Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Junior Warden

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Junior Warden

Article excerpt

DAVID MIDDLETON*

"In an Episcopal church, the junior warden is responsible for the maintenance of buildings and grounds"

for Millicent

My charge might seem to be the lesser thing

Like Martha's sweat to Mary's scented hair

For neither grounds nor buildings make a church

But people-as repeatedly we're told

By those whose faith may nonetheless increase

When graves are graced by lilies and the palm

And stained-glass angels fill with Easter light

That thrills me like a love-hug at the Peace.

I'm God's odd-jobber of the common task

Blocked drains, frayed wiring, beetle-eaten trees,

The playground's rusted slides and glider-pipes,

Leeched water in the floorboards, belfry bats,

And termite-rafters cracking wild in storms

That drench our sanctuary's fresco-dome

Till stars drip down behind the altar-rail

On church mice munching dry unleavened crumbs.

Workdays, it seems, the parish is my own,

The priest and people mostly self-excused

Yet those few hearty souls who come at dawn

To pull up poison ivy from the shrubs,

Scrub lichen off the sunlight whitened tombs

And paint the children's swings bright red and blue

Bond deeply in exhaustion's sweet release,

Our bodies' salt their shared mortality. …

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