27 North Road, Peace Dale, RI 02879 Sundays 10:00 am

What is a sexton, and what would she or he do, anyway?

A sexton would be a staff person, not a congregation member, who would do myriad tasks— tasks that the directors, committees and members are struggling to accomplish now.

Why are we struggling? Not because the tasks are difficult, taxing or complicated. They are a struggle simply because much that is simple when done by one person, can get to be a muddle when “too many cooks spoil the soup.”

Our most spoiled soup at this time is the air-conditioning system. Between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., unknown numbers of fingers get on those controls. On at least two Sundays, the A/C has been seemingly outta’ commission. Someone turns it on. Someone turns it off . . . maybe thinking they’re turning it on. Someone opens doors for the church to appear “warm and welcoming” . . . well, we get warm because the cooled air goes out and the warm air comes in.

Some folks open windows. And the A/C fights a losing battle if the blinds are open, allowing the sun to heat space that the A/C is trying to cool. Second floor occupants had no A/C one day. It was found to have been turned OFF, rather than the temperature adjusted to turn it down. And so it goes.

Of course, a sexton would pull up the odd weed growing in a spot that the condo lawn care person does not tend. A sexton would check that lights are out . . . especially in the stairwells! (You, who leave lights on, know who you are!)

The perfect sexton would be a Jill/Jack of all trades. She or he would be able to make adjustments to the mechanical systems . . . and warm up the dishwasher; touch-up paint dings; clean out cobwebs in the skylights; repair toilets; maybe do some carpentry and minor electrical work and cleaning. Our vestibule, which is the “welcome mat” for our second-floor tenants, is sometimes soiled after our coffee hour . . . I suppose I should stop at the sexton making a soup for our Board of Directors Thank-You Soup Lunch, but one can dream.

Seriously, there are so many little tasks that many of us at UUCSC carry out as part of our ministry to each other. Occasional glitches and oopses occur. Life won’t be perfect when we are able financially to add a sexton to our fabulous staff team. (I remember a sexton who was discovered to be storing and repairing his motorcycle in a church basement!)

So, until our sexton appears, know that every little (and big) way in which you minister to us is greatly appreciated. We sometimes miss an opportunity to thank you, but we notice all that is done. And we love when you notice something that needs doing, and you offer to do it.

Let’s all continue to build our dream job description for our future sexton. Just as our other dream staff members have walked through the door, our sexton may be on the way to us!


Linda Whyte Burrell