. . .



May 2024

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


"For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth...”         -Isaiah 65:17


This morning, as I walked out to my car to come to the office, I hopped over puddles and worms and noticed some gnats swarming over a particularly muddy patch of last year’s grass. With new eyes, I’m beginning to see parts of our property that I haven’t really looked at in months. I’m also noticing the downed branches, hunks of turf, and piles of rock and sand scooped by shoveling during the one storm we had when the ground wasn’t frozen yet. I see BSU students walking through Bridgewater center shedding their winter layers. Some already venture out to class in sandals and shorts. Even though my mother's voice echoes “You’re making me cold!” in my brain when I see them, I admire their bravado. They understand this truth: Forty-five degrees feels cold in October. In late April and early May, it feels delicious, a promise that spring really is here and summer is coming.


The calendar tells us that we are in Spring. When I read the words of Isaiah 65, the lavish description of God’s dream for new heaven and new earth, I am reminded of the season in which we find ourselves right now. We haven’t quite made it to the summer of creation. No, we are earlier in the verse. We are at the “God is about to create” part. What this means is that we are somewhere after the beginning but not quite at the end of the process of creating. We are getting ready. In the phrase “for I am about to create”, we are at the “about” part.


The past few months of worship have been about telling the stories from the midst of Jesus’ ministry — how he gathered coworkers, what he taught, where he had conflict. We took the time to watch Jesus be about God’s business of building the kingdom. We were invited to consider what it means for us to be about God’s business in our own day and time. We were invited to think about how we put our faith to work. And now, we are in the midst of the “about”.


It is no small thing to be in this “about” season. It’s sticky, messy, and full of things once covered up or hibernating. But, even in the midst of the muck, there is potential. God is about to build a new creation. It will always be on the foundation of what has come before.


And so, in the midst of the “about”, what new life is about to be born in you? What has this season been preparing you to build with God? As you stand in the muck and mud of the “about to” time, what is sustaining you through to new creation? Our scripture tells us that new life is coming. If it doesn’t feel like Resurrection, it just means God’s not done yet. That means we still have time to pitch in and become good fruits of the next growing season.  


May it be so, with a hopeful heart,
Rev. Beth


Tuesday, 9-11 (5/7 & 5/14)

Tuesday, 9-1 (5/21 and forward)

Wed - Thu - Fri, 9-1

or by appointment



Sunday Worship will continue to be livestreamed from the Sanctuary at 10 a.m. 
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, May 15, 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

Anne Malmquist - amalmquist at comcast . net

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.


CSCC Team Leadership 2023-24

Spiritual Engagement Team Leaders:
Denise Molinari, Deb Sorgman, Eric Stotts


Congregational Engagement Team Leaders:
Carol Chaffee [2 positions open]


Property & Finance Team Leaders:
Dave Hanson, John Sharland, Mark Sorgman


Community Engagement Team Leaders:
Krissy Cannizzo, Diane Glass, Terry Reynolds



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


Did you know that Venmo has lower fees to the church than Paypal? So if you can't decide which one to use, choose Venmo.




Coins for Kids Church : May 5


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.

CSCC Junior Choir rehearsals this month at 9:20am: May 5, 12, 19


Performance at 10am: May 19




Giving envelopes available

For those who like to use envelopes to manage their contributions, envelope books are now available. Please see David Sheibley or Jenne on Sunday morning or during office hours if you’d like one. 

Sunday, May 5

Last one of the season!

Friday, May 17 - CANCELLED


The Women’s Guild is proud to announce that they made $2260.31 on this year’s Spring rummage sale, in support of local charities and outreach! A sincere thank you to all who donated, baked, cooked, volunteered, helped publicize the event, and shopped.

The final Women’s Guild meeting of the program year is Wednesday, May 1, and is the annual banquet. Contact Jane O’Connell at janoco19@comcast.net or 508-697-3602 if you need further details.



Celebration of Life for Mike Bundock


Where: Central Square Congregational Church, UCC
Date: May 18
Time: 11:00am

Lunch: Follows the service at the Fireside Grill, 30 Bedford St, Middleboro (please RSVP)


If attending the lunch, please RSVP to Mauree by May 8 either by phone, 508-944-4679, or email at mm.bundock at comcast.net.



Annual Reports from all Teams and Ministries are due to the office no later than May 15. Reports this year should be reflective of the program year Sept 2023 - June 2024 (in prior years, they have been for the prior calendar year).

Strengthen the Church Offering : May 19

The Strengthen the Church (STC) Offering reflects the shared commitment of people across the United Church of Christ to cooperatively build up the UCC. Conferences and the national setting equally share the gifts given by members and friends through their local congregations. The funds raised support leadership development, new churches, youth ministry, and innovation in existing congregations. 

CSCC will take up the 2024 Strengthen the Church offering on Sunday, May 19.



Yes, please do save the date of June 2 for some worship, communion, pot luck brunch buffet, games, fellowship, and good ole fun! Watch for more details in our weekly email blasts, Sunday announcements, and the website. We will keep you informed as details take shape and ideas unfold.

The Congregational Engagement Team



Thank you, John Sharland! 
Thank you for cleaning the sign out front and making it sparkle again!


Kids Church dates for the rest of the program year:

May 5 - May 12 - May 19 - June 9

May 19 is the Kids Church (almost) end of year party! 
May 26 - No Kids Church - Multi-generational worship on Trinity Sunday.   
June 2 - No Kids Church - All-church picnic during worship time!
June 9 - Last Kids Church for the program year! Have a great summer!

The last church breakfast of the season is May 5!

If you are able to donate any of the following, please let Jenne in the office (office@csccucc.com or 508-697-6016) know no later than MAY 2:
• a container of juice (2-3 needed)
• “adult” yogurts (in regular individual containers)
• a dozen eggs (6 dozen needed)
• bacon (7 packages needed)
• block of cream cheese (3 needed)
• butter (4 sticks needed)
• 5 lb. bag of potatoes (2 needed)
• large buttermilk
• half gallon of milk
• quart of half and half
• your favorite baked goods


Giving envelopes available

For those who like to use envelopes to manage their contributions, envelope books are now available. Please see David Sheibley or Jenne on Sunday morning or during office hours if you’d like one.


On Easter morning, at the Ecumenical Sunrise Service at Hanson Farm, a free will offering was taken to benefit the Bridgewater Food Pantry. The total amount collected was $1,000! Thank you, Bridgewater community, for your love and support!

As we are nearing the end of our fiscal year, I’d like to update everyone on the church’s finances. As you may know, the budget approved for the current year had a $40,500 deficit to be funded from our investments. In fact, each budget for at least the past 6 years has been passed with a deficit of at least $40,000. In 2018 our investments totaled about $410,000 but, after years of deficit spending, they now total just over half that amount. As you can see, our church cannot continue on the same path for much longer. 

If we desire to maintain the same level of service as we currently enjoy, we must increase income to match our expenses. We are blessed to have the Thrift Shop now in the church, they are on track to contribute over $16,000 this fiscal year. As you can see in the Treasurer’s report (page 12), the Church Fair is the other big contributor to our finances. Any other fundraisers or sources of income we can develop will help reduce the deficit.

The church’s total expenses are almost $220,000 annually, that means we need approximately $4,200 of income per week to break even — while our budgeted income is only about $3,400/week. We currently have 50 people (either individuals or couples) pledging; to make up the $800/week deficit each pledge will need to increase by an average of $16/week. As with pledging in general, some may have the ability to give more and some may not. For a snapshot of what our church members currently pledge, here is a breakdown of the range of giving:


We must also keep in mind that our budget does not include any provisions for major repairs to the church building. We are right now needing to spend approximately $20k to replace one of our furnaces as it is failing and will not pass inspection next year. With a building as old as ours, there are many things that will need repair or replacement in the coming years.

The church will be voting on June 9 to approve the 2024 – 2025 fiscal year budget. 
• Please consider raising your pledge if you are able. 
• If you haven’t pledged before, consider making a pledge to sustain our ministry. 

The Property & Finance Team develops the budget using pledges so please submit your pledge to the church by MAY 15. The pledge form is available HERE, and in the office. 

Although our financial situation is serious, I have faith that the members and friends of CSCC will rise to the challenge and find ways to fund our church to allow it to continue to serve our community and our neighbors, at home and abroad.

Dave Sheibley
CSCC Treasurer

PS - Remember, you need not be a CSCC member to make a pledge! We gratefully accept all contributions. 


Everyone’s circumstances are different, and some very challenging, financially and otherwise. But remember that increasing your pledge isn’t the only way to help the church’s bottom line. Fundraisers and grants are the other keys to bridging the financial gap. As noted, the thrift shop and the fair are ‘big ticket’ fundraising projects, and having others like them would be amazing and would take some pressure off all of us. But there are other opportunities as well, on a smaller scale, and valuable nonetheless.

The Property & Finance Team published a list of ideas in a recent Steeple Sounds. Did any of them sound interesting to you? Maybe you’d be willing to help out with one or more? Sometimes just committing some time and talent to a short-term project, together with others, can produce the needed rewards. 

Or maybe you would be willing to approach local (or national) businesses and organizations for grants or gifts, or maybe donations of time and talent for tasks the church needs done.

If each one of us did whatever it is that works for us as individuals, whether it feels significant or not, we can as a community ensure the future of CSCC. 


Please note the thrift shop will be 
open on FRIDAY, May 17 and CLOSED Saturday, May 18 so that staff may attend 
Mike Bundock’s Celebration of Life on 5/18.


There's always a sale going on at Central Closet Thrift Shop! Stop in often to take advantage of our sales and the ever-changing merchandise. 

Donations are what make the thrift shop so successful.  We are blessed to continue to receive merchandise weekly from several of our regular customers. All donations for Central Closet Thrift Shop must be delivered to the shop during shop hours. Currently we are accepting Spring and Summer items. Please limit your donations to 20 items per drop off.

The week of May 12 thru May 18 we are changing things up a bit. We will be open on Wednesday May 15th and FRIDAY May 17th. Saturday May 18th  we will be closed so our team of volunteers may attend the memorial service for our friend Mike Bundock.

Volunteers are needed. We are asking people to help us out during the summer months. Additional coverage is needed for a  Wednesday,  Saturday,  or perhaps an occasional Friday. Whatever time you can spare is greatly appreciated and helps our church. Contact one of the team members below, or the church office.

Still available: Hilliard's candy bars! So delicious, and  perfect for Mother's day. 


Hope to see you soon at the Central Closet Thrift Shop, 
Connie, Sandy, Jane, Lynn, & Gail

Guest Preacher, Rev. Carleton Borden
Sunday, May 5

A note from Rev. Borden...

My name is Rev. Carleton Borden, but you can call me Carl. I am a retired United Church of Christ pastor with an M.Div. from Andover-Newton Theological School (at the time in Newton Centre, Massachusetts, now in New Haven, Connecticut).

My wife Dorothy (Darcy) Borden, M.Div. is the pastor of Grace Union Church of Wilbraham and First Church in Ludlow. Our son George is a brotherhood member with the Order of the Arrow and earned his Eagle Scout on August 15th, 2023, with Troop 1416 Minot ND, and our other son Ted is the rank of First Class Scout. We moved to Wilbraham last August 16th. They joined Scouts BSA Troop 1774 and Aviation Explorers 1903, and Business Explorers 920.

My day job is the Senior Membership Director for the Boy Scouts of America for the four westernmost counties of Western Massachusetts.

Retired Rev. Carleton Borden
BA History UMass-Amherst 1998
M.Div. Andover-Newton Theological School 2006
Ordained UCC 2007

Do you have a graduating senior in the family? Or perhaps someone completing a certificate program?


Let us know so we can recognize them in next month’s Steeple Sounds! 

Please send the following info to the office:
Graduate’s name
School/program graduating from
Plans for after graduation (short term, long term, or both)
plus a headshot or other photograph of the graduate


Why Caring for Others, the Earth, and Animals Matters to God

By Dolores Smyth


The Bible proclaims that God is love (1 John 4:8). God’s love for Creation is evident in Scripture from the beginning, literally. The Bible opens with God meticulously creating the heavens, the Earth, and everything in them (Genesis 1:1-31). As God spoke His creations into being, He carefully inspected each one before declaring it good, bestowing blessings, and moving on to His next design.

In creating mankind, God blessed us above all by making us in His image and entrusting us to be caretakers of the world (Genesis 1:27-28). As divinely appointed trustees of the Earth, we’re to look after Creation in His name. 

Since God is love and we’re made in His image, we must reflect His love in our interactions with all of His creations. We can most readily reflect God’s love for the world by caring for each other, our earth, and animals.

Reprinted with permission from Crosswalk.com

Pain Builds Character?


by Sheri Turner


A friend of mine told me her son fell and got his leg cut up, requiring stitches. She also said he was being a champ about letting her clean and dress the wound every day even though it hurt.

I mentioned this in passing to my sister the other day and she said, “Pain builds character.” That started me thinking…does it? I mean, everyone experiences pain. Whether you stub your toe, break a leg, or you find out someone you love has a serious illness or has died, we all get hurt.

Does the experience of pain always result in more character?


If pain builds character, it changes my perspective on the pain that exists in the world. Does causing others pain mean we are assisting them in a journey to build character? To my way of thinking that is absurd. If causing others pain builds character in them, all the wars, genocides, crimes, injustices, bigotry, and hatred in the world have their place. More than that: devastation, cruelty, and pain should result in good strong character always.

But does experiencing pain always result in more character? If so, what of people like Charles Manson, who was said to have had a painful childhood, and went on to commit some of the most heinous crimes? Would we say he had character, or built people’s character? Did Christ suffer what he did to build character in his mother Mary who suffered the pain of a grieving mother? Was his suffering at the garden of Gethsemane all the better because it further built her character and that of the disciples?

It seems to me that I am missing some crucial bit of understanding. Theologian and writer C.S. Lewis stated in his essay, “On the Problem of Pain” that free will is stitched into the fabric of his understanding of why pain exists. Lewis insists that what humans consider good, loving, and kind is not what God’s understanding of it is. God created the universe and understands its inner workings. He gave free will to all of us. That necessarily means we can choose good or evil. When the various choices that can be made are made, some will be good and some will be evil, or against God’s design. Since God knows how things are supposed to work, when we experience pain as a result of our choices, we are free to choose to learn or grow from the experience or not.

So if we are free to choose growth or not to grow, wouldn’t it make sense that our role as Christians, or even simply human beings of any kind, Christian or otherwise, would be to encourage and support that growth in any way we are able? There are many who claim that compassion and kindness are the mark of civilization. Noted anthropologist Margaret Mead was asked what the first sign of civilization was. It is said that she responded that a healed human femur was the first sign of civilization. When asked why she felt the healed femur was the first marker of civilization, she responded that in order for a broken thigh to heal, someone would have had to care for an individual injured in this way. Our ancestors were hunters/gatherers who lived in difficult conditions. In order to survive, much time needed to be spent hunting for food, gathering needed supplies, and protecting oneself from predators and the elements. If someone was seriously hurt with an injury like a broken femur, they would be unable to do these things for a significant time period. Someone would in all likelihood need to do those things for that individual until the time they had healed enough to be able to do those things for themselves. 

To take care of another’s needs requires that you care on some level for them. Caring for someone is not only a kind thing to do, but our ancestors found out how necessary it is to survival. This is the very first seeds of community. If our ancestors could recognize and appreciate the importance of compassion, kindness, and community, perhaps we can help others to acknowledge the value of acts of kindness towards others.

Did the ability to develop this empathy, compassion, and kindness grow from the pain our ancestors experienced? Or was that ability there all along, waiting for the right circumstances to reveal its existence? What do you think?


 CSCC Cabinet Meeting – Minutes
April 24, 2024 at 7pm

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 by Anne Malmquist, Moderator.


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


Diane Sheibley took attendance. Quorum was met.


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


March Minutes
The meeting minutes from the March meeting were presented and reviewed. John Sharland motioned to accept the minutes as written; Eric Stotts seconded. The minutes were approved as written.


Pastor’s Report –  Rev. Beth Stotts
Easter and Lent was a busy time! But went well. Rev. Beth has interviewed and hired a supply pastor for her sabbatical leave this summer. This Sunday is new member Sunday. Music Sunday is May 12. Pentecost and confirmation Sunday is May 19. Senior Sunday is June 9.


Treasurer’s Report – Dave Sheibley
We’re continuing on generally the same trajectory, but falling a little more behind each month. We’re running a little behind last year’s giving. He had to take another $10,000 out of investments, which brings it up to $35,000 on the fiscal year. We’re not buying winter oil any more for the season, so that’s good. Regarding the budget, at some point we’ll have to turn it around (passing deficit budgets), or we will run out of money. Quarterly statements went out to donors this week so people will see if they’re behind. Rev. Beth wrote thank yous on all of the statements. The question was asked, why would someone not pledge? Some don’t want to be obligated was one reason given. It was suggested that we might follow up with people who are behind on their pledges.


Congregational Engagement Team – Carol Chaffee
This Saturday is “Let’s Tortellini with Frank”. 8 people are signed up. There will be soup for all to take home, as well as some for each to give away. We are getting people to sign up for greeting and ushering. Nina, Bev, and Carol (the Care Team) each have people they are keeping in contact with. The church picnic is June 2. It will be worship and fellowship and food mixed together. Weather permitting, there will be lawn games, and it will be a potluck.


Community Engagement Team – Terry Reynolds
Terry talked about a meeting of the WISE group (Welcome, Inclusive, Supportive, Engaged). Rev. Beth will be studying becoming a WISE congregation during her sabbatical leave. It is much like the ONA process – it takes about a year to explore it and write a welcoming statement. In early Fall, we will be hosting a mental health forum on WISE, which is a training of sorts. The Team worked on and submitted their budget. Regarding the Harry Potter event: Terry got input from Jeff Fowler from BTV on contacting Warner Brothers and applying for the license to hold the event. She submitted a letter, and it will be 4-6 weeks before they respond. The event is on hold until they do. Terry reviewed the Food Pantry report with the group.


Property & Finance Team – John Sharland
They are working on replacing the plexi glass windows that need it. Next month, Dave Ferrari has agreed to donate his time and help the P&F Team work on replacing the parts of the front cement walkway that need it. Dave Sheibley met with the boiler inspector for our annual inspection, and he informed us that it would not pass next year, and needs to be replaced. The estimated cost is $20,000. We will be getting several quotes. We were also notified by the town that we will be having a routine inspection by the building inspector next month. The Team and Rev. Beth talked about doing a promotional video about giving and stewardship. An agreement with the North River Collaborative has been reached for them to rent classroom and kitchen space in the church 5 days a week. They have 5-6 young adult students and two adult leaders, and will be using the facilities during school hours. The rate is $1500/month for 10 months a year. The P&F Team also received an email that the fair committee has decided to step away from running the fair, and so new committee members need to be found. John asked who is responsible for finding the new committee members, perhaps is it part of the nominations process? Anne responded that the nominations process is only for elected positions. As the fair falls under the umbrella of the P&F Team according to the constitutional handbook, they are responsible for finding the fair committee replacements.


Spiritual Engagement Team – Eric Stotts
They have determined the schedule for the rest of the year for Kids Church. Denise is moving to Plymouth and so they will need someone new on the Spiritual Engagement Team. Eric suggested that perhaps combining the Spiritual Engagement and Congregational Engagement teams might be considered, as sometimes their work overlaps, like with the church picnic, and communication between the two is helpful.


Annual Reports
Annual reports are due May 15.


Nominations – Anne Malmquist
Anne will contact all team members and officers and determine who would like to continue for another year, and will find out what positions need filling. She may ask Deb Sorgman to help with recruiting for those positions.


Annual Meeting
The Annual Meeting is June 9, and is a combination of what used to be three meetings: the annual meeting, the election meeting, and the budget meeting. There will be a potluck lunch, and childcare.


Pickleball Tournament – Anne Malmquist
With the popularity of pickleball, Anne suggested that a pickleball tournament might be a good, fun fundraiser, and might pull in members of the community. The senior center has courts, and they suggested getting in touch with the Bridgewater Pickleball Club. Lakeville tennis club also has courts, and they’re indoor. Anne will be researching how pickleball tournaments work.



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

Kids Church Director: Eric Stotts

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!)