Any ideas on resurfacing a canvas ceiling?

Our Church Community Room was built in the late 1800's. It has a canvas ceiling. Unfortunately, someone painted it many years ago instead of white washing (or whatever you're supposed to do). Now that paint is flaking. Since it was painted, hand washing it is no longer possible. And because it is canvas, I am hesitant to use chemicals to remove that paint. Plus, hand washing is very time consuming considering the size of the room. (approximately 70'L X 30'W X 14'H) We prefer to not just cover it up. We'd like to keep it historically correct.

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