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Annual Golden Gate Getaway offers seniors inspiration, relaxation

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP)–Worship, seminars, tours and special music for seniors from throughout the western United States highlighted the second annual “Golden Gate Getaway” at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.

“It is always a joy to be on this campus,” said Joyce Lloyd from Bakersfield, Calif., during the event on Golden Gate’s Northern California campus in Mill Valley.

“[I appreciate] the opportunity to renew acquaintances with friends from last year and to make new friends this year,” Lloyd said. “It is a privilege to be in seminars led by Golden Gate professors and see how God can still work in the lives of senior adults by increasing our knowledge.”

The four-day retreat was cosponsored by the California Southern Baptist Convention’s adult leadership department and Golden Gate Seminary in mid-July to offer relaxation and inspiration to maturing adults age 55 and over.

“The Getaway is one of the most effective and valuable events for senior adults in the West,” said Geno Robinson, a state convention staffer. “The retreat challenged the hearts, minds and spirits of the attendees in a beautiful setting that benefits both them and the seminary.”

The featured speaker was Esther Burroughs, a nationally and internationally recognized speaker and author. Burroughs based her presentations on her book, “Splash the Living Water.”

“Christians should live in such a way that they make others thirsty for Christ,” Burroughs said, drawing from the Gospel of John’s account of the woman at the well in chapter 4. Burroughs encouraged the seniors to be deliberate in their relationships and to take advantage of their unique access as fellow seniors to introduce them to Jesus Christ.

“Esther Burroughs was so alive, encouraging and helpful,” said Joyce Smoak, who attended the retreat. “She really delivered an impactful message.”

Special musical presentations were provided by Bluegrass group 4 Believers and the senior adult choir from Panama Baptist Church in Bakersfield. 4 Believers, based at First Baptist Church in Fair Oaks, Calif., shared music they will feature in an upcoming evangelistic tour in Russia.

Seminar sessions were led by Golden Gate faculty and other special guests. Seminar topics included biblical archaeology, Hebrew history, lay counseling techniques, historical reenactments, estate planning and other matters of interest to senior adults. Local tours included San Francisco, Muir Woods National Monument, Fisherman’s Wharf and Sonoma Valley historical sites.

Throughout the retreat, Golden Gate students and alumni shared their testimonies. Kresten Froistad, who graduated in the spring of 2003, spoke about how Golden Gate prepared her to be the director of a transitional facility for homeless women and children.

“My seminary experience allowed me to be connected to professors and mentors who affirmed my gifts and confirmed that I would be capable in leadership,” she said. “Through my experience and education at Golden Gate, I can now confidently minister in my current position.”

Wayne Stacks, associate pastor of First Baptist Church of Fair Oaks, led worship for the retreat. Those attending enjoyed a wide variety of songs and hymns, including some camp songs from earlier generations.

“We are grateful to the California Southern Baptist Convention for partnering with us to provide this exciting event,” said Tom Jones, Golden Gate’s vice president of institutional advancement. “It was a unique way to share the successful impact that Southern Baptists are having in Kingdom work in the West.”

Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary is a Cooperative Program ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention and operates five campuses: in Northern California, Southern California, the Pacific Northwest, Arizona and Colorado.

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  • Jeff Jones