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Pioneer Fest offers church service

Patrons of the Forks of the Wabash Pioneer Festival are invited to attend the non-denominational, pioneer-style worship service that will be hosted at the festival on Sunday, Sept. 26, at 9 a.m., at the Huntington County Fair Grounds.

The worship service will feature Rev. Mike Pieart, of Bethel Assembly of God, this year. Pieart has been here for six and a half years now, but says his ministry has taken him all over the place – including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Wisconsin and four other states. Indiana makes state number 8 that he has lived in. He has pastored in towns so small they didn’t even have a stoplight, such as one town in Pennsylvania – but also pastored in cities with a population of nearly 85,000.

Pieart says that, while he doesn’t have a specific topic in mind for the festival worship service, he is “always open to where God leads” him. He has looked at several different things, including topics coming from the Azusa Street Revival in the early 1900’s in California.

“We’re looking at source material from there and how historical I want to make it,” Pieart says.

Educationally, Pieart earned a bachelor’s in Spanish from the University of Northern Iowa and has a Master of Divinity from the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, MO.

Pieart grew up Lutheran and was saved through the Youth for Christ organization.

The service that Pieart will offer will be at the festival’s “Open House Saloon” and will feature old-fashioned preaching with period music and hymns.
Pieart says that he is “excited” for the opportunity to preach at the festival, and that having done so in a regular church setting for 30 years has helped him get used to being in front of a crowd.

Those attending the worship service must pay the entry fee for festival admission – however, if they stay only for the worship service and leave the park before 10:30 a.m., they can request a refund of the admission fee at the gate.

Something else that Bethel Assembly of God will be presenting at festival this year – for those ages 18-years-old and older – is an axe-throwing booth.

 “We wanted to try something different,” Pieart says. “We had to make changes anyway, so we sat and we thought and we prayed, and this was it.”

The booth was completed recently and has been tested out in preparation for the festival. Participants must be age 18-years-old or older, must sign a waiver and must wear close-toed-shoes.

Pieart says that the congregation typically has about 85 people for their regular services, and that the church has been hard at work to make updates to the sanctuary and other areas of the church in the last year due to the pandemic shutting things down. Bethel Assembly of God is located at 1640 E. Taylor St., Huntington.

Any Huntington County Church wishing to participate in future Pioneer Festival Worship Services are asked to contact Worship Service Chairman Phyllis Renz at info@visithuntington.org.