Pathways Charter Founding Principles

Because it’s about the journey, not the destination …

“God is a direction.” – Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke

Pathways is a different kind of church. Conventionally-speaking it’s a non-church. It is a faith community comprised of those for whom institutional religion and the burdens of infrastructure can sometimes be more of an encumbrance to God’s Grace, than a channel of Grace. There are different paths for different people.

Pathways is a church without buildings, big budgets or ecclesiastical hierarchy. It costs nothing but an open heart and mind to belong to Pathways. The best travel tip for the Pathways participant: Travel light, seek, and expect to be found in authentic and spiritually meaningful encounters, not of your own making.

Pathways is a gathering place for progressive thinkers in the Christian faith tradition.  It’s open space, where one can have the kind of conversation one might not enjoy elsewhere.

Pathways is inclusive, where anyone and everyone is welcome. More so, Pathways is not exclusive. One can be a part of Pathways, and still belong to any other faith community where one might find deep and meaningful ways to understand and live out one’s faith in the world.

Pathways affirms the good news to be found and followed in the way of life expressed by Jesus, the Galilean spirit-sage.

At Pathways, critical Biblical scholarship, unhindered interpretation, and exploration of the practical application and relevance of scriptures is the norm.

At Pathways, the worship experience is structured in an informal framework. Prayer is less about asking, and more about listening, remembering, offering and responding. Music is accessible and participatory.

At Pathways, sacraments are understood to be gifts to be gratefully received and shared. We do the asking, and God does the giving and empowering. Pathways affirms the blessings in our lives are always the dispensation from God alone.

At Pathways, there is no required creed or confession of faith to which one must ascribe. From a theological glossary within the Christian faith tradition, those revelatory gifts most often sought, affirmed and embraced in a Pathways journey are faith, hope and charity, grace and gratitude, compassion, forgiveness, transformation and renewal.

Pathways fosters personal spiritual growth, in order to equip and encourage participants to serve the larger community with charitable acts for the common good. Pathways links people with projects, instead of duplicating the efforts of other dedicated organizations.

Pathways is part of a progressive movement within the Christian faith tradition. It is an affiliate organization with The Center for Progressive Christianity. You can view the 8 Points of the Progressive Christian Perspective here.

Pathways is an organizational member of the Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center in Walnut Creek, California.

Pathways is a volunteer-based and volunteer-led organization, which operates with minimal financial expenditure. Aside from nominal operating costs, contributions are used to foster increased visibility and awareness of Pathways in the local community; as well as Pathway’s online presence, for a congregation of cyberspace followers.

Financial support for Pathways is important and encouraged, but based solely on each individual’s capacity and desire to give of themselves, with whatever has been entrusted to them.

As an incorporated non-profit religious organization in the state of California, all financial and other donations to Pathways are tax-deductible to the extent of the law.

Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.
[Jeremiah 6:16]




Pathways is online … Words & Ways [] is the online version of Pathways. It includes regular commentaries, with reader’s feedback for continuing dialogue; as well as Archives of prior publications. Use the Search tab for the topic you’re exploring!


If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, Pathways provides the opportunity to participate in Words & Ways “live” with regular, periodic gatherings.


Pathways gatherings are normally held on the fourth Sunday each month, except holidays.  Special series are also offered twice each year as a corollary to the traditional seasons of Advent & Christmas, and Lent & Easter.  A calendar of meeting times, special series and other events are posted well in advance. Simply contact Pathways for more information.

PATHWAYS CALENDAR FOR 2012 of upcoming gatherings for 2013 can be found here.

All PATHWAYS gatherings begin at 5 PM, and include program and supper, unless otherwise notified of a change in venue.

For more information, or to receive automatic updates of Pathways events, contact Pathways.

Pathways Faith Community
2311 Walnut Boulevard
Walnut Creek, California 94597

Pathways Faith Community is incorporated as a California non-profit religious organization.