Love, Sex and Marriage Relationship Weekend 2019
1st March 2019
"Experience is the best teacher, but a fool learns by no other means." This quote was shared during one of the presentations during the recent Relationship Weekend held in Leeds and provides apt advice today in the area of relationships. In this vitally important area of our lives we ought not just learn from our own experience, or the experience of others but we need to also apply clear biblical principles to our lives. Throughout this weekend our speakers did just that, sharing from their own relationship and marriage but also from their previous relationships and interactions with others also. But throughout we saw biblical principles from the stories of Adam and Eve, Isaac and Rebekah, Hosea and Gomer and the calling of the disciples to help guide the discussion.
Relationship Weekend 2019 was held at the Leeds Central Seventh-day Adventist church over the weekend of 15-17 February and it was eagerly anticipated by youth from all over. As the weekend approached plans were put in place, hotels and Airbnbs booked, car rides arranged, train tickets purchased and Sabbath outfits were finalised as over 400 youth prepared to descend on Leeds.
The topic for the weekend was Love, Sex and Marriage and the speakers who came over were Sebastien and Candis Braxton ‒ no strangers to the North England Conference (NEC) at all.
As the weekend got closer the topics were announced which sparked a lot of interest ‒ 'Relationships 101', 'God Loves Sex so Does the Devil', 'Make Love not Porn', and 'Red Flags: Just Stop' were some of them and throughout the weekend the speakers didn't hold back and dealt with each subject in a real, raw, yet biblical way. Each topic was presented with clear biblical principles, presenting God's ideal but also recognising that we live in a broken world and that many of us struggle with broken relationships.
Sex in society is coming into the equation at an increasingly younger age whilst marriage is getting pushed back which creates a challenge for those who choose to strive for biblical principles in their lives. How do you restore a relationship that has crossed the physical boundary? These questions were looked at during the weekend. The invasiveness and damaging nature of pornography was also dealt with during the main service message. Pornography usage is about 60-70% of the population and the figures are the same for those in the Christian or Adventist community as those outside of it. It is something that needs to be spoken about more as well as resources for dealing with the addiction being shared amongst the youth.
Youth travelled from all over the NEC such as Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Northampton, Manchester to name a few and then in addition others came from as far afield as Reading, London, Chelmsford, Cardiff and Edinburgh. On the Friday night the church had around 200 youth and on Sabbath morning it was standing room only by 10:30 am with over 650 people in the building.
Commenting later Naomi Manganye from Leeds Central church said, "it was great to have a NEC event in Leeds and see the Leeds youth and church members involved." Asked what her favourite part of the weekend was she said, "My favourite part about the programme was when we looked at principles from the Bible: Friday (Forgotten basics ‒ Adam and Eve), Sabbath afternoon (Red flags: keep it moving ‒ Rebeca and Isaac) and also hearing a couple's experience."
The aim of the weekend was inclusive and accommodating of a variety of people's needs. It was also said by some afterwards that they thought the atmosphere of the weekend encouraged romantic relationships and that more movements were made from guys to girls! We shall see in the future how this transpires!
All the presentations from the weekend were filmed and will be available on the NEC Youth YouTube channel ‒ www.youtube.com/necyouth.