Central Square Congregational Church, United Church of Christ

July 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.

From the Desk of Rev. Beth

Rev. Elizabeth Stotts, Pastor


Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it. -Exodus 20:8-11


There is an ancient rabbinical teaching that says that when God created the world, it was incomplete, until on the 7th day, God created something called “menuha.” Menuha translates from Hebrew as serenity, peace, or repose. So on the first day, God separated light from the dark. On the second day, God created the sky. On the third and fourth days God created the dry land, the sun and the moon. On the fifth day God created all the animals, and on the sixth day, God created humanity. So God was pretty busy those first six days. Yet still, after all that, the ancient rabbis say, creation remained unfinished. Only when God created rest and repose was creation finally complete on the 7th day. This is where we get the idea for what we call Sabbath, and it is an integral part of our health and well-being.

I recognize that Sabbath-keeping in the 21st century has its challenges. Our employers may ask us to work on weekends. Our kids have soccer games and dance recitals that sometimes get in the way of Sunday morning worship times. We no longer live in a world where the Christian Sabbath is privileged or given special status. Which means that it is increasingly up to us to be intentional about prioritizing and setting aside Sabbath time. No one is going to enforce that rest upon us. We have to decide for ourselves that it’s worth making it a priority to devote at least some part of our week to the things that are eternal and everlasting over things that are temporal and temporary; to find a time each week to step away from the endless pattern of consumption and production that rules our society – and in the words of Walter Brueggemann – to “break the pattern of our divided hearts in order to embrace our true created nature.”

This summer, I will be taking Sabbath rest and during that time, I’ll be reading a book my friend Kate Rademacher just published called, “Reclaiming Rest: The Promise of Sabbath, Solitude, and Stillness in a Restless World”. If you’re looking for summer reading, maybe you’d like to join me in reading it!  

I hope that all of you will be able to make time for Sabbath rest this summer as well. Whether it’s taking time off from work for a family vacation, or taking time out of the week for worship and prayer here at Central Square Church, may you find ways to experience “menuha” – true serenity and rest.
And as always, come and join us at 10am on Sunday mornings (either in person beginning July 11, or online) for spiritual rest and renewal through worship. Our guest preacher this summer is my dear friend and retired colleague, Rev. Jim Conley. All are truly welcome! Sabbath blessings to all!

In Christ,
Rev. Beth 


In-person worship will RESUME Sunday, July 11*

* Providing unforeseen circumstances in our community and in our state do not arise to make such gatherings unsafe.


We are extremely excited to announce that, barring unforeseen health circumstances in our community, we will be resuming in-person worship on Sunday, July 11! Safety protocols will be in place, and we ask that all those attending be respectful of those protocols and of your fellow attendees, and their comfort levels. There may be limitations on how we are able to participate in the service, and other minor requirements, but we will gather in fellowship once again, and be blessed with live music and Rev. Jim’s worship leadership!


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.


A  quick reminder that Central Square Sunday service can be viewed on BTV Channel 9 on Sundays at 8pm, Mondays at 1pm, Tuesdays at 10am, and Fridays at 3pm. Generally the programming is updated mid-week. Also, if you miss a service or other special programming and would like to watch On Demand or download a copy, you can use the link on the home page of the CSCC website to access past services via YouTube.


Our Online Ministry Continues to be Strong

Paul Holmes, our Minster of Video Evangelism, reported at Cabinet last month that our online viewership continues to be strong, whether live on YouTube or Facebook, or playback on BTV. There have been Sunday worship services with over 100 views, and a lot of great interaction with inspirational Facebook posts, videos, and announcements.

Scheduling notes


• Rev. Beth will be out of the office on sabbatical and vacation June 27-August 7.


• Summer church office hours are Monday - Thursday, 10am - 2pm

Best to call ahead of coming just to double check that we weren't called away.


• Please note the office will be closed MONDAY, JULY 5 in observance of Independence Day.

Welcome Rev. Jim Conley! Rev. Jim will be stepping in as Pastor while Rev. Beth is on vacation and sabbatical during the month of July (and through Aug. 7). If you need pastoral care from Rev. Jim during this time, contact the church office.



At the June Cabinet meeting, the annual calendaring of events took place, for the next program year (beginning July 1). While only time will tell if we are truly able to return to some of our “usual” events, a sense of optimism and hope allowed us to put all of our favorite events on the calendar. 
REMEMBER that all church events, important days, office closures, and building usage are kept up-to-date on the online calendar available at www.csccucc.org (click on “CALENDAR” at the top of the page). 

What was put on the schedule, you may ask?  Here are some examples:
• Annual church meetings
• BSU Alumni Chamber Choir concerts 
• Church Fair
• Special Sunday worship services
• Advent Workshop
• Women’s Guild & Fellowship meetings
• Church crafters meetings
• WG&F Fall & Spring rummage sales
• Cabinet & Board/committee meetings

And so much more! Please visit and check it out, and if you have a meeting or event to add, contact the church office.


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 Rev. Jim, call the church office at 508-697-6016 


CSCC Deacons
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.



With in-person worship resuming in July, we are in need of ushers who are trained in some of the new protocols that we will be observing, and how we can keep things as safe as possible. Please contact the office if you are interested in being a part of this important ministry.


Sharing is Caring

There’s so many ways that you can care,
So many ways that you can be there
For someone, somebody in need.
You can share a treat, or share a toy,
Share a little kindness and joy,
It’s easy to make a difference indeed!

     Sharing is caring, and it isn’t hard to do;
     When you share what you have with someone else,
     It all comes back to you!

You can share a smile, a friendly word,
Give someone a chance to be heard
Who’s lonely and who needs a friend.
You can make the world a better place,
Put a smile on face after face
Start a circle of love that never ends!

     Sharing is caring, and it isn’t hard to do;
     When you share what you have with someone else,
     It all comes back to you!
     Sharing is caring, and it isn’t hard to do;
     When you share what you have with someone else,
     Love comes back to you!

Text and Music by:  Carrie Maxwell Wrigley
© 2003 Morning Light Publishing


Results of the Budget Meeting

A motion was made and approved at the congregational Budget Meeting held on June 13, to amend the proposed 2021-22 budget as follows: to only allow the Johnson Fund to offset music expenses in the amount that the Fund earned in the prior twelve (12) months. No principal will be taken from the Fund for this purpose. Following the approval of that amendment, the budget as otherwise proposed was APPROVED by majority vote.
Visit the church website at: www.csccucc.org for a copy of the proposed (approved) budget.

June 8, 2021


Beloved in Christ,


As many of the state Covid restrictions are being lifted here in Massachusetts we wanted to reach out and share with you how those changes will affect the church.  


• Indoor capacity restrictions have been LIFTED. ALL are welcome in our sanctuary and all groups and in-person committee meetings are welcome to meet. Hybrid meetings are strongly encouraged to allow for accessibility of all God’s people. 

• We are requesting folks to remain masked while in the building, regardless of vaccination status. This is per the recommendation of the CDC to ensure people of all ages are kept safer and healthy.  

• Groups using the building will need to keep a register of attendance and clean thoroughly before leaving. Contact tracing is required and cleaning supplies will be supplied.

• The Church Kitchen will remain closed for the time being. The closure will be re-assessed in September. If groups would like to bring their own prepared food & beverages into the meeting space, they may, but the kitchen is closed. Please “leave no trace” in your meeting space and take your trash with you.

• Singing is permitted while seated and masked. This will allow us to worship fully while also reducing the spread of air droplets which may carry Covid and other airborne illnesses. 

• Individual, pre-packaged, gluten-free Communion elements will be available for worship. There is no plan to return to communion by intinction at this time. 

• Online worship will continue indefinitely. Thanks to the ministry of Paul Holmes, our Director of Video Evangelism, worship will continue to reach far and wide through Facebook Live, YouTube, and BTV.  

We look forward to welcoming you back to the building for worship, meetings, and upcoming activities!  And as always, thank you for continuing to BE THE CHURCH!

In Christ,
Rev. Beth Stotts and The Board of Trustees


We have 10 Bee Love Fellows here at CSCC working on our bee project led by Rev. Beth, ranging in age from 3 to 62, both male and females, and both church members and other members of the community. So what have they been up to?

• We have planted bee balm and other bee-friendly plants under the church sign, added lush soil, and have been taking turns coming to the church to water the plants.
• We built a bee bath and put it under the tree out front. 
• We spent one rainy afternoon painting rocks with brightly designed, bee-attracting colors to place them in the bee bath.
• We have each been doing our own research and are sharing our research with one another.
• We put up two bee condos out front, one in the bushes and one under the sign.  We have noticed that we have one bee who has taken up residence in the condo so far!
• Our third bee condo (which we received as a part of a grant from the Bee Conservancy) arrived in mid-June and we built it and put it outside as well.


Our History Through the Recipes of Many Cookbooks


 The church cookbook is present throughout our history at Central Square Congregational Church. I have 4 cookbooks that were major fundraisers for our church, either through the fair, the guild, etc.

Included here among the cookbook covers is the forward written from what I believe to be the oldest cookbook I have which has no cover, but dates itself by the forward written by our minister at the time, Rev. James D. MacLauchlin, who was pastor during my formative years of adolescence and teens.
— Carol Chaffee

200 Years: Go East, Young Woman!

The Central Square Congregational Church choir was small in the late 1950s. Then the group experienced an influx of about four Bridgewater State University students. They were welcomed and at least one of them is still a member of this congregation.

Phoebe Hogg came from western Massachusetts town of Lee near the New York border to Bridgewater State to train to be a teacher at the then-named Training School founded by Horace Mann in 1840. She, her roommate, and a couple of other young female students had been active in their individual hometown church choirs. In Bridgewater they made their way across the Square and asked to join our choir. 

Her ties to this church deepened over the next few years. She trained at the Burnell Elementary School on campus with the first grade as her assignment. Tasked with finding a field trip for the children, she followed the suggestion of the principal to check out a farm up the street. Walking the grounds with the young farmer, she noticed the machinery was red, International Harvester. Wrong color. Her father back in Lee sold John Deere. Green machinery. Uh-oh. 

Nevertheless, the farmer was impressed with her familiarity with the machines. Their talk turned to other matters, including church. Seems George Hogg’s family, having come to the US from Scotland a few years earlier, were members. And young George Hogg was soon attending more regularly. The Reverend Mayhew married them at Phoebe’s home church in Lee and back to Bridgewater and CSCC they came.

It was the early days here for the Heifer Project and live animals were donated. Phoebe recalls a calf being boarded for a bit in the Hogg farm barn. It went to Spain as the project continued, she recalls.

Thank you, Phoebe, for sharing your early experiences for our 200th Anniversary year celebration.


Did You Know...

•  1871: a pipe organ was purchased from the Wm. B.D. Simmons Co. in Boston
•  1866: Rev. Walcott Fay’s annual salary was $1,400. Payable quarterly on the 15th of January, April, July, and October. His contract allowed him 4 Sabbath days off as vacation.
•  Late 1800s: Annual meetings were held in January on a Tuesday night at 8:00pm, following a church supper prepared by the women.
•  Annual meetings could not be held on Sundays because there were three church services to attend every Sunday.
•  Statistics from the 1888 annual meeting: attendance (135); membership (235); officers (5); teachers (11); main school (91); bible class (27); infant class (11).
•  1862-1883: In the new church, pew rental was offered at $4-$50 per year depending on pew size and location.
•  1883: Pledges began (in addition to pew rental).
•  1894: A Deacon’s term of office was 5 years and they were voted on by ballot at special meetings.
•  1902: The annual salary for the Rev. Charles E. Stow was increased from $1,400 to $1,500 and a parsonage was purchased as his residence or the equivalent of $300 (annually) should he live elsewhere. 

•  1904: Committees were added: Music, Temperance, Missionary, and Historical.
•  1917: A system of securing pledges from every member went into effect.
•  1935: We replaced the pipe organ with a Hammond organ, a gift from the Jenkins family. The original organ was sold to a church in Connecticut and restored.
•  1971: The Hammond organ was sold for $2,000 and we acquired the small Esteys organ.


Thank you to Barbara Morey for submitting this information, originally compiled as a retrospective in honor of our 175th anniversary. More “Did you know” fun facts to follow in future Steeple Sounds!




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


CSCC Cabinet Meeting – Minutes
June 16, 2021, 7pm (in person)

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 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; Barbara Morey (via zoom) & Terry Reynolds, History & Memorials Committee; Bette deKoning, Women’s Guild & Fellowship; Mike Bundock, Growth Committee; Ellen Crawford, Music Committee

Also present: Carol Chaffee, Food Pantry Liaison; Deborah Lancaster, Congregational Administrator


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


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


May Meeting Minutes
The minutes from the May meeting were reviewed. Denise Molinari motioned to accept the minutes. Terry Reynolds seconded. The minutes were approved without any changes.


Pastor’s Report – Rev. Beth Stotts [see printed report]
Rev. Beth reported that she was scheduled to give the opening speech at the upcoming Juneteenth celebration in town. She also noted that there has been much pastoral care recently, and that there is a lot of anxiety related to things opening back up in our society. She encourages us all to center ourselves with Christ; to breathe; be gentle with ourselves and with others; and not to be afraid to say “no”. In addition to pastoral care, the prior month has also been focused on the preparations for reopening the church building. Rev. Beth also gave a brief summary about the Bee Fellowship Project, and her preparations for going on sabbatical next month.


Online Viewership – Rev. Beth Stotts [see printed report]
Rev. Beth called our attention to the handout provided by Paul Holmes regarding the viewership of our online streaming worship services. There are three platforms we utilize: YouTube, Facebook Live, and BTV. The numbers are phenomenal, often over 200 views. Remember, too, that each “view” is often more than one person, or a whole family.  
Treasurer’s Report – David Sheibley [see printed report]
Dave reported that we’re doing OK, a little better than projected. He noted that the money we are having to take out of the endowments for this year has been all earnings, as the stock market has been strong. It may not always be that way, however. 
    The golf tournament was briefly discussed, and it was noted that pulling one together for this summer is probably not feasible. This is unfortunate as it is a substantial line item under “income”. But maybe we can hold one next spring, perhaps May or June to keep it within the next fiscal year.
    Anne reminded people that if they have a fundraiser idea (small or large), they shouldn’t hesitate to suggest it.


Congregational Administrator Report – Deborah Lancaster [see printed report]
Deborah reported that there is a lot to do day to day. She helps people making donations to the food pantry. She’s been reaching out to previous building users with the new reopening guidelines and building availability, with a good rate of response. She’s asking them to fill out new applications with their needs and current contact info. She made sure Rev. Jim got keys to the building. She also worked on getting all the calendar requests input into the online calendar in preparation for tonight’s meeting. She noted that she will check email and voicemail on Fridays while the office is closed, from home.


Food Pantry Report – Carol Chaffee
Carol reported that things are running as normal, and attendance has dropped off a bit. Bill noted that attendance at the St. Thomas pantry is down some as well.


Historical Church Building Committee Report – Barbara Morey
Regarding the deed restriction: it has come back from the town with some comments and minor changes they want; it now needs to go to Brian Pfeiffer to review/incorporate. He is going to bill us for another $4-5,000, but it will be reimbursable by the town. After that, Trustees, Moderator, and building committee will review it, then it needs to go to the Mass Historical Commission. Then it goes back to the CPC. After that it gets filed (by the church attorney?) with Plymouth County. It seems it will be well into the Fall before it’s all done.


200th Anniversary
It was suggested that we have a banquet to cap off our anniversary year. We could open the time capsule. Maybe go to a restaurant, with folks paying their own meals? 


New Building Use Guidelines – Trustees [see printed report]
The new guidelines were reviewed. The kitchen was asked about since it wasn’t noted in the guidelines. It was decided that the kitchen is still closed for all uses until further notice. It was also noted that the floor still needs to be repaired.
    The kitchen use will be reassessed in September. The food policy while the kitchen is closed: if groups want to bring in prepared food or beverages into their meeting space, that’s OK. Deborah will confirm with outside groups that this is the policy. It was also decided that groups should “leave no trace” in their meeting space, so needed to clean up and take their trash with them.


The balance of the meeting was spent adding and discussing events and meetings onto the church calendar for the coming program year. 


The meeting closed in prayer at 8:55pm. The next Cabinet meeting is scheduled for September 15.



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.