NORTH MONMOUTH — The North Monmouth Community Church, built on Main Street in 1852, is getting a new steeple.

Dennis Dyer, who owns the business Traditional Maine Homes in Pownal, is doing the work with Todd Sawyer. They have been using a lift that extends 40 feet off the ground to get to the steeple, which tops off at more than 60 feet from the ground.

“The condition of the framing was surprising,” Dyer said. “To the best of my knowledge, part of it is original. We’re going to do the whole lower steeple. I’ve done a lot of work with the lift.”

Dyer said it’s a challenging job because there isn’t enough room in the lift to cut the boards.

“You have to make your measurements and then cut the wood on the ground and you try not to forget anything,” he said. “It’s a beautiful church.”

The steeple contains the original church bell, which was restored to its place in the bell tower several years ago. The bell is usually rung at 9:15 on Sunday mornings before the 9:30 church service.

Pastor Edward Spencer said the Church Council, led by Council President Leonard Bates, decided to borrow $28,000 to pay for the steeple project and settled on Dyer’s firm to do the work.

“The steeple was just so ugly compared to the rest of the church,” Spencer said. “The shutters were falling apart and some of the trim was falling off. We decided let’s take the money and do it right. We’ve talked about doing it for several years, but the timing had to be right.”

Spencer said when small Maine towns like North Monmouth were first settled, the churches were built as the centerpiece of the communities.

“This steeple pointed to the heavens,” Spencer said, “and if people needed help such as from our food bank, they can look to that steeple and it will point the way. They understand that a house of worship is where the thanksgiving starts.”

The pastor said when the North Monmouth church was built, it granted a right-of-way wide enough for two horse-and-buggies to pass side by side to the Pleasant Point Cemetery, which sits on a small peninsula that juts into a millpond behind the church. Spencer said the cemetery preceded the church; he’s found a gravestone there marked 1834.

Spencer said his congregation is thriving – between 70 and 95 people attend church services on Sundays.

“God has blessed us with new people from Winthrop, Greene, Leeds and even Turner,” he said.

Spencer came to the North Monmouth church in 1994. Since then the congregation has renovated the old church by installing a brand new sanctuary, new windows, a new ceiling, a new roof and an adjoining building for offices and Sunday school.

“It’s hard to believe that 20 years has gone by for me,” Spencer said. “It went way too fast.”