In the years immediately preceding the organization of the Reformed Church in Chandler, Rev. J. J. Hollebrands from Bethel Reformed Church in Leota came to Chandler to preach in the Dutch language. The services were held in the Union Church which later became the American Lutheran Church.
In 1911 the Classis of Iowa called a meeting on April 25 for the purpose of organizing a Reformed Church in Chandler. The committee consisted of Rev. H. Douwstra of Middleburg, Iowa, the Rev. J. Vander Beek of Churchville, Minnesota and elder Dick Blom of Leota, Minnesota as well as the group of charter members who were members in full communion in other area churches. These charter members included:
Mr./Mrs. B. Van Der Hoef
Mrs. J. Achterhof
Mr./Mrs. L. Vander Burgh
Mr./Mrs. John Van Dyke
Mr./Mrs. J. Tims
Mr./Mrs. D. Swart
Mr./Mrs. P. Huson
Mr./Mrs. A. Bouma
Mrs. F. Drent
Mr. J. C. Van Eck
Mrs. L. Rotier
The major activities of the next ten years included obtaining land and a house to use for the parsonage in 1911; building a new church and horse barn in 1912; adding a 2nd horse barn in 1913 and calling Harry E. Reinhart to serve as pastor (replacing Classical Missionary Rev. J. W. Kots who came in 1911); purchasing land south of town for a cemetery and building a new parsonage in 1914.
Electric lights were installed in the church in 1920. That same year Rev. Reinhart received a call from Ireton, Iowa and on Sept. 23rd a call was extended to Rev. Joseph Klerekoper, who served until 1923. The 1920s brought about several changes. Rev. H. S. Muilenburg accepted our call in 1924; in 1925 one of the 3 horse barns was sold as automobiles were replacing horses as a means of transportation and city water was installed in the parsonage; a Mutual Burial Association was formed in 1928.
By 1931 the congregation had become self-supporting but the following years during the depression brought about a general decline in the offerings. However a 16 foot addition was made to the church in 1935 to accommodate the increased attendance and the rule of electing consistory members by a 2/3 majority was discontinued in favor of a simple majority of those present and voting. The use of the Dutch language was becoming a problem and in 1936 it was agreed to hold the morning service in English and the afternoon service in Dutch. The church celebrated their 25th anniversary on April 23, 1936, with invitations extended to Rev. Klerekoper and the ministers from Leota and Edgerton Reformed Churches and the minister of the local Christian Reformed Church. Later that year it was recommended that both English and Dutch be used at communion services. Rev. Bernard DeJonge replaced Rev. Muilenburg in 1937. Various repairs were made to the church building throughout the 1930s. In December 1938 the newly organized Junior Ladies Aid was given consistory approval. In 1939 Bethel Reformed Church, Leota, donated the organ they had been using.
The 1940s brought new challenges. In 1940 the Senior Ladies Aid were given permission to put a new ceiling in the church, paying the cost themselves. A major concern in 1941 was the driving of cars around town on Sunday evenings. Discussions continued on the use of English and Dutch in the worship services with a decision made in 1941 to use English in both morning and afternoon services, every other week. Because of this decision it was necessary to set up a schedule with the organists as to who would play for the English services. Betty Kreun agreed to play for the morning service and Marie Joffer for the afternoon service. In 1943 it was decided to use offering plates to take up the collection. That same year the midweek service on the Day of Prayer for Crops and Industry was held in English. At a special congregational meeting on Oct. 15, 1945 it was decided to purchase a used pipe organ from the Reformed Church of Steen. At the regular congregational meeting on Dec. 6 the decision was made to have the Sunday morning services in Dutch and the afternoon services in English, to hold the Christmas and New Years services only in English and to hold Christmas and New Years services in Dutch on the previous Sunday and not on the exact day. Throughout the decade various repairs were made to both the church building and the parsonage. Sewer connections were made to the parsonage and both water and sewer were installed in the church 1n 1946. Rev. DeJonge resigned as minister in 1947, following the death of his wife. A special congregational meeting was held on Sept. 4, 1947 to extend a call to Rev. Fikse. Later that year it was decided to have Dutch services on the second, fourth and fifth Sundays and English on the first and third. Consistory minutes were written in English for the first time in 1948. In Dec. 1948 Rev. Fikse was asked to kindly request the congregation to refrain from smoking at the congregational meetings. Crowded conditions led the congregation to look into the possibility of building a new church edifice or remodeling the existing one and in 1949 a building fund was set up.
Dutch language services continued to be held on an irregular schedule in the early 1950s. A congregational meeting in March 1952 approved a 5 point consistory proposal to erect a new church building. That same year Rev. Fikse accepted a call to Michigan and another congregational meeting was held to decide whether or not to discontinue the Dutch language services. The last Dutch service was held on May 11. A call was extended to Rev. G. B. Muyskens on July 14. Following many meetings and much discussion and a lot of work a cornerstone laying service took place on Oct. 10, 1953; the new church building was dedicated on July 8, 1955. A set of chimes was donated and an Allen organ purchased. The bell from the old church was sold in 1957 for $25.00. Stained glass windows were installed in 1958. Rev. Muyskens accepted a call from Mitchell, SD in 1958. Rev. John Ettema, Lincoln, NE accepted our call and was installed in 1959. At some time during the decade several votes were taken to allow women to vote at congregational meetings. None passed.
The church celebrated its 50th anniversary on April 25, 1961. Prior to the annual congregational meeting on Dec. 7, 1961 an information sheet was distributed; item 2.(d) stated that every confessing member of the church 18 years and older is eligible to nominate and vote. By 1962 enough funds had been collected to pay off the mortgage on the church. That same year the church basement was designated a fall-out shelter. In 1963 Vacation Bible School was held in our church in cooperation with the Lutheran Church. The Ladies Guild asked permission to have a church supper fundraiser in the fellowship hall – consistory voted 6 in favor and 4 against (1964. “Stained glass” windows were installed in the side windows of the church during the summer of 1964. At the annual meeting of that year it was decided that Sunday School classes would be held year around after the morning service and that the annual meeting would be held the first Thursday of November instead of December. A parsonage building fund was started in 1965 and following approval by the congregation in Feb. 1967, a new parsonage was completed in late 1967. Rev. Ettema accepted a call in early 1969 to Allen Park, Michigan. Rev. Henry Kolenbrander accepted our call in Dec. 1969 and was installed in Jan. 1970.
Effective Jan. 1, 1971 church services would be held in the morning and in the evening year around, thus doing away with the afternoon service. Rev. Kolenbrander accepted a call to Pella, Iowa in 1974. That same year 1 acre of land was purchased to increase the size of the cemetery. The congregation approved the purchase of the Kravig property south of the church. Rev. Donald Baker was installed as our new pastor on Jan. 16, 1975. It was decided to give each family a membership list and nominating ballot for elders and deacons prior to the 1975 congregational meeting. Central air conditioning for the parsonage was approved in 1976. A new grand piano was purchased in 1977. At the annual meeting that year approval was given to appoint a research committee to investigate the possibility of enlarging the narthex and educational facilities. Their findings were given at the 1978 annual meeting and the proposed enlargement was voted down. The issue was brought up again at the annual meeting in 1979; a motion to form a new committee to look into adding additional educational facilities was carried. It should also be mentioned that in 1977 a church softball team was started and played teams from Chandler, Leota, Edgerton and Lake Wilson.
At a special congregational meeting on December 15, 1980, it was decided to proceed with construction of an addition to the west of the existing sanctuary to provide additional room for the narthex and the educational programs. A ground breaking ceremony was held on June 24, 1981. The addition was completed and dedicated on November 15, 1981. During the 1980s, pulpit exchanges as well as community services in Chandler became more common. During this decade, many members were “sent” away as they pursued economic opportunities elsewhere. On November 2, 1982, Brant Kreun was authorized to translate the Dutch minutes of the consistory into English which he completed in 1987. On February 7, 1984, the Women’s Guild was authorized to hold an Annual Fellowship Supper with donations recommended instead of set fees. In September of 1984, Rev. Baker accepted a call to Alexandria, MN. Rev. Bruce Wilterdink was installed as our new pastor on August 2, 1985. Chandler Reformed Church celebrated its 75th anniversary on April 27, 1986, the same year the city of Chandler celebrated its 100th anniversary. In September of 1986, the Early Family Childhood Education program was given permission to use the basement rooms of the church for their activities. Late in 1986, all loans taken out for construction of the narthex addition were paid in full. A special congregational meeting was held on July 18, 1989 when it was decided to put in new gas furnaces and go ahead with the purchase of a new organ, borrowing the money needed to pay for it.
In 1990 the Ladies Guild was allowed to have the responsibility for the upkeep of the kitchen. The congregation voted to discontinue the charity fund at the annual meeting, Nov. 7, 1991. Although no mention of the June 16, 1992 tornado and the use of our church as a command center following the tornado was found in the consistory minutes, a motion was carried to have Service Master clean the narthex and fellowship hall carpets and to have the ladies paint the Sunday School rooms. The church was shingled on July 6,7, and 8 with help from Wier, SD and local volunteers. At the annual meeting on Nov. 5, 1992 the congregation voted to allow elders and deacons who have served a three year term to have three years off before being re-elected. They also voted to have elders or deacons who were elected to finish an unexpired term not be eligible for re-election until he has been off consistory for the length of the unexpired term. For the first time Sunday School Superintendant and Assistant SS Superintendant positions for a one year term were filled by vote of the congregation. A search committee was formed in early 1993 to seek out potential candidates for pastor of our church. Pastor Wilterdink had accepted a call to Tinley Park, IL. Articles of Incorporation of the Chandler Reformed Church were approved at the annual meeting in 1993. A special congregational meeting was held on Jan. 20, 1994 to vote on calling a pastor. Rev. Donald Hoaglander was chosen. A call was extended to him at the following consistory meeting. He was installed on March 24, 1994. The term of office for SS Superintendant was changed to two years at the 1995 annual meeting on Nov. 9, 1995. A special congregational meeting in March, 1996 was held to vote on changing the steps leading up to the pulpit. The project was approved. Care groups were formed in 1997 as a means of sharing prayer requests and other concerns. Sunday School classes were cancelled for the months of June, July and August on request of the SS Superintendant in 1997. This decision was affirmed by a vote of the congregation at the annual meeting on Nov. 6, 1997. Beginning in the late 1990s, several significant bequests made possible a number of improvements to the church building including additional air conditioning as well as significant outreach efforts in the years following. At a special congregational meeting on December 29,1998, three women were nominated for the position of elder, but none were elected. Joint evening services once per month with the Chandler Christian Reformed Church were formalized at a consistory meeting on December 7, 1999.
In May of 2000, Rev. Donald Hoaglander accepted a call to serve the West Sayville Reformed Bible Church, West Sayville, New York. After much discussion, installation of a chairlift was approved at the November 2000 consistory meeting. At this same meeting, the RCYF was given permission to proceed with a mission trip to Tucson, AZ, in July of 2001 where they will conduct a Bible School with the Tucson Reformed Church, now called the Rosemont Community Church. At a special congregational meeting on February 5, 2001, Rev. David Hensley was extended a call. By May, the Hensleys were busy in Chandler. At the November 2001 congregational meeting, it was decided to help establish a new church in SW Minnesota with a three year financial commitment. In December of that year, the purchase of bells for a youth bell choir was approved by consistory. In January 2002, fund raising for an adult bell choir was authorized. By July of 2002, purchase of bells and related items began. The bells were dedicated on December 15, 2002. Pastor Hensley’s health problems led to his untimely retirement in 2003. On February 28, 2004, a call was extended to Gary Mulder, a student at Western Theological Seminary who was installed as pastor on June 29. During the summer of 2004, the Chandler Reformed Church took on a new look with a steeple modification to repair the continuing leakage associated with the original construction. In July of 2004 the RCYF made another trip to Tucson, AZ to work with the Rosemont Community Church summer program for kids. In 2005, construction to provide a handicapped access bathroom on the main floor of the sanctuary was authorized. Construction of a new freestanding bell tower was authorized in late 2006. 2007 saw the completion of a major parsonage remodeling. Due to deterioration of the shingles applied after the Chandler tornado, the church roof was redone during the summer of 2008 with additional insulation and metal roofing. In August of 2009, Rev. Gary Mulder accepted a call to serve Trinity Reformed Church of Allison, Iowa.
2010 began with Chandler Reformed Church actively involved in the search process for pastoral leadership. By June 20, 2010 a call was extended to Rev. Nathan Huisman. By late August, Rev. Nathan Huisman, along with his wife, Rev. Stephanie Huisman and sons Adrian and Jackson were settled into life in Chandler. 2010 ended with the congregation busy getting ready for celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Chandler Reformed Church on April 9 & 10, 2011. Portraits of congregation members were taken, to be included in a new color photo directory of the congregation.