By Christopher Tobutt
It was a night of laughs, a singles’ double-bill Comedy show which was actually the culmination of a series of inspirational community faith-based messages aimed at helping and empowering single people. The event was the result of a collaboration of Salt Light City, the Ashley Shillingford Positive Living Foundation and the Ebenezer Singles Ministry, and was accessible by Zoom and it took place on Saturday 12 September. MC’s for the night included Ariel Thomas and Quincy Brown.
There had been lots of different seminars for equipping single people throughout August, and helping them find a road-map of all the different twists and turns that life can throw at them. Under the theme, “A Complete package: A Focus on Mind, Body and Spirit,” the sessions were all about equipping singles to be spiritually grounded, emotionally stable, financially educated and in healthy relationships.
Singles Ministries Director Dionne Thaxter said, "Being alone is not the worst feeling, its feeling so alone even when you are with someone. Events like this Seminar remind us that when life becomes overwhelming, there’s still hope and a community that cares. Have faith and do remember, sometimes – laughter is truly the best medicine!”
During the Zoom event, Pastor Michael Kelly spoke about relationships, and pointers to where relationships go wrong. With a neat diagram that showed a ‘Sound Relationship House,’ where foundation of all relationships was friendship, Pastor Kelly said. Pastor Kelly went on to provide insights into helping couples stay together, including the tip that when couples approach a problem together, like a tag-team, they are more likely to stay together than those who always cast the blame and criticize one another instead of building each other up. “69 percent of conflict is perpetual, and 31 percent are solvable, so you have to ask the question, “Is it a conflict that needs to be solved or a problem that needs to be managed?” he said.
Pastor Kelly also identified four red flags of relationships, which, unless addressed, will inevitably lead to that couple eventually splitting up. The first of these was criticism- verbally attacking one another’s character. The antidote, he said, was to talk about your feelings in a way that didn’t put down the other person, for example, “I really wish we could spend more quality time together …” The next big red relationship flag was contempt, insulting and devaluing. The antidote to this was building a culture of appreciation, by spending time each day telling your partner how much you appreciate them, he said.
Trinidad-born comedian Dr Dexter Thomas was born blind, but has overcome adversity to become an author of five books and also a successful businessman. He had the audience in fits of laughter (“so much that my jaw started aching,” MC Ariel Thomas said) but like all the funny stories told during the evening, there were some useful take-home truths, too. Lots of Dr. Dexter’s gags revolved around being blind, “we didn’t see eye to eye,” and, “we went on a blind date,” he joked.
Headline act Michael Jr. is an acclaimed International actor and comedian with multiple performances in mainstream comedy areas like Comedy Central. “I used to do comedy for the sake of getting laughs, and then had a shift take place,” he said. “I went outside and saw a homeless guy, and I thought, ‘What about him, how can I give him an opportunity to laugh?” Since then, he said, he has felt the call to reach out, by giving his gift of laughter at homeless shelters and prisons, and helping empowering people through laughter and through the messages he tells interwoven throughout his funny stories.