A steeple badly in need of work is getting a facelift at the Second Congregational Church.

The church has been in existence since 1828, and following an assessment in August work was soon begun. Jim Derby of Waldoboro is doing all of the renovations, except for three stained glass panels that are being restored by Stained Glass Express in Manchester.

Derby built the staging — referred to as the "stairway to heaven" — around the steeple and completed some of the exterior support work before cold weather set in. Now he is ready to move his work under wraps during the winter months.

"We are ahead of schedule and under budget at this point," the Rev. Andrew Stinson said. He added that the condition of the steeple was a lot worse than expected, but he hopes to bring back as much of the original character as possible.

The initial goal for the project was $148,000, of which $60,000 will come in the form of a grant from the Maine Steeples Project — a similar grant that has been used to assist in the restoration of the Chestnut Street Baptist Church steeple and clock tower in Camden.

Now, at approximately $110,000 of their goal, the funds have been supplemented by numerous bake sales, craft fairs, many church suppers, and antique sales. The 2017 Spring Fling proceeds will also be used toward the repairs.

An upcoming fundraiser will feature the Penobscot Bay Ringers, who will treat attendees to the festive sounds of more than 122 instruments. The handbell choir, based in Camden, was founded in 2008.

The concert will take place Sunday, Dec. 4, at 3 p.m. at the Second Congregational Church, 252 Main St., Warren. The concert is free of charge. Donations to support the church's Steeple Restoration Project will be greatly appreciated.

"The generosity of the congregation and the community has helped as well," Stinson said. "We hope to see the church full on Dec. 4."

The church anticipates the project will be complete by spring 2017.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 of via email at bbirmingham@villagesoup.com.