Faith

New Southern Illinois group bringing Christian singles together just in time for Valentine's Day

2014-02-08T00:00:00Z 2014-02-08T23:48:32Z New Southern Illinois group bringing Christian singles together just in time for Valentine's DayBY LES O'DELL FOR THE SOUTHERN The Southern
February 08, 2014 12:00 am  • 

For people with “that special someone,” Valentine’s Day is a celebration they often look forward to with eager anticipation, but for people who do not find themselves in a relationship on Friday, the holiday can be a very lonely day.

That’s why Valentine’s Day is the perfect time for Kathy Williams of Harrisburg and other Christian singles to launch a new group designed to give individuals to opportunity to make new friends and have a good time without the pressure of dating.

Called the Fellowship of Christian Adult Singles or FOCAS, the organization aims to get singles out of their homes and to enjoy time with others who share similar beliefs. Williams says the group is planning a wide variety of events.

“We’re going to meet monthly for regular meetings, usually at restaurants, movies or places like bowling alleys,” she says. “The plan is to start meeting once a month but to keep adding events.”

She says the organization will be similar to a group that was active in Southern Illinois 25 years ago — a group that started with eight people and grew to as many as 300 several years later. Like the FOCAS organization, the initial group’s goal was not match-making, but Williams says sometimes things happen.

“These aren’t dating clubs,” she says. “These are just places for Christians to get together for social activities. Nonetheless, 26 couples from that group got married.”

In fact, Williams was one of them, meeting her late husband in the original group.

In the months since his passing, she often thought about starting a group again.

“One day I was thinking that I wasn’t sure that I wanted to date again, but about how I hate going to movies by myself or going out to eat alone.”

Williams says there are several Christian singles organizations in the region and each one has something to offer, adding that FOCAS gatherings often will feature dinner, activities designed to introduce people to one another and find common interests and a guest speaker or special program.

“It is not a ‘dating club’ but the purpose is to get singles out of their homes, talk to others who have similar tastes, make new friends, both male and female, and to enjoy good clean Christian fellowship.”

Williams adds, “I am hoping this will be a great outlet for singles. I don’t care if we find mates or not, but I want to see great friendships made. My goal is to give singles in the tri-state area a place where they can come, laugh and get to know one another. We don’t want to be a match.com or dating site; we’re going to be a place where singles can just get together for fun.”

She says the group is open to people of all ages and all Christian denominations, adding that the group most likely will not meet in churches, opting rather for restaurants and other public spaces.

“We want everybody to be comfortable in a non-drinking, non-denominational atmosphere so they can just be themselves,” Williams says, adding personal information shared with the group will be safe.

“We won’t share anyone’s information. If someone in the group wants to call someone else, that’s up to them. They’re on their own if they want to get together. We are going to keep things like phone numbers private.

The Fellowship of Christian Adult Singles will be 6:30 p.m., Friday at Mackie’s Pizza in Marion.

Tonya Collins, owner of Haleigh-Claires Cupcakery in Harrisburg, will be speaking and sharing some of her products.

Williams says she hopes many area singles will turn out for the group’s first gathering.

“The hardest thing for someone will be to come to the first meeting where they don’t know anyone else, but if people will take those first steps, they will see that by the end of the evening, they have laughed and had a great time,” she says.

Copyright 2015 The Southern. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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