By Jake Hall
published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 5/7/2015
At Highland Hills, Charlie Barton bears the rather industrial sounding title, “Maintenance Supervisor.”
Whether Charlie is giving me an update on the church’s baptismal plumbing or scheduling the many setups and takedowns that happen between services, I am always struck by the faithfulness and care with which he does his work.
I’ve come to look forward to my talks with Charlie in the threshold of my office or walking down one of the church’s long hallways. I think his time caring for our communal spaces has given Charlie a unique perspective on our life together. So when Charlie rounded the door into my office and said, “You’ve got to see this.” I knew it was worth the walk.
“I don’t think we have ever done this before… not in my time here,” he said. I couldn’t imagine what he might be talking about.
“What?” I replied.
“Wash the church windows… inside and out. You wouldn't believe the difference it has made.”
Sure enough, when we walked into the sanctuary the colors streaming through the windows had a vibrancy they didn't have before. The windows gleamed with light glinting off the small imperfections in the glass.
“It kind of works on two levels, doesn’t it," Charlie said. Charlie was right. Spiritually speaking, dirty church windows keep us from seeing the world for all of its beauty. You don’t realize over time the lenses through which you see the world become hazy, clouded, and in need of attention.
In another age, the person who is responsible for the grounds and the sacred spaces of the congregation would have been called a Sacristan. Thank you for always seeing this space on a couple of different levels.