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Single, Spiritual And Seeking

The nation's 86 million unmarried adults make up almost half of the workforce. But when it comes to church attendance, many pastors have had difficulty filling their pews.

As The Early Show national correspondent Thalia Assuras reports, a number of spiritual institutions are seeking new ways to minister to singles and fill up those pews.

Marriage is the ultimate union in the eyes of the church. That is what it was for Rob Eagar, too, until his world fell apart. Six months into his marriage, Eagar's wife demanded a divorce.

He says, "I was shocked. I said, 'But I love you; don't leave now. Marriage is supposed to last forever.' And she said, 'Well not this one.' And hung up the phone."

He says, "It hit me so hard that I lost 15 pounds in the first two weeks after she left me."

A devout Christian, Eagar hoped attending church would give him comfort. But often, it didn't.

Eager says, "I went to a lot of churches that had no programs for single adults, and so I kind of felt like, what am I an outcast? Or a second-class citizen?"

In time though, the right church and then the right woman entered Eagar's life and now, eight years later, he's married again, and on a mission.

To a crowd of singles he says, "It is my goal tonight to help each one of you to begin to experience the most fulfilling relationship imaginable."

A motivational speaker and author of a book geared to Christian singles, Eagar has an eager, and growing, audience.

With unmarried people now making up almost half the country's adult population, singles ministries are booming.

Minister Rich Hurst says, "The marketing world is very savvy and they know that single adults are an incredible force in America. And so I think the church as well, is saying 'You know what? We want to reach single adults.'"

Under Hurst, the McClean Bible Church in Virginia has one of the largest singles ministry programs in the country

At the weekly "Soul Purpose" fellowship, almost 300 Christian singles share their spirituality and a quest for romance.

One woman says, "I've looked everywhere and I can't find anybody with the same values."

A Catholic mixer is just the kind of place singles expect to meet other singles looking for romance. There's a twist here, though: theology is on tap and a cardinal is acting as a spiritual chaser.

This event is sponsored by the Washington, D.C., Catholic Archdiocese, but it is open to singles of any faith.

So why does Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Aachbishop of Washington, hold what is essentially a sermon at a bar?

"Well," he says, "I think because it's good to be where the people are. And there are so many young people who sometimes don't hear sermons in other places."

But the cardinal acknowledges that his sermon isn't the only draw.

He says, "It seems to me to be a place that people can get together, get to know each other, respect each other, and get to find maybe someone that they can spend their life with."

In fact, two devoted churchgoers met at just such a gathering. And, yes, they're getting married. Others enjoy a couple of drinks and maybe, just maybe, find their way back to God.

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