FAQs

Who is PATHWAYS for?

PATHWAYS is for all those who wish to deepen their knowledge and understanding of their Christian faith, life, and ministry and to equip themselves for either lay and authorized leadership in the church or other specialized ministry setting.

PATHWAYS learner participants may include the following groups:

  • Lay people who would like a few courses in theology, ethics, Bible, church leadership or more may join as Occasional Participants in the Explorer Series or Level 1 courses.
  • Persons who are curious and want to deepen their understanding of progressive Christianity and the church are welcome to partake as Occasional Participants.
  • Persons seeking authorized ministry and needing all or part of the PATHWAYS courses at each level. Presently, only MID’s or others who are seeking authorized ministry certification with another judicatory may take Level 2 and Level 3 courses.
  • Persons pursuing lay leader training or other credentialing are welcome to inquire whether PATHWAYS’ upper level courses may be appropriate for them. PATHWAYS is in process of creating a Lay Leadership Certificate.

Can I be ordained after PATHWAYS?

In the United Church of Christ, there are three forms of authorization for ministry: licensed, commissioned, and ordained–although there is now a church wide discussion for moving to a single form of authorized ministry, ordination.

According to the UCC polity, authorization for ministry is the responsibility of the Association or the Conference through its Committee/Commission on Ministry (for more information, see UCC Manual on Ministry). Successful participation in PATHWAYS may be part of an overall program of leadership formation for authorized ministry; toward that end, the objectives of each course are tied directly to the Marks of Faithful and Authorized Ministers in the United Church of Christ (for more information, see The Marks of Faithful And Effective Authorized Ministers of The United Church of Christ). Prospective participants who discern a call to authorized ministry and wish to use PATHWAYS learning opportunity toward this end should check with their local authorizing body (i.e. Committee on Ministry) for further guidance.


What are the Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers in the United Church of Christ (Marks)?

Committees on the Ministry use the Marks as documented in a Portfolio to assess Members in Discernment in the UCC for readiness for authorization. The Marks can be used by all Christians for self-reflection and to create a learning plan for further development of the characteristics and areas of expertise for effective leadership in the church. For more information, visit the website.


What if I graduated from a conference based leadership formation program? May I participate in PATHWAYS?

There are three levels to the PATHWAYS program: PATHWAYS Level 1 – Foundational; PATHWAYS Level 2 – Intermediate; and PATHWAYS Level 3 – Advanced. Successful graduates of UCC Conference based regional theological educational program may enter the program at PATHWAYS Level 2 in most cases. The inquiring learner is encouraged to submit an online application to PATHWAYS for a consultation on which program level would be most appropriate for his/her vocational goal.


What are the costs of PATHWAYS?

Beginning on June 1, 2017, tuition is $325 plus the $50 distance learning fee for each PATHWAYS course across the program levels. The $50 distance learning fee is waived for participants from an Affiliate Conference, so it would be worthwhile to check with your conference to see if there is a Covenant Affiliation Agreement established between the conference and PATHWAYS.

Further information on PATHWAYS costs: 

  • There is a one-time application fee of $35 when submitting an online PATHWAYS application.
  • Tuition cost per 4-week Explorer Series Course (ESC) is $99. (No Distance Learning Fee applies for all ESC courses.)
  • Tuition cost per regular 6-week course is $325. 
  • Tuition cost per 9-week or 12-week Supervised Ministry Practicum (SMP) course is $325.
  • Tuition cost per 12-week UCC Polity and History course is $600.
  • $50 Distance Learning Fee applies, per course, to all courses above except for the Explorer Series Courses. Distance Learning requires technological support. PATHWAYS provides that support for its Affiliate Conference participants enrolled in a full level of the PATHWAYS program. Otherwise, the participant pays $50 for the Distance Learning Fee for each course.
  • Tuition payments for each course is due in full by the registration deadline for that course unless another tuition payment arrangement is made in advance.

What is the Tuition Refund Policy?

Participants enrolled in standard 6-week online courses are eligible for tuition refunds according to the following schedule:

  • More than 2 weeks prior to the beginning of class: 100% (minus a 6% processing fee)
  • Up until the first day of class: 75%
  • During the first week of class: 50%
  • After the first week of class: 0%

Administrative fee of $50 will be applied to refunded scholarships received from a third party (i.e. conferences, associations, or local churches.)


Are scholarships available?

Participants are encouraged to approach their local church, association, conference, and the national United Church of Christ for financial assistance and scholarships to participate in PATHWAYS.

Many of our PATHWAYS participants have been awarded generous scholarships from their local churches, associations, conferences, and the national UCC. Visit the website for more information on national UCC scholarships.


Can I try a course or two before submitting a formal application?

Yes. You may take any of the ESC courses ($99 per course) or PATHWAYS Level 1 courses (up to 3 courses for Level 1) without submitting a formal online application and join the learning community as an Occasional Participant. Occasional Participants have the option of paying the lower tuition of $225 plus the Distance Learning Fee of $50 ($275 total) per course.

If the Occasional Participant chooses to submit an application at any time and enroll in the full Level 1 Program in order to pursue ministerial authorization as a MID, he or she may then pay the full tuition fees for the first three trial courses, and take advantage of the privileges of administrative and advisory services available to PATHWAYS Participants.


Who writes the curriculum for PATHWAYS?

A curriculum committee, made up of seminary and university faculty, clergy and educators/practitioners with experience and expertise oversees the development of the overall curriculum as well as individual courses. All are trained in instructional design for online collaborative learning.


Who are the facilitators/instructors?

Because PATHWAYS is modeled on adult education practices in which everyone is a learner and everyone is a teacher, course “instructors” are really facilitators of the learning process. These facilitators are seminary faculty, university faculty, ordained clergy, and educators/practitioners who have been trained in group facilitation, adult education, collaborative learning, and the philosophies/theologies underlying the PATHWAYS program.


What kinds of resources are used in the courses?

PATHWAYS makes use of both textbooks and a variety of online resources suited to the learning objectives of each course. In addition, participants’ experiences will be important resources for critical reflection and mutual teaching and learning.


How many participants are in each class?

PATHWAYS is based on a open cohort model – meaning participants start as a group and continue through each level of the program as a group, while other participants may join the cohort for one or more courses. The number of participants in a cohort is usually between 5 ~ 10 people. 


Do I have to be computer literate to participate in PATHWAYS?

Basic computer literacy–such as sending and receiving emails–is a must for participation in the PATHWAYS program as all courses are offered online. Tutorials and individual support are available for beginners and those with experience in online learning. 


What kind of internet access is required?

High speed internet connectivity is required for accessing PATHWAYS online courses.


What other technology is required?

Participants are encouraged to use a webcam, should a synchronous online meeting is facilitated within a course.  Webcams allow participants to use video conferencing as a part of their coursework.  The ability to converse “face-to-face” is valuable to collaborative course work and relationship building.


Is PATHWAYS only for members of the United Church of Christ?

PATHWAYS is open to members of the United Church of Christ and its ecumenical partners. Others are welcome to inquire further by contacting PATHWAYS: pathways@secucc.org


Are their pre-requisites for participation in PATHWAYS?

There are no pre-requisites for PATHWAYS Level 1 Courses and the Explorer Series Courses other than an open mind and a desire to learn if you are joining as an Occasional Participant. To study in a full program level, you would need to submit an online application.

Successful completion of PATHWAYS Level 1 (or its equivalent) and two letters of recommendation are required for participation in PATHWAYS Levels 2 and 3. 


How do I find out more about PATHWAYS?

If you have comments or questions, please use our contact form, or send your email to pathways@secucc.org.