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The sextonThe sexton

What does a sexton do?What does a sexton do?

The sexton (in Danish: graver) is responsible for laying out the churchyard and for maintaining it as well as other outside areas belonging to the church. In a sense his job is like that of a gardener. However, there is more to it than gardening. When somebody has died, it is the sexton who talks to the relatives about the location and the layout of the deceased’s grave. It is also the sexton who prepares the grave for the funeral. The primary workplace of a sexton is thus a place of commemoration for many people.

In many churches, especially in the countryside, the sexton has additional tasks that resemble those of a verger or of a sacristan in large churches in the city. Examples of such tasks are ringing the church bells, preparing for the Eucharist, and leading the hymn singing during the church service.