Pinnacle Presbyterian Church


Pinnacle Announces Mission Outreach to Create Academy


Pinnacle’s Mission Ministry Group recently extended its mission outreach to include Create Academy, a two-year-old tuition-free public charter school serving low income families. Kelly Horn is Principal of the school and was formerly Director of Children’s Ministry at Pinnacle Presbyterian Church.

Create academy is a K-5 tuition free, public charter school with 137 students located in Phoenix off Highway 51 just east of Children’s Hospital. The school is dedicated to arts integration, project-based learning and social justice. Between 80-90% of the students are below the poverty level.  Some students live at UMOM family homeless shelter.

Through an arts integrated curriculum anchored in project -based learning, Create Academy aims to prepare all students for success in college, career and society by teaching students to collaboratively invent, design, and implement creative solutions that address society problems and injustices. Research shows arts integrated programs of study increase student achievement, decrease discipline problems, and increase student attendance across multiple schools and school districts. Another goal is to equip students with the basic academic and social skilled needed to succeed in a public middle school.

Pinnacle members will have an opportunity to make a difference at Create Academy through volunteering at the school, financial assistance and prayer support for teachers and students. Please look for the Arizona Public Education Tax Credit envelopes in the pew racks beginning Sunday, April 22. Bring your donation envelope on Sunday, April 29 or drop off in the church office no later than Friday, May 13.

We encourage you to support this important local mission project.  Help us build an emotional and spiritual relationship with the children and staff members at Create Academy.

Pinnacle Director of Elementary & Youth Singing Choirs Receives Award in Urban Education


Pinnacle's very own Katherine Talley, a 5th-grade teacher at Echo Mountain Intermediate School and demonstration teacher for the Center for Teacher Development, is the recipient of the Sontag Prize in Urban Education. The Sontag Prize in Urban Education is awarded to excellent teachers from across the nation. Congratulations, Katherine! Click here to read full article.




The Spiritual Art Commitee Needs Your Help!

We are gearing up for a very exciting new project that involves ecology and recycling of non-bio-degradable plastics. This project calls for as many CLEAN 16 oz water bottles as we can gather, including plastic tops from other bottles and containers.

Please see the guidelines for collecting bottles and bottle caps below:

  1. Please empty all water bottles before placing them in your kitchen size garbage bag (all bottles must be collected in garbage bags).
  2. Please remove and save all bottle caps (see below).
  3. Please save all colors of caps and tops from JARS AND BOTTLES (ie: mayonnaise, peanut butter, fruit juice bottles, soda bottles, etc.). We will use them to create colorful signage for the ecology project. Caps and tops can be tossed into a smaller bag for collection.
  5. Collect your bottles and keep them at home! Watch the bulletin for the date when you are able to bring them into the church. We are building a “Bottle Corral."

Thank you so much for your help in collecting supplies for this project!

Help Pinnacle Equip the Kitchen

pinnacle presbyterian kitchen -2.jpg

We're making good on a commitment made in 2012 to meet the dreams of families, cooks and gathering-minded folks for a church kitchen. Previous donations from the Tending the Promise campaign and those close to the project have already funded nearly two-thirds of the project. Construction has been completed. You can help us finish strong and equip the kitchen by pledging to underwrite the cost of specific equipment or with a cash donation. There are several items on our needs/wish list, please click the here to view the various ways you can help.

Park Center to Partner with Princeton

Pinnacle is pleased to announce a new partnership with External Princeton Theological Seminary (XPTS). Princeton has asked the Fran Park Center to be their proof of concept for a brand-new program called Certificate of Theological Seminary (C: TM + Online.) Eventually there will be many XPTS campuses throughout the country, but Pinnacle is the first.


The FPC is forming small cohort to participate in this online program which begins at the end of January, 2018. It’s a 14-week self-paced, online class that is a ‘peer-to-peer concept.’ This means that one does the course work online, but there is an open discussion among the group. Along with the online course work, there is a weekly ‘live class’ hosted by a Princeton Theological Seminary professor on one of four topics, but all four will be covered:

  • Old Testament
  • New Testament
  • Theology
  • World Christianity

The last part of the C: TM + Online program is the hypothetical case study that is part of the weekly module. This case study is also discussed at a meeting with the cohort on Sunday afternoon following worship. The ultimate goal of the C: TM + Online is completely in line with the Fran Park Center goals.

Please download the following pdf to learn more about this exciting partnership,
Certificate of Theology and Ministry Course Overview 2018

or log onto:

Making a Difference Informational Meeting

Pinnacle invites you to an information meeting on to learn more about this interfaith, three-day workshop for lay and ordained persons in ministry.

Wednesday, January 17 from 5:30-6:30 pm
Chapel Library

Ministry today requires the ability to inspire others to participate and to be involved, and the strength of mind to respond in new and difficult situations in a changing world. These challenges require that a minister listen and lead in new and creative ways.

Making a Difference: A Course for Those Who Minister provides you with new tools that empower you to deal effectively with those issues that are most basic, most urgent—the daily business of ministry, the spirit and heart of fully living out your calling, making thoughtful choices, relating powerfully to others, and having your life and ministry make the difference you want them to make.

This workshop is presented by The Mastery Foundation. For more information, contact Joanne McDowell and/or Dorothy Stingley at

David Allen Named Director of Ministries in Music and Arts


Following a year-long national search, Pinnacle is delighted to announce that Mr. David Allen will be joining Pinnacle as our new Director of Ministries in Music and Arts in late January, with his first Sunday leading music to be January 28. At their November meeting, Session reviewed and affirmed the recommendation from Dr. Wesley Avram and the Music Ministry Search Committee, chaired by Susan Forrest.

A native of Spartanburg, South Carolina, David is currently the Director of Music and Worship Arts at Kingwood United Methodist Church in Houston, TX. David is also the associate conductor of EVŌK, a semi-professional chamber choir in residence at Lone Star College-Kingwood. David holds a Bachelor of Arts in Instrumental Education from the Cline School of Music at North Greenville University and a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from the University of South Carolina.

David is a French horn player, conductor, and singer. Prior to a full-time ministry, David was the Director of Bands at Blue Ridge High School in Greenville, SC. Under his direction, the Bands of Blue Ridge won two back-to-back state championships in marching, and scored superior in all state and national concert events. Before coming to Texas, David was the Director of Music and Worship Arts at Bethany United Methodist in Summerville, SC where he enjoyed the revitalization of a music program that became a flagship program for traditional churches in the state.

"We’re blessed by his enthusiasm to join us, and I know that you’ll soon see what I and the search committee saw in him." commented Dr. Avram.

Many thanks to our search committee: Susan Forrest (Chair), Steve Crosby, Carrol Svedeen, Erin Boyd, Marilyn Sorenson, Kim Schaller, Mike Hegeman, Jacque Olmert, Nancy Schamadan, Christine Kilbridge, and Jennifer Wood.  Special thanks also to Dr. Sharon Hansen, Interim Director of Music and the Arts and Brandon Burns, Interim Organist for all they did to assure success in this search.

Watch for details to follow as we plan celebrations to thank Sharon for her work among us, and welcome David.

Brandon Burns | Doctoral Organ Recital


Our very own, Brandon Burns is having his second doctoral recital next Tuesday.  Please see event details below.

Brandon Burns | Doctoral Organ Recital
Featuring Olivier Messiaen's La Nativite du Seigneur
December 5 | 7:00 pm
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
100 W Roosevelt St., Phoenix
Parking available in the garage behind the church

Operation Christmas Child


Join the Children’s Ministry Committee in sponsoring a child this year with Operation Christmas Child.  Boxes will be available October 22 and all boxes are due Nov 12.  You will choose to pack for a girl or boy, ages 2-4, 5-9 or 10-14 and then a suggested list of items: wow item, personal care, clothing and accessories, crafts and activities, toys and a personal note.  Contact Hillary Mackowski.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Relief Response

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance—Hurricane Response Information

As the floodwaters in Texas only begin to recede, new devastation has arrived in the Caribbean, with Hurricane Irma closing in on Florida and additional storms developing in the Atlantic.

Members of PDA’s National Response Team are currently in Texas and the Gulf region, assessing damage, providing aid, and offering spiritual and emotional care for those impacted by the devastating winds and floods of Harvey. Even in the midst of that aftermath, PDA is working with its partners to provide relief to those in the wake of Hurricane Irma, and reaching out to networks in its path. This category 5 hurricane carries sustained winds of 180 mph, and is expected to remain a category 4 or 5 storm as it proceeds through the Caribbean, toward the United States. As people in Barbuda, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Florida and other areas nearby begin digging out from the storm or bracing for this storm’s impact, PDA is already engaged.

Support Presbyterian Disaster Assistance’s emergency response and long-term recovery work in the areas affected. Gifts can be designated in two ways: Hurricane Harvey (DR000169-Harvey) and Atlantic Regional Hurricanes (DR000194). You can also give with a credit card by visiting, by phone at 800-872-3283, or through Pinnacle by check in the offering plate with PDA Relief in the memo field.

Watch for future hands-on opportunities through our Mission Ministry Group how you can help.

God, our Shelter, in the challenging days to come, work through us to bring relief and respite, comfort and hope to those who grieve the loss of family, home, and safety. Give us and those we serve faith to walk on through weary days of rebuilding. May our generosity in prayer and in tangible signs of support overflow more than floodwaters, to sustain your work of healing and rebuilding and to bring comfort and strength to those who suffer. Amen.

Hillary Mackowski Joins Pinnacle Staff

Pinnacle is delighted to welcome Hillary Mackowski as new acting Director of Children’s Ministry. Hillary most recently served as Director of Children Ministries at Shepherd of the Desert Lutheran Church for three years and as a preschool teacher at CASY for four years. She is a graduate from Missouri State University and began her Masters of Business Administration at Drury University. She also served as VP of Human Resources for Springfield ReManufacturing Corp. in Springfield, Missouri.

"I’m thrilled to combine both my love for Jesus & “littles” into this full-time position and looking forward to follow the Lord’s call to build His kingdom," said Mackowski.

"My love for children and Jesus and his constant Grace lead me to this position and I could not be more thrilled! My goals are very simple; to continue the tremendous work that has been done and to engage families and staff to see how we can create new events to promote further success of Pinnacle Presbyterian’s Children’s Ministries.  I’m honored to join your community and looking forward to meeting you all." Hillary continued.

Hillary and her husband, Scott, have four children, Ellie 17, Ethan, 16, Eli 14 and Emily 13.



Let’s create a magical “Back-to School” experience for area school children by bringing the following supplies to church as part of the annual Vista Del Camino program. Let’s pack the “Magic School Buses” located at the exits of the Sanctuary and the Chapel. Donations can also be dropped off in the church office. If you prefer to donate money, do so through the church office and clearly note that the contribution is for the “Back to School” Ministry.

DEADLINE: July 16.
Questions? Contact Jenni Eisel at


  • Backpacks, all sizes (large especially needed)
  • Three-ring binders (1-inch, 2-inch, 3-inch & 4-inch)
  • Spiral notebooks, ruled paper (both wide- and college-(150 sheets)
  • One-subject notebooks, wide-rule and college-rule (70 sheets)
  • Composition books, wide-rule and college-rule, pocket folders
  • Highlighters, colored pencils, 10-pack pencils (sharpened), 10-pack blue and black pens, 24-pack crayons, 8-pack colored markers
  • Glue sticks, rulers, pencil pouches for 3-ring binders
  • Socks and underwear for all youth, young adult sizes (XS to XXX)

Please note that our summer office hours are Monday - Thursday 8:00 am - 4:30 pm and Friday 8:00 am - Noon. Summer hours run June 16 - September 1. As always, the pastor on call is available for pastoral emergencies after hours by calling the office at 480-585-9448 and follow the prompts.

Fran Park Center is going to the Holy Land

Join Pinnacle pilgrims for an authentic experience in the land of Jesus' ministry.  The Holy Land is often called "the fifth gospel," as it tells the "on the ground" story of Israel, Jesus, and the encounter of world religions.  We will walk ancient stones, meet "living stones," and learn of God.  This unusual opportunity will be over the New Year's holiday, giving us a chance to celebrate the passage of a year in one of the most storied and beautiful places on earth.  learn more

Open Table Graduate Serving God at Pinnacle

Since 2010, Pinnacle Promise, has been assisting the homeless and impoverished through several initiatives including Open Table.  At Pinnacle, Open Table has served seven individuals and families over the last seven years. 

Byron Webb, originally from Alabama is a Navy veteran and was introduced to Pinnacle by MANA House, a shelter for veterans, also another initiative of Pinnacle Promise. Byron was served by a Pinnacle Team in 2013-2014 period and the Team concluded its work after 12 months.

After being away for a couple years, Byron returned to the church last year, became a member and has been active in greeting and ushering guests and members... serving God along side those who helped him.

The following film was produced by The Open Table Inc.

Blessing of the Animals Service

Pinnacle's third annual Blessing of the Animals service is scheduled for Saturday, April 29 at 9:30 am in the Chapel Garden. Bring your pets, large and small and join us for this special event which celebrates and honors the creatures God has put in our lives. Please consider bringing a 5-15 lb. bag of cat or dog food to help assist people in caring for their pets during times of financial crisis.

Music Director Search Officially Opens

Pinnacle Presbyterian Church has opened its search for a skilled and innovative Director of Music and the Arts to oversee a successful inter-generational program and take Pinnacle in new directions. learn more

Email Interruption Expected

Pinnacle staff are scheduled to undergo an email conversion on April 17/18. What this means is that all staff will experience a period of time when their email system is down and unable to send or receive emails. If you need to reach a staff member immediately, please contact the church office during regular business hours, 480-585-9448. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Bluegrass Mass & Lecture: April 29 & 30

Saturday, April 29
A High, Lonesome Bluegrass Mass:
Blending Converging Styles and
Expressions in Worship

Chancel Choir Rehearsal
11 am in the Sanctuary
*Lunch at 12 pm in the Fellowship Hall
Lecture at 1 pm in the Fellowship Hall

Sunday, April 30
Bluegrass Mass: Come Away to the Skies
10 am in the Sanctuary

Chancel Choir and
Arizona bluegrass musicians
Timothy Sharp, conductor



Dr. Timothy Sharp will present an informative lecture on the folk-hymns and classical musical tradition that together form the basis of A High Lonesome Bluegrass Mass: Come Away to the Skies. This tradition comes primarily through the Scotch-Irish migration into the American South, with the hymns from this tradition published in collections in the early part of the nineteenth century.

The thousands of songs that flooded into the valleys of the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers came from the lips of generations of folk performers of Southern Appalachia, and found their way into the culture and ways of the American South. The hymnbooks in which this music was found were unique to the southern region of the United States, but their musical influence has spread to many faith traditions the world over.

In examining A High Lonesome Bluegrass Mass that will be performed on April 30, 2017, at the 10AM worship service, Dr. Sharp will discuss the five folk-hymn arrangements originating in the mid-nineteenth century collections of the Sacred Harp and Southern Harmony, which he organized around a significant traditional liturgy of the church, the Mass. His discussion will include “wilderness” spirituals, the shaped notes, and the history following the 2nd Great Awakening in the South in general.  He has written about this in his book, “Nashville Music Before Country,” which contains pertinent images he will present as part of the lecture. Finally, Dr. Sharp will discuss the immediate listener appeal of the rare blending of musical styles inherent in A High Lonesome Mass, and conclude by suggesting that diverse music adds value, strength, meaning, and relevance to today’s contemporary worship.

The lecture is a presentation of the Fran Park Center for Faith and Life.
*RSVP for lunch required to

Art Installation to Debut on Palm Sunday

“Along the Path”

Installation: Palm Sunday, April 9
Reception: Sunday, April 23
3:00 pm in the Sanctuary

On Friday, November 30, 2015, members and friends of the Pinnacle Presbyterian Spiritual Art Committee gathered to brainstorm ideas for their next large scale art project.  Each project that the committee undertakes always begins with a scripture passage.  In this case, the group was guided by Matthew 21:8 (NIV) “A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.”

Inspiration: The committee was inspired by the intriguing work of Katharina Krenkel, an Argentine born fiber artist who lives and works in Germany.  Her large scale, soft sculpture, fiber installations include an enthralling freeform crocheted one that was installed in a beautiful German cathedral.  The idea of “freeform” fiber art incorporating crochet and knitting appealed to the group, because individuals could each stitch individual yarn pieces without patterns that are known as “scrumbles”.  These could be combined to make larger fiber units, which in turn would be joined to form an extended paramount or artistic altar cloth. The goal was to bring together many hands working individually at home and then come together each week to work in fellowship at the church.

Preparation: Tyvek, a type of sheeting used in home construction, was used to create the template of the overall shape, with dimensions of approximately eight feet in width, undulating to a length of some twenty-two feet, the size allowed the art piece to drape over the front of the communion table and flow across the floor and down the steps to the sanctuary floor. Individual pieces cut from plastic tablecloths were used to map out particular colors, shapes and placement.

Lessons:  Several skilled crocheters and knitters from the congregation helped guide and inspire women from the congregation who wanted to participate, but were new to the crafts.  All skill levels were welcomed and some twenty-five needle workers ultimately participated in the undertaking.  Among them were women of various age groups and walks of life, including recent widows and women undergoing chemotherapy treatments, all of whom formed amazing bonds.  They reflected the core philosophy of the Spiritual Art Committee, that is: to bring people together for fellowship, congeniality and spiritual inspiration.  Who knew that just sitting together and turning balls of yarns into bits of crochet and knit would be so much fun!

Work began:  The overall design was defined by color and size, and each worker took a particular yarn color to work with each week in the privacy of her own home. Then, all would gather together weekly to share their creations. Each woman was inspired by the creativity of her co-workers.  Some scrumbles were purely abstract and freeform, while others were adorned with buttons, charms, beads, trinkets or crosses.  Some scrumbles were formed into leaves, flowers, hearts, even doughnuts and bunnies!  The project grew little by little every week as the scrumbles were gathered, organized by color and sewn together.

Time involved:  Initially the committee was overly optimistic in estimating the length of time it would take to finish a project of this size.  Starting in December of 2015, the goal was completion for Palm Sunday, April, 2016.  Fifteen months later the art piece was completed for Palm Sunday, April 9, 2017.  The children processed down the center sanctuary aisle, waving palm fronds and singing “Hosannas”, they then surrounded the resplendent communion table where the cloaks had been laid before Him!

About the Spiritual Art Committee:  In late April of 2013, four members of the Pinnacle Presbyterian Church of Scottsdale, Arizona traveled to Mendocino, California to attend
a three day workshop with Nancy Chinn.  Chinn is an internationally known liturgical artist, who uses humble, inexpensive materials in her art projects.  She has produced commissioned, large scale installations in The National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, among many others.  She is a published author. Chinn has taught many congregations throughout the United States about her techniques, use of materials and philosophy of how to include the congregation in production of large scale, scripture based and life enhancing works of art.  The mission of the Spiritual Art Committee is to enhance Pinnacle Presbyterian Church’s
beautiful sanctuary with its organic architecture, interior color palette and breathtaking native setting, by the use of large scale art to bring color and spiritual inspiration into the worship space. This project is the third of three installations created by the committee.  

Previous Projects: The first project was a 2015,Lenten, large scale installation of numerous, colorfully painted net streamers that flew above the pews, from the back of the sanctuary, one- hundred-twenty feet to the front, where the steamers finally culminated above the large boulders at the right of the church’s forty foot tall carved ironwood cross, in a sparkling column of white netting.

The second installation was installed for the Advent season of 2016.  The artwork featured over eight hundred balsa and white tissue paper, hand- made stars. The stars, which, again, were flying above the pews, featured prayers, from individual members of the congregation, written on their backs. Along the lower side walls of the churches’ two upper seating terraces, gilded panels of cut- paper were hung--a new one each week of the Advent season. The panels depicted the path of the wise men to Bethlehem at Jesus’ birth.  At the back of the chancel, on Christmas Eve, two huge, gilt painted panels of cut- paper depicting cherubs and hundreds of stars, were hung side by side.  A six foot, lighted, Star of Bethlehem floated in front of the panels.