Camp Hill Seventh-day Adventists church was a hive of activity, as for the two last weekends in November it was the location of the Area 5 Smart Love Seminar, sponsored by the North England Conference (NEC) Children's Ministries Department. Pastor Joseph Philpot, a charismatic speaker and his wife Nordia Philpot were the guest presenters, whilst the Children's Ministries core team were on hand to support. For two weekends the youth hall was transformed into something of a cosy living room where easy conversation could take place, the eruption of spontaneous laughter could be heard emanating from the room. This was a safe space where straight talk was required and indeed expected. Topics such as how to make friends with yourself, tackling issues of self-esteem and the importance of loving yourself, were discussed. Accepting ourselves is so much easier when we embrace God's transforming love. The nitty-gritty of dating was explored at length, the spotlight was also placed on spotting the signs that it's time to break-up, there was so much to consider not to mention touchy situations and the very real threat of sexually transmitted diseases which left so many grimacing. This was indeed a most comprehensive course on dating God's way!
This is what some of the youth had to say:
15-year-old: it was very educational and now I know how to talk to girls properly.
14-year-old: it was good to learn about the different steps and parts of dating.
16-year-old: I thought the programme was informative and helped me to realise my support system.
14-year-old: the Smart Love Seminar was very informative and told me a lot of skills that I will need for life.
12-year-old: it was really good because I learned so much. Also I enjoyed the food at the end.
12-year-old: this programme taught me a lot about how God wants us to live and how to be in a relationship using His word.
The seminar culminated in a graduation ceremony and banquet. Pastor Cyril Sweeney and Pastor Gina Miller gave the prayers of consecration; this was a time to celebrate and affirm our children, who came in suits and prom gowns. Masters of Ceremonies Elder David Brooks and Elder Marcus Rey served up the entertainment treating the graduates to an evening which we pray they will never forget.
The NEC Children's Ministries Director Pastor Patricia Douglas thanked all who attended the Smart Love Seminar and all who contributed to the Smart Love Seminar and Banquet, especially Sharon Mattis the NEC Children's Ministries secretary and Clifton Hayden the Children's Ministries Leader of Camp Hill church who assisted in planning and co-ordinating the event.