Singles group helps Christians connect

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Kayla Bunge
Sunday, December 23, 2007
— John Zenner wasn’t planning on going to the Sunmist Café in downtown Delavan that particular day more than six years ago.

Not until a friend told him Diana Grace would be there.

“Diana? I don’t know her,” he said.

“She’s that cute blonde all the guys have been hitting on,” his friend said.

John and Diana arrived within moments of each other.

“She came bouncing into the place with her radiant smile, and I was, as some people say, smitten,” he said.

The Zenners of Delavan are one couple who met—and later married—through the Interdenominational Singles group.

The group is about building friendships.

“Single people have a special need for friendship, for companionship,” group founder John Hoffman said.

Hoffman created the Christian-based singles group in Delavan more than 20 years ago out of his own need for friendship and companionship. At the time, he was 36 and had never been married. He sought the company of other honest, caring, down-to-earth Christians with whom he already had at least one thing in common.

The response was immediately positive, and a year after its inception, Hoffman expanded the group to include people from all over the lakes area.

Interdenominational Singles has two versions—one group for those older than 40 and another for those older than 65. They are open to all widowed, divorced and never-married singles.

Hoffman said the groups’ continued success is attributed to the community’s need for such an outlet.

For the Zenners, both of whom were divorced, the group offered a setting to meet like-minded, like-mannered people. Neither John nor Diana went to the group seeking a mate; each was looking for fellowship.

Tom and Betty Robbins of Whitewater didn’t think they’d meet their second spouses at the coffee shop. Betty’s husband of almost 40 years had died, and Tom had divorced his wife of 10 years.

“I went out not super seriously looking,” Tom said, “but I needed to move on with my life … There really are a lot of people out there with the same ideals, and I’d been wanting to get out more and socialize.”

Hoffman said he tried to create a group to foster healthy friendship building, and its Christian foundation lends itself to that well, he said. The groups meet at local restaurants for a meal, conversation and often live music.

Although the purpose of Interdenominational Singles is purely to make friends—and although many people attend the regular gatherings without intentions of meeting a significant other—at least one couple from the groups gets married every year, Hoffman said.

“It’s nice to see people pair up,” Hoffman said, but once couples start seriously dating or get married, they tend to distance themselves from the group.


Interdenominational Singles Over 40

-- Saturday, Jan. 5: dinner at 6:30 p.m. followed by fellowship and live music by Liberty Praise at 7:45 p.m. at Sunmist Café, 319 E. Walworth Ave., Delavan.

-- Upcoming events: Feb. 2 and March 1.

-- For more information, call John Hoffman at (262) 728-3005.

Interdenominational Singles 65 or Better

-- Saturday, Jan. 12: lunch and socializing at 1:30 p.m. at Perkins, 1312 E. Geneva St., Delavan.

-- Upcoming events: Jan. 24, Feb. 9 and 28 and March 8 and 27.

-- For more information, call John Hoffman at (262) 728-3005.

Last updated: 10:26 am Thursday, December 13, 2012

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