There is a town in South Carolina called Due West. Many of the older homes in this quiet, little academic village have beautiful front porches where people can enjoy a slower pace of life. We wave to passersby, chat with our neighbors, and embrace our community. We like to call it “front porching.” In a similar way, ACCESS embraces a wider community through Christian distance education. While we may not be able to “front porch” together in physical space, I trust that we can come together through this association to expand our reach as a vital part of Christian and theological distance education. Consider this web site a front porch where we network with each other, share resources, and engage in leadership opportunities.


The mission of ACCESS is to provide leadership in the field of Christian distance education.

ACCESS provides leadership through resources, online community development, and promotion of various forms of distance education. Some of the resources include research and scholarship in distance education (DE) and Christian distance education (CDE), consultation in the field, and establishing a repository of best practices of CDE. Ways in which we build community include a network of CDE professionals, a forum for collaboration, and establishing professional development opportunities through our annual conferences. Finally, support of Christian distance education is achieved through promotion of accessible CDE, addressing uniquely Christian component of distance education, and partnering with other organizations for the advancement of CDE.


ACCESS is the name for The Association of Christian Distance Education. In its earlier days, the name matched the acronym but over time, it was determined that the message of accessibility more accurately reflected our mission. It was decided to keep the acronym ACCESS but simply change the association’s name.

ACCESS is the leading network of Christian institutions, organizations and individuals characterized by a commitment to make education more accessible through online, mobile, and digital means.

ACCESS is made up of institutions of higher education, organizations that provide church-based and para-church training, and individuals involved in various forms of Christian distance education. Institutional members include seminaries and colleges with distance education programs, colleges and programs that focus on adult learners, distance education institutions, and other agencies that provide curriculum or support for leadership development and lay training.

ACCESS recognizes that the need to provide education extends beyond any single delivery system. Some members utilize the latest technology for online seminars, while others rely on correspondence courses with taped lectures and printed study guides. Individual members are leaders in the field of innovation and effectiveness in education.

ACCESS has recently shifted some priorities and is now poised to provide renewed direction for this field. Our mission statement serves as a rationale for why we do what we do as a professional association. Our purpose is to provide leadership through resources, community, and promotion.

Executive Committee

Mary Lowe, Ed.D.


Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs & Professor
Liberty University


Melinda (Mindi) Thompson, Ph.D.

PRESIDENT (2015 - 2017)

Assistant Professor and Director of Distance Education
Graduate School of Theology
Abilene Christian University




Assistant Dean of Teaching and Learning and Professor
Moody Distance Learning


Kevin Mahaffy


Director of Operations and Production
Moody Distance Learning


Katharine Harmon

SECRETARY (2015 - 2017)

Harding University
College of Bible and Ministry



ACCESS, the Association for Christian Distance Education, has been in existence since 1971. The association began at a conference in Chicago to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Moody Correspondence School. The twenty-six delegates present declared that they had enjoyed the fellowship, profited from the sessions, and requested that a committee be appointed which would provide another similar conference the following year. In the years that followed, similar conferences were convened in Fort Wayne, Nashville, and Chicago. ACCESS, formerly The Christian Correspondence School Association, adopted its constitution and bylaws in 1976. It was incorporated in 1977 and changed its name to the Association of Christian Continuing Education Schools and Seminaries (ACCESS).

The Executive Committee of ACCESS determined that the association needed to move forward in a way that would more definitively define the field of Christian distance education. They determined that an Executive Director should be hired that would continue to provide leadership across all levels. Dr. Mary Lowe has served in that position since August of 2007. The Committee determined that the association would maintain the acronym ACCESS but use the new name, Association of Christian Distance Education.

The leadership of ACCESS anticipates building on the foundation established to serve all levels of Christian distance education.