BY JACLYN ROSE –
Christ’s Church at Mountain Fork, located about 12 miles out of Mena on Highway 8 West, was founded in 1954 and their building was built in 1956. The first pastor was Brother Jordan, whose daughter, Donna Grisier, still attends as the Church Pianist. They are members of the Kiamichi Mission Churches that serve in Oklahoma and Western Arkansas.
The current pastor, Dino Weingarten, answered the call to preach in 1999 and preached as a traveling evangelist in several churches in several states before going into full time ministry. He began preaching in Mountain Fork a year and a half ago. Weingarten and his wife, Tammy, have two daughters April and Bethany and two grandchildren, Elizabeth and Ricky. The family moved from a ministry in west Tennessee. “This area, Mountain Fork, is similar to our hometown of Paint Rock, Tennessee; there are lots of cattle farmers and the hills. We found that we just fit in well here. We knew the moment we came that we were at home,” said Weingarten.
Christ’s Church at Mountain Fork is a close knit group of believers who enjoy serving and fellowshipping together. “We believe Church is not about one person but about all of us working together. Our mission is to win souls to the Kingdom of God by introducing people to Jesus Christ. We accomplish that through love and fellowship and close relationships in the community. I believe visitors are attracted to the church by the kindness and caring of some of our long time members. Every time someone is baptized the entire church celebrates because someone has come to Christ and we have all worked together towards that goal. We all rejoice as a team,” explained Weingarten, “Because of our remote area it is so important to maintain a healthy relationship with the community.”
The church recently broke ground on a new multipurpose building which is being constructed by Howard Grisier. The 80×44 building will have a kitchen area to be used for banquets and dinners and will also have a basketball court. It is set to be completed in seven months, hopefully late summer.
“Our church is from the Restoration Movement and we choose to call ourselves the Christian Church but we realize we are not the only Christians. We try to pattern our lives off the simple message of the New Testament teachings of Jesus Christ: celebrating communion weekly, worshipping in the House of God and listening to the Word of God as it is preached and taught. We have a wonderful group of faithful Sunday School teachers, as well as, a nursery staffed by volunteers and a Children’s Church and a Youth Group,” Weingarten explained.
Christ’s Church at Mountain Fork meets on Sundays beginning at 9:45 am with Sunday School followed by 10:45 am worship and a 6:00 pm service, which is a variety of things including a third Sunday potluck and singing. They also hold a midweek service, Wednesday nights at 7:00 pm, in which they usually study through a book of the Bible.
“We love the rural aspects of Polk County and the outdoor recreation, hunting and fishing. The people also seem to be honest, hard working and down to Earth. My family is at home here and we are thankful to be serving in this area,” said Weingarten.