Hanley Christian Reformed Church


This is the story of Hanley Christian Reformed Church.  The history of a church being located in this area goes back to the 1860's when this area was known as the Village of Hanley.  It was named after a civil war hero, Charles Jacob Hanley, whose family lived in the area.  The village, which was surrounded by farmland,  consisted of a school, general store, cemetery, and a post office.  A Methodist church met in the school until 1888 when it purchased land and built the first church building on this property.  Services were conducted by Circuit Riding Preachers for 37 years.  The Methodist church closed in 1925 due to dwindling numbers. 

Charles VanderLaan, a Sunday School teacher at First Jenison Christian Reformed Church, went to the consistory and asked if it would be possible to start up a Sunday School in Hanley.  Permission was given as long as the teachers would not miss services or other Sunday activities at First Jenison.  Permission was given to use the Hanley Methodist Church building, and area families were invited.  The time set for Sunday School was 12:30-1:30 p.m.  Charles VanderLaan, Jean Huizenga, Peter Northouse, and Menzo Doornbos were the first teachers.   Evening worship services were held in the summers of 1926 and 1927, and then continued year round beginning in 1928.  In 1930, First Jenison purchased the building and began adding weekday activities for the entire family.  Teachers and leaders came weekly to lead Sunday School, Ladies Aid, Youth Group, and Mr.& Mrs. Groups, and families came to worship with the families of Hanley. 

In 1946,  Mr. Louis Vandertil began working as the Chapel Superintendent and continued in this position for 18 years. Soon after his arrival, the building was destroyed by fire.  First Jenison rebuilt the chapel, and the growing ministry continued.  In 1954, Mr. Henry Hoekstra was hired to work at the chapel.  Mr Hoekstra led services on Sunday, visited families in the neighborhood and led classes in the area schools.  These contacts brought many new families to Hanley.  In 1961, after 36 years of being led and supported by First Jenison, Hanley was ready to become a Christian Reformed Church.  At this time, Hanley was made up of 58 families plus individuals, or 133 professing members and 137 baptized members.

Hanley CRC has been led by the following pastors:  Evangelist Henry Hoekstra 1961-1962,  Rev. Harvey Bultje 1963-1969, Rev. Allen Bultman 1970-1977,  Rev. Wesley Timmer 1979-1988,  Rev. Carl Bergman 1989-1995, Rev. Craig Cunningham 1998-2000,  Rev. David Jolman 2001-2007, Rev. Douglas Fauble 2010-2016, and currently Rev. Joe Vanden Akker.

And many believed on Him there - John 10:42