CHESTERVILLE — The floor sagged six inches. The walls and ceiling were cracked and ready to fall before the Tibbetts family spent April's school vacation week working on the North Chesterville Baptist Church.
For Caroline Tibbetts, letting the 200-year-old church, the church of the first European settlers and now the only church in Chesterville, deteriorate more wasn't an option.
She said she used to tell the pastor to "pray real loud; the ceiling is about to come down."
If she didn't step forward, who would, she asked? Her family didn't let her down.
Her son, Bruce, a carpenter from Vermont, came for the week solely to work on the church for his mother.
"He's covered every Mother's Day for the next several years," she said.
Another son, Donald of Vienna; her husband, George; grandson, Dylan of Vienna; and granddaughter, Emily Williams of Mt. Vernon, worked Thursday on the church. Tibbetts' daughter, Carol Hall of Strong, and her own family helped out with Christmas wreath sales to pay for insurance. Mike Oliver of Chesterville donated the lumber needed for the week's repairs.
Structural work on the underpinning with new beams leveled the floor, the outside steps were repaired, new screens were added to cellar windows and lots of patch work and painting was done on the walls and ceiling.
The church originally sat in Chesterville Center but was moved to North Chesterville. It's one of the oldest buildings in town, she said.
It's charm shines through the cracks as she points to a memorial window high above, one dedicated to the Rev. Jotham Sewall.
Despite the wear and tear, the church is the site of an active vacation Bible school in the summer, she said. Twenty to 30 area children come to play and learn. She can't let that go, they need it, she said.
But the work is not done and help is needed, not only people but donations to buy paint and materials. Someone is also needed to fix the weathervane that sits atop the church.
For more information or to help, contact Caroline Tibbetts at 778-6216.