. . .



July 2022

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.

Message From Our Moderator

By Anne Malmquist


“Where your treasure is, there your heart is also.” (Matthew 6:21)


I grew up in the American Baptist tradition. I was baptized by immersion when I was 13 and joined the church. I’m 13. My father is the minister of the church. A member of the stewardship committee came to my door and made me fill out a pledge card. That is my first memory of Stewardship campaigns. They still make me feel creepy.

However — as your Moderator, on behalf of the Cabinet I have to present to the congregation a budget that again runs a significant deficit. So despite our Old New England sensibilities, we have to talk about it.  

First, there is no diocese or larger church denomination that gives the church money. Many people that were raised in different traditions believe that churches have lots of money that comes from THE CHURCH or some other source and so the church doesn’t really need my money (I feel that way about Boston University when they send me slick postcards asking for donations). Our church runs 100% on donations from church members, fundraisers, and a dwindling endowment fund [see page 2 of the Treasurer’s report on page 15]. We make all of our governance decisions ourselves and we are responsible for the entirety of the running of the organization. It may seem like we have some secret fund because we have run on a deficit budget but that just meant we are depleting our endowment, and we can not continue to do that. I have been surprised when talking to people that a lot of people don’t realize that THE CHURCH does not provide any financial support, but they don’t. In fact, we give money to the UCC conference. 

In the first part of our reading this morning, Jesus tells us we should give alms in secret, and not let the left hand know what the right hand is doing (Matthew 6:3). Far be it for me to question Jesus, but this is not good business advice. Since we make our business decisions together, we need to be transparent about what all the hands are doing. This concept is baked into the Congregational Church tradition. It is why we have clear glass in the windows of the sanctuary. This is why pledging is so important. If we have a commitment of funds we can make better business decisions. Your pledges are not public information and should remain between you and God, but the sum total of pledges are what drives our ability to minister to the communty, and keep our building open.

At this moment in time in our world, talking about church and talking about being a Christian comes with a lot of qualifiers. The concept of church and Christianity has been hijacked by groups that call themselves churches but do not follow any of the teachings of Jesus. 

Several months ago, a student asked me if I was a Christian, and I paused before I answered them. What they were asking me was if I objected to their pink hair and their pronouns and their struggles with mental health issues. I don’t remember exactly what I did say, but what I wish I’d said was that I am a follower of Jesus. 

All of our services begin with the assurance that you are welcome in our church no matter your race, gender, sexual orientation, political persuasion, or immigration status. This is not true for all organizations calling themselves Church. I said earlier that I was raised in the American Baptist tradition. Please do not confuse them with the Southern Baptist Conference that has recently been exposed as engaging in very unChristlike behavior. My Dad was one of the only pastors in the Boston area who was willing to participate as a clergy person in healing services during the AIDS crisis. People were hurting and dying and looking to have their humanity affirmed, the exact people Jesus tells us to minister to, and Churches refused them. And many still do. These are the hypocrites that Jesus refers to in our reading this morning.

And this is why it can feel weird to ask people to donate to church causes. Our church works very hard to follow the teaching of Jesus. If you are hungry, our food pantry will feed you. If you need clothing, the Women’s Guild can hook you up with the best clothing in town. If you are sick, the care team will try to meet your needs, whether it’s a meal, a ride, or the comfort of prayer. 

When I was talking with my friend Kathleen about how much we love this church, she said that at our church “A seat at the table has no wait list, no seating chart, and no dress code.” That truly is who we are. 

So, we are going to have to get creative in the coming months and years with how we use and solicit our resources. Congregational churches are typically located on the town square so that the building can be used as a community center. Every week, many recovery groups use this space to meet and heal. Several scout troops meet here to build character and fellowship. We house the Bridgewater Food Pantry which helps alleviate the hunger of the body and the soul. Julia Scott Carey ministers to us with world-class music and musicians. Rev. Beth provides comfort and strength and leadership not just to our congregation but to the community as well. She is now the longest-serving clergyperson in town and has become a spiritual leader for many people who will never enter this building and for people that we will never see.

Churching already looks different than it did 10 years ago. Our church can be and is a place for the hope and support and fellowship that we are craving and needing. This is a very exciting time and while things can look bleak through one lens, if we change our focus we can see opportunity. This deficit budget doesn’t have to come to fruition. We are not trying to frighten or arm twist, rather we are being transparent about the realities of our needs so that you can prayerfully consider your pledges and other ways to share your time talent and treasure. As Jesus tells us, “where your treasure is, there your heart is also.”(Matthew 6:21)


This was presented this as the CSCC sermon on Sunday, June 12, 2022.


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.




The mask mandate that was reinstated for the month of June, requiring masks at all times inside the church building, has been lifted as of July 1. Masks will now be optional.

NEXT CABINET MEETING is Wednesday, September 21, 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. 




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

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.




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



Thanks to all who helped, shopped, sold, and spread the word about the June Vendor Fair and Pie Sale. The church raised almost $1,300! 


And a huge thank you to all who contributed to the pie & bake sale. Over $500 was collected from all of your generous baked goods! You are all amazing. Thank you again. — Darlene Brown



This summer we celebrate 10 years of ministry from both Minister of Music Julia Scott Carey and our Pastor, Reverend Beth Stotts! We are truly blessed to have both of them in our community providing amazing, engaging worship experiences every week, and for all the work and blessings they offer us the other six days a week. 

Thank you Julia and Rev. Beth for sharing your many gifts with us for 10 years!


The annual budget meeting was held on Sunday, June 12. The proposed 2022-23 budget was approved. To see a copy, CLICK HERE, or contact the church treasurer at treasurer@csccucc.com.



According to Amazon: 

“Desperate for a way to slow down and connect, Kristin put an ordinary picnic table in her front yard, painted it turquoise, and began inviting friends and neighbors to join her. Life changed in her community, and it can change in yours too. Alongside personal and heartwarming stories, Kristin gives you:
• Stress-free ideas for kick-starting your own Turquoise Table
• Simple recipes to take outside and share with others
• Stories from people using Turquoise Tables in their neighborhoods
• Encouragement to overcome barriers that keep you from connecting”

Read this book at your leisure, then join Rev. Beth on Saturday, August 20 at 9:30am to have a lively discussion. All are welcome to participate.



I found this prayer at the end of the most recent One Book, One Community read, “A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka” by Lev Golinkin. Though I saved it for this month’s newsletter article, it takes on a different meaning for me after our budget meeting of June 12, 2022. What are we, the church, trying to do? Why is our future so important? There will be many generations reading this prayer I hope, sharing it at the dinner table. There is a future for all of us that is not our own. One that will be beyond anything we can imagine. No one knows what it will look like, but planning our budget, setting our sights on the Light on the Hill, is setting the groundwork and the foundation for the future of CSCC. It may be literal but my guess is more on the figurative side. It may not be tangible, rather a dream come true. God bless!


Prophets of a Future Not Our Own
The Romero Prayer
It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.

This prayer was composed by the late Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw, drafted for a homily by Cardinal John Dearden in November 1979 for a celebration of departed priests. As a reflection on the anniversary of the martyrdom of Bishop Romero, Bishop Untener included in a reflection book a passage titled “The mystery of the Romero Prayer.” The mystery is that the words of the prayer are commonly attributed to Oscar Romero, but they were never spoken by him. Pope Francis used the “magnificent” prayer in December 2015 in his Christmas address to the Roman Curia.


The confusion seems to have arisen from a major paper on Catholic education given by Westminster’s Cardinal Basil Hume on 6 January 1997 where he quoted the prayer but, for reasons it is now impossible to fathom, misattributed it to Archbishop Romero. His paper was subsequently published in the ‘Briefing’ documentary service on 20 February 1997. The prayer was then picked up by Caritas Internationalis in Rome and CAFOD in London – both of whom included it (together with the misattribution to Archbishop Romero) in materials being used for their strategic planning processes in the run-up to the Millennium Jubilee. Thereafter the beautiful prayer went around the global Church and, not surprisingly, it became known as ‘The Romero Prayer’.


Carol Chaffee
Care Team


PS — Check out the book by Lev Golinkin. A graduate of Boston College, he came to the US as a child refugee from the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkov (now call Kharkiv) in 1990.


CSCC t-shirts, sweatshirts, and hoodies!
Child & adult sizes available. Lots of color choices, too!



Thanks to www.TheHumbleExpression.com for working with us on providing our merchandise for everyone everywhere to choose their favorites!



4th of July Parade, Here We Come!




blessing     noun    bless· ing | \ ‘ble-sing  \
Definition of blessing
1a: the act or words of one that blesses (“say the blessing over the wine”; “priestly blessing”)
b: approval, encouragement (“asked her parents for their blessing before he proposed”)
2: a thing conducive to happiness or welfare (“My daughter is a blessing to me in my old age.”; “Their absence turned out to be a blessing in disguise.”; “Count your blessings.”)
3: grace said at a meal (“He said the blessing before dinner.”)


Our congregation and church building are amazing blessings in our lives. We have a place where a diverse community of people can meet to find solace and healing, and do good works. What happens when we no longer have the physical space that houses our community? How does that question make you feel? What are you picturing when you think of no longer having this sacred and meaningful place in your life? How much of your personal wholeness is made better by the tether, the knowing, that there is a community space that brings you peace? 

At the monthly Cabinet meetings, our treasurer often tells us we’re doing “okay”. By okay, he means that we’re meeting payroll and paying our bills and staying roughly within budget. But our recent budgets have been “deficit budgets”, specifically laying out our financial plan for the year that includes having to draw down our endowments by roughly $40,000 per year to meet expenses. As you might guess, this isn’t something we can do for very much longer. At the same time, we know that our community only has so much to give. We don’t want anyone to feel tapped out or taken advantage of by the church’s realistic financial needs. This is the space I find myself occupying as I navigate my role in stewardship. There is a huge pressure to figure out ways to help our church become financially stable while not overburdening our beloved community members. 

To produce solutions, I have started meeting with various people. Like I’ve said before I want to hear your ideas about what things have worked and what hasn’t and listen to any new plans you might have. Over the course of the summer, I will be rolling out some new ideas and tapping into old ones. In the fall I hope to have a stewardship team in place that has a clear vision. I’m going to be working on getting people to make regular pledges to the church and to increase their pledges if able (see page 7). This helps us plan a realistic budget for the year and reduce the deficit budgets. There will be new fundraising ideas like Church Nerd Merch, a family photo opportunity (see page 5), pop-up bake sales (also see page 5), and more. 

I will need help with all these endeavors. If you feel a pull to stewardship, please contact me. I go to Restoration Coffee after church every Sunday. I’d love to chat with you there. I am happy to meet you for coffee or lunch to talk as well. Please text me at 339-832-0263 or email me at katmosher@comcast.net. I can’t do this by myself and the weight of the financial reality of our church is a lot for me to carry.

There are many ways to both experience and be a blessing. How do you fit in to the future of a thriving church community? What talents, time and tithes do you have to give? We are running out of time. We are running out of money. We are not running out of resources and ideas. We have everything we need to be successful in this endeavor inside of us. I just need some help to make this work.


Kathleen Mosher
CSCC Board of Stewardship


“Blessing.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/blessing.





Big problems can be solved by breaking one problem into many small parts.
We have the opportunity to do just that in a very straightforward way.


The budget for our new financial year beginning July 1, 2022 projects a deficit of $43,000. It is in our power to erase that potential debt. The budget approved is bare bones, no frills. No more can be cut or the lights would go out. While the debt could be solved by taking money from our endowment funds, there is a better way:


 If just 40 people pledged an additional $20 a week for the year -- or made a new pledge for $20 a week or more-- we can wipe that debt to less than $5000.


The Board of Stewardship is asking 40 people to step up. We know we are all paying more for gasoline, food, housing in our personal lives; but can 40 people make room for an extra $20 a week for our church’s well-being?


If you have pledged before, can you increase your pledge? 


If you don’t have a current pledge, or have never pledged before, this is your chance to truly make a difference. 
Won't you be one of the 40 angels helping to raise $40,000?


CLICK HERE for the 40-for$40k pledge form. You can mail it in, drop it in the Sunday collection plate, or scan and email it confidentially to treasurer@csccucc.com


If you prefer to just fill it out online, CLICK HERE.
May the light of Christ shine on you,

Gail Wershing—for Stewardship


Remember, you need not be a member of the church to pledge! All are welcome!




CSCC Cabinet Meeting – Minutes
June 15, 2022 at 7pm


The meeting was called to order at 7:04 by Denise Molinari, Vice Moderator.


Cabinet members in attendance: Denise Molinari, Vice Moderator; David Sheibley, Treasurer; Diane Sheibley, Clerk; Gordon Brailsford, Board of Trustees; Bill O’Neil, Board of Christian Outreach; Kathleen Mosher, Board of Stewardship; Terry Reynolds, History & Memorials Committee; Jane O’Connell, Women’s Guild & Fellowship; Ellen Crawford, Music Committee.
Also present: Gail Wershing


Denise opened the meeting with a prayer.

May Minutes
The meeting minutes from the May meeting were presented and reviewed. Ellen Crawford noted that she was not listed in the “Cabinet members in attendance,” although she was present and noted later in the meeting minutes. Diane apologized and noted the change. Dave Sheibley motioned to accept them as amended; Terry Reynolds seconded. The minutes were approved.


Pastor’s Report – Rev. Beth Stotts (see written report)
Rev. Beth was not present at the meeting but had submitted a written report. People were instructed to direct any questions about it to Rev. Beth via email or phone.


Treasurer’s Report – Dave Sheibley (also see written report)
Dave noted that giving is on track for where it should be on the budget. $43,000 has been taken out of the endowments this fiscal year, and no more is likely to be needed. Dave reported that the proposed 2022-23 budget that Cabinet approved and presented to the congregation was approved at the budget meeting on June 12.


Food Pantry – Bill O’Neil (also see written report)
Bill reported that the Boston Food Bank is resuming providing frozen food, and we will be going back to receiving some from them starting next week. A few new signups for the pantry have happened in recent weeks. They have continued to get frozen foods from Aldi and Stop & Shop, and they continue to buy gift cards for distribution. They’ve spent about $16,000 on gift cards so far this year.

Dave Sheibley noted that on the written report submitted by Jack Melcher, it showed that no cash donations had been received in May, but Dave noted that that was in error. $1,070 was actually received.


Stewardship – Kathleen Mosher and Gail Wershing
Kathleen was pleased to announce that Gail Wershing and Carol Chaffee have both offered to help with the work of Stewardship. Gail announced a new project for Stewardship, that came out of her concern for the new budget and its $43,000 deficit. Stewardship is launching the 40 For $40k Project this Sunday. If 40 people step up and either increase their current pledge by $20 or more a week, or add a pledge for $20 or more a week, that deficit will be erased. The project is on the website, and it was presented. It will be announced in church on Sunday, and will appear in the July Steeple Sounds. It was asked if people could still pledge if they wanted to make payments on a schedule other than weekly (monthly, quarterly, semi-annually), and the answer was yes. The form they fill out asks them to specify what frequency they will be paying on. It was also asked about how many of our members pledge. The ballpark estimate was 50%. 

Kathleen also added that if anyone has any ideas, to please see her. 


Trustees – Gordon Brailsford
Gordon shared the Trustees’ continued concerns over the deed restriction that the town is requiring in order for us to receive the CPC grant for the steeple work. They are concerned that they are only providing funds for the steeple, but the deed restriction will apply to the whole building. They feel that we should get commitments on the other phases of the project before we allow a restriction to be put on the whole building.

They are also concerned about the portion of the deed restriction contract that requires us to do needed maintenance on the building or be in breach of contract; but with our operating budget in a deficit situation, there may be “needed” maintenance that we cannot afford, and then they might want to come after us legally. The town has also not been able to provide us with a grant agreement that meets with our approval, no matter how many times we ask.

The Historical Church Restoration Committee has also discussed seeking out other grants, but they want to be sure we’re ready to move forward with the work. Most grants have a time limit, so once we are awarded one, we have to move forward on that portion of the project. 

The lawyer will be looking over our agreements; once he’s done that, we can go to the congregation to consider them (if he approves).


Other Business
• The Steeple Sounds deadline for the July issue is TODAY (or maybe tomorrow).
• The calendaring of the 2022-23 church year took place at the meeting.
• While Sunday School for the children is confirmed for the Advent, Heifer, and Lent seasons, it was as yet unknown if there would be someone to teach it in September through November.


The meeting adjourned at 8:02pm.



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


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

Minister of Music: Julia Scott Carey 

Director of Video Evangelism: Paul Holmes
Treasurer:  David 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.