Sexton (office)


Sexton (office)

A sexton is a church officer charged with the maintenance of the church buildings and/or the surrounding graveyard.

In smaller churches, this office is often combined with that of verger. [ cite web|url=http://www.st-thomas-keresley.org.uk/History.htm |title= St Thomas' Church History |accessdate=2007-12-04 ]

In larger buildings, such as cathedrals, a team of sextons may be employed. [ cite web|url=http://episcopalbayarea.org/joomla/content/blogcategory/0/278/ |title= The Episcopal Diocese of California Employment Opportunities |accessdate=2007-12-04 |date=2007-11-19 ]

Origin of the name

The word "Sexton" is believed to be derived from the Anglo-Norman "segerstein" which itself originated from the Latin word "sacristanus" which basically means "someone who looks after the sacred objects". Fact|date=December 2007

Duties

Amongst the traditional duties of the sexton in small parishes was the digging of graves - the gravedigger in Hamlet refers to himself as sexton, for example. [Project Gutenberg [http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/1787 Hamlet by William Shakespeare] Accessed 2007-12-04] In modern times, grave digging is usually done by an outside contractor. The general duties of a modern sexton may include (but are not limited to): [ cite web|url=http://www.oalj.dol.gov/PUBLIC/DOT/REFERENCES/DOT03B.HTM |title=Dictionary of Occupational Titles, Fourth Edition |accessdate=2007-12-04 |date=1991 |publisher=U.S. Department of Labor ]

* Operation and maintenance of mechanical systems, such as fridges, boilers, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units, hot water systems, kitchen equipment, and piping systems (i.e. gas, water, fire protection, and sewer systems).
* Operation and maintenance of electrical and instrument systems, such as a power distribution system, security/communication system, fire alarms, telephone wiring and computer LAN systems.
* Liaison with routine contract maintenance & supply companies regarding fire and safety, pest control and cleaning, etc.
* Ordering/receiving supplies and equipment.
* Aesthetic appearance, security, and fire protection.
* Logistics for events on church calendar (chairs/tables, lighting, acoustics, audio/video, etc)
* Emergency response during bad weather, etc.
* Other building and grounds tasks not handled by a contract service and/or church volunteers, such as the replacement of ceiling light bulbs, returning premises to a neat and orderly state following services and events, disposal of rubbish, and running any local errands or trips that are needed by the church.

References


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