May 26, 2022
East Texas Baptist University held its annual Hilltop University on Monday, May 23 through Wednesday, May 25. More than 190 participants, comprised of individuals, couples, groups of friends, and church groups experienced life on the University campus at ETBU through worship, biblical teaching, fellowship, and entertainment.
“This is my first time attending Hilltop U, and the whole experience has been great, from being greeted upon arrival, students helping with our luggage, and attending the sessions,” Bil Barkley (‘81) said. “I think the pace of the schedule has been good as well. The fellowship is good, meeting people from other churches, also going through this experience with people from our church as well is a bonding experience.”
Throughout the conference, Pastor Emeritus for Green Acres Baptist Church Dr. David Dykes served as the keynote speaker. From Bible study sessions to coffee breaks and dessert fellowships, the retreat allowed participants to experience the Christ-centered environment and community of ETBU. The conference also featured concerts with The Martins, a Grammy-nominated family group, and comedian Anita Renfroe.
“This is my first ever senior citizen-type senior conference to be a part of,” attendee Nanette Verner said. “It’s great, and I love it. I love the people, and I felt very welcomed. I think worshipping together with like-minded believers and the same age, singing hymns we all know from the past, I think it’s a great experience in getting to know people from your church a little bit better in a relaxed setting.”
Breakout sessions were led by ETBU alumnus, retired pastor, and published author Dr. Allen Reed (’66), ETBU’s John L. Harris Chair of Christian Studies Dr. Jeph Holloway, and Pastor Emeritus of First Baptist Church of Kilgore Dr. Pete Freeman (’64). The breakout sessions aimed to challenge and encourage participants in their walk with Christ. The conference choir was directed by Associate Worship Leader at The Heights Church in Richardson, Texas, Angela Irby.
“Hilltop U is a great event as we welcome alumni and friends to campus for times of vibrant worship, outstanding preaching, and enriching Bible studies,” ETBU Vice President for Advancement Scott Bryant said. “Participants enjoy a time of spiritual refreshment and renewal and are encouraged by the sessions and the sweet fellowship with other believers. Our students encounter God while they are at ETBU, and that is our hope and prayer for our Hilltop U campers as well.”