannah Wells, Jr. Deacon

CSCC Care Team
Carol Chaffee  *  Bev Mitchell  *  Rev. Beth Stotts  *  Nina Gabel-Jorgensen

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.


CSCC Team Leadership 2023-24

Spiritual Engagement Team Leaders:
Denise Molinari, Deb Sorgman, Eric Stotts


Congregational Engagement Team Leaders:
Carol Chaffee [2 positions open]


Property & Finance Team Leaders:
Dave Hanson, John Sharland, Mark Sorgman


Community Engagement Team Leaders:
Krissy Cannizzo, Diane Glass, Terry Reynolds



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


Did you know that Venmo has lower fees to the church than Paypal? So if you can't decide which one to use, choose Venmo.




Coins for Kids Church : January 7


Don’t forget to bring your spare change for the Coins for Kids Church collection, the first Sunday of the month! This helps to pay for Kids Church supplies and teaching materials. Just put your coins in a baggie or envelope and mark it “Kids Church”, and put it in the collection plate on Sundays.


Join us for breakfast on Sunday, Jan. 7 and Jan. 21

Rehearsals this month at 9:20am: January 7, 14, 21


Performance at 10am: January 21


CSCC is sponsoring an intergenerational service trip to Maine June 23-29, and we’d love you to join us! A nonrefundable deposit of $250, along with the registration paperwork, is due by JANUARY 31.

With the MATE Housing Ministry (www. missionattheeastward.org) and our friends at The Dover Church, UCC in Dover, MA, we will offer our time and talent to serve people in the Farmington, Maine area stay in their homes who, without our help, would not be able to.

You need not be a member of CSCC to join in this life-enriching experience - all are welcome! Tell your friends and family, and invite them to participate! Remember, too, that BR, and likely other local high schools, will count summer volunteer projects toward the following school year’s community service requirements.

Contact Rev. Beth (csccpastor@hotmail.com) or the church office for more details, or CLICK HERE to visit the web page.


Trash News!

We have a new trash vendor, Marchand Environmental. The agreement with WinWaste was terminated as of 11/30.

The new vendor, Marchand, will save the church $540  annually and they will pick up our recyclable waste every other week which we didn’t have with WinWaste.

Thursday is our new trash collection day.  Shout out to Dave Sheibley for recommending engaging with them.


New Beginnings
By Rev. Beth Stotts

“Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. 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 43:18-19


Maybe it’s the drop in humidity, or maybe it’s the “cheers” on New Years Eve, but for whatever reason, January is always a time of self-reflection, accountability, and taking stock in where I’m at in my journey.

For all of us who will be beginning something new this year, whether it be as structured as a new educational program or a new exercise regimen, or as free-form as a new DIY project or a new way of thinking about ourselves, may this blessing from the Celtic poet John O’Donohue bless our ventures and adventures with grace, energy, and courage. Amen!

In out-of-the-way places of the heart, 
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown. 
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered, 
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent, 
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled, 
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plentitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening; 
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire. 
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk; 
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

Happy Anniversary!

Central Closet Thrift Shop invites you to come celebrate with us! January 10th marks the  completion of our first year open for business. We will be having a month of specials to show our appreciation!  

• Jan. 3rd and 6th - all Christmas merchandise will be 75% off.
• Jan. 10th will be our official celebration. Join us for coffee and goodies. All items in the shop will be 50% off on the 10th and 13th!
• Jan. 3rd - Jan 31st all black ticketed items will be 50% off.
• Sunday, Jan. 28th at 11:00 our sale closet will be open for shopping. Come join our coffee hour and shop our bargains.
• Jan 31st will be our special sale day of the month. Once again with any purchase, you will be able to pick one black ticketed item absolutely free.

We are still accepting new and gently used winter clothing, footwear, pocketbooks, jewelry, household items, glassware, linens, books, and toys. Please no electronics and limit donations to 20 items per visit. Donations are accepted during shop hours, Wednesday 10-1 and Saturday 10-1.
Thanks to all our customers, our donors, and our volunteers for supporting us in our mission to help the church. In our first year of business, we have been able to donate over $13,000! We never could have done this without your help. 


Thank you all,
Connie Chandler,  Jane O'Connell, Lynn Pietras, & Gail Wright

Women's Guild and Fellowship will meet on Wednesday, January 3 at 6:30 pm in Fellowship Hall.  Our program will be about Conservation/Green Living with Mickie Edwards. It should be interesting to find out how we can help our earth by living more responsibly. All are welcome to come to our programs. Maybe for this one even men, women, and youth would enjoy listening and sharing. We also have a meeting and refreshments.
Jane O'Connell,Co-President 


16+ residents of 10 Heritage Circle enjoyed the caroling event held in their community room on December 16. We sang Christmas carols, shared laughs, enjoyed homemade hot chocolate, ate delicious Christmas cookies, and shared our favorite Christmas memories and/or traditions. There were several memories that involved getting an orange in your Christmas stocking from Santa. Many thanks to Jenne and Cass for the cookie baking and decorating skills. The cookies were scrumptious.

Carol Chaffee and Nina Gabel-Jorgensen


A motto for our new church year 2024:



There will be a Writer’s Group meeting in the Fireplace Room the third Friday of each month. This group will meet from 7-9pm to work on any type of writing you are interested in. We will also be offering time to share with the group what you’ve written for feedback and discussion. This part is optional, sharing is not required. You must be 16 or older to participate. For more information, please contact Sheri Turner at either ssturner @ mindspring.com or 508-472-4812.


Cookie Project!

Thanks to all who contributed Christmas cookies, we were able to package up almost 150 cookie packets for the homeless population in Brockton. Thank you! And thanks to Rob Basler for delivering them.

Warmth in Cold Places

On December 18, members of our congregation distributed clothing to those in need at Our Daily Bread Soup Kitchen in Taunton. Although the rain and torrential winds slowed the crowd, approximately thirty in need were served and the remaining clothes were left to be shared in the following days.

Thank you to all who donated to our “Warmth in Cold Places” clothing drive. The people served were so appreciative of your generosity, kindness and compassion. Many walked in with nothing but the clothes on their backs. And, even if they had nothing themselves, most were concerned about taking too much or not having enough for the next person if they were to take more. We often had to talk them into taking the second pair of socks or a shirt.

It's an experience, one that puts so much into perspective, especially during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Please consider volunteering next year!

Krissy Cannizzo



Advent this year in Kids Church was amazing! We made paper poinsettias and cards for the elderly/homebound members of our congregation, and made pinecone bird feeders for the kids to take home as a gift to the birds and nature. We also decorated ornaments that were hand made by former Minister of Music Lin Schuller to adorn our tree, and had a wildly successful toy drive to benefit the special needs students at the Cardinal Cushing School. All of this, while exploring the meaning of the words Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love and learning about the coming of Jesus. 

Finally, we presented to the congregation on Christmas Eve morning a taste of what Kids Church is like by decorating the altar the way we do in Kids Church. The most important part of this (to me) is the putting of the name tags of our fellow Kids Church members who aren't there on our altar, so we can think of them and hold them in prayer. We presented and blessed our gifts to the Cardinal Cushing School and we did Highs and Lows (our version of Celebrations and Concerns) with the full congregation. 

Many thanks to Denise Molinari who led us this Advent season in Kids Church, and to Ashley Earp who was invaluable to this December going as smoothly as it did. 

This month we are on to Heifer! And, while I could gush about everything we have planned for Heifer and how excited I am about it, I will leave it to Krissy who will be leading Heifer, to go into detail about it. 

Many blessings to you in the New Year, from all of us at Kids Church!

Director of Kids Church, Eric Stotts



January is Heifer International month at CSCC and I'm so excited to be kicking off the month with you! As most of you know, Heifer is an amazing program that teaches children and families about the importance of helping others through generosity and sustainability, helping here and around the world. If there's one word that describes Heifer to me, it's sharing.

Here's a quick preview of our upcoming Kids Church calendar with Heifer:
• 1/7/24 - Children will be divided into two groups by age. The groups will begin to discuss what group animals they would like to fundraise for while exploring the Heifer curriculum for the week.
• 1/14/24 - Children will meet with their designated group and select their animals. They will explore the week's curriculum and begin to think of crafts/food to sell at the "Living Gift Market."
• 1/21/24 - Children will work on their weekly curriculum along with their crafting projects.
• 1/28/24 - Children will work on their weekly curriculum along with their crafting projects.
• 2/4/24 - Oh wow! It's almost here! The Living Gift Market. It's the culmination of our Heifer program. Today we'll be focused on finishing up any last minute arts and craft projects left before next week!
• 2/11/24 - LIVING GIFT MARKET! It's our day to celebrate all of your hard work and watch our generous congregation, friends and family purchase your amazing creations! This is a church favorite for all!

Please let me know if you have any questions. I look forward to leading Heifer this year!
Krissy Cannizzo


My Thoughts on Three Wise Men

by Sheri Turner


When Reverend Beth sent me the scripture verses for the month of January, I looked at them and felt stumped. I am no biblical scholar. What could I possibly say that might help tie the words in Matthew to anything that might have any relevancy to today? I was intimidated. I felt foolish for offering to write for the newsletter on a regular basis. Who am I? I felt scared because I was trying to offer up my time and talent (writing) to our community and I was coming up with nothing to say. All I have been thinking about lately is the role that kindness should play in a Christian life, but that doesn’t have anything to do with Matthew 2:1-12. Or does it?


There are lots of ways a person can show kindness. Fred Rogers, of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood was a very kind man by all accounts. He spent his career using his kindness to teach children that they were

special, unique human beings that deserve to love themselves. Princess Diana is also known around the world for her extraordinary acts of kindness. Before her tragic death in 1997, she contributed to more than 100 charities during her lifetime. She never hesitated to show kindness, by helping the homeless, AIDS patients, people with leprosy, and children with cancer. 


The way that the three wise men showed their kindness was by not reporting back to King Herod about Jesus’ location as they were asked to do. Their act of kindness was in NOT doing something. We aren’t told in scripture how much this may have inconvenienced the three wise men, but one can assume it probably did in many ways. Perhaps there was a reward for leading King Herod to Jesus. Perhaps returning to their homelands required traveling a significantly longer route than originally planned, which would require more provisions, to avoid King Herod. Perhaps by not reporting back, the three wise men strained relations between King Herod and their home countries. We just don’t know.

My point is that kindness frequently requires a willingness to accept the cost involved with doing the right thing. Being kind is not always about convenience, comfort or ease. It’s a willingness to extend oneself to benefit another with no expectation of reward. It is accepting your own discomfort at times to help someone in need, refusing to extract the proverbial pound of flesh for your service.

So I’ll remain in my fear. I will be scared and uncomfortable putting my thoughts in this newsletter in the hopes that I encourage even one person to make more of an effort to be kind in their day to day life. Because kindness matters.

Text Alerts

CSCC is updating its text alert system, and starting from scratch with a new provider (so even if you signed up under our former system, we need you to sign up again). Text messages are often a more efficient system of notifying you of timely news, everything from event cancellations (for example, worship services cancelled due to weather) to reminders of upcoming deadlines or other church “happenings”. We would like to see as many of our church community sign up for this service as possible, and we’re designing it so that it fits with your comfort level regarding message frequency. You can opt-in to as many or as few types of notifications as you wish. And of course, you can opt out whenever you wish.

Please print and complete THIS FORM and return it to the office or put it in the Sunday collection plate, or simply email the office with the information requested.

As we enter into the severe weather months, we ask that you consider doing this right away. If you have any questions, contact the church office.

Thank you!



It’s That Time of Year Again: Inclement Weather Policy

The Senior Deacon 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 Office Manager and the Communications Coordinator.
3. The Office Manager will update the office answering machine with the cancellation announcement and notify the appropriate television media.
4. The Communications Coordinator will send a general church email and a text notification, and will update the website and Facebook page.
5. The Senior Deacon will notify the other members of the Spiritual Engagement Team.

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.


CSCC Cabinet Meeting – Minutes
November 29, 2023 at 7pm

The meeting was called to order at 7:03 by Anne Malmquist, Moderator.


Cabinet members in attendance: Anne Malmquist, Moderator; Rev. Beth Stotts, Pastor; David Sheibley, Treasurer; Diane Sheibley, Clerk; Mark Sorgman and David Hanson, Property and Finance Team; Diane Glass, Community Engagement Team; Carol Chaffee, Congregational Engagement Team; Eric Stotts, Spiritual Engagement Team.


Diane Sheibley took attendance. Quorum was met.


Rev. Beth opened the meeting with a devotion and a prayer.


October Minutes
The meeting minutes from the October meeting were presented and reviewed. Carol Chaffee motioned to accept the minutes as written; Eric Stots seconded. The minutes were approved with minor corrections.


Pastor’s Report –  Rev. Beth Stotts
Rev. Beth was pleased to report that a meeting of all the Bridgewater clergy finally took place after a long time and several personnel changes. They will now be having lunch once a month. She did an obituary writing seminar at the senior center, and East Bridgewater senior center called and asked if she would do it for them. There has been a lot of Advent work. The Advent book study is on “A Christmas Carol,” and all ages are welcome to participate in the discussion on Dec. 17. The Thanksgiving service was really nice but not very well attended, although BTV taped and streamed it. There was about a $100 collection for the food pantry.


Treasurer’s Report – Dave Sheibley
Receipts for October were better than those in September, and we’re about $3,000 higher than at this time last year. We raised about $7,300 from the fair, with that total to be added to from Christmas on the Common sales. We raised about $810 on the opera night concert.


Congregational Engagement Team – Carol Chaffee
Carol reported that Ginny Young has resigned from the Team leadership, and Kathleen Mosher had previously resigned, so Carol is the only one at this point. [If anyone would like to help plan upcoming events and projects for Congregational Engagement, contact Moderator Anne Malmquist, or Carol.] There will be a Christmas caroling event at Anne Chaffee’s housing complex on Dec. 16, 4-6pm, organized by Carol and Marci Langevin. Diane will make a flyer to hand out at Kids Church to encourage participation. Poinsettias will be sold and in the sanctuary beginning Dec. 17. The former members of the History and Memorials Committee will be helping to organize. The Care Team has been reaching out to people on the mustard seeds list and updating the list that is published.


Community Engagement Team – Diane Glass
The Opera Night held earlier this month was a fun evening, and raised about $800. Krissy is handling the Warmth in Cold Places project, and they will be distributing donated items on Dec. 18 in Taunton. Christmas on the Common is this Sunday, Dec. 3. Our bathrooms will be open for the public, and our crafters and jewelry folks will be selling items. Remember that the streets around the common will be closed and/or limited during that time.


Property & Finance Team – Mark Sorgman
Mark reported that the P&F Team met with two people who are willing to work on the fundraising committee, Lynn Pietras and Sandy Kuipers. If anyone has any fundraising ideas, send them to Mark and he’ll pass them along. The committee will be focusing on doing fundraising this year, not developing an overall plan. There is broken plexiglass on one of the stained glass windows. Many of the lights in the building were replaced with LEDs, which will be more efficient and cost-saving. It was arranged for through Mass Save. The P&F Team will be installing a lockbox for the office key, like those used by realtors. The code will be distributed to those who need to access the office during off hours.
    Rev. Beth would like to pass the front walkway fundraising project to the fundraising committee. She has done a lot of research for it and can pass that along to them.


Spiritual Engagement Team – Eric Stotts
Kids Church during Advent has engaged in drawing poinsettias and writing letters for the homebound in our community. Krissy will be heading up the Heifer lessons for January. The living gift market is February 11. We have at least three teachers for Heifer, and we had three teachers for Advent. On Dec. 24, there won’t be a pageant, but the kids will be helping to lead worship. Kids Church is also doing a toy drive to benefit the school Kathleen Mosher works for, the Cardinal Cushing school. They are coordinating with the girl scouts that use the building as well. Donation drop boxes will be inside the back door and at the thrift shop. 


Ad Hoc Teams – Anne Malmquist
Anne noted that we need some “ad hoc” committees to help the teams, which was the vision of the new constitutional structure. We have folks working on fellowship time following worship, and on breakfast. We need ushers and greeters. Do we need a memorials committee? Deacons – we need to develop a new description to be able to get more people involved, remote members, too. Need to develop a talent database to engage individuals based on their interests. Rev. Beth would like to work on developing a new directory.


Next Cabinet Meeting 
There will not be a December meeting. The next meeting is January 17.


Rev. Beth offered a closing prayer.


The meeting ended at 8:09pm.


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


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

Office Manager: Jenne Foronjy, office@csccucc.com
Minister of Music: Julia Scott Carey 

Director of Video Evangelism: Paul Holmes
Treasurer:  David Sheibley 

Communications Coordinator: Diane Sheibley

Kids Church Director: Eric Stotts

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.


Amazon Shopping!

Shopping on Amazon and feeling generous? Check out the CSCC Wish List, and drop an item in your cart for us! CLICK HERE to take a peek at our Amazon wish list. (Whether you buy these items at Amazon or at other stores, this is what we need!)