A Season of Harvest

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

PATHWAYS is proud to announce the Ordination Service of Pastor Heidi Yvonne Hulme that took place on September 4th, 2016 at the Faith United Church of Christ in Daveport, Iowa. She has been a dedicated learner participant in the PATHWAYS program for four years (Jan’12 ~ Sept’15) and she is named the first PATHWAYS graduate to be ordained in the local UCC congregation. She started as interim at Faith UCC, and was called to full time ministry after 6 months. She is grateful for this congregation, as they have supported her through the entire process of PATHWAYS classes, including the GTE immersion trip in 2014. They have allowed her to take the time she needed to get assignments done, as well as share with them as she has learned. They have been forgiving when she makes mistakes, and encouraging as she continues to try new things. They have refined her spiritual gifts, and continue to push her to grow in her faith. “I am forever grateful to what they have done for my family and I, and look forward to many more years of learning together and growing in relationship with God, one another, and with the whole world.” Faith UCC is a living testimony to the aphorism: It takes a faith community to develop and form a spiritual leader. The PATHWAYS community sends our congratulations to Rev. Heidi Hulme and her congregation and many blessings for years to come.




Thus Spoke the Trail Blazers

Ancient Chinese philosophers who contributed to the birth of the classic text, I Ching, believed that every human person is born with a destined path to walk on. Now, this sounds like the theory of predestination, but it really isn’t; the path is so wide and long, the person has much room for exercising her will and make the choices for herself.

While some make the choice to walk on the obvious side paths, others adventure and take the road less traveled, and become the trail blazers.



Women Who Dared to Dream

First, there was the message: “You can’t think about becoming an ordained pastor, because you are a woman.”

I certainly lived through the time and place where that was the dominant message. I left the place, and moved on to another time, and found people who told me otherwise.

The next message was, “You need to go to a seminary and get an M.Div. in order to pursue professional ministry.”

While I was fortunate enough to get a seminary education back in 1993~1996, today the times have changed. Seminary education has not become a feasible option for many, perhaps due to location, the cost, and the time commitment on top of a job and a family.

PATHWAYS just graduated 5 female ministers who would not let the two messages stop them from pursuing their dream of becoming an authorized minister in their local congregations to do the work they have been called to do. They dared to dream, and the dream became their reality.

pwgrad211/13/2015 at Hope UCC, St. Louis, MO


And they celebrated their reality, with style. 🙂

Roots, Reflections, and the Future

How is the year 2015 treating you so far?

2015 is the year of the green sheep, as viewed from the Eastern philosophical lens. Have you ever seen a green sheep? Probably not. The unbalance between the color and the animal inevitably generates difficulty, chaos and challenges. I’m mindful of the outbreak of social/racial issues in the U.S., the ongoing war in the Middle East, and the various natural disasters and accidents happening in the continent of Asia. This year has been one of tumultuous changes for me on the personal level–mostly for the better, that’s how I’d like to see it no matter how tough times can be.

The following link will let you access the journal report entailing my sabbatical trip to Korea and Japan in May.

2015 Sabbatical Trip Report




PATHWAYS Pilot Cohort (Level 1) Graduates

PATHWAYS is proud to announce the seven graduates (the pilot cohort!) who have successfully completed the Level 1 program. Representing both lay and authorized local church leaders of the two UCC conferences—the Southeast and the Iowa conference—, they journeyed through thick and thin, pushing the limits of their imagination in theological reflection and community building done online. Congratulations, everyone!

Amber Kirkendoll – Safe Harbor Family Church, Flowood, MS
Rochelle Lofstrand – Pilgrimage UCC, Marietta, GA
Bonnie Dollen – Minden UCC, Minden IA
Dennie Kelley – Church of Savior, Knoxville, TN
Linda Brown – Church of Savior, Knoxville, TN
Ceil Sheahan – Church of Savior, Knoxville, TN
Kim Morris – Church of Savior, Knoxville, TN




The Poem, “The Art of Paying Attention”

PATHWAYS’ star facilitator, Min. Regina Drake, writes and recites a gift of poem to the Level 1 graduating participants.

The commencement worship service took place on March 22, 2015, at the beautiful sanctuary of Church of Savior, UCC in Knoxville, TN.


The Art of Paying Attention

for Ceil, Amber, Kim, Dennie, Linda, Rochelle and Bonnie


Genesis 28:16-22

“One remedy for my condition is to pay attention to them when I can, even when they are in my way, just for a moment, I pay attention to the human being instead of the obstacle.”

                                                       Barbara Taylor Brown from An Altar in the World.


We have learned to feel
Through a screen devoid
Of feeling,
We have learned to touch
Across miles and across time—
What a wondrous thing
It is to pay attention
To what God
Has placed
Right before
Our very eyes.

So often we have looked
And not seen the ones
Before us or worse,
Been annoyed
By the distraction
They represent—
We are busy people
Our lives screaming
Constantly for actions,
Places we must get,
Tasks to finish,
Deadlines meet.

And here comes
This obstacle
Making us miss the light
When we could be across,
On our way down the road,
An interruption
To our set agendas,
And we missed God too
In the eyes of
A human being.

But we have learned
To hear words on a screen
And not by chance
But to make us better
On our paths–
Words rhythmic and rich
As if delivered by full voices
With hands gesturing,
Punctuating shared thoughts–
Pathos, humor, lives
To give and to receive.

We created space
for God to walk among us
In blue Christmases,
Huge bibles noticed gone,
Dance poured out like prayers
To One who listens well
And bids us do the same
To what the heart will tell.
Lives offered up
In singular sacred moments
Where we encountered God
And built an altar there,
Naming it “Fresh Water”
Flowing justice, love, peace–
We worshipped fully
Trusting God was pleased.

We build an altar there
With what we had in hand
To mark the place,
Knowing God was pleased.


Regina Harris Drake
Pathways Level 1 Graduation 3/22/2015

The Road Less Traveled: A Reflection on the GTE Immersion Trip


The final week of August 2014 was filled with unforgettable moments among the twelve who had embarked on the Global Theological Education (GTE) immersion trip to the Blackfeet Nation in Montana. Three leaders and nine participants-traveling from Georgia, Tennessee, and Iowa- stayed at a 20,000 acre private ranch in the heart of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, some of us meeting for the first time face-to-face after nearly two years of learning together through the PATHWAYS online course platform.

The excitement and the joy of coming together as a group abounded, while the anxiety of facing the unknown in a new place was palpable. The intensity of emotions-both good and bad-stayed with the group throughout the week as the participants encountered several different cultures to learn about in a short period of time and coped with a unique communal life in the context of unfamiliar surroundings. The group learned about the ranch life where 500 cattle roam freely on the vast grassland next to the seemingly endless wheat and barley fields; we discovered the state-of-the-art model of communal living at the Hutterite colony whose residents gave the group a lot to think about; we met Blackfeet natives who presented us with the Blackfeet history, culture, and life marked by tumultuous past and uncertain future; and we explored the striking wonders of Nature in the Glacier National Park that neighbors the ranch.

The themes of “deep symbols and eco-spirituality,” that serve as the title of this GTE course, really do not adequately cover the extent of the cross-cultural and communal experience shared by the participants, as we found ourselves challenged to stretch our comfort zone and expand our theological imagination in this beautiful, rugged, other-worldly territory. The profundity of the whole experience could easily move one to tears, and the bond that was created among the participants can readily bring one to laughter. As one participant has said after the trip, “this [experience] will stay with me for some time to come.”

This was my fifth GTE excursion, and I must say that it has been the most challenging one in terms of carrying out daily schedule. On one day, we all decided to choose a Native American name, and I became “Lover-of-paved-roads.” Driving daily in and out of the ranch’s lengthy, rocky, muddy, dirt road was made possible by my passengers yelling out “Keep going! Keep going!” every time I found myself losing control behind the wheel crossing a thick puddle of mud. It was indeed a new experience for me to pray so hard for good weather. And I am very proud to say that we had the best GTE travelers who weren’t afraid to dare and venture. Thanks to be to God.

UCC History & Polity Course to begin on Sept. 10, 2014

The Southeast Conference is offering an online course in UCC History & Polity, a 12-week course that fulfills the requirement for authorization in the United Church of Christ.

If you’re a MID or minister in training seeking to take this course, sign up today!


History, Polity, & Theology of the United Church of Christ

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.

Course dates: Sept. 10 ~ Dec. 9, 2014. (12 wks + 1 wk Thanksgiving break)

This course is open to all MIDs.
Register by making a payment by no later than August 29, 2014.
Tuition is $600.





PATHWAYS to Launch the Level 3 Program


On January 25, 2014, a long-time MID who has served in the Community Congregational United Church of Christ (Montgomery, AL) as lincensed minister since 2002, celebrated her ordainable-pending-a-call status, enthusiastically granted by the Ecclesiastical Council of the Southeast Conference, UCC. The event was a notable milestone, for Dorinda Broandnax is the first authorized minister in the Conference to be equipped for ordained ministry through a non-traditional educational path. As a graduate of the TAP (Theology Among the People) program—the prodecessor of PATHWAYS program—Minister Broandnax completed the MID process through continued service in the local church and creative learning efforts in theological education. In evaluating her entire MID experience, she states:

I will not lead you to believe the journey was smooth sailing, there were times on this journey whereby the path seemed inhabited with bushes and weeds of uncertainties, not knowing “which way was up.”   However, through perseverance and the faith in knowing there is a place in authorized ministry for those of us, for whatever reason, do not hold a Master’s of Divinity, but are truly called and anointed to “serve this present age, our calling to fulfill.”  While I believe it is commendable to achieve the highest level of education in your path, it is not always advantageous to place a “period where God has clearly called for a comma.” 

Dorinda’s story is inspirational to those of us who are on the same path. As we anticipate the warmth of Spring and all the vibrant colors that come with it, PATHWAYS is proud to announce that the Level 3 Program—the path towards ordination—is to begin on March 12, 2014, with the first course, Supervised Minsitry Practicum II facilitated by Rev. Dr. Lou Kavar. Five dedicated participants—three from the Iowa Conference and two from the Southeast Conference—will begin their journey in this advanced level. For more information on the Level 3 Program, please visit PATHWAYS homepage at www.tasc21.net.



My Little Achievement in the World Cinema World

The day before the Online Orientation (9/21/13) for the new PATHWAYS Level 1 cohort, I asked Rev. Laura to prepare activities for the ice breaker: “Laura, I have a homework for you–find something that will make us LAUGH!” Then Laura said to me, “I can think of a lot of hilarious ice breaker activities that are offline; the challenge is to do this online.”

Despite the challenges, we broke the ice among our newly admitted participants, sharing laughter and sharing our stories. One of the ice breaker was “Truths & Lie;” we shared 2 truths and 1 lie about ourselves and asked others to pick out the lie. Creativity and smiles abounded; we caught some lies and were surprised by some truths.

I shared that 1) I rode a camel’s back at the Great Wall of China; 2) I once met the President of Mongolia; 3) I’ve written a screenplay that was made into a movie. Can you guess which is a lie? Everyone picked #3, saying that’s a hard thing to do. Actually, it was #1; I “saw” a camel at the Great Wall of China, but did not ride it.

All this is to say that the screenplay for a short film I had written some years ago (written in Korean and produced by a Korean entertainment company) was made into a movie, and the film was officially selected for the Williamsburg International Film Festival that took place in New York last week (9/19~22/13). The good news is that the movie, titled Heat, won the first place in the category of International Short Film. The director and the main actors attended the award ceremony last night (9/22); they traveled far from Seoul all the way to New York for this event.

For the movie, I have credits for the screenplay and English translation. I am happy to share this fun news with my friends and colleagues!

You may access the trailer for the short film Heat at the following website. (You have to scroll down to find it among other film selections.)


Movie Synopsis:
A cop’s chase after a refuge leads to an unforgettable lesson that life is not just black and white, but also grey.


“Life is short, enjoy it and make the most of it!”