What does PATHWAYS offer?

PATHWAYS offers a variety of classes open to everyone seeking a deeper Christian faith and theological understanding. Choose courses according to your interest or that meet your need.

PATHWAYS offers a 30-course curriculum rooted in the Marks of Faithful and Effective Ministers. With the approval of a local Committee on Ministry, the PATHWAYS curriculum can be used to complete educational requirements for authorized ministry in the United Church of Christ. PATHWAYS works with Committees on Ministry to design study plans for UCC Members in Discernment.

PATHWAYS offers UCC History & Polity twice yearly.

PATHWAYS participants include:
  • People who would like a few courses in theology, ethics, bible, church leadership or more may join as Participants in any courses.

  • People who are curious and want to deepen their understanding of progressive Christianity and the church are welcome to partake as Participants.

  • People seeking authorized ministry and needing all or part of the PATHWAYS courses at each level. People seeking authorized ministry in the UCC need to work with their Commission on Ministry to prepare a course of study. PATHWAYS courses may be all or just a part of that plan.

  • People pursuing church leader training or other credentialing are welcome to work with PATHWAYS to create a plan of study.

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 participant in PATHWAYS courses as part or all of their academic requirements for authorized ministry need to check with their local authorizing body (i.e. Committee on Ministry) for further guidance and approval. PATHWAYS welcomes opportunities to share more details about our program with Commissions on Ministry.

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?

If you have completed a conference-based leadership formation program, you are welcome to enroll in PATHWAYS courses. If you are taking courses for enrichment, just register for the ones that interest you.

If you are taking courses as part of an ongoing call to authorized ministry, then you want to have a conversation with your authorizing body to discern which classes are needed to complete your requirements. PATHWAYS will work with you and your Commission on Ministry to help you meet your needs.There are three levels to the PATHWAYS program: PATHWAYS Level 1 – Foundational; PATHWAYS Level 2 – Intermediate; and PATHWAYS Level 3 – Advanced. 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?

PATHWAYS courses cost:.

  • Tuition cost per 4-week Explorer Series Course (ESC) is $99.
  • Tuition cost per regular 6-week course is $375. 
  • Tuition cost per 9-week or 12-week Supervised Ministry Practicum course is $375.
  • Tuition cost per 12-week UCC Polity and History course is $650.

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.

For participants in a full-program level in an affiliate conference, they receive a $50 discount per six-week or longer course. The Southeast Conference UCC is an affiliate conference.

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  of the PATHWAYS  courses without submitting a formal online application.

If Participant wants to participate in a full level of the PATHWAYS program then they are required to submit an application.

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 course participants in a course varies from 4 to 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. It is possible to complete courses using internet through a cell phone with good internet connection.

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 all people who are interested in learning about progressive Christianity including members of the United Church of Christ and its ecumenical partners.

Are their pre-requisites for participation in PATHWAYS?

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

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.