After nearly two centuries, the Lambert’s Cove Church became but a memory last Sunday.

The buildings at 335 Lambert’s Cove Road, both church and parish house, have for some years been a private dwelling, their days of regular services, hymn singing, wedding services and funerals already far behind. Even so, after letting the buildings go, parishioners called themselves the Lambert’s Cove Christian Church and continued to meet every Sunday for nine more years at the American Legion Hall in Vineyard Haven — until last Sunday, when they held their last service.

That was the end for an Island organization that held generations together in a little church, born in a bucolic community that has changed plenty.

“It was one of the saddest days of our lives to see that church close,” said Ed Child, 88, of West Tisbury. With his wife, he lives a mile down the road from the old church. Barbara Cottle Child grew up in the church, went to Sunday school there and was active in helping in a lot of its affairs, when times were better and attendance was up. They were married there on June 23. 1946, the year that the membership celebrated the church’s centennial.

In their living room on a cold day this week, the couple reflected, she holding one of their two hymn books in her hands. Sheep stood in the snow not far from the house.

Mr. Child recalled when he and wife moved to the Island to become residents in 1954; they spent a winter in the cold parish house, compliments of those who ran the church.

“We were broke,” Mr. Child said. Their house was built that spring and they moved in August, 1954.

Without a resident minister, the parish house was often empty in the winter and used in the summertime as a rental. The rent money helped to fund maintenance of the church.

Last fall, on Sept. 19, the newest owners of the property held an open house for the friends of the old church. It was a kind gesture. Mrs. Child said she and her husband went to the reception, and they were offered some of the momentos left behind.

Mrs. Child said she and her husband were able to handle their emotions well at the event, until someone rang the 511-pound bell in the belfry.

“It was so pure of sound,” Mrs. Child said of the repetition of that single note, “tears came to my eyes.

“That bell rang for funerals, for weddings. It rang on VJ Day [the end of World War II]. It rang for happy and sad things,” she said.

The bell’s tone is C sharp, according to records.

“It is good that the new owners will take care of that bell,” she said.

There has been considerable work done this winter in the restoration of the two buildings. It is a significant facelift that churchgoers never could afford, Mr. Child said. From its earliest days, a small group comprised the church. Church was full if there were 30 to 35 people inside.

The little North Tisbury rural community may have been too small to be a town, but in the day of horses, and then of slow moving cars, it was big enough to have a community church and a one-room school house across the street. It was a busy place, with family members of the Cottles, Bensons, Looks, Nortons and their friends and relatives.

The church began in 1820, often in homes. Methodist class meetings were first organized by Eleazer Steele.

The Gazette report on the centennial celebration credited the first regular meetings as taking place in the little schoolhouse, before the chapel was built across the street in 1846. A Sunday school was started in 1838 in the schoolhouse and called The North Shore Union Sabbath School Society.

Reverend A. B. Wheeler acquired the funds for the building of the chapel and it was completed in 1846, according to a 1945 handwritten letter Ethel G. Look posted to Elizabeth Bowie Hough, co-editor of the Gazette with her husband, Henry Beetle Hough.

In 1857, the churchmembers hired their first full-time pastor, Rev. L.C. McKinstry.

A belfry was added in time for the purchasing of the bell in 1881. The bell cost $170, and the funds to purchase it were raised by the church youth and the Mite Society.

Before the end of the 1800s, it was known as the North Tisbury Church. Then it became the North Tisbury Methodist Church. In 1911 it was called the Lambert’s Cove Methodist Episcopal Church.

Mrs. Child remembers the schoolhouse, remembers peeking through the windows as a child and seeing it vacant inside.

In a 1935 Vineyard Gazette article there is a brief mention of the schoolhouse being bought and moved to Vineyard Haven to be made into a home. “It was moved to West Spring street in Vineyard Haven,” Mrs. Child said.

Recalling over the telephone, Alma Benson said that she and her late husband, Franklin, went to church every Sunday. When Franklin was a child he attended the one-room schoolhouse. Mrs. Benson said she remembers Miss Look, a single religious lady who ran the Sunday school. For those who attended class, she was everyone’s “Auntie Ethel.”

At one point in the history of the church, Mrs. Benson said, she took over as superintendent of the Sunday school and when it was busy there were as many as a dozen youngsters attending lessons.

Sunday church services were often held in the afternoons, because the minister had service in the mornings in Vineyard Haven. Sometimes the services were held at night.

Mrs. Child and her husband remember with fondness Miss Look playing the church pump organ. Like all the ladies in attendance, she wore a hat during the service. In that hat was a feather. The hats would change from Sunday to Sunday but it seemed the feather remained the same in every hat.

The pump organ was purchased in the 1870s and in 1969 was replaced with an electric Wurlitzer Model 4059. At the May 1969 dedication of the organ, the organist was Mrs. Malcolm Welch, and to commemorate the important event, she held a recital.

Mrs. Benson said her husband and his father, Norman Benson, often went to church early in the day to stoke up the woodburning stove in the very small basement, under the church, so the congregation could take off their coats for the service. That was early in the 1940s, before they shifted the heating system to oil heat.

The church was painted white inside and out. Mrs. Benson recalled that the pews were stained and varnished.

“People sat in a certain pew. My husband and I always sat in the back row, near the door,” Mrs. Benson said.

“We often sat by the window, on the right-hand side,” said Mrs. Child. “In later years, we moved into the center.”

Donald Fisher, 81, and his wife, Christina (Tina), were regulars and active volunteers. Mr. Fisher said his brother, Fred, a dairy farmer, attended with his family. The Fisher families were involved in the programs and their children went to Sunday school.

Mr. Fisher recalled his brother’s favorite hymn: This Is My Father’s World. At this time of year, when it snows, Mr. Fisher said, he has vivid childhood memories of going to church and not just for religious reasons. “I shoveled snow with the Bensons. I don’t care how deep it was, we shoveled,” Mr. Fisher said. After the Bensons, he took over as church janitor.

The church centennial celebration held in August 1946 spanned two weeks and included socials, dinners and speeches. Dr. Ralph Decker, professor of New Testament at Boston University School of Theology gave the anniversary sermon. The Methodist Church Bishop from Boston attended. The whole schedule of events was posted in the Gazette.

Times have changed plenty in Mrs. Benson’s neighborhood. Her husband, Franklin, was a commercial fisherman, following in the footsteps of his father, Norman. Lambert’s Cove was a neighborhood where people knew each other, she said. She still knows quite a few people on that long and winding road.

“But they don’t go to church,” she said, like they used to.