NANTICOKE – As the Rev. Adam Sexton consecrated the communion bread Sunday at church, his eldest son rushed to the altar to tell him their home next door was engulfed in flames. Without hesitation, Sexton knew what to do: continue the service.
“It doesn’t matter what happens. I have to center my attention on consecrating the gifts,” the Rev. Sexton explained Monday.
After accounting for his eight children and making sure his wife had called 911, Sexton finished the final 20 minutes of the liturgy at St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church before checking on the magnitude of the fire. Unconcerned about his possessions, Sexton said he updated the 50 people in attendance about the situation and asked them to pray for the safety of his fellow firefighters.
“I told them, ‘If you aren’t aware of it already, the ruckus outside is the rectory burning down.’ I said, ‘Have no fear, we are safe. Pray for my dear friends, the firefighters who are putting themselves in grievous danger because they love me,'” said the Rev. Sexton, the chaplain and a volunteer firefighter for the Nanticoke Fire Department.
The Rev. Sexton, 34, his wife, Angie, 34, and their eight children – Alyscia, 12; Jacob, 11; Raeman, 10; Josiah, 8; Ilia, 6; Bede, 4; Gabriel, 3; and Seamus, 1 – lost just about everything in the blaze that consumed the 100-year-old church rectory at 106 Welles St. in the city’s Hanover section.
“We lost everything material, but I haven’t lost a thing. My children, my wife and firefighters are safe,” the Rev. Sexton said. “Yesterday was a very beautiful day.”
The family of 10 is temporarily staying at the Host Inn in Wilkes-Barre.
Nanticoke’s fire department is now organizing efforts to raise money, clothes and other belongings for the family. Monetary donations may be sent to the Father Adam Sexton Fire Fund, c/o Vantage Trust Federal Credit Union, 158 S. Market St., Nanticoke, PA 18634. Clothing, toys and other household items may be dropped off at Nanticoke Fire Headquarters, 2 E. Ridge St., Nanticoke, PA 18634.