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PATHWAYS Theological Education, Inc.

An Online Institute for Progressive Christian Theology


PATHWAYS Theological Education, Inc.

PATHWAYS Theological, Inc.  is an affordable and accessible online program in progressive theology. Participants are not bound by geography and have a flexible time schedule over the course of each week. The weekly readings and the facilitated accompanying online forum offer a practical, open-minded education and create a learner-centered environment where participants can bring their own questions and wisdom.  Our upcoming courses are listed below.  For inquiries or registration email us at or 

January 8 – February 18, 2020

L1.8 Pluralism & Religion in North America (6-weeks) $295
Most people recognize the changes occurring. Even in small towns, there’s usually a Chinese restaurant in addition to typical American fare. A referral to a new physician may introduce you to a doctor who is from India or the Middle East. In urban areas, mosques dot the landscape as do churches. Alongside Christian churches and Jewish synagogues, people from different parts of the world bring religions that are new to many Americans: Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and many others. When a culture has different sets of beliefs and assumptions engaging with each other, the term used to describe it is pluralism.

In this course, the focus is pluralism of religious belief in America today. No longer are the “religions of the world” practiced in another part of the world. Instead, different religions are practiced in our communities and neighborhoods. Recognizing this shift, we’ll explore some major aspects of the pluralistic beliefs commonly encountered today.  

L2.1 Intro to Spiritual Health (Pastoral Care) (6-weeks) $295
Through personal reflection and exploration of current pastoral care paradigms, the course will assist in developing best practices in spiritual care. The course participant will develop contextual understanding of persons in crisis and formulate strategies for seeking their well-being and justice.

L3.4 Contemporary Homiletics (6-weeks) $295
Contemporary Homiletics will explore the current distinctive needs of congregations in their multiple context and how the preacher can develop particular sermonic characteristics to address those needs in faithful, engaging, and prophetic ways.

January 8 – February 4, 2020

ESC5 Singing the Bible (4-weeks) $99
Most of us probably know at least a few Bible stories and memory verses because of children’s songs learned from teachers, parents, and grandparents. Our hymnody and contemporary music teach Biblical stories and themes, as well. In this course, we will look at favorite hymns and other worship songs, Biblical stories, and Biblical themes for deepening our understanding of our faith. For those charged with planning worship, this exploratory course offers tips and tools for choosing music for congregational singing and ensemble presentations that enhance the themes and stories of Biblical passages chosen for proclamation.  

January 8 – March 10

L3.1 Theological Reflection in Parish Ministry (9-weeks) $295

Theological reflection is a process of viewing the world around us from a faith perspective. Theological reflection is rooted in an individual’s theological understandings, which change and evolve over time and in specific contexts. Because of this, theological reflection employs a systematic method to delve more deeply into how a specific experience or incident can be understood from a theological perspective and what ministerial actions are appropriate in the unique context of the experience or incident.
In this course, participants will learn a process for theological reflection in pastoral ministry and apply that method to a particular experience or critical incident.

Jan. 8 – March 31

2.6/2.7 UCC History and Polity (12-weeks) $595
The purpose of this course is to explore the history, polity, theologies, and practices of the United Church of Christ and its predecessor denominations. The course will include an exploration of denominational identity, hidden histories within the denomination, case studies around current issues of polity and structure, current ecumenical conversations, emerging trends within the United Church of Christ, and more. Successful completion of this course will fulfill the history and polity requirement for authorized ministry in the United Church of Christ in many associations and conferences.

March 4 – April 14 

L1.9 Ethics & A Life of Meaning (6-weeks) $295
This course uses two complementary texts, one which brings together clear, comprehensible ethical theory and goals; and the other text introduces an ethical approach which bridges ethical theories with down-to-earth ethical situations in today’s world. These two texts will provide a strong, practical ethics background.  Participants will be able to identify moral dimensions of ethical issues, describe multiple moral stances related to these issues, and formulate thoughtful and faithful responses to these issues, shaped by individual, communal, and broad UCC values.

L2.3 Small Church Administration (6-weeks) $295
This course is very practical and invites you to learn about areas that are necessary to leading a healthy organization. No administration course can cover all the areas. In this course, you are invited to look at your church’s past, present and future priorities with regard to: mission, budget keeping, meeting facilitation, membership records, and spiritual and practical stewardship practices.

L3.6 Professional Boundaries and Ministerial Self-Care (6-weeks) $295
Ethics are a set of principles for appropriate conduct.  While often based on morals, which is the understanding of what it right and wrong, ethics differs from morality. Some things that moral behavior generally considers “right” may not be appropriate conduct in terms of professional ethics. For example, it is morally good to foster friendships with others.  However, the ethics of most professions discourage friendships with those to whom a professional provides a service. That’s not because friendship is wrong. Instead, it’s because that boundaries of the professional relationship need to be maintained so that a person receives a quality service from the professional that isn’t influenced by a friendship.

In this course, we will explore ethics and their application for professional pastoral ministers.  We will consider the boundaries that define the relationships between professional pastoral ministers and congregants.  We will also consider how the professional minister’s right to privacy helps to maintain appropriate boundaries and serves as an essential aspect for self-care.

L3.7 Contextual Theology (6-weeks) $295
Contextual theology acknowledges that every expression of the Christian faith arises from a particular time and setting. Culture, experiences, social location, and social change all contribute to the context in which we live and move and have our being.  Our families and other people who have influenced our lives, the places we have lived, the schools we’ve attended, and the churches where we’ve worshiped have all affected what we believe and how we express our Christian faith.

The post-Constantinian version of Christianity that most North Americans assume to be foundational, is not the only or most authentic version of the gospel. For the next six weeks, course participants will hear the accented (to us) voices of Christians from around the world telling the good news of Jesus Christ as it has spoken to them in their own setting and through their own experiences. It is important to remember that some of these different voices may also be our nearest neighbors.

It is our hope and expectation that our listening, reading, and sharing in this course will expand our appreciation for the depth and breath of the faith we profess by connecting us with brothers and sisters whose perspectives we must attend to if we are to fulfill Jesus’ prayer that “we may all be one.”

March 4 – March 31

ESC1 What About the Bible? (4-weeks) $99
This course invites participants to think about how they relate to the Bible. They will be introduced to progressive perspectives on biblical authority and interpretation. They will experience the application of these principles in Bible studies shared with their peer group.

April 8 – May 5

ESC13 An Overview of Homosexuality and the Bible (4-weeks) $99
Using the historical-critical method of biblical interpretation, this course examines the most-often cited biblical texts thought to refer to (and condemn) homosexuality.  How do these texts apply to our understanding of LGBTQ people of faith today, if at all? The course also addresses the possibility of LGBTQ-affirming stories in the Bible.


PATHWAYS Theological Education, Inc., is a Progressive Christian learning community seeking to empower transformative leadership for justice and peace within and beyond the church by engaging heart and mind to consider what it means to know, love and serve God in today’s changing world.

For more information, including course descriptions, visit: Pathways Theological Education, Inc. or, email:

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