Pinnacle Presbyterian Church


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.

Fran Park Center to Host Rev. Tod Bolsinger


The world is changing fast! Some of us feel like our old map doesn’t work anymore. Others don’t even know the old map, but we’re trying to draw a new one that works. Being Christian and leading Christians in this age are daunting tasks. Here’s help! Rev. Tod Bolsinger, Ph.D., knows the territory of 21st century life, and he’s an able guide. Join us as Tod shares insights for living and leading now. learn more


Stewardship and Tax Policy

by: Kathe Drake
Stewardship Committee Member

Why do we give?  Is it because we get a tax deduction?  Since only 38% of taxpayers itemize, tax deductibility is clearly not the only motivation.  Stewardship is usually a matter of gratitude to God which fuels the need to “give back.”  Most of us give because we feel called to do so not because of a tax deduction.

Nevertheless, a charitable deduction can be the frosting on the cake, giving incentives to the giver to donate more due to the reduction in taxes.  There has been considerable attention paid to the proposed changes to tax laws.  In particular, proposed tax cuts will disproportionately benefit the highest earners.  While there have also been proposed limits on charitable deductions ($100,000 for single filers and $200,000 for Married filing Jointly), the charitable deduction is preserved under some proposed plans.  In any event, the impact on giving may be lessened due to the dramatic decrease in taxes for high earners.   Higher incomes as well as specific vehicles such as donor advised funds (which allow for immediate deduction but continued growth until gifts are made from the fund) and gifts of appreciated stock will still allow plenty of opportunities for high earners to make charitable gifts and reduce taxation.

In addition, for those givers who do not itemize and are over 70 1/2, gifts of any or all of their Required Minimum Distributions can directly reduce taxable income while still conferring a charitable benefit.

Tax policy changes will definitely make an impact on individual taxpayers.  Nevertheless Congress must pass all changes and the reaction to such broad sweeping change may be tempered by lawmakers’ reactions to the effect such changes will have on the federal budget as well as on middle class taxpayers.  None of us make our giving decisions based purely on tax policy and the proposed changes to the tax law are not likely to change that.  Fear not and keep giving generously!

Rummage Sale Collection Begins March 10

The annual Rummage Sale is fast approaching! We will be collecting items at Fellowship Hall from Friday, March 10, 8 am - 4 pm, through Tuesday, March 14. Pickup of large items will be scheduled by emailing Volunteers are need for a variety of tasks. For more info contact

Foundation Now Accepting Scholarship Applications

The Pinnacle Presbyterian Church Foundation is pleased to announce that applications are now available for the 2017 Scholarship Awards. This fund will provide scholarships to interested students that have been accepted into or are attending an accredited post-secondary school program.  Applicants must be a member of Pinnacle Presbyterian Church and show involvement in church, community and school activities. Apply today

Pinnacle is pleased to welcome Dr. Pamela Ruiter-Feenstra, visiting composer and organist from Ann Arbor, Michigan, to our 10AM worship service on January 15, which will be a special service remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.

Continue Reading →

For 30 years the January Series of Calvin College has been one of the leading lecture/cultural arts series in the country. The series has been a three-time recipient of the Silver Bowl Award as the “Best Campus Lecture Series in the U.S.A.”

Continue Reading →

The Synod of the Southwest met for its Annual Meeting, October 21-22, 2016 at Memorial Presbyterian Church in Phoenix, AZ. Greetings were given by...

Continue Reading →

Dr. Avram was recently asked by the national denomination to contribute to an ongoing series of theological conversations, which were published by the Presbyterian News Service....

Continue Reading →

At its September meeting, the session voted unanimously to rename the Pinnacle Theological Center to honor the pastor whose vision of high quality adult education for church and community gave birth to the Center, Rev. Fran Park.

Continue Reading →

In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, Haiti is again trying to recover from the damage caused by high winds, torrential rains, and flooding, and is faced with fears of

Continue Reading →