Our Staff

Rev. Ken Heintzelman

Rev. Ken Heintzelman

Senior Minister

Email: ken@shadowrockucc.org

Likes: coffee, quiet mornings, and Oreos

Dislikes: mosqutios, pettiness, and moving


Lois Beberniss

Lois Beberniss

Director of Campus Affairs

Email: lois@shadowrockucc.org

Likes: people, keeping busy, and the phrase “you are loved”

Dislikes: eggplants, violent movies, and birds in the sanctuary

Karen Richter

Karen Richter

Director of Spiritual Formation

Email: karen@shadowrockucc.org

Likes: introducing people to diverse and off-beat prayer practices, building peaceful and participative cultures, smashing the patriarchy.

Dislikes: being out of coffee or chocolate

Heidi Zinn

Heidi Zinn

Financial Officer and Technology

Email: heidi@shadowrockucc.org

Likes: Casablanca Lilies, chai tea lattes, and hiking the Arizona trails and mountain preserves

Dislikes: onions, and dishes in the sink

Abeth Spencer

Abeth Spencer

Director of Communications

Email: abeth@shadowrockucc.org

Likes: Pop-Tarts, puzzles, and the Oxford Comma

Dislikes: snakes, peas, and the fig tree story from the book of Matthew

Bill Peterson

Bill Peterson

Facility and Campus Care Volunteer

Email: bill@shadowrockucc.org

Likes: music, food, and nature

Dislikes: beets, lazy people, and snakes

Forrest Bachtel

Forrest Bachtel

Choir Director

Email: forrest@shadowrockucc.org

Likes: the ocean, Denali Maximum Fudge Moose Tracks ice cream, and family (particularly the grandkids) (don’t tell Carol)

Dislikes: modern jazz, Horehound candy, and maturity

Julie Tuttle

Julie Tuttle


Email: julie@shadowrockucc.org

Likes: reading novels, all kinds of music, ice-cream

Dislikes: turbulence while flying, sweet pickles, (yuck), lightning!

Our Great Band

Our Great Band

fantastic musical talent!

John Willis – bass guitar

Dave Robinson – guitar

Joe Garcia – drums

Rev. Liana Rowe

Rev. Liana Rowe

Campus Partner Chaplain

Email: revlianarowe@gmail.com

Likes: My dog, hiking, and hiking with my dog

Dislikes: Bad driving, mean cats, or mean people

Liz Helm

Liz Helm

Wedding Ceremony Director

Email: kingsley28@cox.net

Likes: family, gardening, Weddings at Shadow Rock

Dislikes: cooking, camping, bad drivers



provided each Sunday morning

Karen Jones and Elaine Jones – nursery

Julie Kegor, Taylor Murphy and Brynn Murphy – Growing Place

Our History

Our Church History…So Far!

Shadow Rock was founded in August 1973 by Rev. William O. Smith as contemporary church – innovative, experimental, and intentional. Without a church building, worship services and events were held at Thunderbird High School. In March 1974 Shadow Rock became part of the United Church of Christ. Later in 1974 Shadow Rock Preschool opened with Eileen Hoard as its first director. Also that year, ground was broken for the first building (now known as the Education Building). The first worship service in the new building was December 24, 1976.

The 1980’s began with Shadow Rock reaching into the wider Phoenix community. The Shadow Rock Center for the Performing Arts (under the direction of David Wo), the Shadow Rock Epi-Center (offering education classes to the community), and Rebuilding Together were some of our early forays into community development and action. In 1982 a two-year building project began in which four classrooms, a commercial kitchen, bathrooms, and two meetings rooms were added to the Education Building. The 1980s ended with additional building projects: a new sanctuary, Festival Garden (columbarium), and Wall of Celebration

In 1990 Rev. Smith and the Shadow Rock congregation established A Stepping Stone Foundation. In the mid-1990s, Rev. Smith retired and Shadow Rock began a new phase in our development with Rev. David W. Ragan as Senior Minister. Shadow Rock led efforts to establish Family Promise (formerly known as The Greater Phoenix Interfaith Hospitality Network) and also was active in Habitat for Humanity. In 1998 Shadow Rock celebrated twenty-five years of ministry and the tile mural wall in the parlor of the Education Building was completed. In 1999, Shadow Rock became an Open and Affirming church and partnered with Borderlinks to address justice issues on the Mexico/United States border.

The 2000’s brought more change and challenge with the peacemaking and humanitarian work of Assistant Minister Rev. Gene LeFebvre. Also during that time, Shadow Rock became instrumental in the No More Deaths movement. We called Rev. Lori Souder to be our Associate Minister in 2003. In the spring of 2006 Rev. Ragan resigned. After an interim period, Rev. Kenneth Heintzelman was called to be Shadow Rock’s Senior Minister, and he began with us in August 2008.

Since 2008, Shadow Rock has been growing and experimenting, rediscovering our roots and branching out. Here are some things we’re particularly proud of… Ask someone about one of these recent milestones the next time you’re on campus!

  • Hosted a booth at the Wedding Expo at Phoenix Pride
  • Built a labyrinth and dar-ding (prayer flag line)
  • Began a congregation-wide Lenten study called “Journey of the Spirit”
  • Re-energized and re-claimed our theological heritage with Profound Journey Dialog, a weekend formation retreat for adults
  • Established the Shadow Rock Whole Life Center, a front-porch ministry bringing wholeness and healing to the community through enrichment classes, yoga and wellness activities, and local art opportunities
  • Expanded our outreach through space-sharing agreements with other organizations such as Merkaz Congregation, Saint Teresa of Avila Ecumenical Catholic Community, and Kairos Outside, among others
  • Became the first Economic Justice Covenant Congregation in the Southwest Conference
  • Renewed our commitment to youth development and formation through two mission trips to Best Friends Animal Rescue
  • Hosted two national facilitator trainings for Our Whole Lives, a holistic, values-based human sexuality curriculum
  • Established a regular schedule for offering Our Whole Lives to middle schoolers and high school students – both for families within our congregation and interested families throughout the north valley
  • In 2014, offered Sanctuary to a undocumented migrant from Guatemala and accompanied him through the resolution of his immigration status

History is great, and we are proud of ours. But as a congregation who strives to point ourselves intentionally to the future, we know there is much work left to be done and much more ‘history’ yet to come.

Shadow Rock United Church of Christ
12861 N. 8th Avenue | Phoenix, AZ 85029


Church Office Hours:
Monday-Thursday 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Phone: 602-993-0050