Central Square Congregational Church, United Church of Christ

Steeple Sounds

September 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 we’ve approached the 2020-2021 school year in this town so centered around public education and higher learning, my heart has ached for those making impossible decisions about the health, safety, and schooling of our children, youth, and young adults. From parents and guardians to teachers, staff, and administrators to students themselves – every single person involved is facing a new and unknown challenge.

This pandemic has changed everything. And while there is hope on the other side, we’re not there yet.

And so here is my plea for us in the coming days: let’s just be kind to one another, okay? Let’s take to heart the truth that every single person we meet is fighting a battle we cannot see and will never fully understand. Let’s commit to giving others the benefit of the doubt that they are making the best decisions they can, with the best information they have, for the people they love and are called to serve.

Jesus taught us a lot about what it means to live in community with one another.  But there was one thing he held above all of it: LOVE. We are called to Love God and Love One Another.  So let’s commit to that even (especially) in the midst of this chaos.

We won’t get everything right. There will be bumps this school year – I’m sure of it.  Nothing will be perfect. But if we commit to one another and commit to Love, it will all be alright.


Always in Christ, Always in Hope, 

Rev. Beth



Building Closure Extended until January 3, 2021

Updated August 14, 2020


Who would have ever imagined...

... back in March, that our communities and families would still be so deeply and profoundly affected by this worldwide pandemic close to six months later, with no true end yet in sight. But as we face its realities, we must continue to put the safety of our community at the forefront of all we do, and the decisions we make about our building.

The Moderator and Pastor of CSCC, together with the Board of Deacons and the Board of Trustees, and upon the continuing recommendation of the Southern New England Conference of the UCC and the current guidance of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, have extended the building closure through at least January 3, 2021. While we will be reassessing along the way, as we have been doing these last few months, we do not foresee at this time that it will be practical to expect an earlier open date.

But remember – the building may be closed, but the church is open! Our work to share our faith and our resources, to care for each other as Jesus cares for us, continues. Join us online, check in with your friends and neighbors, have a Zoom visit, or enjoy the shade of a big tree to have a (physically distanced) cup of coffee with someone who might feel isolated. Reach out to the church office or Rev. Beth or the care team if you need something – a prayer, a mask, a meal, a piece of pie, or just to say hello. 

And when it’s safe to do so, think of the celebrating we can do when we can gather in person once again.   



• 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 be livestreamed from the Sanctuary at 10 a.m. Only the Pastor, the Minister of Music, and the Director of Video Evangelism will be allowed in the building.  



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


•  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


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.



The Thursday night Al-Anon group has resumed meeting at CSCC, under careful and specific protocols to keep the attendees safe from the spread of COVID-19. The group currently meets on Thursdays at 7pm in the Fellowship Hall. Please pass along this information to anyone you know who is in need of this support.



Fundraising Update!

Thank you to everyone who donated to our redemption month fundraiser in August! September is a new month, which means NEW FUNDRAISING OPPORTUNITY!! CSCC is excited to announce that we will be holding an online, real-time auction for one of a kind items that will be shipped right to your door! Auction begins on Monday, September 7th at 10:00 AM! Here's a sneak peek at the items:



You can return to this link on Monday 10:00 AM to bid on your favorite items!


ALSO: Please share this on Facebook by sharing the church's post, tell your friends and neighbors, and even email it out to your contacts. IT DOESN'T MATTER WHERE PEOPLE LIVE -- this is a national fundraiser as the items will be shipped to whoever wins from the hosting company.



Historical Church Restoration Committee

At a recent meeting of the Community Preservation Committee of the Town of Bridgewater, CSCC was approved for a $200,000 grant for the renovation/repair of our steeple. The final approval needs to be voted on by the town council, and we should hear about that soon. 

While the steeple wasn’t our first priority for repairs, we appreciate the generosity of the Town of Bridgewater in helping us bring our historic building, so much a part of the character of the town center, back up to its potential beauty and functionality.

The CPC has recommended to us to resubmit our grant application for the next phase of the work on our building. The entire grant request in our original application, in order to make crucial repairs and long-overdue restorations, was for $1.5million.



New Vice Moderator!

We are pleased to announce that Denise Molinari has accepted the position of Vice Moderator, and was unanimously approved by Cabinet. You’ll remember that the role was vacated when Diane Sheibley was voted in by Cabinet as the new Clerk in June.



To our Central Square family,
Mauree, Hayley and I sincerely thank everyone for your prayers, concerns and abundance of cards during our time of sorrow.  

Your support is thoughtful and very appreciated. 
 Mike, Mauree and Hayley




By Anne Malmquist, CSCC Moderator


Back in March, when the world stopped and no one knew anything about what was to come, we were scared. We didn’t know what was going to happen, how it was going to happen or how long it would last. What we did know, was that we would figure it out. The Church would continue to church. But it would have to be different.

Per the policy of CSCCUCC, the group that makes decisions about worship and building use is the Chair of the Board of Trustees, the Chair of the Board of Deacons, the elected officers of the church and the Pastor. This is the team that consults to determine if we will hold worship when it snows or storms, so this was the team that decided in March at we would close the building until further notice.  

As the summer progressed and the state began to relax some of their regulations, the team met again, recognizing the congregation’s needs and desires to worship in person again. We consulted the Guidance for Phasing Forward, published by the Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ (www.sneucc.org/coronavirus), the most recent guidelines published by the state, the most current data on Coronavirus cases, projections and predictions for cases in the fall going into winter. We weighed the risks and realties of socially distanced worship services and the impact of the in-person procedures on the virtual worship experience. We prayed and concluded that we needed to extend the building closure to January 3, 2021, at which time we would reevaluate. 


So the building is closed, but the Church is very much open.

We need to be creative about how we worship and how we connect for fellowship. Some churches hold drive-in or outdoor worship.  Some congregations have Zoom coffee hours.  Some congregations are holding outdoor Bible studies.  We can not do many of the things that other congregations are doing.  We don’t have much of a yard or a parking lot.  We DO have a phenomenal livestream ministry that is the envy of so many churches.  We need to find more of what works for us!

• The church office now has a Zoom account, so we can hold longer virtual meetings. 
• The Fair Committee has been discussing how to reimagine the Fair and the turkey supper.  
• Dine with Nine could become Jive with Five. 

We need to use our “holy imaginations” as we participate in this giant shift in churching!



We’re overwhelmed with the generosity of our church family in supporting the Bridgewater food pantry with monetary and food donations. Because of you, the pantry is well-stocked and able to provide substantial assistance to the food insecure members of our BW community on an ongoing basis. In addition, a solid safety net of funds has been able to accumulate (see the treasurer’s report below for details) to ensure that this effort can continue. 

While we as a church are proud to be able to host the BW food pantry in our building as an outreach ministry and at no cost to the town or the pantry itself, we ask that you keep in mind that the resources that fuel the life of our church inside our walls (however reduced they are at present) are facing serious challenges by the current pandemic. One major fundraiser from the 2019-20 year had to be cancelled altogether; and major fundraisers for the 2020-21 year are all having to be rethought and frankly, likely won’t meet budgetary expectations. 

While you’re thinking of continuing to support all the great outreach work that CSCC does – making space available for 12-step support groups to continue their ministries, continuing to provide our virtual Sunday worship with excellence, hosting the food pantry, the work of our Pastor and office staff to help anyone who needs it – we ask that you please consider giving whatever you can directly to the church operating budget as a donation to support these efforts, even above and beyond your usual pledge if you are able.


Donations and offerings can be made in any of the following ways:
• Checks can be mailed to the church (71 Central Square, Bridgewater, MA 02324)
• Bill-pay through your bank can be set up for one-time or recurring payments
• Online payments can be made by clicking HERE

If you have any questions, you can email the Treasurer directly and confidentially at treasurer@csccucc.com.

Thoughts about Racial Justice

As a member of the Growth Committee these past few years, I thought our task was reaching outward: Attempt to attract folks to our wonderful church. We have provided a community concert, put up a fun booth at the annual Autumnfest fair held at BSU, made town-wide mailings for Christmas and Easter celebrations at our church, and ensured that Coffee/Social Hour happens on Sundays after worship.

Recent events and pandemic isolation have given me (and most of us) time to look inward, another way to grow. I thought back to the late 1960s when I lived in a town seemingly consumed by inter-racial issues. We worked hard then to talk to each other, to re-organize the schools to provide more, if not total, equal opportunity. In college in a smallish Kentucky town, some of us had a sit-in at the local cinema which required people of color to sit in the balcony. We whites sat there. I doubt it changed things immediately.

It saddens me greatly today that so much about racial relations remains the same, and worse. In mulling these things over, I happened to check out the website of my childhood church in a very small town in central New Jersey. Wow! It has changed—but that is a story for another day. What struck me most was a section on Racial Justice Resources, a list of books, podcasts, videos on the topic. Being a reader, the book list intrigued me most. I am sharing that portion here—with the hope that we all may grow. Maybe these books will help me understand why we didn’t solve much in the 1960s. But we have another chance.


Gail Wershing

PS: If you want the link to the full list of podcasts, videos, etc., feel free to contact me at wershing@ptd.net.


(note: some titles abbreviated for space consideration)
Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson
White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo
Heavy, An American Memoir, by Kiese Laymon
Why I Am No Longer Talking about Race…by Real Eddo-Lodge
The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander
Americanah (novel) by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


Color Compromise, by Jemar Tisby
Dear Church, by Lenny Duncan
White Awake…by Daniel Hill
Pre-Post-Racial America…by Sandhya Rani-Jha
America’s Original Sin, by Jim Wallis
The Christian Imagination…Willie James Jennings
Anxious to Talk About It, by Carolyn B. Helsel



Who Cares?

Having served in many different roles and capacities at our beloved church, I know that we have always struggled to be “in touch” with the all of our congregation. The responsibility is ours, all of us, to minister to each other, to support each other. That is no easy task. For some of us, it is easy to pick up the phone and call a fellow parishioner. For others, it is far out of their comfort zone. For me, it’s a little of both.

But today, we have options. Options to stay connected:
->    A visit, in person
->    A phone call with live conversation
->    An email that checks in but allows you the freedom to write 24/7
->    A letter or card sent via USPS
->    A text message

Regardless of the way we make contact with each other, making that contact is what matters. Especially now, in this COVID-19 state of the union. We have not been together for worship or fellowship for close to six months.


Who Really Cares?

I know that many of us care for one another but there still exists a disconnect. Will you be inspired to connect with a small group of people? Can you spare as little as 15 minutes to connect with another in our congregation?


Forward through the ages, 
In unbroken line,
Move the faithful spirits 
At the call divine.


The Job Description

Groups of 6 – 8 church households, includes individuals and families, will be formulated at random and a ringleader will be chosen. Each ringleader will initiate the first contact and will receive the last contact, thus completing the ring or circle of care. A call and response between two parties is the key to success. 

This is a working model and will be modified along the way as to what works and what doesn’t. You can opt out if you want but I hope you will opt in with heart and soul.

This model has potential to grow and become a fellowship time for small groups within the church. Gail Wershing and I thought some of this through together talking about phone tree, Dine with 9, and Mustard Seed Prayer chain characteristics. Maybe spouses or significant others want to be in different groups.

If you are especially excited about this project and want to help set it up and/or be a ringleader, please email myself, or Gail Wershing. Otherwise, expect to receive notification of your ringleader and also who is in your circle of care.


The First Goal is to be CONNECTED!


Carol & Gail
(Contact the church office at office@csccucc.com if you'd like to reach out to Carol & Gail about this ministry!)




Too Many Pastors Are Falling On Their Own Swords

“Well, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ve been imagining killing myself,” the pastor said.

I was on a Zoom call recently with 10 pastors across three denominations, when one of the participants shared a struggle with suicidal thoughts in these challenging days. By the time the meeting concluded, four of the 10 had found the courage to admit their own suicidal ideations.

I was the youngest person in the group, so these aren’t young, green pastors. These are veterans who have gone through plenty of difficult things in their time, but today’s intensity and difficulty is unprecedented.

One pastor shared the heartbreaking story of going back to church too early and losing a beloved church member to COVID-19. Another shared how congregants were daily emailing him with threats to leave the church if they didn’t reopen immediately — and withholding their tithes until then.

One pastor was fired. Her husband passed away several years ago, leaving her a single mother of two children. Without child care, she was forced to work from home as best she could. Parenting is a full-time job, and parenting two small children alone during a pandemic stretches the metaphor beyond its breaking point. Her church was unhappy with her leadership, sermon quality and lack of a vision during this time of crisis, so they let her go.

Another pastor was forced to lay off half the church’s staff members because so many of the church’s congregants lost their jobs and are unable to give right now.
I know of another pastor who wasn’t in this meeting who after preaching about race one week, a congregant came to the church office and kicked his office door off of its hinges in an attempt to incite the pastor into a fist fight.

One shared that the survey results the congregation took about whether they should return to in-person worship or not resulted in a nearly perfect 50/50 split, with several members writing in the comments section that they would leave if the church (1) didn’t open immediately or (2) attempted to open at all.

Leading anxious congregations amidst a pandemic, a hyper-partisan culture, a civil rights movement, and an upcoming election is destroying the lives of our pastors. Literally.

The only thing that surprised me about the confessions made by these four pastors struggling with suicidal ideation was that there were only four admissions. This Zoom call only echoed the reality that I’ve heard other pastor friends across the nation report for months now.

There’s a story in the Old Testament about King Saul being defeated in battle. Instead of waiting on the opposing army to torture and ridicule him before killing him, he chooses to take his own life by falling on his sword.

Well, pastors are already facing ridicule not just from their adversaries but from many of their own congregants. They’re being tortured by their own inability to lead their churches out of a pandemic, out of hyper-partisanship and out of racism.

Falling on their swords is starting to look pretty attractive.

Church always has been a place where people can act foolish with little consequence — where people have the space to act out toward clergy in ways that aren’t safe to do toward their bosses or their spouses. Being a pastor never has been easy, but this is a new level of hell that pastors are living.


If you’re a congregant reading this, here’s some advice:

First, accept the fact that your church is not The Church. The body of Christ here on earth is not Christ himself. Don’t conflate the two. Churches are fallible organizations full of sinners saved by grace.

“Those people who are hellbent on saving the church are ironically the very ones who end up doing her the most harm.”

In my experience, those people who are hellbent on saving the church are ironically the very ones who end up doing her the most harm. The person who chooses to love the church just as she is, for this is what Christ does, is the one who is able to grow with her.

So stop comparing your church to the one down the street or the one your kids go to. Accept your church for who she is.

Second, accept that your pastor is a shepherd, not The Shepherd. If we’re unable to accept that our pastors are human beings with flaws, that says more about us than it does our pastors.

And stop comparing them to the pastor down the street or on the podcast you listen to. It isn’t fair to your pastor, and such comparison incites in us the sin of envy. One of the Ten Commandments teaches us not to covet —and I believe healthy church members will not covet their neighbor’s pastor.

Third, pray for your pastor. Pray for his or her mental health. Pray for the pastor’s family. Pray for the pastor to flourish. Pray for God to give you understanding and patience with your pastor and to show you how to be a source of light and life during this time of death and darkness.

Fourth, for the next six months, commit to staying and being the best church member you can be. I’ve learned that when I get angry emails, I don’t need to respond on the same day. I write a response, then I sleep on it. If I still feel like I need to say those things the next day, then I do. But 90% of the time I don’t, and I craft an entirely new email.

If you don’t like how things are going in your church, that’s OK. No one is saying you should, but I am absolutely suggesting that you keep it to yourself until the pandemic is over and then, if you still think it’s worth addressing, do so at that time.

It’s common for church members to smile to themselves when their pastor does something they like but never reach out with a compliment — and then be quick to speak out when the pastor does something they don’t like. That means the only time we hear from some of you is when you are unhappy. It’s exhausting, and isn’t an honest representation of who you are or your relationship with the church and your pastor. Share the good things, and share them often.

Practice the Christian virtue of being long-suffering, and ride this storm out. Be committed to your church. Be committed to its financial and spiritual success.
Fifth, advocate for you pastor’s mental health. Ask committees to use emergency funds to pay for your pastor to see a counselor, get a spiritual director or even just get out of town for a bit. Assure your pastor that if she or he needs to take a leave of absence or an extended vacation, they are empowered to do so. Their lives may depend on it.


If you’re a pastor reading this, I have advice for you too:

First, get a counselor. Find a professional outside of your congregation whom you can get real with, and then be brutally honest with that counselor. 

Second, be honest with your primary care physician about anxiety and depression. You made need to see a psychiatrist, but odds are that your PCP is dealing with a lot of mental health issues right now and may have some wonderful advice for you. And you made need medication in the short term. It’s worth it. Your life may be at stake.

“We are in a pandemic. Reevaluate and recreate realistic expectations.”

Third, do less. Being a pastor right now is killing pastors. That isn’t hyperbole or a metaphor. The workload and the mental strain are inhumane and unsustainable. We are in a pandemic. Reevaluate and recreate realistic expectations.

Some things can be delegated to other staff, deacons, committees or lay teams. Other things will need to be dropped for a time. Hopefully your church will understand if you communicate your needs to them, but even if they don’t, losing your job is better than losing your life.

Fourth, practice friendship. One of the worst things about the pandemic is the isolation. We are in this together, but we are doing it separately. Reach out to your friends and put a weekly or monthly Zoom date on the calendar. Have a drink, cuss, play video games or anything else that brings even a modicum of relief to the internal pressure you’re carrying.

Community and intimacy are prescriptions for the spiritual disease of isolation, and you probably cannot get your prescription filled in your congregation right now.


Fifth, lean on your peers. No one can support a pastor quite like another pastor. Ask a few trusted peers to be in a small peer group that carries each other’s pandemic burdens for the next six months. And then tell them the truth, pray for each other fervently and often, and hold each other accountable for their taking care of mental health. When my other pastor friends ask me if I’ve made an appointment with my counselor yet, then I feel compelled to do so in a way that I don’t otherwise feel.

You may think you don’t have any more room to carry anyone else’s burden, and that’s true, but I’d wager you will find the burden is actually lessened when shared with competent companions who are on the same journey.


Jakob Topper serves as pastor of NorthHaven Baptist Church in Norman, Okla.
Reprinted with permission from Baptist News Global, www.baptistnews.com © 2020, Baptist News Global. All rights reserved.


"Change is inevitable, progress is a choice."

One of my favorite hymns in our hymnal is “God of Change and Glory”. And I think the words speak to where we find ourselves at this point in time. 


“God of change and glory, God of time and space, when we fear the future, give to us your grace. In the midst of changing ways give us still the grace to praise.” 


In reflecting on our lives pre-Covid, I’m realizing we were overextending ourselves and our expectations of others. We created a lifestyle which valued busy-ness where not one minute was wasted. But now, schedules have been forced to change. Demands have changed. Daily routines have been interrupted. What have you chosen to do with this interruption? I have spent the past several months hiking the Bay Circuit Trail (230 miles of trail through 37 Massachusetts towns). During my walks through this Covid experience, I have come to realize that we can’t go back to the way things were. Nor should we.  

Many of you know that I am a Mary Kay consultant. At a recent seminar our leader said, “Change is inevitable, progress is a choice.” I loved this quote because it gives us power and opportunity in uncomfortable or unusual situations such as what we find ourselves in now. 

Alan Lightman, a professor at MIT recently wrote, “Innovation often arises in periods of adversity. Consider, for example, the many new platforms for online teaching, or the use of cheap Bluetooth smart thermometers able to transmit a person’s fever and geolocation to a distant database, or members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra performing together and apart from 29 different locations using their smartphones.” Covid has changed how we do things. With more quiet time, more privacy, more stillness, we have had an opportunity to think about who we are, as individuals, as a society, and as a community of faith. 


And so I want to ask you… 
How are you taking the changes that Covid has forced upon your life and turned them to progress or innovation? How has God’s grace and glory fed you and strengthened you through this time, propelling you to a new reality and a new spiritual way of being? 

We can’t go back to the old way of being. At some point, the coronavirus will pass, or at least recede into the haze of other viruses and ailments. There will be (and already is) staggering suffering and loss of life, enormous economic devastation. That tragedy cannot be overstated. For years, we will be trying to rebuild the broken world. But perhaps the changes in our lifestyles in these months can help put the pieces back together. And perhaps a more contemplative, deliberate way of living can become permanent. 

If you’d like to talk more about this, please reach out to me or a member of the Care Team. In the meantime, know you’re in my prayers. 


Deb Sorgman, Sr. Deacon



2020-21 Pledges, Tithes, and Offerings


As our mission statement says, “We are a Christian community of people who are reaching out to our neighbors, at home and abroad, 
sharing our faith and our resources.”


Dear Friends,

First and foremost, we would like to thank you for your commitment to Central Square Congregational Church, UCC, and the work that we do in Jesus’ name. And now, more than ever, we need to do God’s work.
We were fortunate in our last fiscal year, although our plate offerings and fundraisers were down, to meet our pledged funds budget, despite the last quarter being in the middle of a pandemic that shut down our church building and in-person worship. And we are deeply appreciative.

As you know, gifts, tithes, and offerings that we receive are what we use to determine what expenses we can incur, and what programs we can support. Expenses for such things as our Pastor and our small number of crucial part-time support staff; our livestreaming of worship; our music program; our Sunday school and youth programs; heat, water, lights, gas, and other utilities for our church, our church kitchen, and the Bridgewater food pantry; everyday repairs and maintenance; keeping our spaces clean; insurance; office supplies and expenses; and of course, our Christian outreach. 


This year is a bit different than most:
• First, it is likely we will not be able to run our major fundraisers
, or at least not to the monetary degree that we normally do;
• Second, we do not have the opportunity to accept in-person donations from visitors and members at our weekly worship services, through at least December.

While some minor cost savings are also part of the current environment, it is in no way an equal trade. We are deeply appreciative that, so far, we have been able to keep up with our payroll expenses, thereby keeping our staff from experiencing a loss of income. And our goal is to continue doing so as long as we are able.

With all of this in mind, we’re simply asking you if you are able, to give a bit more this year than you normally do. Are you able to give another dollar per week? Perhaps another $5? $10? Perhaps more. Or, perhaps you aren’t able to do any increase at this time. Maybe you are able to give a one-time additional gift to help tide us over, or maybe your finances are unusually tight, or uncertain, and you are not able to give anything extra, or perhaps not even your usual giving. Whatever your situation, we understand. 

While filling out a pledge form is not required, if you wish to change from last year’s pledge, or you would like to newly pledge, visit the “giving page” on our website by clicking HERE.

Please feel free to share this information, the links to the forms on our website, or the paper forms with family, friends, and neighbors, or anyone you know who wants to help support our work. 


And remember a few things:
• There is never a penalty for not meeting your pledge. Life is unpredictable. Circumstances change. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not. Should it become unrealistic for you to contribute as you thought you might, we would always want you to do what is best for you and your family.
• Your pledged figure is kept confidential. The Financial Secretary is the only person who processes pledges in our church, with the support of our Treasurers.
• Giving additional amounts above your pledge is always an option. It seems odd to say, but you are not constrained to the amount you pledge should you find you have more to give, either on an ongoing basis, or on a one-time occasion. Your additional gifts will further help us meet our budget obligations and to support our ministries.
• You need not be a church member to commit to annual giving. Again, total pledged giving drives our annual budget, and allows us to plan our ministry. Commitments in the form of pledges are welcome from all.
• CSCC receives no funds from the town, the state, or the United Church of Christ. All of the money we have available for ministry and other operating expenses comes from you and from our fundraisers.

Thank you again for your support of God’s work in our world. Now more than ever.


Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. (Luke 12:34)

Give, and it will be given to you. (Luke 6:38)


Due to the pandemic, this meeting will be held via livestreaming on YouTube and Facebook. 
Use the same method you use to watch Sunday worship. Link will be on the website.

One item of business will be conducted on this day: To present, discuss, and vote on the 2020-21 fiscal year operating budget for Central Square Congregational Church, UCC. This will be the only vote taken on this day.

The Cabinet-approved proposed budget is available by clicking HERE (pdf format).

It is also available by contacting the church office.

Following are the logistics of the meeting:
• The meeting will be livestreamed from the sanctuary.
• The Moderator will call the meeting to order, and the Trustees will offer a short introduction and presentation of the proposed budget.
• Questions submitted by the congregation (both prior to the event and during the event) will be coordinated by Moderator Anne Malmquist, and presented in real time for live response.
• Voting will be held via email, mail, online voting, and phone, before, during, and after the meeting (for 24 hours). 
• The Clerk will tally the votes to determine quorum as well as the success of passing the budget.
• The congregation will be informed of the results via email, on the website, and in the October Steeple Sounds. 

To ask questions regarding the 2020-21 CSCC budget:

Submitting questions in advance is strongly recommended: 
• You may ask your question directly of the treasurer for private response by emailing him at treasurer@csccucc.com
• To submit general questions, send an email to office@csccucc.com, or call the church office, NO LATER THAN 12 noon, FRIDAY, SEPT 18.

To submit your question during the meeting:

• You can comment on the livestream post on Facebook.
• You can comment on the livestream on YouTube (you must be signed in to YouTube to comment).
• You can email your question to office@csccucc.com.

To cast your vote regarding acceptance of the 2020-21 CSCC budget:

• Vote online during the meeting, or afterward until 12 noon, Monday, Sept. 21 (link will be provided during the meeting).
• Email your vote to the church office at office@csccucc.com, before, during, or after the meeting. ALL EMAIL VOTES must be received by 12 noon, Monday, Sept. 21. You must include your name and your vote (yes / no / abstain).
• Mail your vote to the church office (CSCC, Attn: CLERK, 71 Central Square, Bridgewater, MA 02324). ALL MAIL-IN VOTES must be received by Friday, Sept. 18. You must include your name and your vote (yes / no / abstain).
• Call the church office with your vote, before, during, or after the meeting. Leave a message if you get the voicemail — you must include your name and your vote (yes / no / abstain). ALL CALL-IN VOTES must be received by 12 noon, Monday, Sept. 21.


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

CSCC Cabinet Meeting – Minutes
August 19, 2020 via Zoom teleconferencing

The virtual meeting was called to order at 7:03.

Cabinet members in attendance: Rev. Beth Stotts, Pastor; Anne Malmquist, Moderator; Diane Sheibley, Clerk; Dave Sheibley, Treasurer; Gordon Brailsford & Ed Buckland, Board of Trustees; Bill O’Neil, Board of Christian Outreach; Lynn Pietras, Board of Deacons; Brad Barnsley, Board of Stewardship; Terry Reynolds, Women’s Guild and Fellowship; Gail Wershing & Mike Bundock, Growth Committee; Barbara Morey, History & Memorials Committee/Historical Building Restoration Committee

Also present: Ellen Atherton, Congregational Administrator; Denise Molinari; Mary Barnsley; Paul Holmes; Carol Chaffee

Rev. Beth opened the meeting with a prayer.   

Anne Malmquist announced that Denise Molinari was present at the meeting, and had accepted the invitation to become Vice Moderator following the vacancy of the position when Diane Sheibley became the Clerk. Terry Reynolds motioned to accept Denise as VM, Gail Wershing seconded. The vote was unanimous in favor.

Anne announced that the church now has a paid zoom account, so meetings can run longer than the 40-minute (limited by free accounts) previous constraint. Contact the office if you want access to the account.

Barbara Morey reported the following. 
• The Community Preservation Committee of the Town of Bridgewater voted to approve a grant of $200,000 to CSCC for renovation of our steeple. The vote now needs to go to the town council. We were instructed to resubmit our application for further funding. Barbara will talk to the contractor, Gale Associates, to determine if that amount of money will allow us to do the steeple work. 
• Joe, the grant writer, as applied for ten other grants. 
• We have two outstanding invoices with Gale Associates. They told Barbara if we pay one of the two, they would be prepared to move forward with work. There is some confusion as to what those invoices are for, and whether or not it was authorized. The invoices are above what the church approved to spend.

• Anne showed on the screen the proposed 2020-21 budget, as submitted by the Trustees.
• The congregational budget meeting is set for September 20.
• It was suggested to put a stipend in for Paul Holmes for his video ministry.
• Dave Sheibley called attention to several budget items: the nursery and youth minister positions have been cut for this year; the minister’s expense increased because the cost of health and dental insurance dramatically increased; Ed noted that the Johnson Fund endowment is for music-related costs, so this budget utilizes some funds from that to pay for Julia and other music expenses.
Mike Bundock motioned that the proposed budget be accepted by Cabinet. Brad Barnsley seconded. Discussion followed.
Diane Sheibley made a motion to have a friendly amendment made to the budget in the form of a line item adding a stipend for Paul Holmes in the amount of $1000 for all of his work with livestreaming. Mike Bundock seconded. Discussion followed, including how Paul’s role of livestreaming Sunday services, especially during this pandemic, is crucial to our church. He donates all of his time, vast expertise, and use of his equipment to livestream on Sundays.
Diane’s motion was voted on. It passed by a majority vote.
There was further discussion on the increase of the health and dental insurance for Rev. Beth. She noted that it is through the UCC pension board, and if she were to leave the program for another insurance plan, she would never be allowed back, even if she went to another church. So we are locked into using the UCC insurance.
    The motion was called for a vote, to accept the proposed budget, as amended. The motion passed with zero opposed, and one abstain.

• Building closure has been extended to January 3, 2021, with ongoing evaluation.
• Currently, the 12-step programs and the food pantry are the only groups using the building, under strict guidelines and procedures. 
• There are guidelines from the state to follow, as well as recommendations from the Southern New England Conference of the UCC. 
• There are many concerns and complications when considering opening the building to other meetings and worship: who will turn away people once we’ve reached our legal limit? How much will the livestreaming worship service be compromised if Rev. Beth and Julia have to wear masks, and there can be no singing even by Julia? Are we equipped to do all the sanitizing necessary between every meeting and worship service? Who will be “the enforcer” regarding mandatory and proper mask usage? Do we need to collect contact info for everyone that attends every meeting and worship service, in case there is a case reported and we need to follow up with everyone who was present?
• Anne asked everyone to give some creative thought to other ways we can have face to face fellowship outside of worship, and safely. Example: small group gatherings like the recent book study under the tree outside. We need to start imagining and be creative. We can reimagine using outdoor venues, the church fair, the turkey supper.
• We also need to start getting back to doing things, but doing them more creatively… stewardship, outreach, growth. 
• Gail Wershing said that the Growth committee was thinking about holding a t-shirt design contest for the 2021 anniversary. It’s something that families, and people of all ages could do together, and completely remotely. Then we could sell the t-shirts to benefit the operating budget.
• For next meeting: let’s talk about ideas

The next cabinet meeting is scheduled for Sept. 16. The request was made to consider having it in person in the church. If that were to be considered, the suggestion was made to move it a week earlier to Sept. 9 because of school opening on the 16th. Anne will take the suggestion under advisement and let people know. There are many factors to consider.
    With the possibility that the meeting will be moved to the 9th, all boards and committees should try and meet before then. Rev. Beth asked Ellen to send the Southern New England Conference guidelines for reopening to the cabinet, as they are a factor in CSCC’s decision to reopen the building.

The meeting ended with a prayer at 8:55.  

Remember that when you shop on Amazon, use “smile.Amazon.com” rather than just “Amazon.com”, and designate CSCC as the charity to benefit from your purchases. It costs you nothing extra! Contact the church office with questions.


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


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

Congregational Administrator: Ellen Atherton,  office @ csccucc.com
Sexton: Rich Sullivan
Minister of Music: Julia Scott Carey, juliascottcarey @ gmail.com

Director of Video Evangelism: Paul Holmes
Nursery Coordinator: Maria Kean, mmkean14 @ gmail.com
Treasurer:  David Sheibley,  treasurer @ csccucc.com
Office telephone:  (508) 697-6016
Website:  www.csccucc.org
Facebook pages: facebook.com/csccuccbridgewaterma (main page),
facebook.com/groups/801550253194149 (youth page)

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