The seminary faculty and staff hosted their eighth annual seminary retreat last weekend at The Wilds Christian Camp and Conference Center in North Carolina.

All seminary students, biblical counseling majors and faculty/staff were invited to attend the retreat.

Attendees traveled to The Wilds on the afternoon of Friday, Sept. 13, and returned to Greenville on Saturday night.

At the retreat, students and faculty not only enjoyed group fellowship, but also had the opportunity to interact with one another on a more personal basis.

Dr. Steve Hankins, dean of the Seminary and Graduate School of Religion, heads up the seminary retreat planning.

“There’s really not much opportunity out of the classroom for interaction between the faculty and the students,” Hankins said. “This [retreat] provides a very relaxed environment in a really pleasant place to do that.”

This year’s retreat centered around the theme “By His Spirit,” which focused on the Holy Spirit’s work through Christians involved in the ministry. Attendees heard three messages by seminary faculty on the topic and participated in three question-and-answer sessions held by faculty.

“I think the most impactful part of the weekend is the three or four hours of discussion with the [students who are] there and the entire [seminary] faculty,” Hankins said. “The dynamic is really powerful.”

Question-and-answer sessions give students the opportunity to interact with the seminary faculty face to face.

“The key to this is informality. It’s a very relaxed context and if anyone brings a tie or wears a tie, we cut it off,” he joked. “Everyone just feels really comfortable being transparent and honest and asking good and difficult questions they might not normally ask.”

Other highlights of the retreat included the unveiling of Dr. David Beale’s two-volume, approximately 1,200-page book, Historical Theology In-Depth. Beale has been a church history professor in the seminary for about 35 years, according to Hankins.

Attendees were also able to take advantage of the many recreational features The Wilds has to offer, such as hiking, a rifle range and a giant swing.