Special Dating Services Cater to People of Faith

By Geyman, Emily | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 30, 2006 | Go to article overview

Special Dating Services Cater to People of Faith


Geyman, Emily, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


A devout Christian, Mark Barkell didn't want to date just any woman.

That's why he turned to Equally Yoked, a Christian dating service that has helped about 100 married couples in Pittsburgh find each other.

"I attended Equally Yoked functions, finding friends and hoping in God that he would send me a Christian woman to love and spend the rest of my life with," says Barkell, 28, a United Methodist.

Catholic, Protestant, Jewish or Buddhist, it can be hard to find a soul mate -- especially one with the same values.

That's where religious dating services come in, giving like- minded couples a chance to meet outside of fellowship groups. The services range in cost from $19.99 to $34.99 a month.

"If you want to meet someone who shares the same faith, you might not find that at a bar," says Diane Clifford, who owns the Equally Yoked office in Pittsburgh.

The dating service has been helping the city's Christian singles meet since it opened a local branch nearly a decade ago. With centers in 35 states, Equally Yoked charges a small fee and gives users access to a library of online profiles as well as weekly Bible studies.

Members also can participate in activities such as a dinner club that goes to a different restaurant each month. There also are outings to dinner theaters, bowling allies, and cultural events.

"Our program is geared to people whose faith is the most important thing to them," Clifford says.

Gauging a potential mate's level of devotion can be as important as discerning looks or personality traits on other dating sites. Religious dating services don't just ask about hobbies and vices -- but about how much faith serves as guidance. …

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