Central Square Congregational Church, United Church of Christ

Steeple Sounds

October 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.

From the Desk of Rev. Beth

Rev. Elizabeth Stotts, Pastor



As you know, we’ve been researching and applying for grant money to help us restore our historic church, in preparation for our 200th anniversary next year. I was recently asked to write out my “testimony” for one of the applications. While this is not something we typically do in our tradition, I was happy to help. I’d like to share it with you here:

Imagine a family in the 1980s with three kids and two moms. Imagine the oldest kid had severe disabilities and used a wheelchair. This family was culturally outcasted, two times over, once for homosexuality, and the other for disability. Now imagine that family attended a church where they were not shunned or ridiculed or criticized. Instead, they were welcomed and loved and accepted, just as they were.

That was my family. And I, as the youngest child, grew up understanding that the love of Christ, the love Jesus taught us, has no outcasts. I grew up loving God and I grew up to become a big nerd for God and for the church. I attribute much of who I am as an adult, as a Christian, and as a minister to growing up in a church where I felt loved. Where God’s love for me was real and tangible and unwavering. My family was loved and accepted and nourished just as all families should be. Welcomed to Christ’s community.

This is my story of being an outcast, and of a loving God and a Christian community holding me and supporting me in the ways of Jesus. I know that I am not alone. Each of us has a story of being an outcast and each of us has a story of God’s abounding grace enveloping us, saving us from the powers of humanity that try so very much to harden our hearts. Each of us has a narrative that we carry with us about that which sets us apart from the cultural norm, those who’ve treated us well, and those who haven’t. There is a saying that people won’t remember what you say or do but they will remember how you made them feel. This is the case with the Christian church. Our love, the love that comes from God, through us and into the world should be palpable to those around us.

Through the scriptures we are told of our responsibility to call one another to faithfulness and to be true to who we are as followers of Jesus. If we remember who we are as followers of Jesus, if we live in love and mercy and forgiveness, then we already know how to live. Paul asks us to “shine the light of the gospel on every situation and then to listen for how God is still-speaking”.

My testimony, the story of who I am in Christ, is about taking a look at who we consider as “less than” and challenging us to ask, “How can I change my thinking to accept this person or these people as a brother/sister in Christ? Furthermore, how am I to set an example of mercy, love, kindness, and acceptance to those around us the way God does?”

What is your testimony?

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



Building Closure Extended until January 3, 2021

Updated August 14, 2020




• 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.  



•  Most building users are still prohibited from using the building. The Bridgewater Food Pantry, with procedures put in place to protect its visitors and staff, is an exception and will continue to provide food to our community in need. We are also working with the addiction support groups to possibly begin meeting again in our building. Their requirements would be specific and strictly enforced. They would include things like social distancing, the wearing of masks, prohibition from using the kitchen and from using tables, and using only one of the bathrooms. Proper sanitizing would be done between each group meeting. NO ONE EXCEPT THE FOOD PANTRY AND AL-ANON/AA/NA IS CURRENTLY AUTHORIZED TO USE THE CHURCH BUILDING.

•  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        
   David Sheibley, Treasurer

   Ed Buckland, Board of Trustees

   Deb Sorgman, Board of Deacons 

         along with the rest of the CSCC Cabinet



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).


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 
(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
CentralSquareCareTeam @ gmail.com
Carol Chaffee
Phoebe Hogg
Bev Mitchell

John Scott

Rev. Beth Stotts


A short video

(Click here)



The Bridgewater Food Pantry, hosted by CSCC, 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. 

Precautions have been put in place so that patrons will not come in contact with each other during their visit. If you have lost your job or have kids at home from school and need some assistance with food, please feel welcome to 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.




Building Re-opening Task Force

There has been interest in taking steps toward beginning to re-open the church building for use. A dedicated group of volunteers from our congregation have agreed to serve on the Building Re-opening Task Force, and Moderator Anne Malmquist kicked off their service at the first meeting, held Sept. 17.
Anne charged them with the following purposes:

Phase 1
• Familiarize yourselves with the Conference Guidelines for a reopening, the state guidelines for public gatherings, and any CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19
• Discern the metrics that will guide decisions surrounding Central Square Congregational Church building use and monitor those metrics, in consultation with the pastor, sexton, and office manager
• Revise or update the current building use guidelines
• Develop a schedule and scheduling mechanism for small group gatherings
• Present the plan to cabinet at the end of Phase 1

Phase 2
• Develop a plan for a return to in-person worship, including protocols for entering and exiting the sanctuary, to be implemented when it is deemed safe to do so.
• Present plan to cabinet at the end of Phase 2

Ongoing work
• Continue to monitor the metrics and adjust building use policies accordingly.

The task force asks your patience, cooperation, and prayers as they balance all the elements that play a part in sharing indoor space — both the risks and the blessings — and determine how we may safely proceed to join once again in indoor fellowship. They will be looking at small group meetings in the fellowship hall, and a small private funeral in the sanctuary, as starting points.

In Jesus’ service, they are:
Deb Sorgman, Ed Buckland, Krissy Cannizzo, Eric Stotts, Mike Bundock, and Lynn Pietras



The Budget Meeting Results Are In

Thank you to all who attended and participated in the 2020-21 budget meeting, which was held virtually Sunday, Sept. 20. The budget passed, by a vote of 25-10. 

Quorum for a congregational meeting in 2020 is 25 members, so we confirmed quorum was met.

Special thanks to Rev. Beth, Ellen, Anne, Dave, Ed, Diane, and especially Paul for figuring out and executing all the logistics necessary.



Welcome New Trustee!

We are excited to announce Mark Sorgman has agreed to serve on the CSCC Board of Trustees, and Cabinet has approved the appointment. Thank you, Mark! 
Is there a team at CSCC that your talents would be suited to? Contact Moderator Anne Malmquist, or the church office.



Historical Church Building Committee

We are still awating news on the grant application we submitted last December, 2019, to the Town of Bridgewater. Who would think this process would take so long?

Currently, our application is in the hands of the Budget and Finance Commitee, and then will go back to the town council. The B&F Commitee meets monthly, but the town council meets twice a month.

The HCRC has raised money to pay our grant writer for 10 hours of service. Joe has applied for three new grants in the amounts of $200,000, $20,000, and $9,000. If we are awarded any or all of these grants, it will help make up the difference between what the Town of Bridgewater is in the process of getting final approvals on awarding us ($200,000), and the actual cost of Phase 1, which includes needed work from the steeple to the roof line.

We would like to thank all church members who have donated an hour of grant writing to our committee. We are looking for additional donations as Joe has found additional grants we qualify to apply for. (Joe’s rate is $45/hour — are you able to contribute an hour of his time?)

Thank you! from the HCBC

Calling All CSCC Women!

The Women’s Guild and Fellowship is ready to launch a new season and all women of the church are invited to join in our monthly meetings and fund-raising activities. We have a new slate of officers and a full schedule of monthly programs. Generally we meet on the first Wednesday evening of each month between October and May.

Our new slate of officers include: Co-Presidents Sandra Alley and Bette de Koning, Secretary Bonnie Sloan, Treasurer Jane O’Connell, Auditor Bonnie Melcher.

Committee Chair: Banquet: Sandra Alley, Phoebe Hogg, Bev Mitchell; Collation: Bette de Koning, Phoebe Hogg; Devotions: Diane Glass; Good Cheer: Donna Albro; Historian: Rachel Lawson; Hostess Organizer: Bobbie Reynolds; Material Aids: Beth Basler. Clergy: Rev. Elizabeth Stotts

Our initial meeting of the season is a departure from our usual schedule. We are meeting on Tuesday, October 6 (rain date: Thursday, Oct. 8) at 12:30pm at the home of Connie Chandler, 75 Redwing Drive, Bridgewater. All are asked to bring a box lunch, with beverage, and a lawn chair. We will have a business meeting followed by a social time. Spending time together is long overdue.

As we are not able to hold our semi-annual rummage sale in October, we will have a fund-raising yard sale on Saturday, October 17 (rain date Sunday, October 18). Bev Mitchell and Debbie Golob are the organizers. The time is 9:00am to 2:00pm, with a bag sale beginning at 1:00. The location is 46 Cedar Crest Drive, Bridgewater. Due to space issues and limited set-up time, donations of goods will be accepted from Guild members only. Members with donations can drop items off at 46 Cedar Crest Drive after 2:00 PM on Friday; or call Bev Mitchell at 508-697-2949. We invite the church family and community to come by to shop and support us.

Sandra Alley, Bette de Koning



Please note: The CSCC office staff will be unavailable on Monday, October 12 in observance of Columbus Day.




The “Care Ring” Phone Circles are coming together. Once we have success in completing a “Care Ring” for the first time, more creativeness can be brought into the conversation. Gail Wershing and I plan to begin the program at the start of October, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, I invite you to imagine that you are sitting in the sanctuary on a Sunday morning, and worship is about to begin. It is time for announcements and Rev. Beth invites you to sign the fellowship pad and pass it on to your neighbor to sign and as always you are asked to note the names of those in your row and if they are new to the church, say hello to them after worship. A great way to extend the warmth of our church in person, right?

While you are still imagining this, think of that individual or family that is in your row and you do know them, but you haven’t spoken with them since early March, when we were last together for worship. Do you wonder how they are? Do you miss saying hello to them? Can you imagine hearing their voice as we raise our voices together in song? Well, I do and I can do something about it. I can pick up the phone and give them a call or I can send them an email. And so can YOU! If you don’t have their contact information, you can email the church office at office@csccucc.com and ask Ellen or send them a note in the mail. Thanks!

“Care Ring” for each other,
Carol Chaffee


Here is how our Outreach dollars have been working in the church and beyond-

A donation of $300 has been sent to Church World Service for the 2020 Hurricane Fund. It has been an extremely active season and we keep those affected in our prayers.

Paul Holmes has gone above and beyond his ministry by lending his time, talents, and equipment to our weekly online worship. We have thanked him with a well-deserved monetary gift.

Although we are not providing MainSpring House meals for the time being, the monies that have been received for those meals have gone directly to Father Bill’s & MainSpring House in Brockton. The funds will certainly be put to immediate needs.

Thank you to everyone for your continued generosity.

Connie Chandler
Member, Board of Christian Outreach



Your Growth Committee is looking for some Virtual Greeters!

This is your chance to welcome all to our streaming worship services.

It takes at most just 5 minutes of your time. The script is easy, “Good Morning! Welcome to Worship!” Of course, a smile and cheerful voice will make you a TV and church star.

Contact Mike Bundock or Gail Wershing (or call the church office) to book your filming. Individuals and families alike are welcome!


Congratulations on the baptism of Makenna Phillipe

Child of Derek Phillipe & Elyse Roberts
Aug. 30, 2020



The church in which I was blessed to be raised...

...was a place that allowed for an experience of deep nourishment of faith, compassion for those who found themselves in need of care, and loving support through life’s trials and tribulations. It was a church that lived as fully as it could the idea that we, the Church, were to be the living, loving, breathing body of Christ in the world today.

It was a place where I knew I belonged, where I could be who God made me to be, and where I knew I could safely explore who it was God was calling me to be as an equally precious and worthy child of God in whom God would be well pleased. All of this would have been impossible without the loving support of a community of loving people who chose to love me, unconditionally, come what may.

I vaguely remember now the warm smile of my preschool Sunday School teacher who would welcome me with open arms every week.

I nervously remember auditioning for the Children’s Choir at the age of five and being invited to introduce myself to God through voice and song. I remember my first solo; one of the verses of “We Three Kings…” and being lovingly appreciated and thanked.

I remember the compassion and care that was abundantly poured on me upon the sudden and accidental death of my older brother. I was forever changed by witnessing that traumatic event, yet through the care and compassion of the congregation, I was reminded of God’s abiding constancy through God’s people.

I joyously remember playing pool… that’s right, we had a pool table… in the church’s basement. We played for quarters that we would carefully stack into dollars along the edge of the table. We knew, of course, that the pastor would come down to the basement after worship to say ‘hi’ to everyone. We watched in shocked wonder as he would, in one fell swoop, collect the quarters and drop them into his pocket, laughingly saying as he walked away, “thanks for your weekly pledge, boys! God bless you!”

I anxiously remember my first kiss that occurred in the Sanctuary during one of our Youth Group dances.

I wonderfully remember the chaos and cheer of the Christmas Fair when I came to know just how much talent every member of the congregation was gifted by God to share with others.

I fearfully remember the embrace of a people who held me in my darkest hour following the death of a friend due to my choice to drive after drinking. I remember a community who held me accountable and held me close to remind me of the gift of God’s mercy, grace, love, and forgiveness through God’s people. The congregation taught me that none of us are ever defined by our worst actions. They loved me by reminding me that change is possible, always.

I exhilaratingly remember when the church held me up and supported me in answering my call to ordained ministry in the United Church of Christ and the ways in which they supported and loved me through that process.

If we can not remember who the Church is called to be, in both good times and in bad, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, in birth, life, death, and resurrection, to child and elder alike, then we are not remembering Christ. We are not Church.

If we fail to treat one another with kindness and compassion. With fairness and equity. With justice and peace, then we have failed as the living, breathing body of Christ.

Kindness, compassion, grace, mercy, hope, joy, peace, and love. That’s Church. That’s God’s people. It’s who we are called by God to be and who we are ever called by God to be. It’s who I was raised to be by God’s people. That never changes.

If it were not true, I would not be here.
If it were not true, I would not be who I am today.

Let us endeavor to always remember who we are as God’s people gathered as God’s Church, what it is God calls us to do as God’s Church, and how it is God who calls us to do God’s work through God’s church.

Yours in Christ,
Rev. Kurt A. Walker




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


CSCC Cabinet Meeting – Minutes
September 9, 2020 via Zoom teleconferencing


The virtual meeting was called to order at 7:02.

Cabinet members in attendance: Rev. Beth Stotts, Pastor; Anne Malmquist, Moderator; Denise Molinari, Vice Moderator; Dave Sheibley, Treasurer; Larry Brown, Asst Treasurer; Diane Sheibley, Clerk; Lynn Pietras, Board of Deacons; Ed Buckland, Board of Trustees; Brad Barnsley, Board of Stewardship; Brianna O’Connell, Board of Christian Education; Bill O’Neil, Board of Christian Outreach; Ellen Crawford, Music Committee; Barbara Morey, History & Memorials Committee; Mike Bundock, Growth Committee; Bette deKoning and Terry Reynolds, Women’s Guild and Fellowship

Also present: Gail Wershing (Growth); Gordon Brailsford (Trustees); Krissy Cannizzo (Outreach); Ellen Atherton, Congregational Administrator; Connie Chandler (Outreach)

Rev. Beth opened the meeting with a prayer.

Anne did a roll call of those present, and Diane confirmed quorum was met.

The minutes from the August meeting were reviewed and there were no objections or corrections.

Rev. Beth noted that the number 1 issue is the need for connection. Tremendous pastor care needed currently; a lot of lashing out and breaking down; it is her hope that we can find creative ways to bring people together again. Online worship is phenomenal, but we need to gather. She noted that she would like to see a reopening task force formed (see later in the agenda). She distributed a report of the past month’s work, including baptisms, premarital counseling, and a funeral. While she would like to request permission to have her book study in the building if it rains this Saturday, she rescinded her request later in the meeting. Finally, she would like to celebrate the hard work of the care team: Bev Mitchell, Carol Chaffee, John Scott, Phoebe Hogg.

Dave Sheibley directed people to review the treasurer’s report, which was distributed prior to the meeting. We are still working off the old budget numbers pending the budget meeting on the 20th. The pledges to date are a bit behind from last year, but we’re already missing some of the fundraising funds we had as of last year at this time. Rev. Beth noted the “redemption” fundraiser (cans & bottle deposits), and Ellen Atherton reported that we took in about $120, and more
may come in. Dave reported that expenses are down from last year as we’ve cut the Director of CE and nursery positions. It was asked if we are still getting COVID-19-related funds. Dave said we are not as there was just a one-time opportunity to get a PPP loan, which we did.

Anne summarized the logistics of the meeting, per the notice that appeared in Steeple Sounds, that was to be held online due to the pandemic.
· It was asked if a blast email would be going out to remind members to attend (and how), and the answer was yes, on the Friday prior.
· A quorum will be determined by the number of people that voted.
· Voting is available now and will be available for 24 hours past the time of the meeting.
· Voting will be done via email, phone, and online. The clerk will tally the votes.


The grant amount of $200,000 that was preliminarily approved by the town council has been sent to the Finance Committee for approval. There is no date for that meeting yet. When the architect revises the proposal for the work that will be funded by the town, will they charge us for that? Likely yes, but nothing happens until town approval is received.

Anne reported that she was forming a Building Reopening Task Force to look at and manage the possibility of allowing use of the building for meetings, etc. She proposed the structure of the committee as a Deacon, a Trustee, and no more than four other church members, and they would work in conjunction with the Pastor, the congregational administrator, and the sexton.
· Two different issues will be addressed separately: 1. Worship, and 2. Meetings and other gatherings
· Krissy Cannizzo volunteered to be on the committee.
· The task force would be tasked with researching and monitoring the legal limits of occupancy and gatherings as well as any applicable state regulations, as well as UCC conference recommendations.
· Anne will compose a blast email to the membership soliciting volunteers, and Ellen will send it out Friday. Anne has already had a couple of people approach her about serving. The goal is to have the first meeting of the task force by 9/16.
· The task force will present their findings and recommendations at the next Cabinet meeting.

Anne encourages all boards and committees to think about ways we can connect.
· Advent Think Tank
· Mary Barnsley has a friend that she will be talking to about a creative fundraising idea. She also suggested having contact information on the screen during Sunday worship so people are encouraged to give.
· Gail Wershing reported that Growth is working on video intros for Sunday worships, “virtual greeters”. She noted that if Stewardship or perhaps the “men’s guild” would like to record a virtual greeting for use some Sunday, they could incorporate a brief message of giving.
· Gail also reported that she and Carol Chaffee were working on a “Ring of Care” project, similar to the old-time “phone trees”, where people would be put into small groups. The “ring leader” will call a person in their group just to say hello and connect, and then that person would call someone else, etc until it got back to the ‘ring leader’. Perhaps these small groups could also get together (safely and/or virtually)? Mary volunteered to be a ring leader.
· Brianna O’Connell noted that a few churches are doing virtual coffee hours via zoom. People could get randomly assigned to breakout rooms and visit with each other. Her parents are doing it at their church.
· Anne suggested that the Board of Christian Outreach could think about the youth of the church, and how they like to participate in service/mission projects and activities. Might there be any such project ideas? Maybe the usual Fall leafraking event? It could be a fundraiser for the church budget.
· Bette deKoning reported that Women’s Guild held a yard sale in July and it took in $639 in three hours. They’re having another one in October.
· Anne suggested we encourage people who sit together in church to get together to watch worship, if they can do it safely.
· Rev. Beth mentioned that she stops by Dunkin Donuts every Sunday, and there are a few people who meet there in the parking lot, and drink their coffee and visit from their cars.

Anne asked anyone who had any “grace moments” from their recent experiences to share. Where have you found grace in today’s world?

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

Next cabinet meeting is October 21. October Steeple Sounds deadline is Sept. 15.



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 

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.