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While spiritual vitality is an essential component of the Asbury University experience for current students, alumni also had the opportunity recently to be renewed and refreshed with a retreat in Southern California.

A panel of entertainment industry professionals spoke on topics of faith and influence at the retreat.Asbury President Sandra C. Gray joined with faculty and staff to offer a weekend of worship, Bible study and fellowship in Los Angeles, Calif. The retreat is one of several ways in which the University seeks to foster among alumni an environment of rich relationships and intentional Christian practice that they found during their student years on campus.

“Asburians often talk about being part of a family, and one of the things families do is take care of each other,” Gray said. “As Christians, our community is an essential part of how we understand and practice our faith. The alumni retreat was a encouraging time of connection within this community.

“We recognize the entertainment industry as a great opportunity and need for ministry, so the retreat was an expression of ongoing investment in our alumni,” she continued. “The retreat was made possible financially through the generosity of a local foundation.”

Held at Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center in Sierra Madre, Calif., the retreat gave alumni the chance to connect with multiple generations of the Asbury family, ranging from graduates of the class of 2012 to graduates like Fran Newman from the class of 1956. Perhaps more importantly, alumni enjoyed the chance to step away from the busyness of the world and reconnect with God’s heart and vision for each of their lives.

Gray, former president Dr. David Gyertson, Rev. Stu Smith ’77 and Dr. Jim Owens ’79 led many of the sessions. Special guests from the California area also helped make this an impactful weekend. Dr. Henry Cloud, author of the popular book “Boundaries,” connected with the alumni on Saturday morning as he spoke from his new book, “Necessary Endings.” A panel of professionals in the entertainment industry — with a collective resume that includes work on computer games (“Myst”), films (“Mission Impossible 3” and “Veggie Tales”) and television commercials (“Baby Slingshot”) — also offered insight into how they maintain a connection with the Holy Spirit while being constantly immersed in the entertainment industry.

“The retreat was a great opportunity for L.A. alums to reconnect with each other, encourage each other and refocus spiritually,” said Brady Nasfell ’93, president of Sodium Entertainment, a production studio. “We were truly grateful for the wisdom and experience of Dr. Cloud, the entertainment industry panelists, and the Asbury administration and staff.”