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Central Square Congregational Church, United Church of Christ



May 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


Like all parents with young children, I’ve heard the Encanto soundtrack daily for the past several months. There is one song my daughter loves most of all called “Surface Pressure”. In the song, the character sings about how she has to shoulder everything, not just for her family, but for her entire community. 

“Pressure like a drip, drip, drip, that’ll never stop, whoa-oh
Pressure that’ll tip, tip, tip ‘til you just go pop, whoa-oh-oh-oh
Pressure like a grip, grip, grip, and it won’t let go, whoa-oh
Pressure like a tick, tick, tick ‘til it’s ready to blow, whoa-oh-oh-oh”


The repeats of the drip and the tip and the grip and the tick really make the listener of the song connect with that feeling of pressure. It really can be all-consuming and overwhelming. And pressure is a fact of modern life. Pressure to be a productive employee, a supportive spouse, a loving and engaged parent, a good friend, a responsible global citizen. Pressure to give back, pressure to be happy, even paradoxically, pressure to “let go” and “take time for ourselves.” The pressure to be a certain way, and have a certain kind of life, and be a certain kind of person, can feel relentless. But what if there were another way? The 20th century Trappist monk Thomas Merton says: 


“A tree gives glory to God by being a tree. For in being what God meant it to be it is obeying him. It ‘consents,’ so to speak, to his creative love. It is expressing an idea which is in God and which is not distinct from the essence of God, and therefore a tree imitates God by being a tree. The more a tree is like itself, the more it is like God. If it tried to be like something else which it was never intended to be, it would be less like God and therefore it would give God less glory. For me to be a saint means to be myself. Therefore the problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and of discovering my true self. Trees and animals have no problem. God makes them what they are without consulting them, and they are perfectly satisfied. With us it is different. God leaves us free to be whatever we like. We can be ourselves or not, as we please.”


There’s a lot in that excerpt that might trip us up if we let it—Merton’s language about obeying God, sanctity, the notion of being a saint—but read it again, and really take in the reassuring and consoling idea that the more like ourselves we become, the more we give glory to God. A tree’s job isn’t to be the best fish it can be, or the best petunia, or best mountaintop. It’s only real task is to be what God created it to be.  Isn’t that true for us too? 

How closely we match up to some external model of the perfect worker or perfect family member or perfect person really doesn’t matter much. Our only task is to become ever more fully ourselves, in all our quaint and quirky, weird and wonderful uniqueness. Each of us is free to be the person God created us to be, or we’re free to pretend to be someone else. But we’re not free to be someone else. Making peace with that spiritual truth is the first step toward disarming the external pressures that can rule our lives. May we each find our way to that peace, in our own time and in our own way. 


Yours in Christ,
Rev. Beth

In-person worship is back!

We look forward to seeing you!



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


Please note that the office will be closed on Friday, MAY 13 and Monday, MAY 30.


We welcome Rev. Greta Macrae to the pulpit on Sunday, May 8!

Next Cabinet meeting is Wednesday, April 20, 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.



Do you have a few hours you can spare between June 9-17?

Our congregational administrator will be on vacation, and it would be great to have someone to answer the phone, take messages, and check the mail for a few hours in the middle of the day. If you have a day or two you can lend a hand, contact Rev. Beth!


$100+ Raised from AmazonSmile!

“This is the quarterly notification to inform you that AmazonSmile has made a charitable donation to Central Square Congregational Church, in the amount of $105.41 as a result of qualifying purchases made by customers who have selected this charity. Thanks to customers shopping at smile.amazon.com or using the Amazon app with AmazonSmile ON, everyday purchases make an impact.”

It costs you nothing extra! Contact the church office with questions.



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.


Women's Guild Year Coming to a Close

The Women’s Guild is planning to close out the current season with a banquet to be held on Wednesday, May 4 at the Fireside restaurant in Middleboro. Cocktails are at 5:30, with dinner served at 6 PM. This is always a special time of fellowship and sharing of a meal. Also, the Nominations Committee will announce the new slate of officers for the 2022-2023 season!

The recent rummage sale was a great success and earned us over $2,300! This was accomplished through the hard work and contributions of our members. We also had wonderful help from the following list of volunteers: Rob Basler, Brad Barnsley, Steve Chandler, Steve Lancaster, Bill McNeil, John Scott, and Lee Scott. A big “thank you” to all! 


Wishing all a wonderful, safe and healthy summer!
Sandy Alley and Bette de Koning




Happy May, Church Family!


As I thought about the month of May, I thought about May Pole dancing. It has quite a history and some not at all suitable for this newsletter (OH MY). But my recollections contained memories of my mom, a nursery school teacher.  Every year at this time, she would construct a May Pole consisting of a long, decorated pole and paper streamers hanging loose from the top. Her nursery school children would hold onto a streamer and dance joyfully around the pole to music; full of gladness, warmth, love, play and laughter.

In its simplicity, the May Pole, the music, and the dance represent to me a sense of community, a sense of togetherness and a spirituality of letting go and letting God lead the way. 


Carol Chaffee

Care Team

Greeters! Liturgists! Ushers!


For one Sunday, or several. No long-term commitment needed! Won’t you put yourself or your family down for one Sunday? 


CLICK HERE to sign up, or contact the church office.




$4,000 a Week


It was noted by church treasurer David Sheibley at the April Cabinet meeting that it takes $4,000 per WEEK to keep the Central Square Church doors open and operating, even with minimal staff and few “extras”. 

We are proud of the work we as a church community are able to do for each other, and for the opportunities our building provides for the greater community:
• Four different 12-step support groups meet in our building every week;
• Seven different girl scout groups meet in our building every month;
• The BSU Alumni Chamber Choir rehearses and performs in our sanctuary;
• The Women’s Guild & Fellowship meets monthly in our building, and we host their annual Fall and Spring rummage sales;
• And of course we are proud to host the ever-growing Bridgewater Food Pantry, and while their dedicated volunteer staff works tirelessly to procure and distribute food to those in need, CSCC provides them financial support for the electricity for their multiple refrigerators and freezers; heat and light; phone, photocopying, and administrative support through our church office; and cleaning and maintenance of the common areas. 

Our building and support staff are truly part of our community outreach. 


The ongoing challenge is that the pledges and weekly donations of our members and visitors do not meet the expense of these valuable services. This is why you see our ongoing fundraising efforts. We desperately want to be able to continue doing God’s work in our community with all of the resources we have at our disposal, but if you look at our current and recent years’ budgets, you know it’s an uphill struggle. And it can’t sustain itself long term.


Here’s how you can help:
• When we have a fundraising event, take part in it and spread the word to your friends and neighbors. Encourage them to participate if they feel even one of the community groups mentioned earlier is a valuable part of our town;
• Encourage your friends and neighbors to “like” our Facebook page, follow us on Instagram, and sign up for our email list – so that they can be in the loop with upcoming opportunities to participate in our fundraising activities, and benefit from our programming and outreach;
• Keep your ears and eyes open for grant or donation opportunities for CSCC – maybe the company you work for has a community outreach or philanthropy program; maybe service or business organizations you are a member of support community programs such as ours; maybe you just see something on the internet or on social media that could help support what we do. Let us know!
• Volunteer to lend a hand on an upcoming project – not necessarily to be in charge, but to help out – anything from baking a pie, to manning a table at an event, to being willing to make a few phone calls. “Many hands make light work” really does ring true.

The annual budget meeting is Sunday, June 12.



Upcoming Fundraisers for CSCC!

(see elsewhere in this newsletter for details)


•  Takeout Dinner Fundraiser, BBQ Style (May 22, reservations due May 16)
• Vendor/Craft Sale Event, Saturday, June 4 (we’re still looking for vendors!)
• Pie & Bake Sale! Saturday, June 4

Sadly, it’s not looking good to have our golf tournament this year, for lack of someone to head it up. But if you know someone – or a couple of “someone”s – who would be willing to oversee the organization of one (not doing everything, just making sure everything is getting done!), have them contact Moderator Anne Malmquist or the church office! 




Heifer Project Living Gift Market



It was wonderful working with the children again, and planning for Heifer Project, following two years of not being able to gather. When Krissy and I were originally planning Heifer this year we were all going to meet for Sunday School in January. Once again COVID ramped up, but we decided not to be defeated and went with video lessons. This was not the same as being with the children and hearing their thoughts and excitement regarding Heifer, it was Sunday School though and especially it was HEIFER PROJECT. 

We postponed the Living Gift Market which thankfully gave us two additional Sundays to meet with the children in person, and make some plans for the Heifer celebration. And what a celebration it was!  If you were unable to be present for the Living Gift Market on Palm Sunday, you missed a wonderful and exciting event. Many children and many more adults participated, and even a couple of chickens. You could feel the energy in the room as the children and their families provided food and crafts for sale. It was a community once again. 

Here are the results of the children saving money in their banks, asking friends and relatives to sponsor animals, and selling at the Living Gift Market:  
We are sending:    

6 Trio of Rabbits - $360        
8 Beehives - $240
2 Water Buffalos - $500
1 Lamb - $120
1 Llama - $150
A Flock of Hope - $60
1 Goat - $120
1 Heifer - $500
1 Flock of Hope - $60
5 Flocks of Chicks - $100    
Total - $ 2,210
Come and witness the Heifer bulletin board and see how many of each animal the children are sending. We would also like to thank all who helped create the Living Gift Market and all the people who supported the event.

Krissy Cannizzo and Terry Reynolds.


Kick off the summer BBQ season with the feast-for-two from Boston Tavern/Middleboro! BBQ chicken, pulled pork, potato salad, cole slaw, cornbread, and dessert. $35 for each dinner-for-two. RESERVATIONS due no later than MONDAY, MAY 16. Pickup is Sunday, May 22, between 5:15 and 5:45. Cash or check at pickup. CLICK HERE to make your reservation online, or contact the church office.


Time for Rebirth!


In this period of Eastertide and hopefully post-COVID, or at least the worst of it, the Governance Team has been meeting to see where we are headed. Basically, the team would like to know... what is your passion about our Central Square Congregational Church?

We are working on an organizational structure to administer the basic functions: worship, prayer, finance, the building, our missions and outreach, our social times, faith formation, and our history. We are looking to make the administration of our entity more joyful and less onerous. Teams, rather than fixed committees; shorter terms of office for some Cabinet or Council positions. In order to help us discern the best configuration, we need a sense of what ministries and programs the church is needing and wanting.

All members and congregants are in essence “owners” of this church. As we re-emerge from COVID, and winter, and Lent, we would like to know what excites YOU about church. We have a group that has expressed great excitement about bringing back breakfast in some form. The Bee ministry has blossomed. We just had a very successful Heifer Project program.  

Programs and projects do not need to be perpetual or long term. They do not need to be based in the church building. If there is a desire to have some virtual programs, let’s make them happen.  

What we need from you now is your input, an email to the church office (office@csccucc.com) with REBIRTH in the subject line. Your message can include: 
• what you passionately want to continue at our church; 
• what you passionately want to add, even if temporary.

What are you excited about doing or wanting to continue to do for our church?

Rebirth. In what form to carry us toward our third century on the Square and in our community, local, national, worldwide? Send us your thoughts.

Yours in Christ’s work,

Anne Malmquist, Moderator; Gordon Brailsford, John Sharland, Rev. Beth Stotts, Gail Wershing

Email: office@csccucc.com


Mark your calendar!

If you are interested in becoming a vendor, or you know someone who might be, visit www.csccucc.org/events for the information and registration form or contact Diane Sheibley. Inside and outside spots available.


If would be willing to bake a pie or another baked good for the sale, email Darlene Brown at darlingsb at verizon.net (you know how to format it).



Easter Altar Flowers, in loving memory of:

Bruce Maclay ........................................................ Mom & Dad 
Nina Tiliakos .............................................. Grandmother Geni 
Connie & Gordon Brailsford ................................... The Family 
The Wells Family ................................................ Brian Crowley 
The Stotts Family .................... Jon Lybarger & Julie Lybarger 
Gloria Weinrebe ............................. Taylor & Weinrebe Family 
Rachel Lawson ........................................... The Lawson Family 
Rachel Lawson .............................................. The Lopez Family 
Gail Wershing .................................................. Frank Wershing 
Gail Wershing ........................................ Albert & Mary Wilson 
Troy Hubbell ................. For Kelli & Molly, “Always in my heart
Ellen Crawford ....................................................... Loved ones 
Steve & Connie Chandler ....................................... Loved ones 
Diane & Peter Glass ............................................... Our Parents 
Bev Mitchell .................... George H. Mitchell & Gramma Peg, 
Love, The Family  
Kay Wheeler ..................... Julie Lybarger, Naiya Mae Lybarger  
Lynn Pietras ............................................... Fred & Alice Yeaton 
Gail Wright ................................................................ Scott 
The Sheibley Family ........................... John & Amber Sheibley,
and Tom Sheibley 
The Sheibley Family ............. Ed Healy & Beverly Healy, 
Loving grandparents
The Sheibley Family ....................................... Susan Wershing 
Nina Gabel-Jorgensen .......................... Niels Gabel-Jorgensen 
The Shave Family ................................. Nancy & Robert Shave 
The Shave Family ................................................. Nana & Papa 
Anne Chaffee .............................................. David Chaffee, Sr. 
Bill & Terry Reynolds .............................................. Loved Ones


CSCC Cabinet Meeting – Minutes
April 20, 2022 at 7pm

The meeting was called to order at 7:03 by Anne Malmquist, Moderator.


Cabinet members in attendance: Anne Malmquist, Moderator; Rev. Beth Stotts, Pastor; David Sheibley, Treasurer; Diane Sheibley, Clerk; Gordon Brailsford & Ed Buckland, Board of Trustees; Deb Sorgman, Board of Deacons; Terry Reynolds, History & Memorials Committee and Women’s Guild & Fellowship.


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


March Minutes
The meeting minutes from the March meeting were presented and reviewed. Rev. Beth motioned to accept them as written; Dave Sheibley seconded. The minutes were approved.


Pastor’s Report – Rev. Beth Stotts (also see written report)
Rev. Beth reported that “it was a busy month”. She also reported that CSCC will be one of several satellite hosts for the Young Clergy Women International Conference in July. The Transgender Day of Visibility that CSCC hosted was well attended and a great event. Rev. Beth will be on vacation next week (April 26-29). May 8, Rev. Greta Macrae will be preaching. There has been much pastoral care – visits, texts, calls, chats, people feeling helpless. 


Treasurer’s Report – Dave Sheibley (also see written report)
Dave reported that we had a better giving month in March than earlier in 2022. There has been $40,000 transferred this fiscal year from the endowments. If anyone has any fundraisers they want to do or see done, especially like a golf tournament, we are in need of them.


Congregational Administrator’s Report – Rev. Beth for Deborah Lancaster (also see written report)
Rev. Beth noted that she asked Deborah to include all upcoming events in our building in her report, to show how active our building is. Also, Deborah will be on vacation June 9-17. It was requested that a mention in Steeple Sounds of volunteers who might be willing to answer the phone and mind the office while she’s out, would be helpful.


Building Project – Gordon Brailsford
Gordon reported that we are still waiting for the town to send a check to the new person in Providence who is doing the paperwork on the deed restriction, so she can finish her work. He stressed the importance of having an attorney review it once it’s drafted. He also noted that he’s not in favor of a deed restriction just for the steeple repair grant – it will put limitations and restrictions for the whole building, in return only for our ability to do work on the steeple. 


Governance Committee – Anne Malmquist
Anne reported that the committee, that began meeting before the pandemic, has begun meeting again. They are looking at models of how we might reorganize our governance based on how others are doing the same; for example, perhaps fewer business meetings and more “doing” meetings; and Cabinet might not be structured the same way it is now. It may be likely in 6 months or so that a congregational meeting is needed to review proposals of what we should do. The committee is comprised of Anne, Rev. Beth, Gordon Brailsford, John Sharland, and Gail Wershing. Sherley Phillips has expressed interest. Their next meeting is Sunday, April 24.


Vendor Event Fundraiser – Diane Sheibley
Diane announced that she is organizing a vendor/craft fair event for Saturday, June 4, from 9-1. Vendors will be charged $30 for an indoor table, or $25 for an outside (front lawn) space. There will also be a pie sale and baked goods sale. Anyone who knows someone who might be interested in participating as a vendor, or making a pie or baked good, should contact Diane. Darlene Brown will be coordinating the pies and baked goods. Diane estimated that it could raise about $1200 for the church.

The topic of another takeout dinner fundraiser was also brought up. It was noted how much people liked them, and that they’re a good fundraiser. Diane noted that we’ve been very lucky that for the past takeout dinners, an angel has stepped up and paid the Boston Tavern catering bill, allowing the church to keep the entire $35 per 2-person meal. But even if that doesn’t happen again, the church will make needed funds from one. Diane will look into it, possibly for May.


Fundraising Ideas
There was a discussion on fundraising ideas to raise money for the church.
• Have someone in to present a program of some kind that we could just sell tickets to 

        • Millis’ minister is a comedian
        • Look into Loretta LaRoche? Diane reported that she had reached out to her people some time ago and that it was expensive to bring her in. But she’ll check again with them to see if anything has changed.
         • Rev. Beth will ask Brian McLarin and will look into other presenters
• It was suggested that perhaps the vendor/craft fair could have raffles.

Anne shared that she had a meeting with Kathleen Mosher regarding stewardship, and they talked about having a “PR kit” that shows who we are and what we do. It could be used to raise money, and explain to possible donors what all we provide to the community.


2022-23 Budget – Ed Buckland
Ed presented the situation of the draft budget proposal from the Trustees. He noted that very modest raises were included for the staff, and also suggested a small reduction in the number of hours for our Congregational Administrator and our Sexton. Rev. Beth suggested that perhaps additional time away from the office could be offered instead of a raise for her, like additional study time. 

Revenue projections are an estimated $4000 down from last year; costs are an estimated $10,000 higher. One suggestion was to lower the percentage of pledge money that is allocated to the Board of Christian Outreach, in favor of using some of that money to help offset the expenses associated with all of the outreach that happens in the building (that costs money, i.e. electric, oil, cleaning, admin support). 

More discussion of fundraising ensued. 

• We need to get our food permit, so we can have food events again. To get that we have to have someone take the online course and get certified in things like “safe serve” as well as choking aid. The breakfast folks are anxious to get back in the building, and it was discussed that one of them might be willing to get the certification necessary. We could also go back to having sit-down food events.

• The 4th of July is an opportunity. Rev. Beth volunteered the Stotts family to host a table on the front lawn, perhaps selling baked goods, water, lemonade. It will likely be a ‘free will offering’ rather than pricing specific items. The lemonade table that the Growth Committee did for a couple of years on the front lawn was very well received. And we’ll offer the use of the building as well for bathrooms.

It was suggested that we might do a “capital campaign” type of drive to feed our endowments. It was also suggested that we bring back the “moment for mission” during each Sunday worship to keep people posted on our financial concerns and/or projects. Dave Sheibley noted that it takes $4,000 per WEEK to keep the doors to the church open (including personnel). It was asked if there was a long-term plan for getting the budget to be not a deficit budget, and not completely deplete our endowments in the next few years. There is not.


Rev. Beth closed the meeting in prayer. The meeting adjourned at 8:45



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.