The History of Chalk Hills Community Church

It came to pass…and so it was!

It came to pass that a little town was established on the unbroken prairie in central Nebraska, known as Horace. In 1888, Horace had a depot and stockyard. A grocery store was built that same year, and the post office opened in 1890. By 1900 there were several dwellings. The town met the needs of the surrounding area by adding a bank, garage, lumber yard, barber shop, blacksmith shop, produce station, a town hall and a school system with grades 1-12.

It came to pass that in the hearts of the people there was a yearning for God.  The first Sunday School was held in the old schoolhouse on the hill south of Horace. Land was given by E. M. Applegate and W. A. Johnson for the erection of a house of worship in the town. Sand was hauled by team and wagon from the North Loup River to build the basement. The frame structure was erected by the first pastor, H. H. Berry. Upon completion of the building they realized E. M. Applegate had given leadership to the group, so out of respect and appreciation, they asked him to name Horace Baptist Church.

It came to pass that on Nov. 30, 1910, the Horace Baptist Church was dedicated to the glory of God. There were eight charter members. The early records found in the church cornerstone included names of Anderson, Hodgland, Moody, Allen, Barber, Wood, Johnson, and Applegate. A part of the service that day was the wedding ceremony of the E.M. Applegates. The church was affiliated with the Nebraska Baptist Convention (Northern). Rev. Berry served as the first pastor. His ministry ended when he was killed in a fall form a building project in 1914. Students from the Grand Island Baptist College supplied the pulpit until Rev. Dan Burress came. He was followed by Rev. J. A. Whitman and Rev. G. E. Forsell, 1930-1932. Rev. Walter Grantham served the church from 1932-1968. The congregation withdrew from the Nebraska Baptist Convention in 1939. In 1952 affiliation was made with the Baptist General Conference. In 1960-61 and addition was built onto the original building which double the space. Highlights of the church history included conversions, baptisms, missionary speakers, and special Vacation Bible Schools. Homecoming Day and the 50th Anniversary were observed with great excitement and anticipation of how God would continue to use the local body of believers. Then, on Dec. 8, 1965, a furnace explosion extensively damaged the building in Horace.

And so it was that the following year, the congregation purchased the former Lutheran Church in Scotia, Nebraska. On July 17, 1966 and open house and service of dedication were held in the new location. Upon moving to Scotia, the name was changed to the Scotia Baptist Church. Pastors who have served in that location were Rev. Grantham, Rev. Ken Christensen, Rev. William Wilson, Rev. Robert Pier, Rev. Dennis Knee, Rev. Kurt VanBatavia, Rev. Don Gillett, Rev. Tim Pearson and Rev. Wayne Rouse. In 1975 The AWANA program was added to the church ministry. The 25th anniversary of the local AWANA ministry was wonderfully celebrated in 2000 and has continued to share the gospel with children and families of the Scotia, North Loup communities. The 80th anniversary of the church stirred the congregation to prepare for that significant milestone on Nov. 4, 1990. Many former members returned to share in that day.

And so it was on February 1, 2009 the church name was changed to Chalk Hills Community Church and the church became affiliated with Village Missions. God graciously provided Pastor Jeremiah and Elizabeth Knoop to lead the congregation in August 2009. In 2009, upon the closing of Horace Mission church, members of that congregation joined with Chalk Hills Community Church to continue the work of the Lord.

And so it is that God has maintained this church for 100 years. To God we give the praise and glory.