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-present.
During the years the Antelope Hills Church of Christ has grown and changed but it has been sustained by a strong faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Today, the Antelope Hills Church of Christ is a vital congregation with around 40 families involved with the rural church. Over the years this rural church has sent out many missionaries and ministers to work in this country as well as in countries around the world.
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 others in Christian fellowship and giving of ourselves in service to the communities in the surrounding area.