In the pioneer days in the years of 1880 and 1881, several families of the Church of Christ at Pleasant Grove, Minnesota settled on tree claims and homesteads about 8 miles N.W.of Canby, Minnesota including the Burlingame family. Among these families was Elder V.M. Sanborn and his family. Elder Sandborn and his wife decided to open their home for worship in the summer of 1881. John Truax along with others organized the church with 21 members on August 20th 1882. They met in homes and later met in a school house that they had moved. Later, five acres of land was donated by James Call and Erick Hauckens and upon this land the congregation built a building in 1890 at the cost of $1000.00 dollars.
The little church on the hill was a place of faith for many families during the pioneer years. The faithful prairie families came first by foot, then by wagons and eventually by automobiles. By 1912 the congregation felt a need to build a parsonage. Ole Nielson the minister at the time and his brother built the parsonage. The late Elmer Wager of Dawson, remembered hauling materials from Boyd with a hay rack and a team of horses for the building of the parsonage.
During the years of 1946 through 1948 the basement was dug out by hand, electricity was brought to the church and the basement floor was cemented. In 1962, under the leadership of Glenn Bandel the church sanctuary was reversed with the former entrance becoming a class room and the baptistery. An addition was added to the church and the basement. A nursery was added as well as an entrance on the southwest side of the building. The kitchen was remodeled and the late Gordon Beattie, built the cabinets.
In 1972 another major addition was built on the church on the West side with space for classrooms, seating in the sanctuary and an office. This was a major expansion and the minister at the time, Russ Kinney along with members of the congregation put in many hours to complete this project. From 2002 until 2012, there has been significant remodeling and upkeep completed in the sanctuary making the worship space attractive and contemporary. A handicapped accessible entrance ramp was added with assistance from Bob Wandersee in 2002.
In the years from 1882 until the present time, 25 ministers have served the congregation.In the beginning years, the elders served as the ministers of the church but in the early 1900’s the church began to hire ministers to serve as their spiritual leaders.
The ministers that served the Antelope Church of Christ are listed in order: E. J. Sias (1898), L.E. Scott (1899-1900), J. E. Hood (1900-1901), Lawrence Marshall (1904), Burton Davies (1909-1910), Ole Neilson (1910-1917), Leon Norton (1918-1922), Boyd Klinker (1927-1929), Lewis Mason (1930), Bruce Matthews (1932-1933), Maynard Woudsma (1934-1936), Albert Mygatt (1937-1938), Bible College Students (1939-1948), Hugh Olson (1948), Wesley Poll (1948-1951), Bruce Rodrick, [Three ministries (1951-1956, 1975-1977, 2000-2002)], Roger Burlingame (student ministry 1956), Meredith Maynard (student ministry 1956), Glen Bandel (1956-1962), Flyod O’Donnell (1963-1964), James McWaters (1964-1968), Dick Burlingame (student ministry, 1965), Russ Kinney (1968-1973), Paul Sisson (1973-1974), Bruce Rodrick (75-77), Randy and Steven Maas (lay ministers, 1977-1978), James Allard (1978-2000), Bruce Rodrick (2000-2002), Dean Brand (2003-2005) and Steven Maas (2003-2021).
In the fall of 2006, the congregation voted to change the name of the church from the Antelope Hills Church to Antelope Hills Christian Church. An interesting note, as we dug through some old articles we came across references to the Christian Church at Antelope Hills in those papers, so maybe we just took the old name back. The name may have changed but the long legacy of meeting as Christians continues and the church looks forward to being an active congregation of New Testament Believers loving God, loving each other in Christian fellowship and giving of ourselves in service to the communities in the surrounding area.
Around 2010, Pastor Steve Maas began a Furniture Ministry to the surrounding communities. It started in the old parsonage and has been housed in the CAMA/Connection building in Canby since 2017. Numerous members of the church have helped over the years and through this mission … hundreds of pieces of furniture and dozens of appliances have been given to those in need.
Over the past few years, the congregation at Antelope Hills has made decisions to be proactive in looking forward as to our purpose and accurately addressing our location and facilities After being prayerful in seeking God’s direction and through congregational decisions, we decided to move closer to town of Canby and build a new facility that would be more visible, accessible and appropriate to our purpose as a local Body of Christ in ministering and serving our community.
A Building Committee was formed to meet and look at needs and designs make decisions, giving directions to the process. After the decision to relocate, the congregation prayed together and investigated different sites, evaluating each spot as to its placement and costs. A site was chosen by a vote to purchase the land. Sufficient funds were on hand to pay for the site as the church had raised money to secure the land.
After the site was purchased, meeting were held to evaluate designs, secure building cost estimates and investigate regulations and requirements for a new church building. Over the next couple of years, ideas and cost reviews were developed and money was raised. It took the efforts of the entire congregation to pitch in with every conceivable type of fundraiser from selling food and lemonade and making items from teddy bears to hair schrunchies and collecting pocket change in a jar. Every little bit helped us along. The church had numerous envelope gift fundraisers as well. In the end everyone gave beyond all expectation and with God’s incredible blessings along the way, most of the money for the new church was raised. A lot of little extra projects were also well attended through out the construction year from picking up rocks, shoveling snow and cleaning up construction debris. The new church is located on the edge of Canby at 2220 190th Street. It has a large sanctuary and fellowship hall along with offices and classrooms and is now being offered up to God, as a place for His Word and love to radiate out the the communities of the area.