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October 2023

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


“Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.” - Exodus 17:6


We hear a lot about the Israelites whining, complaining and arguing during the Exodus story. What we tend to forget is that what the Israelites were upset about were pretty basic concerns…  They would cry, “We need food! We need water! We need a home!” Who wouldn’t be upset about those things? When they complain that they are bored with manna and long for the better foods in Egypt, yes, those things are problematic. But being afraid of death in the midst of a desert because you have no water? That’s a valid concern! They complain to Moses, who then complains to God. And God tells Moses where to stand and what staff to use, and Moses strikes the rock. And water pours forth from it.


We often look to this story as an example about how God provides for the people’s needs, and that’s part of it, for sure.  What I’m more struck by, is the fact that the water was there all the time, the people just didn’t know where to look for it, or how to look for it. God was already providing for them in abundance! It was hidden in plain sight, if they’d only bothered to look for it.


I think this can be true for us as well. How much time do we spend complaining and arguing and whining when we could be looking for the blessings in our midst? This church year, let’s focus on looking for those hidden treasures here at CSCC. There are some amazing ministries happening in the congregation that we miss seeing. Really take the time to look around. You may realize that God’s hidden abundance is flowing all around.


In Christ,
Rev. Beth

Tuesday - Thursday - Friday, 9-1

Wednesday 11-3

or by appointment



August worship services will not be livestreamed, but there will be weekly devotions and worship video available at 10am each Sunday. 
Use the link on the homepage of www.csccucc.org to access Sunday worship, or visit our Facebook page.


Past worship services are also available in both places.



NEXT CABINET MEETING is Wednesday, October 18, 7pm




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 at hotmail.com. 


CSCC Deacons
Deb Sorgman – debsorgman at gmail.com

Jae Stotts - jaestotts at gmail.com

Savannah Wells, Jr. Deacon

CSCC Care Team
Carol Chaffee  *  Bev Mitchell  *  Rev. Beth Stotts  *  Nina Gabel-Jorgensen

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 (except holidays). 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 (office@csccucc.com) or phone (508-697-6016) and arrangements will be made for you.




We continue to make it easier than ever to contribute to CSCC. The church accepts donations via Venmo! Aim your phone camera below, or use the Venmo app to send your donation to @cscc-ucc




Coins for Kids Church : October 1


Don’t forget to bring your spare change for the Coins for Kids Church collection, the first Sunday of the month! This helps to pay for Kids Church supplies and teaching materials. Just put your coins in a baggie or envelope and mark it “Kids Church”, and put it in the collection plate on Sundays.

Join us for breakfast on Sunday, Oct. 1 and Sunday, Oct 15, 9am.

They will be held on the first and third Sundays of each month, and are open to the public. Free will offering is gratefully accepted, but not required. 

If you would like to be a part of this ministry, contact Jenne in the church office. Lots of ways to participate before, during, or after, and without a big commitment, but with much gratitude from the breakfast team.

Rehearsals Begin October 1!

Rehearsals at 9:20am : October 1 - 8 - 15

Performance at 10am : October 15


"Mercy is radical kindness," Anne Lamott writes in her enthralling and heartening book, Hallelujah Anyway. It's the permission you give others—and yourself—to forgive a debt, to absolve the unabsolvable, to let go of the judgment and pain that make life so difficult.

In Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy Lamott ventures to explore where to find meaning in life. We should begin, she suggests, by "facing a great big mess, especially the great big mess of ourselves." It's up to each of us to recognize the presence and importance of mercy everywhere—"within us and outside us, all around us"—and to use it to forge a deeper understanding of ourselves and more honest connections with each other. While that can be difficult to do, Lamott argues that it's crucial, as "kindness towards others, beginning with myself, buys us a shot at a warm and generous heart, the greatest prize of all." 

Women’s Guild & Fellowship will begin the year with our annual potluck supper on Wednesday, October 4, at 6:30pm in the Fellowship Hall. As usual, everyone can bring some food to share (casserole, vegetable, fruit, salad, dessert, cookies, etc.). And we’ll have fellowship time seeing our friends. We welcome all women from the church. Bring your friends!

Jane O’Connell, Co-President


Women’s Guild & Fellowship Annual Fall Rummage Sale


The Fall rummage sale will be held on Saturday, October 14, 2023, 9am-2pm. We are looking for donations of Fall/Winter clothing for all, jewelry, glassware, home decor, books, games, toys, linen, shoes, pocketbooks, and housewares.

Please make sure your donations are CLEAN with no rips, stains, holes, chips, or cracks. We will accept items at the church Oct. 10-13, 9am-1pm.

Spiritual Practices

Lectio Divina means "divine reading" in Latin. It's a method of opening oneself to what God is saying through scripture.  

And, it's the first spiritual practice that your Spiritual Engagement Team would like to share with you and encourage you to try on your own.
The purpose of Lectio Divina is to connect with God through scripture by reading a passage four times with a different focus each time.

The first time: Read. Just read the passage with no preconceived ideas of what the passage should be about. What words or phrases jump out at you?

Second, Reflect. Read the same passage a second time reflecting more on the words or phrases that jumped out at you during your first reading. What is God saying to you through these words today?

Third, Respond. After a third reading, respond. Respond any way that is meaningful to you; prayer, journaling, doodling... What do you want to say to God?

Fourth, Rest. Read the scripture a final time and then Rest. Simply be silent, be still, breathe, and allow God to be present. What about the reading will stay with you?


• Try randomly selecting a psalm or a reading from the daily readings page or this week's lectionary. 
• Try reading aloud to help stay focused and notice what jumps out at you.
• Try a familiar passage to see it in a new light.
• No worries! Try not to focus on doing this correctly or forcing an outcome. Any time spent reading scripture and with God is time well spent. 

We want to hear from you. Feel free to contact anyone on the Spiritual Engagement Team or a Deacon to ask questions or share your experience. 


Deb Sorgman, Denise Molinari, Eric Stotts
Spiritual Engagement Team

October Sermon Series:
“Now What?!”
beginning October 8

First there were the 10 Commandments of the Hebrew Bible. Then Jesus came along and said there's really only one. What are we to do with this information? Furthermore, how do we apply these commands to our day-to-day living?  Explore these questions and more with Rev. Beth during the month of October in her sermon series "Now What?!".


Finally some Fall weather.  We have made room for Fall items in the shop as well. As you purge your cabinets and closets keep us in mind — your cast off items are just what some of our customers may be looking for. 

Currently we are looking for new or gently used fall/winter clothing,  seasonal decorations, footwear, pocketbooks, jewelry, household items, glassware, linens, books, and toys. Please no electronics and limit donations to 20 items per visit. Donations are accepted during shop hours, Wednesday 10-1 and Saturday 10-1.

Central Closet Thrift Shop will be closed October 11th and October 14th as the Women's Guild will be setting up for their annual fall rummage sale. We will reopen on October 18th.

October 28th is our special sale day of the month. All customers will receive one free red ticket item with a purchase. More specials to be announced during the month. 

Thanks to all our customers, our donors, and our volunteers for supporting us in our mission to help the church.

Connie Chandler, Jane O'Connell, Lynn Pietras, and Gail Wright

Kids Church got off to a great start this church year! We built our first altar space together and talked about what it means to be in a covenantal relationship with each other. In talking about what our covenant should be, we came up with:
- Be accepting of everyone
- Be kind
- Be emotionally honest with each other
- Be ready to learn and participate

We also have an overall theme for the year, “Now What?”. We read scripture, we talk about the meaning inside it, but what do we do with that? So the question we’re going to be trying to ask throughout the year is, now what? 

For the month of October we’re going to be doing a deep dive into Commandments. This will combine both Old and New Testament teachings about the 10 Commandments, Jesus’ Commandment, how they work with each other, and of course we’ll be asking, now what? 

Finally, we’ve asked the Kids Church youth to try to bring something to contribute to our altar weekly. So if they got an A on a test that was especially challenging, harvested vegetables from the garden that they’ve been taking care of, or had a pet pass away — bring something that represents that so that we can celebrate or commiserate with them. In building this routine into the start of Kids Church weekly, the goal is to build a sense of belonging in our church community and emotional honesty with each other as we travel along our faith journey. So if you have a youth in Kids Church, please encourage them to bring something from home to share! 


Director of Kids Church, 
Eric Stotts

Hey everybody!  You are cordially invited to a Paint Party!  

When:  Saturday, October 21, 2023 from 9:00am to Noon

Where: The front of the church, and part of the Church Street side

Objective:  Make these two rather small areas of the outside of the church look better

Leave your easels and pallets at home, we will provide the paint. Please let the church office know if you will be helping, so we will know the size of the crew.  Thank you in advance!

And the Paint Party is also an All-Church Workday!
Saturday, Oct. 21, 9-12

There are all sorts of little (and some not so little) projects and tasks that need some TLC and a bit of elbow grease. Won’t you come and lend a hand for a couple of hours? 


*** Perfect opportunity for some community service hours, too, young folks! ***


Hosted by the Property and Finance Team — Dave Hanson, Mark Sorgman,and John Sharland


Neighbors in Need Offering ~ October 1

Neighbors in Need is a special mission offering of the United Church of Christ that supports ministries of justice and compassion in the United States. One-third of the offering supports Council for American Indian Ministry (CAIM). Two-thirds are used by Justice and Witness Ministries to provide grants to UCC churches and organizations as well as supporting a variety of justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects. 


If you wish to donate to this offering online, CLICK HERE.



Email Alert

Please know that no one from the church will ever email you asking you to buy gift cards on their behalf. There has been some scamming going on masquerading as Rev. Beth and asking you to do so. Please also pay attention to the sender’s email address (not just the name, which they like to put as her name). Her email address is csccpastor@hotmail.com. If you ever get an email that just doesn’t sound like her (or someone else from the church), contact her or the church office to verify it.


Congregational Meeting Recap

At the Congregational Meeting held on Sunday, 9/24, the following actions were approved by majority vote:
1) To withdraw our application to the Town of Bridgewater for CPC funds; and (2) to dissolve the Historical Church Building Committee.

Your Congregational Engagement Team – WHO are we and WHAT do we want?

… and no one else will do!


So, Kathleen loves serving breakfast and she always needs a few good Christians to help. Maybe that’s you?


Ginny loves serving coffee, punch, and goodies during the fellowship hour after worship and can always use a few good Christians to lend a helping hand. Maybe that’s you?


Carol is on the Care Team and needs some input on how we can better care and pray collectively for each other. Can you envision a Care Circle program in our future?


Do you want to usher?               Do you want to be a greeter?


Do you want to be part of the turkey supper fundraising plan?


It’s the bottom of the 9th and the bases are loaded, and we are counting on you to step up to the plate and take a swing. Contact one of us or the church office for more info, or to take your place in the lineup!

Respectfully, Carol Chaffee

Your Donations are Needed

Two of CSCC ministries are in need of monetary donations. The Bridgewater Food Pantry at CSCC has seen an uptick in the number of clients, and can always use your help to keep food available for those in need.

The CSCC Emergency Fund, administered by the Pastor, is currently in need of replenishment. This Fund helps community members who are in dire financial need, and need help with a utility bill, or part of a rent payment, on a one-time emergency basis.

Thank you for your generosity, and willingness to help others. Donations are accepted by check, Paypal, credit card, and Venmo. CLICK HERE for more info.

Friday, Nov. 3 : PIE NIGHT!
Pie & shopping

Saturday, Nov. 4
Shopping and lunch (11-1)
9am - 1pm


We’re very excited about this year’s fair. Many of your favorites will be there:
Bake Table (cakes, cookies, breads)
Raffle baskets
Harvest table
Homemade soups for lunch
Walking Tacos!
Homemade fudge
Attic Treasures 
Holiday crafts and gifts



Many hands make this event a successful event. What can you do? (Read on...)


We need:
• Pie, cookie, and bread bakers 
• Soup makers! One crockpot of soup from half a dozen or so folks will make for a GREAT lunch event!
• Volunteers the day of the fair to help out around and about
• Gift basket donations! Do you know a local business that would donate a gift basket in return for some publicity? Or maybe your family would put together a fun basket! Baskets and gift cards gratefully accepted.
• Community service-seeking students. 
• Folks to distribute flyers at their favorite public places.
Contact a member of the fair committee or the church office if you are able to contribute any of the above, or if you have another idea!



Attic Treasures Needs Your Gently Used Christmas Treasures

Bev and Debbie are looking for Christmas items & clothing for the holiday section of the Attic Treasures sale. Lights, decorations, party items, sweaters, ties... and anything else Christmas! Put them aside and bring them to  the church the week of the fair, or contact Bev to make other arrangements.


Thank you! From your Fair Committee: 
Denise Molinari, Carla Jackson, 
and Diane Sheibley


CSCC Annual Turkey Dinner - Takeout Style!    •    Sunday, Nov. 12

This has become a community favorite — so we’re going to do it again this year. Watch your email, Facebook, the website, and next month’s Steeple Sounds for final details and to place your order.
Place your order beginning  NOVEMBER 1.



Let us introduce you to the Community Engagement Team: Diane Glass, Krissy Cannizzo, and Terry Reynolds. Our mission as a team is to offer you opportunities to become involved and help others both locally and around the world. 

We have two upcoming opportunities for you to think about and if you wish, to participate — Autumnfest, and a summer 2024 service trip. Read on for more info!


Save the Date!
Multigenerational Service Trip to Maine!
June 23 - 29, 2024

CSCC members and friends (ages 14+) are invited to join a service trip to Farmington, Maine for the week of June 23-29, 2024. This service trip helps people in need stay in their homes by doing home repairs they could otherwise not afford.  This benefits the elderly, single parent families, low-income households, veterans, and those with disabilities and special challenges. Volunteer work teams share their talent and time with homeowner clients to create healthy housing for the underserved by building or rebuilding ramps, painting, and general home repairs. All projects are based on volunteer skills and abilities. 

All interested volunteers are invited to attend an informational meeting on Sunday, Oct. 15 at 11:00am in the Fireplace Room at Central Square Congregational Church, UCC.

You do not need to be a member of Central Square Church, UCC to join in this life-enriching experience.


CLICK HERE for more info.


Sept. 30, 10am-4pm

AutumnFest is a time for different groups and organizations to come together in one area to share information, crafts, food, music, and fun activities for children. It is a place for all ages to come and visit and enjoy the activities on a sunny Fall day, and CSCC will be there with a booth sharing information about upcoming church events. A sneak preview of crafts from the fair will be available for sale and free giveaways for the children. We hope to see you there! It takes place at the BSU quad in front of Boyden Hall, on Saturday, September 30th from 10-4. And if you’d like to help out at the booth for a couple of hours, we’d love to have you!

PS -- we’ll also be collecting nonperishable food items for the food pantry. Bring along a donation, and encourage your friends to, too!




Sunday, Oct. 29 is wear your costume to church day!

CSCC Cabinet Meeting – Minutes
September 20, 2023 at 7pm
*** DRAFT  ***

The meeting was called to order at 7:08 by Anne Malmquist, Moderator.


Cabinet members in attendance: Anne Malmquist, Moderator; Rev. Beth Stotts, Pastor; David Sheibley, Treasurer; Diane Sheibley, Clerk; Terry Reynolds, Community Engagement Team; John Sharland, Property and Finance Team


Diane Sheibley took attendance. Quorum was met.


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


August Minutes
The meeting minutes from the August meeting were presented and reviewed. John Sharland motioned to accept the minutes as written; Rev. Beth seconded. The minutes were approved as written.


Pastor’s Report –  Rev. Beth Stotts
Rev. Beth thanked all who helped her and her family during her recent sick leave and surgery. She worked with the Spiritual Engagement Team on updating the child protection policy. She has been working with the Community Engagement Team on their projects, especially the service trip next summer. She noted how she loved the August worship format. She worked on updating the church brochure, and ordered copies. She has been researching fundraising and networking opportunities, and connected with a grant writer. There is a book discussion on October 29.


Treasurer’s Report – David Sheibley
Dave reported that last month wasn’t great for income, but we’re still averaging out OK. He took $10k out of investments, which was the first time in about 5 months that he had to do so.
    Rev. Beth noted that she recently used up the last of the funds in the Minister’s Emergency Fund, so we should do a plug for people to donate. The food pantry report also noted that they are lower in funds than they have been in a while.


Community Engagement Team Report –Terry Reynolds
The Team has recently met, and plans on having a booth at Autumnfest at BSU on 9/30. They also discussed how they would divide up the responsibilities of the team among the team leaders. Their next meeting is on 9/24.


Congregational Engagement Team Report – Rev. Beth
The Team held a kickoff BBQ, which unfortunately had to be held inside due to rain, on 9/10. Rev. Beth also made up postcards promoting our September events and it was mailed to nonmembers on our mailing list.


Property & Finance Team – John Sharland
John reported that the oil tank was recently empty and refilled, and it needed a Fall checkup. A new Sexton won’t need to be hired until next Spring. John had an email noting that the outside of the building wasn’t looking so good, especially the paint on the front of the church. There will be an all-church workday, including painting, on 10/21. The Team is working on tracking down missing keys and updating the key log. The Team is looking for one more person to serve on a Stewardship Task Force along with Carol and Kathleen. John noted the remaining non-LED lights are going to be replaced with LED throughout the church. He also noted that the P&F Team was happy to hear that a grant writer will be working on our behalf.


Spiritual Engagement Team – Rev. Beth
The Team worked on updating the child protection policy. Rev. Beth asked for Cabinet’s approval of the updated policy. John Sharland motioned to approve it; Dave Sheibley seconded. It was approved unanimously.


Congregational Meeting 9/24
The meeting to vote on withdrawing our application from the Town Community Preservation Committee will be held this Sunday. Online voting will be available beginning on Thursday.


Team Emails
This agenda item has been postponed until next month.


Fundraising Plan – Anne Malmquist
Anne discussed the need for a task force to work on fundraising, under the direction of the Property & Finance Team. Their first order of business is to develop a plan for fiscal 2023-24 which would address the $40,000 budget deficit that was approved. Once a plan for this year is in place, it can be used as a template for future years to work toward a balanced budget. The plan would be developed as a month by month strategy, with projected funds raised by each project, then the task force would coordinate the individual fundraising project teams.

• Brick Walkway Fundraiser – Rev. Beth : Rev. Beth spoke with a company that helps you run brick fundraisers, thinking that since we have to redo the front walkway anyway because the concrete is cracking, we might take the opportunity to make it a fundraiser as well. She’ll be reviewing the information and soliciting help to put together a proposal.

• Mary Ann Lochner is a retired attorney that has agreed to help us with grant writing pro bono.


The meeting adjourned at 8:10pm.


For the current CSCC calendar of events, click here: CALENDAR


Church Administration
Pastor: Rev. Elizabeth Stotts, csccpastor at hotmail.com

Office Manager: Jenne Foronjy, office@csccucc.com
Minister of Music: Julia Scott Carey 

Director of Video Evangelism: Paul Holmes
Treasurer:  David Sheibley 

Communications Coordinator: Diane Sheibley

Office email: office@csccucc.com
Office telephone:  (508) 697-6016
Website:  www.csccucc.org
Facebook pages: facebook.com/csccuccbridgewaterma (main page),
facebook.com/groups/801550253194149 (youth page)

Instagram: @centralsquarechurch 

Venmo: @cscc-ucc

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


Amazon Shopping!

Shopping on Amazon and feeling generous? Check out the CSCC Wish List, and drop an item in your cart for us! CLICK HERE to take a peek at our Amazon wish list. (Whether you buy these items at Amazon or at other stores, this is what we need!)