The PATHWAYS Academic Council (PAC) is responsible for upholding the integrity of the courses offered by PATHWAYS. Consisting of practicing clergy and religious scholars from academia, PAC works to assure that every course in the pastoral, certificate, and continuing education tracks focus on at least one and as many as four Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministry in the United Church of Christ in addition to a set of common Marks that the online experience support. PAC supports the facilitators and course writers of PATHWAYS, works intentionally to expand the diversity of the voices heard in our curriculum through regular course reviews, and authorizes and supervises the creation of new courses to meet the needs of our participants at every level

The Rev. R. Keith Stuart, PhD. former Senior Minister at Dover Congregational United Church of Christ, holds advanced degrees in homiletics and systematic theology. While pursuing is Ph.D, Stuart studied in South Africa, spending time with Alan Paton, author of Cry, the Beloved Country. It was during that season that Stuart began to fashion a different understanding of the Jesus Way as a response to the evils of apartheid, racism, and exclusion. Later, while leading churches in Missouri and Ohio, Stuart led congregations consider faith beyond literalism and to exploring the freedom of theological metaphor as the interpretive lens to God and scripture. Stuart has contributed articles to numerous periodicals. He published his first book, Letting Go of True Belief: A Spiritual Memoir of Two Friends Who Found a Different Understanding of God. Since his retirement in 2022, he is working on his second book, a novel that traces racism through a series of three events that interweave through the lives of multiple families. Stuart is married to Cynthia. They have two children, Laura and Joseph and twin grandsons, Julian and Eli.

Rev. Roberto Ochoa (el, he, him, his) is originally from East Los Angeles, CA and currently is an ordained clergyperson and Minister for Ethnic Inclusion & Congregational Support for Rural and Small Churches for the National Setting of the United Church of Christ and is a member of Mt Zion Congregational UCC in Cleveland, OH.

Roberto serves congregations and provides UCC and ecumenical resources for congregational assessment, support, and advancement, especially for rural, ethnic identified and congregations of Color. Prior to his call in 2018, Roberto pastored Lake View Congregational Church, UCC for seven years in Worcester, MA

Roberto serves with multiple covenanted partners at the local, Association, Conference, National and ecumenical settings. Roberto is a certified facilitator for UCC’s Sacred Conversations to Erase Racism and UCC Our Whole Lives curriculums and a level 2 Congregational Coach trained by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA).

Roberto earned his Master of Divinity from Andover Newton Theological School (2017) with Certificates in Ethics and Social Justice; and inSpiritual and Pastoral Care. He is currently working on his D.Min. on Prophetic Leadership at Iliff School of Theology, Denver, CO. Roberto did his undergraduate work in Macalester College, St. Paul, MN and Becker College, Worcester, MA.

Roberto lived with his husband of 25 years (nine years married), Jim, of blessed memory.

The Rev Fred W. Coulter, Ph.D., is the Professor of Education, Schauffler Chair of Christian Education, and the Director of the Center for Effective Teaching at Defiance College in Defiance, Ohio. His teaching interests include Instructional technology; family, school, and community relationships; child, adolescent, and adult growth and development. His certifications include being a Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE), National Council on Family Relations and as a Certified Online Facilitator (OFC), Quality Matters. His research experiences include teaching and learning, families, child, adolescent, adult growth and development, and people with disabilities. Fred was recognized as a Distinguished Faculty member in 2016, the Outstanding Faculty Service Award in 2020, and the McMaster School for Advancing Humanity - Life is Action Award in 2021. As a McMaster Scholar, he partnered with another faculty member to take students to Cambodia for nine different years to engage in community-based research and service. He has many publications. Fred received his B.A. in Psychology, University of Rhode Island, M. Div. from Andover Newton Theological School, and his Ph.D. in Child & Family Studies, The University of Tennessee.

The Rev. Dr. Julie Mavity Maddalena is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Ulrich Ethicist in Residence, and University Chaplain at Lakeland University in Plymouth, WI. Previously, she was the interim pastor at First Congregational of Georgetown, Massachusetts and before that served as School Minister and Director of Christian Education at the Brooks School, North Andover, MA. She completed a Ph.D. in Religious Ethics from Southern Methodist University. She also consults with churches, community groups, and schools doing cultural competency education around race, gender, sexuality, ability, and intersectionality. Julie lives with her spouse, Mike, and their two sons. They love spending time in the mountains and at the ocean.



Dr. Vanessee Burns, an ordained Methodist Elder retired after 30 years of Pastoral/Clinical  Services. She presently serves in two positions at Georgetown University, Washington, DC: 1)  Resident Minister to graduate students where she supports the spiritual and religious needs of  students of all religions, beliefs, and identities to connect their faith, spirituality, and values with  curricular and co-curricular opportunities and 2) Advisor For Spiritual Care, a pilot position, in  which she works in close collaboration with the Director for Mission Integration, as well as  other chaplains, and staff and the 55H Residential Educational team. As Advisor, she provides  group and individual spiritual care and programming to the students, faculty and staff for  Georgetown’s Capital Campus Community.  

Her retirement now allows her to focus on Marketplace Ministry as the Apostolic Leader of  Kingdom First Ministries (KFM): a Global Marketplace Ministry with the perfect balance of  intellectual, spiritual and mental well being. In KFM the gifts for ministry are fully operational  until the body of Christ is edified. KFM serves as the covering for individuals, ministries and  churches that seek to grow and operate in their gifts through teaching, missions and outreach  and provides educational certification, licensure and ordination. 

Dr. Burns received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Georgia in Athens,  Georgia; a Master of Divinity from the Phillips School of Theology at the Interdenominational  Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia with a concentration in Biblical Languages and Old  Testament; and a Doctorate of Ministry from Hood Theological Seminary in Salisbury, NC. Dr.  Burns is a lifelong scholar who pursues excellence and inspires others to as well. She has a  Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy from NorthCentral University  and has been accepted into the Graduate Certificate Program in Adaptive and Innovative  Leadership at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.  

She is a Certified Clinical Counselor (ACPE) and served as a full-time Prison Chaplain at Perry  Correctional Institute with the South Carolina Department of Corrections and did resident  training with the South Carolina Department of Mental Health, Anderson, SC., the Georgia  Department of Corrections and the VA Hospital, Atlanta, Georgia. Most recently, she was  selected by Georgia State University, “The Garden Initiative for Black Women’s Religious  Activism”, as a mentor in its mentorship program as well as appointed to Pathways Academic  Council of the United Church of Christ.  

She has authored two books, 30 Days of Meditation, a spiritual guide through life lessons  coupled with meditative prayers and scriptures, and Let’s Talk About Tongues, an exploration


PATHWAYS believes that quality theological education should be available to any who want it. That’s why we provide a cost-effective online theological program accessible to all. 4-week Explorer courses are only $124, 6-week courses just $350, 9-week courses Supervised Ministry courses are $470, and our 12-week UCC History and Polity course is only $625.


Because classes are not bound by geography and have a flexible weekly schedule, PATHWAYS courses are able to fit into the rest of your busy life. Courses typically involve weekly readings and discussion in a facilitated online forum, offering practical, open-minded education and a learner-centered environment where participants can bring their own questions and insights.


Our courses have between 4 and 15 participants. This allows for deep and productive discussions in the online forum. We know that a small class size allows the participants to develop learning relationships with each other and for facilitators to push participants to a more indepth learning experience.


PATHWAYS Theological Education, Inc.,
P.O. Box 897
Tucker, GA 30085

Partner with PATHWAYS


PATHWAYS Theological Education, Inc. is a nonprofit provider of theological education that is academically rigorous and affordable.   A PATHWAYS education in Ministry Preparation can be completed on-line in three years at a fraction of the price of a seminary education.   Our program is aligned with the requirements for ordination of most mainline Protestant denominations and seeks to work with ordaining bodies to make sure that participants are meeting their goals.   Now is the time to make an inquiry for the future of theological education.  Reach out today to Partner with PATHWAYS Theological Education, Inc.

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PATHWAYS is an innovator in cost-effective, progressive Christian education. We work alongside denominations, regional partners and individuals to make our programs accessible to all regardless of their ability to pay. This commitment to funding begins with each of our supporters. No matter how large or how small the donation, it all goes towards making theological education affordable to everyone who desires to learn.

There is no time like the present to contribute financially to PATHWAYS’ work and mission by making your tax-deductible gift – Today!