Smart Love in Sheffield
25th January 2018
There was an air of excitement, as youth gathered together, anticipating something special. They came from churches in Sheffield and Chesterfield to discuss dating and what it means to date God's way. The Smart Love seminar was hosted by the Manor Newstart Seventh-day Adventist church, conducted by Pastors Carlton and Patricia Douglas and Dr Irwin Somasundram, each Sabbath during the month of November.
There were dynamic preachers such as Joseph Philpott, Takudwa Chiogotere and Elder Clinton Waite. There was intense interest as Joseph's life loomed large, sold as a slave but when it seemed that he had nothing to lose, he kept hold of his integrity as he refused to give into pressure from Potiphar's wife and there was also the life of Samson, the man who simply could not resist beautiful women, his life provided copious lessons on how not to date. There was the exemplary story of Ruth and Boaz and some good solid counsel from a senior perspective.
The seminar culminated in a graduation ceremony and banquet on 3 December, held at a local hotel. It was surreal as young men seemed to be transformed into dashing princes as they came out in their suits looking extra sharp and young ladies who looked even more radiant as they came out in ballgowns and occasion wear; it was a red carpet affair, a fitting environment for celebrating for the Smart Love graduates.
Masters of Ceremony Shaun Clarke and Chris Philip filled the room with laughter as they ensured that this would be an evening never to be forgotten. James and Nazhrah gave the response on behalf of the graduates, expressing appreciation in the effort of organising the seminar and the banquet.
Smart Love Seminar ‒ the Youth Perspective
Ebony had this to say:
"I think the Smart Love seminar was very informative and enjoyable with all my friends from church. Throughout the programme we learnt...
* How to have respect for ourselves.
* That there are 7 steps towards marriage.
* What is the best way to break up with our future or current relationships.
* How to tell if you are really in love.
* How far is too far in relationships.
* About different Sexual Transmitted Diseases.
"Overall to finish off the seminar we had a wonderful graduation banquet. With girls dressed elegantly in their ballgowns and boys dressed smartly in suits and ties. We all proudly received our certificate and our Smart Love book."
Clifton had this to say:
"At first I was a bit resistant to go, probably mainly due to the fact that I didn't know what was going to happen. I had missed the first lesson, but the book that I was given at the end included this lesson which was called Making Friends with Yourself. I think that the sessions were fulfilling because they consisted of a starting question, where we shared our own ideas in a group, and then to the rest of the people in the seminar. Afterwards, we were guided through the lesson which had a little bit of humour added to it, making it more interesting. There were also some other lessons covered including the dating game, breaking up is hard to do and how to tell if you're really in love. And to conclude the seminar a banquet at the Novotel Hotel was held as well as a ceremony for all of the participants there. Overall it was a wonderful eye-opening experience."
Other comments from graduates included:
"There are things to do and not do before marriage. Learn to love yourself and find the right match."
"Marriage is important and it takes a while to get to know someone, also there are things to do/not to do before marriage."
"I like the seminar because it was brilliant."
Some of the comments from a parents' perspective included:
"Thank Pastor Carlton and Pastor Patricia, it has been an amazing programme. It's was very thorough and effective, enjoyed it so much."
"Thank you very much, my daughter thoroughly enjoyed and valued it…"
"It was good to know that the youth had somewhere safe and secure to discuss these topics and able to do this with their friends."
"Great for the young people to have a biblical aspect of dating and able to discuss it freely."
"It's a programme that helps to develop our children God's way. Recognizing they are His light in a dark world."
"Absolutely fabulous. A great opportunity for our children to explore and discuss Smart Love issues and see it's nothing to be ashamed about. These issues are so relevant right now!"
North England Conference Children's Ministries director Pastor Patricia Douglas in summarising the whole event said, "As a Church we love our children and our youth, we take their discipleship very seriously, this provided the rationale for presenting the Smart Love seminar. Children and youth must be equipped for a fulfilling life, mindful of possible pitfalls, God loves them and wants them to know they can trust Him to guide them aright."