A special concert fundraiser to pay for art and structural restoration will be held at the Oxford Congregational Church Sunday, starting at 2 p.m. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

OXFORD — The Oxford Congregational Church will hold its second annual Christmas concert, Kelsey Franklin & Friends, this Sunday at 2 p.m.

Franklin is a well-known singer and thespian in western and southern Maine. She was first recruited to perform last year by her mother Joyce Franklin, who is the church’s organist.

“These concerts are a gift from Joyce, who plays in [our] church and around the area,” Pastor Lindy Howe told the Advertiser Democrat. “I want everyone to know it is because of her.”

“Kelsy is super,” added longtime parishioner and church historian Anita Patenaude. “She is a terrific singer. She has performed in musicals. And her husband, Brandon Sukeworth, is great as well.”

The concert is free to the public, but organizers are asking for donations to help continue work to further repair and paint the church’s arched ceiling and its decorative Trompe L’Oeil artwork.

The damage was caused by a leaking roof, which was fixed. It was not until after that cracks began to emerge across the ceiling. The church has hired preservation woodworker Ed Somers of Bridgton to restore the church.

But with a price tag of $10,000, the project is being carried out on a “pay-as-they-go” basis. All of the proceeds from the church’s Christmas concert donations will go toward completing plaster and cosmetic repairs of the ceiling.

The Oxford Congregational Church, located at 252 King Street, dates back to 1826, two years before the Oxford separated from Hebron and incorporated as its own town. Its 180-year-old building was dedicated in 1843. Patenaude confirmed that she and other parishioners are taking the steps to have it added to the National Register of Historic Places.

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