PATHWAYS Philosophy

Our Vision

PATHWAYS Theological Education is an online theological institute rooted in progressive Christian theology. PATHWAYS’ aim is to empower leaders for the present and future church, and its intersection with society rooted in the perspective of progressive theology and UCC traditions. PATHWAYS provides a range of educational offerings that blend critical scholarship with practical application.

 

Our Mission

PATHWAYS‘ mission is to bring together the best of traditional theological education and the contemporary experiences of the church towards formation of new ministry models by offering affordable, accessible and excellent theological education to laity and those seeking authorization for ministry.

 

The Learning Process

PATHWAYS Theological Education utilizes an adult learning model where the learner is responsible for their own learning process. We respect learners as adults. We assume that all learners bring gifts, knowledge and wisdom to PATHWAYS; therefore, all are teachers and all are learners.

The program maintains a robust curriculum of more than thirty courses that use the UCC Marks for Faithful and Effective Ministers as their foundation.  Each course has Marks chosen as the competencies to be addressed. Learning objectives are written to align with the Marks. End of course evaluations are based on those learning objectives to assess competency related to the Marks.

PATHWAYS courses are online and asynchronous—there are no set lectures or discussion times and the classroom is always open.

 

The Community

PATHWAYS values and practices a collaborative learning approach. We build learning communities actively engaged in mutual support and respect among all learners.

 

Our Theological Orientation

PATHWAYS is grounded in progressive and contextual theologies. It engages participants in theological reflection. Participants enter into small diverse communities where safety and welcome are at the core. In the Fall of 2016, the PATHWAYS Advisory Committee took time to articulate the followship statement:

Statement on Progressive Christian Theology

     Christian faith is about how to live in loving, healing relationship to God, one another, and all of creation. We look to Jesus’ teaching and life to light our path to God in our uniquely Christian perspective. We affirm that God hears and speaks all languages of faith and values all expressions of faith that give life, light, and hope to the world. God loves and cares for every person, seeking our health and wholeness, extending forgiveness when we fail, and the grace to begin anew each day. We are called to have compassion and love for others; to reach out to those on the margins of life; to seek political and economic justice in the world; and to pray for our enemies.   

     Progressive Christians cherish the Bible as sacred scripture, a source of inspiration, history, culture, life-transforming narratives, and expressions of the human condition before God. We understand all theology to be contextual; that is, arising from a particular culture, time period, and experience. Thus our faith is expanded and tested as we interact with and learn from other sources and faiths and by new insights from contemporary scientific, social, psychological, and historical research. Our faith journeys are further shaped and informed as we reflect on our experiences, trusting that God welcomes our doubts and questions as well as our devotion and prayers.

     The purpose of Christian faith is to follow the Way of Jesus here and now in this world, trusting that God will be with us in life, in death, and in life beyond death. We recognize that there are many interpretations as to how the Word of God—God who is still speaking—is effected in the lives of every human; we thus acknowledge our finitude in contemplating the Mystery whose ways are higher than our ways and thoughts higher than our thoughts.