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First annual ‘Golden Gate Getaway’ draws seniors for learning & leisure

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP)–About 65 senior adults descended upon the San Francisco-area campus of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary for the first annual “Golden Gate Getaway,” complete with worship, seminars, tours and fellowship.

The July 22-25 gathering at the seminary’s Mill Valley campus provided a quiet conference setting, yet was minutes from the bustling tourist attractions of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Golden Gate Getaway, designed to offer inspiration and relaxation for adults over age 55, was co-sponsored by the seminary and the California Southern Baptist Convention’s adult leadership department.

“We were just glad to have the opportunity to help offer this experience to them, and let them see the seminary community firsthand,” said Tom Jones, the seminary’s director of institutional advancement. “They were very gracious and enjoyable guests.”

The retreat included a reception and welcome banquet, two seminar sessions and two general sessions Tuesday and Wednesday, several optional afternoon guided Bay Area tours, and a dessert fellowship. While most participants chose to stay in nearby hotels or in the school’s guest housing, a handful of adults parked their recreational vehicles in one of the seminary’s lots and set up camp there.

John and Mary Alice Muniz of El Dorado Hills, Calif., met with some old friends from Novato, Calif. and attended the retreat together.

“We have really liked this event,” John Muniz said during one of the evening session breaks. “The hymns, the style of message, all of it is what we’re used to, what we grew up with. Things change in church, and we realize we have to go with the flow in order to reach people, but it’s nice to be part of this. The fellowship with other brothers and sisters is sweet. And we’ve been able to visit with people we haven’t seen in years.”

Seminar sessions included such topics as: Jesus: the Word became flesh; biblical archeology; parenting your parents; caring for dying family members; inheritance planning; and introduction to estate planning. Tours included the on-campus Marian Eakins Archaeological Museum, Sonoma Valley historical sites, Muir Woods National Monument, Fisherman’s Wharf and other parts of San Francisco.

Each general session consisted of music, a message and a testimony from a Golden Gate seminary student. The Tuesday evening session included a short musical presented by the senior adult choir of First Southern Baptist Church, Lompoc.

Joseph Cho, a Korean who is working on his second master’s degree from Golden Gate, shared his seminary testimony during the Tuesday evening session of how God has provided financially from the time he arrived in the United States to the present. He said he hopes to establish a worship leader training center in Korea.

“God has provided always before and has always been faithful, even when I could not see how I was going to do the things he had called me to do,” Cho said. “And that is why I am not afraid of going further and taking another step of faith.”

Cho also introduced his wife of one month, Jooyoung, to the participants, telling them that she had only been in the United States for one week. In spontaneous response to his testimony, retreat participants collected a love offering as a wedding gift to the couple.

“Golden Gate Getaway has been a great, successful example of cooperation between the California Southern Baptist Convention and Golden Gate Seminary,” said Geno Robinson, director of the convention’s adult leadership department. “We’re looking forward to next year’s event already.”
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: GETAWAY SMILES and WORD OF TESTIMONY.

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  • Amanda Phifer