In Touch – April 5, 2013
Posted on April 5, 2013 by under Touché,

 A “Quiet” Twenty Year Sexton

We have a list of the longevity of pastors at HRC.  It sits in the entry way of the church.  Albert Polhemus has the longest tenure from 1835-1857, twenty-two years. There is no list of our sextons, but I am sure that John Barach would be at the top of that list.  On April 1, John has worked at Hopewell for twenty years.  He retired from IBM on a Friday and started at HRC on Monday in 1993 and has not missed a beat for these last twenty years.  On Sunday at both services we will honor John. At 10 AM we will have a reception in the fellowship hall with John.  Please stay if you are in the first service, or come early if you are coming to Foundations; (Croniser parking needs to be in play). It will be a time to honor a faithful servant for his years of service.

My father in law, who was a pastor, said the most important staff person to keep happy is the church sexton.  The sexton’s ideal church is a church that is never used and always locked up.  Hopewell is far from such a church, and John will tell you the biggest change in his years here is the increase of traffic in this building. If you have a grumpy or surly sexton he/she can make life miserable for everyone in the church.  There is an old spiritual that could be sung of John in his service “He never said a grumblin’ word.”  I have never heard a grumblin’ word from John.  I am sure there are times when he is frustrated with lights left on, rooms in a mess, or the janitor’s closet rearranged, but he does his ministry quietly in the early morning hours.  He is faithful.  The only time you think about a sexton is when things are not clean.  People do not think about John much at all.  He keeps this place in good shape.

As we were talking about John, Warren Jee said he had never heard the word “sexton” and he actually thought it was an odd word when he first heard it.  It is one of those uniquely church words.  It comes from old English meaning “custodian of sacred objects.”  We thank John for the way that he has been a custodian of sacred objects in this place and for his long years of quiet service to HRC.  He has spent pretty much his whole life in this church, and we are grateful for these last twenty years of special service to this congregation.  When you see a clean bathroom, or a straightened-up sanctuary, take a moment to thank our quiet sexton and let the celebration not be just for a day, but for other times when he may be taken for granted.

Thanks John,