In praise of sextons


The Christian Century magazine has a wonderful post up on its website lauding the ministry of sextons;

“The word sexton doesn’t exactly communicate sexiness any more than janitor and custodian connote glamour. Yet ask me in a given week who makes the quietest difference in the well-being of our congregation and I will tell you it’s the custodians. Title them what you will, these servants are living proof that God hides the blessings of the kingdom in ordinary but remarkable places and people.”


Plaque honoring a former Sexton at Trinity Church, Copley Square

Written by Peter Marty, the publisher of the Christian Century and senior pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Davenport, Iowa, the piece reminds of the importance of the many quiet ministries that serve God’s mission.  He closes with a story from his visit to compline at Trinity Church on Copley Square in Boston and the quiet way a former sexton had been honored.

“When the 30-minute service concluded, we weren’t ready to leave, so we lingered in the entryway, studying historic photos of this landmark church. My wife put a $5 donation into the slot atop a tall blue barrel, which caused me later to fetch the sexton, who helped retrieve our money from the bottom of that blue recycling bin.

 I took a photo of a bronze plaque on the wall. Something about this memorial to a man who gave 42 years of his life to mundane tasks struck me as beautiful.”

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Ann Fontaine

Yes and yes! Every teacher knows - make friends with the janitor and the secretary - your well-being depends on them. Same with sextons and parish administrators. All good systems have strong caring people at their hearts.

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