Central Square Congregational Church, United Church of Christ

Steeple Sounds

July 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



​​​​​​​No matter who you are, you will experience a heavy burden and weary soul. Whether it’s a financial burden, racial or religious oppression, failing health or a chronically ailing body, or all of the above at the same time, each of us experiences hardship. It is precisely in the midst of our weariness that Jesus offers us his yoke—the opportunity to be tethered to him.

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

When we rest in Jesus, in the Love that is Jesus, we don’t have to protect our reputation as a “good person” or pretend to have our act together. True rest births humility and a posture of openness, growth, and grace. In resting, we discover the truth – that no matter what we’ve done in our lives, we are worthy of God’s abundant love and grace.

For me, Sabbath-like rest means centering myself and operating out of the sense that I am loved, that I am good enough, and that I am not alone. It is confidence in God’s love and protection and guidance. This type of security cannot be conjured up or manufactured by any action I take. It is a gift—a gift that I many times have to be reminded that I possess, but a gift nonetheless.

Friends, I am looking forward to my month of Sabbatical so that I can experience holy rest and connection with God, so that I can return to CSCC fully connected and refreshed and ready to serve. My prayer for you is that you continue to find meaningful ways to connect with Jesus, with the Love that is in you, the Love that you are called to care for, tend to, and share with the world. Lend Jesus your burdens. Let him carry things for a while.

In Christ,
Rev. Beth


As we’ve been talking about for the past few months, Rev. Beth is on sabbatical for the month of July for a time of renewal and reflection. We are pleased to have Rev. Jim Conley back again this summer, to conduct our Sunday streaming worship services. He will also be available (on a limited basis) for pastoral care. Contact the church office if you need to get in touch with Rev. Jim, during the month of July.

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.  


Please know that our midweek Facebook devotional time is on hiatus for the month of July as Rev. Beth is on her sabbatical. Look for them to return in August, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

•  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. Jim (while Rev. Beth is on sabbatical), call the  church office at 508-697-6016 
(the church phone is being answered remotely during the shutdown)


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).


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.



If you are wondering how to help mend our church budget —  which is suffering for the lack of offerings, donations, and crucial major fundraisers  during this pandemic — and you are over 70 years of age, you might have a way to help.

Two pieces of federal legislation in the past six months changed some rules about the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from IRAs, 401Ks, etc.
First: the RMD is now not required until age 72, up from age 70. 
Second: in 2020 only if you are eligible for an RMD, you may skip it.

In either case, take it or not, you may use the RMD to donate to a charity like our church, without the amount you donate being considered taxable income for you.
Talk to your financial advisor about the changes wrought by the CARES Act and the SECURE Act, and keep our wonderful church in mind.

"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way."  —Victor Frankl

How is everyone coping? I am sure the spectrum of comfort is broad, even as some of us venture out of our "safer at home" mentality. And, we should respect that of each other. Not everyone is going to be able to or even want to go to a restaurant, or grocery store, or visit with a friend, even in an outdoor setting. We have had to change the way we approach each day, for over 100 days. Who would have thought! Be strong, supportive, and loving of each other, but also know that you can ask for help if you need to. You don't always have to be the giver, as it is okay to be on the receiving end.


Carol Chaffee
CSCC Care Team Member 

Viktor Emil Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, and a Holocaust survivor, of Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, Kaufering and Türkheim.


Join us for our summer book study on Saturday, August 8 at 10am 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



Previously scheduled for July 17, 2020, this year’s in-person golf tournament has been postponed until 2021. 



Sunday, August 2

Justice Choir Songbook Streaming Worship Event


Summer greetings!

I can’t believe it has been so long since we have all seen each other in person. It is such a privilege and a joy that we are able to continue our worship services online, through the excellent videography of Paul Holmes. I have very much enjoyed the opportunity to provide our community with music during this time, and we have more exciting plans to come!

On Sunday, August 2nd, we will have a special music virtual service, jointly produced by the Metropolitan Chorale, where we will be joined by guest singers James Dargan and Lisa Graham, to present the Justice Choir Songbook, a collection of civil rights songs and protest songs. Some of these songs will be familiar to you from our own hymnal. That service will also have several guest speakers, including a message by Freetown-Lakeville teacher Zachary Boissonneau (see bio below), and original poetry read by poet Charles Coe. Following the service, there will be a ZOOM discussion about music as a form of protest, led by the renowned conductor Anthony Trecek-King. Please email me if you would like the login information for the ZOOM meeting.

Wishing you a joyous and peaceful July,

Julia Scott Carey, CSCC Minister of Music



Zachary Boissonneau is an educator and freelance writer from North Dighton, Massachusetts, where he lives with his wife and two children. As an eighth grade English Language Arts teacher and creative writing instructor with the Buzzards Bay Writing Project, he enjoys sharing the power of language with young people and helping his students recognize their potential. His work has appeared in Progression, The South Coast Insider, The Review Review, and other publications. When not teaching or writing, he can be found spending time with his family and tending to their many plants. Zachary is very excited to share his reflections on “Music and Protest” with the Central Square Church community.


Justice Choir is a template to encourage more community singing for social and environmental justice. Designed around their Justice Choir Songbook, their goal is a grassroots movement to engage in the empathetic, collaborative, and collective power of singing together to create change. For more information, visit www.justicechoir.org


The Metropolitan Chorale is a 100-voice auditioned chorus, and one of Boston’s premier vocal ensembles. The Chorale is a vibrant community of musicians drawn together by a commitment to performing stellar repertoire at high standards, while fostering a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Led by Music Director Lisa Graham and four young Artists-in-Residence, the Chorale was recently praised by The Boston Musical Intelligencer for “its fine blend and well-shaped phrasing,” as well as its “sophisticated but equally heartfelt” interpretations. In a review of its debut appearance with The Boston Pops in December 2013, Broadway World applauded the ensemble for its “outstanding vocal talent [and] exceptional charisma.” For more information, visit metropolitanchorale.org.


More information on this event will follow in the next few weeks. 
Watch your email, the website, and the Facebook page!


Praying with Lily

by Kristen Melcher

I implemented a prayer at bedtime a couple weeks ago and it is seriously the cutest thing ever. Lily could be laying on me in the rocking chair, I say ‘Time for your prayer’ and she sits up and does the cutest little prayer hands. I just made it up and say the same thing every night, more a moment of gratitude. I say, ‘Dear God, thank you for today.’ She repeats, ‘Dear God, thank you for today. Thank you for the people that take care of me,’ and she lists off all her people. We also say ‘thank you for our friends’ and say their names if we saw them that day, and ‘thank you for the food we ate. Amen.’ Honestly, teaching Lily to pray helped take away pressure for me because I’ve always wondered about the correct way but teaching her, modeling for her has helped me too! I feel like there’s no right way or wrong way to pray. It’s taking a moment of gratitude and thanks and making it part of her routine. Plus, her 2 year-old prayer hands are so sweet!


Lily’s Prayer
Dear God, Thank you for today. Thank you for the people that take care of me.  Thank you for friends. Thank you for the food we eat.  Amen.


Do You "Amazon"?

Hi everyone! In these difficult times I find it’s often hard to feel like we can support ourselves, not to mention supporting the church and all of the outreach it continues to do. Also remember that, at least so far, the church has been able to continue paying its staff so that they can continue to put food on their tables and keep a roof over their heads. 

Because of Covid-19, I know that we as a family are definitely ordering more online these days, so one of the easiest ways we help support Central Square Church is to place our normal Amazon orders, with “Amazon Smile” instead. It’s exactly like a regular amazon order (and actually IS an Amazon order), and you pay the exact same amount, except that 0.5% of the purchase goes to the charity of your choice. 

Just go to smile.amazon.com instead of amazon.com, and make sure you select Central Square Congregational Church as your charity of choice. I’m super happy that I’ve given more than Reverend Beth through this program. Ha ha! I win! Just kidding. In all seriousness though, I use this for all of my company’s purchases as well as personal ones because Amazon doesn’t care if you’re using a corporate card for business, for printer paper or a new computer headset, or whether you’re just using it to buy cat litter for your 3 cats and a new puzzle for your family. It may not be enough to put a new roof on the church, but it can probably help pay for extra sanitizer when we all (hopefully) can get back to worship in the church in the Fall. Hope to see you all soon!

Eric Stotts

PS — And tell your family and friends near and far! Everyone can do it, and select the church as the beneficiary! (Contact the church office if you need help setting this up or using it.)


New CSCC Clerk

Following six years of dedicated service to CSCC as Clerk, Kathleen Mosher has retired from her position. Per the CSCC Constitution, the Clerk can serve up to three 2-year consecutive terms, and Kathleen was at the end of that period. At the June Cabinet meeting, held via teleconference on June 17, Moderator Anne Malmquist nominated Diane Sheibley to take over as Clerk, in lieu of annual elections normally held in May. The nomination was seconded, and approved unanimously. With the appointment, Diane vacates the position of Vice Moderator. Anne is in the process of finding a new Vice Moderator.

All of those in attendance at the Cabinet meeting expressed their sincere appreciation for the work that Kathleen did over the last six years. Thank you, Kathleen!

End of Year Gifts for the Kids!

To kick off summer 2020, Jess Stearns put together small gift baskets for the youth scheduled to participate in the mission trip as well as the children in Sunday school. Due to COVID-19, the mission trip was postponed for this year, but she hopes this gift will make everyone smile. Inside each youth gift basket was a mini portable fan, a neck pillow, waterproof phone holder, candy, and a Juice Mill gift card, as well as several donated items — a fabric mask from Heidi Waddell (heidisews.com in Hanson), a book from Rev. Beth, and a Dunkin’ Donuts gift card. 

Inside each gift basket for the Sunday school participants:  squirt gun, squeeze stress ball, fidget toys, candy, a Juice Mill gift card, as well as a fabric mask from Heidi Waddell, and a book from Rev. Beth. 

Jess hopes everyone likes the little summer kick off parting gift and wishes everyone a great summer! 


The Roof Shingles are Fixed!

Thanks to the Trustees for getting the work done to fix the shingles on the roof that were damaged by recent storms. 



Upcoming Dates to Remember...

Thursday, July 23, 7-8:30pm
Film study discussion, “13th”, via ZOOM and sponsored by D.I.C.E. (see below)


Sunday,  August 2, 10am
Justice Choir Songbook worship service, via livestream and Facebook live, 10am (see above)


Sunday, August 2, immediately following worship
ZOOM teleconference discussion about music as a form of protest, led by the renowned conductor Anthony Trecek-King (see above)


Saturday,  August 8, 10am
Book study discussion, “The Book of Longings”, under the tree in front of the church, 10am (see above)



Why "Black Lives Matter"

Our faith's teachings tell us that each person is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and therefore has intrinsic worth and value. So why when Jesus proclaimed good news to the poor, release to the jailed, sight to the blind, and freedom to the oppressed (Luke 4:16-19) did he not mention the rich, the prison-owners, the sighted and the oppressors? What conclusion are we to draw from this? Doesn't Jesus care about all lives?

Black lives matter. This is an obvious truth in light of God's love for all God's children. But this has not been the experience for many in the U.S. In recent years, young black males were 21 times more likely to be shot dead by police than their white counterparts.* Black women in crisis are often met with deadly force.* Transgender people of color face greatly elevated negative outcomes in every area of life.

When Black lives are systemically devalued by society, our outrage justifiably insists that attention be focused on Black lives.

When a church claims boldly "Black Lives Matter" at this moment, it chooses to show up intentionally against all given societal values of supremacy and superiority or common-sense complacency. By insisting on the intrinsic worth of all human beings, Jesus models for us how God loves justly, and how his disciples can love publicly in a world of inequality. We live out the love of God justly by publicly saying #BlackLivesMatter.

This article appears on the United Church of Christ website. Remarks noted with an asterisk (*) are cited with links within the article post at www.ucc.org/justice_racism_black_lives_matter.

Watch Challenge for the Movie "13th"

“13th” is available for viewing on YouTube and Netflix.  In the movie, made in 2016, filmmaker Ava DuVernay explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the fact that the nation's prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans. Scholars, activists, and politicians analyze the criminalization of African Americans and the U.S. prison boom.

It should be noted that this film is not appropriate for children.

The group DICE (see below) challenges individuals to watch the movie, then consider participating in a ZOOM-facilitated discussion group about it. They'll release the zoom link at a later date. Save the date for July 23rd 7-8:30 pm. 

Following watching the movie, consider these questions: 
1. What were the emotions that surfaced for you as you watched the film?
2. What thoughts surfaced for you as you watched the film?
3. What aspects of the film were new information for you?
4. How do you understand racism?
5. If racism was eliminated from our country,
a. What would the society be like?
b. How would people interact with one another?


These topics will be discussed in the discussion group. 


DICE stands for Diversity & Inclusion for Community Empowerment and is a local network of community members interested in ensuring that the Bridgewater-Raynham community demonstrates respect, appreciation, and value for diversity and inclusion. From the DICE mission statement: "Through this network, we exchange ideas and challenge each other to think in new ways about how our evolving communities can foster an inclusive environment where people from all backgrounds can live, thrive, and succeed." They can be found on Facebook HERE.



Shout-out to Bruce Maclay

A huge thanks to Bruce Maclay, who, without fanfare or celebration, dutifully keeps the church lawn looking neat and clean without being asked, and on a volunteer basis. Thank you thank you thank you, Bruce, for keeping our property looking its best!


We recently asked on Facebook, "what brings you joy?" Here's a sampling of responses.

God's faithful, loving presence in times of trial and rejoicing  •  piano  •  swimming pool  •  family  •  cooking  •  virtual concerts  •  church services  •  books  •  Abby, my puppy  •  being with my family  •  husband, kids and dog  •  extra snuggle time with my kiddo!  •  gardening  •  cats  •  my daughter  •  punk rock  •  prayer  •  my husband (and trying to beat him at checkers)  •   prayers for unified peace for all  •  being able to go to church, even if it’s in the car  •  the way my friends and I share different food  •  my four grandkids!  •  yoga


May you find joy in everyday life, in the smallest of moments


I hope that you are all doing well and coping and hoping. Linda and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary Friday, June 26 quietly, at home. We will defer a full celebration until phase 3 at least. 

June, 1970 — It was the best of times, it was the worst of times – we got married in a hurry (stop that “shotgun” thinking!) because I had gotten drafted. After graduating from college in May, I rented an apartment in Mount Arlington, NJ. We were there (for about a month) when I got “the letter” that I had been drafted and I quickly joined the Marine Corps Reserve, to “escape” two years in the Army and almost certain WestPac orders (= your butt is going to Vietnam). Then, using a World Almanac, Linda, my fiance, noted that in nearby Maryland, you could get married by the County Clerk of Courts without a witness and without a blood test (the good old days of “did the rabbit die”). So off we went to Elkton, MD to apply for a marriage license and then back two days later (after they supposedly did background checks on us, you know, polygamist, already married but not divorced, etc) to wait in line to be married by Andrew Seth, Assistant Clerk of Courts of Cecil County, Maryland. If there ever has been a civil marriage that has been blessed by God, we have it. 

Anyhow, a week later, Linda packed up her stuff and moved back home to 400 Plymouth St. for the 6 months that I would be lollygagging on that resort island off the coast of South Carolina named Parris. In the midst of all of that, I had started my first professional engineering job in East Orange, NJ. Back then, with a military draft in place, there was a federal law that required companies to hold your job for up to two years, so I started all over again with everything in February of 1971, attending Marine Corps Reserve weekend drills at nearby Picatinny Arsenal for the next 5-1/2 years. 

It’s been a good run these past 50 years. What’s your pandemic story?
— John Sharland


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

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.