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Group offers support for Green County singles
Pastor Tim Mellenberger and Dave Kloepping talk about their plans for the Monroe Christian singles group at the Monroe Church of Christ. Mellenberger and Kloeppling came up with the idea for the group because of several single churchgoers. The church is located at 103 20th Avenue in Monroe. To order this photo, click here. (Times photo: Marissa Weiher)
MONROE - A Monroe pastor is working to provide an opportunity for Christians throughout Green County to connect in a friendly, judgment-free environment.

Tim Mellenberger, a pastor at the Monroe Church of Christ, founded the group Monroe Christian Singles this year in an effort to provide support to single Christians.

Mellenberger founded a similar group at the Freeport Church of Christ, where he was a pastor until he moved to Monroe one year ago.

"At the Freeport group, a lot of what we did was just eating and chatting," Mellenberger said.

"Currently, we're just feeling out the group."

About half of the congregants at the Church of Christ are single, Mellenberger estimated.

Mellenberger, himself a single father, said being a single adult can be difficult, even overwhelming. Thus, the group strives to be a means for people to meet others without pressure.

The group is nondenominational - anyone is welcome to attend meetings, regardless of religious affiliation, Mellenberger said.

"We're not trying to replace church," Mellenberger said. "We're just adding to it."

Mellenberger said he was convinced to start the group by an acquaintance in Monroe, Dave Kloepping.

Kloepping said the United Methodist Church in Monroe had a very active singles program in the 1980s that saw more than 40 people regularly attending meetings. Since the program dissolved in the 1990s, however, no comparable program has taken its place.

Kloepping said he proposed a singles program to other churches throughout Green County. Mellenberger and the Monroe Church of Christ agreed to host the group, although other churches agreed to advertise the group in their bulletins.

"This isn't a meat market or a dating service," Kloepping said. "This is a place where people build friendships and rapport."

The group regularly meets on the second Saturday of each month, with other meetings arranged on a case-by-case basis. In the two meetings the group has had so far, attendance has increased from four to eight - the most recent meeting on March 12 was attended by three men and five women.

The group will meet next for a board game night and potluck dinner on April 9 at the Monroe Church of Christ.