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Central Square Congregational Church, United Church of Christ



March 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.

From the Desk of Rev. Beth

Rev. Elizabeth Stotts, Pastor



Since the fourth century, Christians have prepared for Easter with a season of spiritual examination and repentance. This season typically includes the willingness to take on some spiritual discipline, whether that be fasting or increased time for prayer or Scripture or acts of mercy. We have come to know this season as Lent, and it begins this year on Wednesday, March 2 with Ash Wednesday. So, it seems a fitting time to invite you on this journey of Lent once more.


I recently came across a blog post called “Lent: Deconstructing into Wholeness.” This understanding of Lent as a time to deconstruct ourselves so that we might be made whole in God really resonated for me. Lent calls us into a time when we let go of our pretenses and posturing, to take off the masks we wear, and to get real with God. The author shared some observations about Lent, some of which I will share with you here:


• Lent: It’s time to get real with God, to fast, pray, weep, morn…to let go and let God be God in our lives.
• Lent is the season we die to our hopes, our dreams, and our agendas, to empty ourselves out that we might be filled with new life, see with new eyes, live with a whole heart, filled with God’s strength to live an abundant life.
• Lent is the season where we might be laid bare to God’s grace, mercy, and light. We are naked before God.
• Lent is the season for spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical detox.
• Lent is dying before we die, so that we might live.


So why take on a spiritual practice or give something up for Lent? I don’t think the purpose is to see if we can live without chocolate for 40 days. It is an opportunity to make room for something new. To make room for a deeper connection to God. To return to God with our whole hearts. To quiet the noise so that we might perceive the invitations God extends to us — invitations to a life that is bigger than our own existence. If we truly take on this call of Lent, it can be a vulnerable time. It is in that vulnerability, that we can turn and re-turn to God and rest in the trust that God will hold us and walk with us when our defenses are down. I hope you will join us for the many opportunities to worship together this Lent.

May this season of Lent be a blessing to each of you.


With Peace,
Rev. Beth

In-person worship is back!

Beginning Ash Wednesday, March 2 at 7pm, and on Sundays beginning March 6, at 10am.



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.


Church office hours are Monday - Friday, 10am - 2pm


Beginning Sunday, March 6

Join Rev. Beth on the first Sunday of each month, in person, for Communion, Community, and Spiritual Growth at 6pm.
Sharing communion, a Bible story, having some discussion, possibly doing a craft or activity. All ages encouraged and welcome. Meet in Fellowship Hall.


Beginning Wednesday, March 9

Join Rev. Beth for a Lenten Contemplative Prayer & Meditation at 7pm in the Sanctuary, and all Wednesdays in March.


Next Cabinet meeting is Wednesday, March 16, 7pm

at the church

Monthly meetings of the church leadership are currently being held either via Zoom or in the Fellowship Hall, at the discretion of the Moderator. All church members are also welcome to attend. Mask and social distancing protocols are observed for in-person meetings.



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. 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.



Our own Cameron Shave recently had an opportunity to chat one-on-one with Keith Lockhart, conductor of the Boston Pops and a longtime inspiration for Cam, following a couple of music clinics Lockhart was leading for Cam and his fellow high school musicians.




I loved my church!! I had been a member for 40 years. My husband and our family chose that church as our church home. We served on committees, as deacons, participated in group activities, and acted in “The Boar’s Head Festival”, a city-wide event. Our children bonded with ministers and developed life-long friendships.
The issue was, I had not attended that church in 10 years because I’d moved to another city. I missed it and did my best to stay connected, but it just wasn’t the same.

Then as a result of changing life circumstances, I found CSCC-UCC. True, my daughter is the minister there, and she counseled me that the church is not the minister. Your church, now my church, was different than my earlier church. Yes, my earlier church was already ONA; it used inclusive language; and it was very large. All members were involved in decisions and activities—all members. And CSCC was in a part of the country where I’d never lived. Thus, there were so many factors to consider.

BUT, when I started attending, both in person and on-line, I was welcomed with warm, open arms. It felt familiar, that feeling of caring about one another and the church itself. I have made many new friends, true friends at my new church.

And when I was asked, why are you changing and becoming a member of CSCC-UCC when you don’t even live here, I said it is a feeling of gathering of spirits that I care for too. Your church, now my church, cares about members and visitors, community, and the grander realm of spirit in the world.  
I will always be thankful for those who have taken me in. Now this is truly my church home.  I hope you feel it too.

Kay E Wheeler
Sylva, North Carolina

The Women's Guild and Fellowship will be joining Rev. Beth at the Ash Wednesday Lenten Service to be held in the sanctuary (in person!) on Wednesday, March 2 at 7:00 p.m. Masks required! 

Our business meeting will precede the church service beginning at 6:00 p.m. in Fellowship Hall. 

At this meeting we will be collecting socks, lap blankets, hats, puzzles, cards, and lotion for residents at the Bridgewater Nursing Home. 

Please keep Women's Guild in mind as you begin to Spring clean — our rummage/yard sale is on Saturday, April 9 and we need your items! Please do not bring anything for the sale to the church until Deborah lets you know when — watch your Monday church emails and Facebook. 

Please come and join us for our Wednesday April 6 meeting which will feature Beth Basler and her beautiful slides of national parks. We will finalize our plans for our annual banquet in May at this time.

Sandy Alley and Bette de Koning, 


An Interview with Patty Kogut

We invite you to watch this interview by our Executive Conference Minister, Rev. Darrell L. Goodwin, with our own Rev. Dr. Patty Kogut, formerly of the North Congregational Church UCC in Middleboro, and currently the Area Minister for the Southeast Region of our conference.

It’s wonderful that we have the ability to listen to what our conference leaders have to say, in their own words, and in conversation. Visit www.sneucc.org to find other informative interviews, to sign up for one or more of their email newsletters, or to just find news of our conference. 

Here’s the link to the interview: https://www.sneucc.org/newsdetail/god-talks-interview-with-rev-dr-patty-kogut-15864085


For those of you that knew former CSCC pastor Tim Benson, here is a recent article about him.





The word home can mean many things. It may be the place you live, the face of a loved one, a memory of something from long ago, a line from your favorite poem, or a show you love to binge watch.  It can be a mix of all these things.  

I think one of the most important roles of Stewardship is making sure our congregation has a safe and welcoming physical location to gather. Technically, we don’t actually need a place like this. The pandemic has shown us that we can still be linked via email, social media and zoom. Our hearts and prayers can be united even if we can’t be. However, and I am sure I am not the only one, I love having a physical place to spiritually nest. I love that I am surrounded by all of you when I am here. I love the feeling of being rooted to a truth bigger than us. I love the stained-glass windows that speak of others who have come before. I love seeing the babies that will hold our church in their hands when they are grown. 

We need to work together to make sure we have a place to keep the food pantry, scout meetings, choir practices and all the other forms of showing by doing that we participate in. It isn’t just about a building. It also isn’t about an end to the work at hand. I see Stewardship as a living and breathing entity. One that is just as vital as watching our congregation grow and change and evolve. We need to ensure that our church remains a vital and real force for today and into the future. 

Many of us have the memory of our favorite home. The place that formed us and where we felt safest. Some of us still have that place physically. Our building is our place of spiritual safety. Sometimes the walls may seem too confining, and we need to step away. Some of us may need to find a new home. Sometimes we find we need to come back. Some of us have never felt the need to leave.  Stewardship ensures that no matter how you’re grappling with your spiritual relationship to a physical place, our building will always be here. Home.

Kathleen Mosher

The ABC of Caring for Your Church Family:
Loving one another and caring for each other in our church communities 

an excerpt from Growing Faith, a ministry of Youthworks, written by Katherine Rivers


You’ve just settled into a comfy chair with your Bible open on your lap and a hot drink. The Bible study gets started and everyone is getting into the discussion. The door bangs and in comes the last member of the group. She sits down and hurriedly apologizes for her lateness. You realize she is barely holding it together; her eyes are red and swollen, her hands are shaking. The atmosphere of the room shifts from warm and comfortable to decidedly uncomfortable, charged with silent emotion. Do you:    

a) Ignore the emotion and go on with Bible study,
b) Offer a tissue and quick rub on the back and promise time to share prayer points at the end,
c) Ask what’s wrong and when she politely demurs, breathe a silent sigh of relief and get on with the study or
d) Acknowledge her emotion and gently give her permission to share, or
e) Some other combination of responses.


It’s hard to know what is the right choice isn’t it? It depends on so many variables and details. We aren’t in the realm of right or wrong here but wisdom, though our choice will definitely prove to have either helpful or harmful consequences. But there is no command in the Bible saying, ‘You should let each other cry even when you arrive late to Bible study’. Jesus does command us to love one another (John 13:35). We know from his example that love is servant-hearted, generous and truthful. But it’s so hard to know what that really looks like in our everyday lives; days filled with washing up, dirty laundry, endless car trips to school or sport, another meal to prepare, serve, clean up after.

Here are a few things I’ve learned about caring for each other in our church communities. My ABC of loving others.


A is for being alongside.

There is no pride or sense that anyone is better than anyone else. We all have a long way to go, and will have successes and failures on the way. I can’t give all the answers, nor can I take away your suffering. But I can point to Jesus, and journey beside you as we look to him, and that sometimes means sitting beside you as you cry. Just being there and listening. Sometimes, with the little things that trouble us, having a friend who listens and acknowledges the pain is enough to help us face the world with renewed strength, knowing we aren’t alone.


B is for Bible.
God’s words are better than ours. Sometimes, after a lot of listening, there is a question or invitation to share our thoughts. Some great phrases to keep in mind are, ‘I will think about that more and get back to you’ or ‘I’m not sure, can I think about it a bit more?’. But when we do eventually speak, using the Bible is more powerful and effective than our own thoughts and views. This also guides us as we seek to guide others - if you can’t find the advice you want to give in the Bible, don’t give it with more authority than it deserves. We might be convinced we know what’s best, but we know that God sees and knows everything. Knowing the Bible well reminds us of our place as children of the most powerful and loving heavenly Father.


C is for compassion.
Often it is a lack of compassion that drives our responses of ignoring another’s pain or avoiding that difficult conversation. If this is the third time that Bible study has been interrupted by the same friend dissolving into tears, your patience might run short. Only by remembering the gospel of grace, God’s immeasurable compassion for us will enable us to be compassionate to others. But don’t try to generate compassion within yourself - ask God to change your heart!

So, you might be wondering if I’m going to tell you the answer to the dilemma of tears in Bible study. Nope. Sometimes (d) might be the right response, sometimes it might be (b) or some other combination that takes into account how well you know your distressed friend, her history, and so much more. I do hope you will be encouraged that loving one another doesn’t mean having all the answers or the right words straight away, but rather being willing to be there for the downs as well as the ups with a humble and compassionate heart. 


I am not taking any credit for this article but I did feel it was worthy for submission.

Carol Chaffee

Care Team

CLICK HERE for the "Lenten Micro Practices" booklet that accompanies the above calendar. If you're a CSCC member, also watch your mail for a copy. If you don't receive one in the mail by 3/4 and would like one, contact the church office at 508.697.6016 or office@csccucc.com.

Lenten Book Study, Saturday, April 2

With dry wit and unflinching honesty, Kate Bowler grapples with her cancer diagnosis, her ambition, and her faith as she tries to come to terms with her limitations in a culture that says anything is possible. She finds that we need one another if we’re going to tell the truth: Life is beautiful and terrible, full of hope and despair and everything in between—and there’s no cure for being human.

Join Rev. Beth at 9am on Saturday, April 2 at Restoration Coffee (on the common in Bridgewater) for a discussion of “No Cure For Being Human”.




CSCC Cabinet Meeting – Minutes
February 16, 2022 at 7pm, via Zoom

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 by Anne Malmquist, Moderator.


Cabinet members in attendance: Rev. Beth Stotts, Pastor; Anne Malmquist, Moderator; Jae Stotts, Board of Deacons; Gordon Brailsford & Ed Buckland, Board of Trustees; Barbara Morey & Terry Reynolds, History & Memorials Committee; Ellen Crawford, Music Committee.
Also present: Deborah Lancaster, Congregational Administrator


Rev. Beth opened the meeting with a prayer.


Pastor’s Report [also see written report] – Rev. Beth Stotts
There has been lots of pastoral care, and lots of planning for Lent.


Treasurer’s Report [see financials]   


Board of Deacons – Jae Stotts
Jae reported that the Deacons are preparing an all-church mailing to go out next week with Lenten materials. The theme is “Returning”. (Returning to God, Returning to the Building, Returning to Each Other)


Congregational Administrator’s Report [also see written report] – Deborah Lancaster
Deborah reported that she has been spending much of her time preparing the annual report. She thanks Rev. Beth and Diane for their help in getting it all put together.


Food Pantry Report [see written report]  
Food Pantry report was discussed. A new freezer was purchased and the old freezer was donated. 


Board of Trustees – Gordon Brailsford
Gordon reported on the ceiling in the sanctuary. Plasterers have begun their work. Scaffolding is up. Rev. Beth put a video of the scaffolding up on the church Facebook page so people could see just how extensive it is. The main segment is 4 feet by 16 feet, but there are several patches that need to be fixed. Gordon and the plaster company did a fantastic job working with the insurance company, though we’re not sure if we’ll receive any help from the m yet.
Barbara reported that she has a person to do the louvers. The DAR grant needs to be used by April or we lose it. Chris Burgess from Steeple Jack has promised that he will remove a louver, take it to his shop, and make 4. Bridgewater Historical Commission has approved the changes. $10,000 includes louvers, re-glazing of the windows, and painting.  

Rich is on vacation and Gordon has offered to take out the trash while he’s away. Furnaces went out two times in the past week. Oil company has been in and took care of the electrical issues that had caused the issue. We’re going to have to keep in mind that eventually, sometime soon, we’ll need to make some major fixes to the boiler.  

Deborah sent a letter to all of the groups that meet in the building with the church’s emergency contact info should they ever need to report an issue.


Historical Church Building Committee – Barbara Morey
Barbara updated about progress on the deed restriction. In one part it goes over the boundaries of the church. If we are challenged on our boundaries, we’d have to get a lawyer, a surveyor, and it would extend the process even further. Barbara is going to ask the CPC about beginning the application process for Phases 2 & 3. 
Rev. Beth asked if the requirements of the Deed Restriction are the same as the requirements of us being in a Historical District. Barbara said yes.

Gordon shared some concerns with the deed restriction. Weren’t we supposed to get a grant approval letter? Barbara has asked for it about 14 times from the town/CPC. The deed restriction restricts the use of the church. It also requires 100% insurance with no deductible. We can’t afford that. The town can give the deed restriction to the state or to a national organization. If something happens and we have to sell the church, it has to be approved by the town.  


New Business
• Ed reported that updates about masking and distancing for the church will be in alignment with the state and local recommendations. We will defer to Julia on singing recommendations.
• Rev. Beth talked about keeping attendance and contact tracing. What is this going to look like now that we have such a strong hybrid worship community? Deacons will have to talk about it. 
• Ed has taken on updating the food permit. Deborah will be in contact with Tom Struzik.
• Ellen had an idea that for Julia’s 10 year anniversary – we could take up a collection to make a group donation to Juventas New Music Ensemble in her honor. Deborah said we should get her a plaque or a Paul Revere bowl.  
• Gordon worked on the computer that makes the bells work. The power outages have messed it up. They work now.
• Steeple sounds articles are due NOW.

Next month’s meeting is March 16 at 7pm at the church. Rev. Beth will be leading a prayer service and won’t be in attendance next month.


Rev. Beth closed the meeting in prayer at 8:05.



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)

Instagram: @centralsquarechurch 

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