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Self-Help Advice on Launching a Spiritual Book Club

Written by Jane Brooks

You may also succeed in finding your perfect mate. Discover how like-minded souls combine their love of literature with a search for love.

At 50, John Beitzel is a divorced father with a decidedly romantic proclivity. So it was fitting that he chose Valentine's Day to launch his spirituality book group for singles.

Beitzel's path to Spirit Singles (as the group is called) began when he was 18 and left the Catholic orphanage where he was raised. With $5 in his pocket, Beitzel set out to create a new life. Along the way, books were his constant companions.

 
Advice on Forming a Spirituality Book Club:
Select a steering committee to organize the group and assign a group coordinator to keep things running smoothly.
Keep the group free of rituals such as meditations or singing.
Enlist a local bookstore for meeting space; Some donate free coffee and offer discounts on books.
Use flyers to advertise in places frequented by people interested in personal growth - bookstores, yoga centers, libraries, churches and synagogues, etc.
Encourage tolerance and fellowship through social activities.
Learn more about Spirit Singles. E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your questions. 
 
When he began searching for a deeper understanding of life, Beitzel turned to books about spirituality. His eclectic tastes covered eastern religions, philosophy, mysticism, fiction and poetry. He was thrilled whenever he met a like-minded soul with whom he could exchange ideas.

"I'm not married so I thought, `why not share my excitement with other singles?' " recalls Beitzel, a Pennsylvania real-estate appraiser and romantic, of his decision to form a book-discussion group for others on the spiritual path to growth.

Spirit Singles was founded on Feb. 14, 1999. Twenty-eight spiritually minded single people drawn by flyers in libraries, bookstores and yoga and wellness centers attended the first Sunday afternoon meeting in the basement of a local church. Today, more than 300 members meet monthly in six Spirit Singles groups in three states and participate in an expanding range of social activities.

Members bring personal concepts of spirituality to the group; some view spirituality as one's relationship to God, others see it as a connection to the energy of the universe. Most are seeking to achieve higher levels of love, peace of mind, or a sense of oneness. All are looking to meet other singles.

For some, Spirit Singles replaces organized religion. But for others, "the group complements and reinforces religion." explains Beitzel.

"Our members include a minister, a few psychologists, teachers, Buddhists, Baptists and represent many professions and religions," says Beitzel. "Sometimes feathers get ruffled, but generally, people are respectful of one another."

For Beitzel, Spirit Singles has brought rich personal rewards. He enjoys the intellectual stimulation, spiritual gratification and growing friendships with people of similar values.

"I learn from other people as much I learn from the books," adds Beitzel.

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