Central Square Congregational Church, United Church of Christ

Steeple Sounds

May 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.

CSCC Shines Its Spotlights on:

Rich Sullivan, Sexton Extraordinaire!



How does our trusty sexton spend his quarantine time? Alone… but busy busy busy taking the opportunity of an empty building to do some serious cleaning and maintenance. HUGE shout out to Rich, as he deep cleans, repairs, and paints all the different spaces within our church building. Spaces that, given the amount of use our building gets, aren’t ever vacant for long enough to do some much needed facelifting.  


From the Desk of Rev. Beth

Rev. Elizabeth Stotts, Pastor



Have you ever done that time management exercise where you take a bunch of stuff and try to cram it into a jar? You have some big rocks, some pebbles, some sand, and some water. The goal is to get as many things into the jar as possible and the trick is to put the BIG STUFF in first. If you put the water in and then the sand and then the pebbles and then the rocks it won’t work very well. But if you put in the rocks and THEN the pebbles (and give it a little shake-shake-shake) and then the sand (shake-shake-shake) and FINALLY the water...well, the water runs down into the crevices and you can fit more in.

I’ve been thinking about this analogy a lot these past few weeks while trying to adjust to the massive changes in every area of my life during the COVID-19 pandemic. “What are the big rocks for today?” I think. Not just in terms of time management, but in terms of “what really matters here?” What is the very essence of Being the Church together? What are the parts of being a pastor and leader that are absolutely essential? What are the components of being a parent, partner, friend, human that I cannot let slip?

Incidentally, I feel like I’m doing pretty good these days if I can identify and hold on to a couple of the BIG ROCKS. I’m attempting to let the pebbles, sand, and water fall completely off my radar screen.

This is a time for focusing on essentials. For the Church that looks like loving God and loving our neighbor as ourselves. I’ve long said that if we take that charge seriously we’ll find that Jesus has given us our marching orders for every single day of our lives.Loving God and loving our neighbor as ourselves looks different when the circumstances change, but the commandment stays steady. It’s the Big Rock of our faith.

In the midst of all these changes, our church leaders have continued to work steadily behind the scenes. Even before COVID-19 we were asking ourselves “what are the Big Rocks for CSCC?” What are the values that guide us? How do we want to be together and do our work together? What are the most critically important parts of our shared ministry that are absolutely essential?

Turns out it’s helpful that we’ve already had those conversations because when we find ourselves in a place where the Big Rocks are the only things we have room for, there is clarity around how we can spend our limited time and energy in the midst of a crisis.

Friends, if you’ve not already done so, I invite you to set aside 15-20 minutes sometime this week to have that Big Rocks chat with yourself and with God. Light a candle, center your breath. Find a quiet space where you can connect with God. And then start to think through the different roles you play in your life...your identity with family and friends, your professional or volunteer work. Don’t forget to make space for pondering what it means to be human and a Beloved Child of God. And then sit with God and ask for some clarity as you try to discern what the Big Rocks are. What are the absolute essentials? Write them down, tuck them away where you can find them later, and revise as needed. But when you start to feel overwhelmed or like there’s not quite enough of you to go around, go back to the Big Rocks. Focus on only those. And know that God goes with you – sustaining you when you’re weary, picking you up off the floor when you have to get back up, showing you so much gentle grace when things don’t go as planned. You are not alone. You continue to do this very hard work of being human with God’s help, God’s grace, God’s love coursing through your veins.


In Christ,

Rev. Beth, csccpastor@hotmail.com, 508-697-6016


Closed until June 1

Updated April 25, 2020


Dear Friends,

As this difficult pandemic continues to affect our world, the leadership of Central Square Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, at the recommendation of the Southern New England Conference, has extended the church building closure until June 1.


For the month of May,  we will continue to offer worship exclusively online. Our small groups, Bible studies, boards, committees, task forces – anything for which you would normally come to 71 Central Square – will continue to be conducted “virtually”. Throughout this period, and at the end of it, we will be reassessing the situation, and making any further scheduling adjustments as soon as it is practical.


•  Use the link on the homepage of www.csccucc.com 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.  


•  Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at noon, visit our Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/csccuccbridgewaterma/ - to engage in a live, interactive prayer session led by Rev. Beth.


•  All building users can no longer meet at Central Square Church until the precautionary closure is lifted, with the only exception being the Bridgewater Food Pantry, with procedures put in place to protect its visitors and staff.
•  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        
   Diane Sheibley, Vice Moderator  

   David Sheibley, Treasurer

   Ed Buckland, Board of Trustees

   Deb Sorgman, Board of Deacons 

• Central Square Congregational Church, UCC: www.csccucc.org
• Center for Disease Control Guidelines: www.cdc.gov
• World Health Organization Guidelines: www.who.int


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. Beth, call the church office at 508-697-6016* or email her at csccpastor @ hotmail.com.
* the church phone is being answered remotely during the shutdown

CSCC Deacons
Deb Sorgman – debsorgman @ gmail.com
Diane Glass – dglass260 @ gmail.com
Lynn Pietras – lsypie @ aol.com

CSCC Care Team
CentralSquareCareTeam @ gmail.com
Carol Chaffee
Diane Glass
Phoebe Hogg
Bev Mitchell

John Scott

Rev. Beth Stotts



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).


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 Central Square Congregational Church, 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. Per Gov. Baker's guidelines, the Bridgewater Food Pantry is considered essential, so it will remain open for the forseeable future.

Per Jack Melcher, food pantry director, precautions have been put in place so that patrons will not come in contact with each other during their visit. If you know someone who frequents the pantry and may not have access to this information, please let them know. If you have lost your job or have kids at home from school and need some assistance with food, please 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.


Live-stream Recital by Julia Scott Carey : May 13


I am honored and excited to announce my next program for the “Stay Home with Juventas” concert series, to be live-streamed on Facebook at 8pm on May 13th. As this performance falls on the Wednesday after Mother’s Day, the program is based on the theme of motherhood.

While Mother’s Day is traditionally associated with flowers, greeting cards, and fancy brunches, the holiday can be more emotionally complicated for many people, especially this year, when so many people are separated from their mothers, unsure of when they will meet again. My own mother passed away on the eve of Mother’s Day nine years ago, and I will be playing in her honor.

The program opens and closes with two different arrangements of the moving African American spiritual “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child.” Following the first version of this spiritual, I will play a paraphrase of the most famous lullaby ever written, Brahms’ “Wiegenlied,” by Russian composer and pianist Eduard Schütt. This is a dramatically virtuosic work, which captures the spirit of the original Brahms and makes it into something strikingly novel.

Amy Beach’s “Cradle Song of a Lonely Mother” is a much darker lullaby than that of Brahms, capturing the loneliness of new motherhood with a thorny and dark chromaticism. Amy Beach was one of the most important composers in Boston’s history. Her “Gaelic Symphony,” premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, was the first symphony composed and published by an American woman.

Grieg’s “Grandmother’s Minuet” is the most lighthearted piece on the program, a charming memento to our mother’s mothers.

Dalit Warshaw is a composer currently living in Boston, whom I have had the privilege of working with in past Juventas concerts. She sent me her piece “First Love Song” (inspired by the first time her toddler son told her he loved her) after my first live-streamed Juventas concert. She thought I would like it, and she was right, because this piece is what inspired me to play a Mother’s Day concert. (Also, her son’s name is Dorian, and her piece features a central theme in the Dorian mode, which begins with an A minor chord and then a D major chord, and major IV chords in a minor key are my single favorite sound in all of harmony).

Carson Cooman, another living Boston-based composer, wrote his piece “Cantus II” in memory of my mother, and I performed it once before, at my mother’s memorial concert. It’s a hauntingly evocative work which builds to a passionate climax.

I hope you’ll be able to join us on the 13th. It would be an enormous honor for me to have a large virtual audience. Follow Juventas New Music Ensemble on Facebook to get a notification on the evening of the concert, or go to this link: https://www.juventasmusic.org/stay-home-with-juventas.html


A Vaughan Williams Celebration : May 31, 10am

Please join Central Square Congregational Church for a special music service, as we celebrate the British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. Vaughan Williams is the single most represented composer in our hymnal (with twenty hymns to his name), and his hymn tunes and harmonizations speak to numerous people on a spiritual level across many different nationalities and denominations. Baritone Chris Weigel will perform Vaughan Williams’ work “Five Mystical Songs.” The worship service will include other hymns by Vaughan Williams, and we will also be joined by ten-year-old vocalist Cristianna Ciaramitaro. The service will be led by Reverend Elizabeth Stotts and Minister of Music Julia Scott Carey, with videography by Paul Holmes. As our building will still be closed to the public, this service will be live-streamed on Facebook and YouTube.

Immediately following our worship service, you are welcome to join us (through Zoom) for “Score Club,” our church’s music version of a book club, in which we study and discuss a piece of music through its score and recording. We will continue our celebration of Vaughan Williams by discussing his gorgeous piece “Dona Nobis Pacem.” Please send Julia Carey an email (juliascottcarey @ gmail.com) or Facebook message if you are interested in participating in Score Club, and you will be emailed a Zoom invitation, as well as a link to a score and recording of Dona Nobis Pacem. All are welcome to join us for Score Club, even if you are not a member of our church, and even if you do not have any experience studying or reading music. We would love to have your voice added to our discussion! Chris Weigel will be participating in Score Club, and he has previously performed Dona Nobis Pacem, so it will be particularly special to hear his thoughts.


Olde Scotland Links


For the time being, the Golf Tournment is still scheduled to be held on July 17. Of course, many factors may affect the ability to hold it at all, hold it with adjustments in format, or hold it at a future date. As the time draws closer, we will be reviewing options and updating the information as needed.

Until a postponement or possible cancellation is firmed up, we’ll proceed (cautiously optimistically) as if it will be held on the original date. Remember that this is an important fundraiser for CSCC, and we need it now more than ever. It’s never too early to start thinking of ways we can each contribute to making this our most successful tournament yet. If we are able to safely and comfortably hold it, what a wonderful celebration of being back together and enjoying nature it will be!


Rev. Beth's Sabbatical

In parish ministry, for a three-month period every seven years, pastors step away from the persistent obligations of daily parish life to engage in a period of renewal and reflection, for drinking again from God’s life-giving waters. In talking with Rev. Beth back in 2019, the Deacons discerned that it would be best for the congregation if she took one month of sabbatical every year for three consecutive years. In the summer of 2019 (the end of her seventh year), she took one month of sabbatical to study yoga and meditation, and to visit her family in California. While she was away, we welcomed the retired Rev. Jim Conley (a friend and colleague of Rev. Beth) into our community. He served as our sabbatical pastor for the month of July. This summer, we will be doing the same thing. While Rev. Beth is away for her second month of sabbatical, Rev. Jim will be serving our community again. We are very excited for Rev. Beth to have this period of renewal and for Rev. Jim to join us.




While the SoulFest music festival organizers cautiously move forward with their plans for SoulFest this summer, they’re grateful that their dates of Aug 6-8 fall outside of the stay-at-home restrictions and projected peak date for the virus. They continue to talk with Gunstock Mountain Resort, church leaders, booking agents, and follow all federal & coalition state updates with each step forward.

To get a taste of the music to be presented at Soulfest, Fridays at 7pm, you can get an early preview of their brand-new SoulFest Home Sessions, a weekly Facebook LIVE performance with SoulFest 2020 artists. Visit www.thesoulfest.com/blog/ for full information. The Friday concerts will be posted on YouTube after the live airings.

Connecting Christians from all over New England through Music•Love•Action, the SoulFest is three fun-filled, inspiring days in the picturesque mountains and lakes region of Gilford, New Hampshire at Gunstock Mountain Resort.

Information courtesy of your Growth Committee


May 3 and May 17 Breakfasts Cancelled





I’ve long said that those who have been in recovery programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, are some of the wisest humans I have known.  They have internalized hard-earned truths that many of the rest of us haven’t even had to ponder. One of those truths is: one day at a time.

Twelve-steppers didn’t invent this truth, of course. We say a version of it aloud each Sunday when we pray together “give us THIS DAY our DAILY bread.” One day at a time. Our sacred texts contain another story that illustrates the point in Exodus 16. When the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness, afraid, God sent manna for them: food from heaven. But God only sent enough for one day a time.  

We find ourselves in the wilderness now. And not a metaphorical one, either. We are, all of us, in a place we’ve never been before. The paths in front of us sometime seem murky at best. Many of us are having trouble sleeping or wonder what the next day will bring.

“One day at a time” has become a mantra for me these past few weeks.

If I think about what might be coming next year, next month, even next week, I often find myself overwhelmed and anxious. So I am learning to gather my manna one day at a time (or, on particularly hard days, one moment at a time!). At the end of each day, I look back over the day and notice all of the incredible ways I’ve seen people being kind, wise, innovative, and brave. And I say to myself, “There’s the manna!  And I trust and believe God will continue to provide that manna each and every day.” If we all can look for the goodness in God and other humans each and every day—and if humans keep making kind, wise, innovative, and brave choices each day—we will get through this wilderness together.

One day at a time.

There is manna in this wilderness and God is right alongside us. And we “one-day-a-time-it” through another week, month, year together.

One day at a time.

-Rev. Beth



The Behind-the-scenes View From of Our Minister of Video Evangelism, Paul Holmes 

Paul’s worked so hard at making our streamed services seamless, and beautifully lit with crystal clear sound quality. Thank you for your ministry, Paul!


Central Square Services are Available Live Streaming and On Demand!

     Booth Video Productions and BTV Access Corporation team up weekly to bring you live stream productions of our service. 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 on our website homepage, www.csccucc.org.
    Central Square Congregational services are available on the go! You can watch weekly sermons live on YouTube courtesy of Paul Holmes and Booth Video (search Central Square Congregational Church) or on Replay on BTV Channel 9, here in Bridgewater. You can also watch replays and download copies, courtesy of the BTV Video on Demand Page, available at btvaccess.com. Services air on Channel 9, weekly on Sunday at 8pm (previous week), Mondays at 1pm, Tuesdays at 10am, and Fridays at 3pm. BTV also airs coverage of church events, when covered by volunteer producers. 


But that’s okay… because we care!


First, we’ll accentuate the positive! Hey, that’s sounds like a song — think Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters singing “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive”.

The CSCC Care Team wants to know one personal positive for you that has come to light during this “stay at home” COVID-19 outbreak. We bet you may have trouble choosing just one.

On a personal level, what’s positive?

Have you grown in your faith? Do you see your children’s faith evolving? Are you turning into the Christian that you always hoped you would be? Do you notice more sounds of nature around you?

There’s a lot of good happening out there somewhere! Hey, that sounds like a song too — think “Somewhere Out There” with  Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram.

We know there is a lot of good happening out in the world, amongst a great deal of emotions! So, let’s share how we are coping, how we are loving, how we are feeling!

But maybe some of us need to share what’s not so good during this quarantine. What are our daily struggles?  It might feel good to put some feelings in print. It might be refreshing. It may take a layer of doubt or sadness away.

The CSCC Care Team cares about you and we are here for you. Many of us have talked and/or written to many of you. Communication is the foundation of showing love to one another and we rejoice in who you are and we pray for your courage, strength, health, judgment, patience and overall well-being.

We invite you to send your musings to: centralsquarecareteam @ gmail.com


When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
God Bless!



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

Director of Christian Education: Jess Stearns, jessicastearns1231 @ 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.