Central Square Congregational Church, United Church of Christ

May 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



Beloved in Christ, 

I recently came across this photo of a family from Dublin, California during the 1918 flu epidemic and while it first made me chuckle and wonder how they survived putting a mask on the cat, it also made me hopeful. It made me hopeful because we *know* that eventually things went back to normal and they didn’t have to wear masks everywhere forever. 

But it got me wondering. I wonder what they did do forever as a result of that season? I wonder what they learned? Did they actually hold their loved ones closer? Did they really learn to slow down? Did they get better at washing their hands? Did they appreciate the smiles of strangers for the rest of their lives? 
A dear friend and colleague of mine asked on social media this week what folks would take away from this pandemic and what they were ready to leave behind. Most everyone talked about a re-aligning of priorities: the importance of family and close friends, the value of self-care practices, the enjoyment of a slower and more contained way of life, a commitment to treasuring moments of joy. 

As those around us start getting back to “normal,” (though some more cautiously than others) I wonder what we’ll take with us and what we’ll leave behind. I wonder how we might use this time to realign ourselves and our priorities to better match our values. I don’t have answers to these wonderings but I do have hopes. 

I hope that whatever we leave behind brings us closer to one another. And I hope whatever we take with us brings us closer to God. I hope that as we navigate the months ahead, we are moved first and always by a love that calls us to consider our neighbors. And I do hope that in all of it we will be better attuned to moments of joy and gratitude.


Always in hope, always in love,
Rev. Beth 


In-person worship closure extended until further notice*

* The building is available to the Bridgewater Food Pantry, 12-step support groups,

and small group gatherings under strict guidelines and protocols, by reservation only.


Dear Friends of CSCC,

While we all desperately want to come back to church, and coffee hour, and youth events … and so much more, it’s simply not safe to do so yet. We have to stay the course, stay home, mask up when we need to go out, and keep our distance for just a bit longer. Then when we do gather once more, we’ll be able to come together and truly celebrate.

We were hoping that by now we’d be able to begin worshipping all together again. But the number of cases is still high, and we hear news of new strains that are more contagious. You’ll find an article later in this issue from the Building Reopening Task Force, sharing the journey that they have been on toward resuming in-person worship, and how they cannot recommend that we move forward with that just yet.

And as we’ve said before, thank you to all that have been “thinking outside the box” of ways our community can continue to stay connected and support each other and the community at large. We are truly blessed to have each other.

Until then, we will continue to broadcast Sunday services on Facebook and YouTube, and rebroadcast them on BTV. We will also continue to stay connected as a community through the Steeple Sounds newsletter, the CSCC website, Facebook, and our “Care Circles,” and connect with each other one on one through phone calls, texts, emails, Zoom, and cards.  Maybe even with the occasional drive-by communion or takeout dinner fundraiser.

Be well and be safe, and keep the church and each other in your prayers.



• 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.
•  Sunday Worship will continue to 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.  




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).


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 check out youtube.com/c/Booth-video/videos or btvaccess.viebit.com

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. The singalong, too, attracted a great audience!


Scheduling notes

• The office will be CLOSED on Monday, May 31 in observance of Memorial Day.

• Deborah, our Congregational Administrator, will be out of the office May 17-21.

Next Cabinet meeting is Wednesday, May 19, 7pm, via Zoom

• Mark your calendars for our annual budget meeting! Sunday, June 13.

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


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


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 
(the church phone is being answered remotely during the shutdown)

or email her at csccpastor @ hotmail.com


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


CSCC Care Team
Carol Chaffee
Phoebe Hogg
Bev Mitchell

John Scott

Rev. Beth Stotts

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.


Cameron Shave's BIG news!

In the words of his mother, Mindi Shave, April 6


“So..... KEITH LOCKHART [conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra for the last 25+ years] just told Cam that he made the top 4 for the Young Artists Competition at the Boston Pops!!!!! He did it! The Young Artists Competition is open to all Massachusetts high school musicians. The four Grand Finalists will be rehearsing virtually with a Pops musician of their instrument, attend a Zoom Master Class with Keith Lockhart and multiple Grammy winner Chris Thile, rehearse and record in Symphony Hall socially distanced and have a documentary made of Cam and the other three high school musicians.  Because Cam is a music writer, the Pops team is actively involving him in the orchestral planning and writing of his chosen jazz ballad's arrangement that he will play trumpet on with the Pops. If you knew Cam since toddlerhood, you know that THIS IS A TRUE DREAM COME TRUE for him. Just speaking with Keith Lockhart is a dream come true for him! Cam and the other three selected musicians will be performing virtually with the Pops on June 3rd!! This is too too good to be true. .....just sooooo happy!”

 The June 3rd concert can be attended virtually on your desktop, tablet, or smartphone through bso.org. You will need to create an account and pay a small BSO NOW ticket price to be emailed the streaming link. The link can be viewed beginning June 3rd for a month.



Volunteer Opportunity

Children living in more than 90 homeless shelters across MA count on Horizons for Homeless volunteers. Can they count on you? Horizons for Homeless Children has been working hard towards a safe return to volunteering.  They are excited to be back helping homeless children heal through play again this spring with new safety measures in place in outdoor settings.

They have a high need for volunteer Playspace Activity Leaders to provide 2 hours of healing play each week to homeless children in Brockton.  Their volunteer shifts in this area are Tuesdays/Thursdays, 6-8pm. If you are interested in helping, or knowing more, visit www.horizonschildren.org/programs/playspace.




Over the years, one collects many things. Is there anyone that can dispute that?

Some of us are more efficient than others when it comes to purging our collection of things. It is very time consuming to purge and it’s easier to just store it out of sight for the time being.

Well, over the past year, I have taken some precious time diving into boxes of photographs, newspaper articles, obituaries of loved ones, artwork and school work of our three grown children, report cards, progress reports, operating manuals from 3 televisions ago, etc. It is a hard task to throw away some of these memories. Will I ever put together a scrapbook for Jill, Austin, and Tyler? I doubt it. It’s not in my DNA. But I have laughed and cried during this process of sorting, reflecting, reminiscing, and deciding if it is worthy for another round of saving.

So, the pile has gotten smaller, but some things I just can’t part with at this moment in time. Maybe on the next go round of purging I will be able to relinquish some more memorabilia.

These photos, papers, obituaries of “long” ago connect me to people and keep that connection alive though it might be distant. But I will always feel a kinship deep down that occasionally comes to the surface and brings joy.


Carol Chaffee, Care Team


Women's Walking Spirituality


Are you tired of Zoom meetings?
Do you miss your church friends?
Need some spirituality?

Join other women of the church for a walk and talk

spirituality adventure.


• When: Saturday May 8 & 22  11:00am
• Where: BR High School parking lot nearest the track
• What: Meet in the lot, share a prayer and scripture. Walk in small groups to discuss.


Questions: Call the church office or email Denise Molinari

Weather: If inclement weather or below freezing, watch your email for rescheduling.

Don’t forget your mask!


Women's Yoga and Spirit Retreat

Whether you’re a yoga devotee or a novice, a seasoned singer or shy about your voice, we have a special place for you in our circle!

This will be a day of exploration and restoration outside on the beautiful campus of Silver Lake, as we focus on using our bodies and voices as meditation in order to arrive at deeper peace and understanding. Join a phenomenal group of women as we reconnect with the sacred in ourselves and each other.


Deans: Whendi Cook-Broderick & Sara Billings
Saturday, May 15, 10am-4pm
Silver Lake Conference Center, Sharon, CT
A ministry of the Southern New England Conference UCC
$80 per person
The retreat is open to all who identify as women.
Masks and social distancing required.
Rain date May 22.

Visit www.silverlakect.org to register or for more info.



As our year winds down, we are reminded of the need of friendship and camaraderie and "can do" attitudes!  We have had quite a different year due to Covid but we managed to do several great programs via Zoom and we were able to raise quite a sum of money to satisfy our spirit of giving!

Our "banquet" this year is also going to be different!  Phoebe Hogg has graciously invited to have us at her lovely home for this event and our caterer will be Mary Barnsley with Mary Bee's Traveling Teas (tea party) on May 18 (with a rain date of May 20) at 1:30pm. All ladies of the church are invited to join us. The cost is $16.00 per person and the deadline to sign up is May 4. Contact Sandy Alley at 508-697-2716 to sign up.

Happy Spring everyone!

Bette deKoning and Sandy Alley

Co-Presidents of Women's Guild and Fellowship


Spring Packets for the Kids and Youth Are Coming!

Rev. Beth is “super excited” for the Spring Packets she’s working on for the younger members of CSCC. They will have a bee craft, little packets of bee-friendly seeds for seed bombing, a handout on how to help the bee population, a small lesson about the decline of the bee population and our call from God to “steward creation”, and more. 

If you want more information on getting packets for your young ones, watch your email, or contact the church office or Rev. Beth. It’s going to “bee” fun!


Are you or someone you love graduating this Spring? We want to know! 

Please contact the church office with the name of the person, the institution they are graduating 
from, and the degree or certification they are receiving, so that we can lift them up in blessings and congratulations!

(Submissions due by May 15.)



CLICK HERE to make your reservation, or call the church office at 508-697-6016.

Reservation deadline is Sunday, May 16


Our 200th Year -- Recent History: Feeding Bridgewater


If some of us have been wondering how the Bridgewater Food Pantry came to be a part of Central Square Congregational Church, a recent history compiled by Carol Chaffee sheds some light. No, the pantry hasn’t been here for most of our 200 years but is an important part of the most recent decade.

Jack Melcher has been at its helm since the pantry for Bridgewater residents began here, with wonderful assistance from Bill O’Neil, Pat Conn, and others in the congregation when needed. Jack qualifies the food pantry as a mission of CSCC, not a town mission but a wholeheartedly church mission. Carol was recently appointed by Cabinet as the liaison between church and pantry.


Here is Carol’s first-person summary:
In 2012 – 2013, I had been working in the church office and was very connected to the community. I had learned that the Food Pantry that was run by the town was going to close. The town food pantry was first operated out of the Academy Building and then moved to the Senior Center. 

The town was undertaking the renovation projects of the Town Hall and the Academy Building. Therefore the food pantry was squeezed out to the Senior Center, and later squeezed out to accommodate moving the Veteran’s office to the Senior Center, which made a whole lot of sense. There was no plan to move the pantry to another location. It was determined that it would close. 

Having this knowledge, the idea was brought to the church after Jack Melcher (chair of the Board of Christian Outreach at the time), Mark Sorgman (Moderator at the time) and myself, met with the staff at the Senior Center to discuss how the pantry had been run within the town. The church approved the proposal to host a food pantry. 

Preparations were made to open in 2013, running the pantry out of the lower level of the church, in the far back corner, a small operation at the time and very dependent on small donations from the community. We inherited Pat Conn from the Senior Center Food Pantry. She came with the package, end of discussion (smile). Sidenote: her daughter Linda was a childhood friend of mine.

Initially we could still utilize some emergency funding through the town, if necessary, as Ron Adams, town clerk at the time, had a rainy-day fund for emergency food for Bridgewater residents. I don’t believe we ever used that resource. With the exception of turkeys on Thanksgiving, most donations were non-perishable.

Fast forward to today and the food being offered is much more nutritional and balanced. Over the course of a month, approximately 60 family units are being served.

Evangelyn and Alanna Buckland at teddy bear Sunday in the mid-1980s. Nick Bagas, Photographer. Submitted by Ed Buckland


Thank you to Carol Chaffee for these fun memories:

Celebrating our 175th anniversary!

Christmas Pageant 1990 with Barbara Hewiston

Sunday School Teachers 2000 -
    Back Row L to R - Paula Thomas, Mauree Bundock, Cindy Celia, Wendy Lucia, Deb Rucker, ?, Deb Golob
     Middle Row L to R - Maureen Whitaker, Marie Garvey, Barbara Hewiston, Sue Liverett, Dot Hull
      Front Row L to R - Patti Thompson, Deb Cauley, Lynn Place, Dorothy Pickering, Carol Chaffee, Rev. Sheri Anderson


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


CSCC Cabinet Meeting – Minutes
April 21, 2021, 7pm via Zoom teleconferencing


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


Cabinet members in attendance: Rev. Beth Stotts, Pastor; Anne Malmquist, Moderator; Dave Sheibley, Treasurer; Larry Brown, Assistant Treasurer; Diane Sheibley, Clerk; Gordon Brailsford & Ed Buckland, Board of Trustees; Lynn Pietras, Board of Deacons; Bill O’Neil, Board of Christian Outreach; Barbara Morey, History & Memorials Committee; Gail Wershing & Mike Bundock, Growth Committee

Also present: Paul Holmes, Minister of Video Evangelism; Deborah Lancaster, Congregational Administrator; Carol Chaffee, Historical Church Building Committee & Food Pantry; Jack Melcher, Food Pantry


Rev. Beth opened the meeting with a devotion.


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


March Meeting Minutes
The minutes from the March meeting were reviewed. Gail Wershing motioned to accept the minutes. Dave Sheibley seconded. The minutes were approved.


Pastor’s Report – Rev. Beth Stotts [also see her printed report]
Rev. Beth reported that Easter morning service outdoors at Hanson Farm went very well, and felt good. They were initially concerned about people not following the rules, but it went very smoothly. There was a baptism last Sunday during worship that was supposed to be outside, but the weather didn’t cooperate, so they had it in the sanctuary. She is working with the office to compile a list of children and youth, and will be distributing spring packets. There are 57 active children and youth in our church! There was a sidewalk chalk event outside the church on the Saturday of holy week. She also wanted to give a shoutout to Diane for her help in getting Deborah acclimated in the office, and Lynn Pietras and Jae Stotts for all their altar work. 


Treasurer’s Report – David Sheibley [also see his printed report]
Dave reported that pledged income is down about $10,000, but expenses are down about the same from where it is budgeted to be. Unscheduled fundraising projects have helped a great deal: takeout dinners, posting fundraisers on Facebook (which have raised almost $1000), Amazon smile contributions – every little bit helps. Investments are doing OK as the stock market is strong. 

Rev. Beth asked if anyone had responded to the Stewardship mailing, and Dave said there were a few inquiries asking if they have to do anything if they want to keep their pledge the same as last year, but that’s about all.

Bill O’Neil reminded folks that, if they are of a certain age, they can direct their RMD (required minimum distribution) to be distributed directly to the church tax-free as a donation. They should ask their financial advisor about it if they’re interested.


Congregational Administrator Report – Deborah Lancaster [also see her printed report]
Deborah reported that she is still feeling her way around, but it’s going well. She has been working with Rev. Beth to compile information for the youth list – asking parents for dates of birth and HS graduation year (as a benchmark for knowing what grade they’re in at any point). She’s been cleaning up emails and cell phone numbers of the parents in the process. It should be done by next week. 

Larry Brown complimented Deborah on her revisions to the Monday e-blasts, as they are more readable.
Food Pantry Report – Carol Chaffee
Carol first expressed appreciation for Steve Chandler for filling in for Jack while he was recuperating from surgery, as well as for Connie Chandler’s assistance on Thursdays. They also suggested a few changes to the procedures that have made things more efficient when the pantry is open. They also had one of the volunteers do much of the cleaning and organizing that was needed in the freezer section.

Jack has created a one-page information sheet about the food pantry that has been posted on the town website, and distributed to the veterans organization, the senior center, Bridgewater Cares, and was in the senior center newsletter. They are also looking to make it available to the school system. He also visited the project in the UU church parking lot that distributes food. He spoke to the organizer, and although it’s a very small operation, they may be able to work together in the future.

Of the 100 gift cards that Jack purchased on the behalf of the Pantry, 78 have been distributed to patrons of the Pantry. An additional $2000 was spent on gifts cards for Rev. Beth and Pastor Alicia at the Methodist church to given to those in need. Carol explained that the gift cards given out to Pantry patrons are to supplement what the Pantry does not have (milk, etc). The cards that Rev. Beth and Pastor Alicia give out are a ministry of helping those in need. 

Carol reported that in the first quarter of 2021, the beginning balance of the Food Pantry was $39,989; the donations totalled $4,325; the expenses totalled $7,906; so the ending balance on 3/31 was $36,408. Dave also noted that he lists the monthly income amount and expense amount (as well as total balance) each month on his Treasurer’s Report.

Rev. Beth applauded everyone involved who has stepped up to help the food pantry, as well as expanding its reach in Bridgewater.

There was a discussion of the policy of only serving those that live in Bridgewater. Jack noted that if someone who isn’t from BW comes for food, they are provided food to take with them on a one-time basis, and he also helps them find the food pantry in the town where they live, through an app on his phone. Deborah noted that she has had experience with other food pantries and the sad truth is that some people “food pantry shop” from town to town, and some people take advantage of food pantries. There is general concern that our food pantry could be overwhelmed if we opened it up to anyone from any town. 

Regarding further spreading the word on the food pantry as a resource, Carol noted that the library’s weekly email featured the pantry; and Deborah is posting it on Facebook on both the church page and on the BW town pages, among other avenues. 

Jack thanked Cabinet for approving the appointment of Carol as liaison, and for her hard work and dedication.


Deed Restriction – Barbara Morey
Barbara sent a copy of the deed restriction draft to the town’s CPC, who meets a week from tonight. Rev. Beth reported that Rob Pellegrini, an attorney, said he would review it for us for his nonprofit rate of $375/hour, and didn’t think it would take much more than an hour. 

Although the full draft of the deed restriction was distributed to Cabinet, Diane Sheibley noted that it was her opinion that going through the complete text was not a Cabinet-level task. She noted that the Trustees should be the ones handling it until it’s in final form, and once it’s acceptable to them, they should present Cabinet with a summary of the restriction and conditions contained in it for review and approval. Gordon suggested that perhaps the Congregation as a whole should vote on it. Barbara and Ed both noted that we should wait until we have the comments from the town before finalizing the draft and before we have our attorney review it.

It was suggested that if any of the Cabinet members wanted to be part of the review process, they could be part of the meeting where the Trustees are working on it. In summary: (1) we need to get the input from the town; (2) we should have our attorney look it over; (3) the Trustees should meet together with other interested church leaders; (4) a one-page summary should be prepared for Cabinet from the final draft.


New Business 
• Rev. Beth had a meeting with Nic Cannizzo, who is starting work on his eagle scout project. He proposed that to do the work inside of the Church Street entrance to the church as has been discussed, making it more attractive and more functional for how the space is utilized (food pantry, and warmth in cold places collection, for example). She suggested he write up a few paragraphs on how he viewed the project, and it was suggested that he contact the key players and have a brainstorming meeting. Ed Buckland volunteered, as did Rev. Beth. It was suggested that someone from the food pantry and Rich Sullivan (Sexton) also be involved.

• Diane announced that there will be a Pie Sale Fundraiser on Saturday, May 8, 10-12. Additional pie makers are needed, as are customers.

• Diane also announced that the next Takeout Dinner Fundraiser will be held on Sunday, May 23, and will be Chicken Piccata, once again catered by Boston Tavern Middleboro. 

• Anne asked Paul if he would put together statistics for next month’s Cabinet meeting on how many folks we have watching on which platforms, for our Sunday worship services. Paul agreed. On a related note, Rev. Beth encouraged everyone to post comments when they’re watching, although it was noted that for YouTube, (1) you have to be signed in, and some folks who watch maybe aren’t; and (2) if you watch YouTube on your TV you don’t have the ability to comment.

• Mike Bundock suggested that we invite Julia to the next Cabinet meeting so that we can find out what she has planned for music, and to give her our positive feedback on all the great music she’s been providing.


Next meeting is MAY 19. Rev. Beth closed the meeting in prayer at 8:15pm.


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.