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- Largest Spiritual Network Will Offer Book Clubs, Support Groups, Bible Study and More -

New York, NY – November 12, 2007 – Beliefnet.com, the leading site for faith, inspiration and spirituality, today announced the beta launch of Beliefnet Community, a comprehensive social network designed expressly for religious devotees, spiritual seekers and faith-based groups. As the largest and most diverse faith- and values-based community available at one digital destination, Beliefnet Community will offer unparalleled resources for study, inspiration and entertainment, and will provide a safe meeting place for the nearly 82 million Americans who regularly perform spiritual and religious activities online[1].

Designed to meet the needs of both individuals and groups—including intimate, small groups as well as multi-dimensional, large organizations—Beliefnet Community provides award-winning content and innovative online tools that allow members to work together virtually or to enhance the experience of existing real-world small groups and houses of worship. Assemblies of all types and sizes—from book clubs and support groups to Bible study and fan clubs—can now create and customize their own websites, calendars, discussion forums and content feeds at www.beliefnet.com/community.

“Social networks aren’t just about dating or bands anymore, they’ve evolved into powerful and very real communities,” said Steven Waldman, Editor-in-Chief and CEO of Beliefnet.com. “In an accepting, easy-to-use environment, Beliefnet Community is dedicated to providing a gathering place where beliefs and values can be safely explored and shared—by people of all faiths. We’re excited about opening the door to this new kind of online spiritual home.”

Community members and groups will be able to feed award-winning Beliefnet content directly onto their personal or group pages. Through partnerships with leading authors, organizations and publishers, Beliefnet Community members will be able to customize their pages and journals with an array of spiritual wisdom from:

· Bible Study: Seven Days of 3:16—Max Lucado offers daily reflections on Jesus Christ and his message of hope

· Daily Christian Nourishment—Stimulate your Christian faith, or your discussion group with the best of Beliefnet's provocative and inspiring Christian content: quizzes, galleries, devotionals and more

· Daily Dalai Lama—Daily wisdom from His Holiness the Dalai Lama

· How to Be Fearless—Join author and Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington in a 12-week journey to becoming fearless

· Feiler Faster—Commentary on religion and the news from the bestselling author of "Walking the Bible" and "Abraham."

· Creating the Family You Always Wanted with Mary DeMuth—Learn to create the family you’ve always wanted with these encouraging reflections

· Conversations with God with Neale Donald Walsch—Daily spiritual insights from the bestselling author of the "Conversations with God" series

· Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippett—Listen to the award-winning weekly public radio show “Speaking of Faith,” and get unheard cuts, behind the scenes information, and more

· Finding Your Inner Wisdom with Renita Weems—Join minister Renita Weems on a journey toward inner wisdom, with journaling prompts about the soul, the self, work, family, dreams, and more

· Spiritual Parenting Tip of the Day with Mimi Doe—Unique and uplifting parenting advice from an expert on soulful parenting and creating balance at home

Additional content partnerships will be unveiled soon, including original material from “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” Deepak Chopra, and Martha Williamson, the creative force behind "Touched by an Angel." Dozens of daily quotes and spiritual wisdom tailored specifically for Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Muslim and other faiths will also be readily available.

In the coming weeks Beliefnet will roll out additional partnerships, content feeds, and premiere groups. Members and groups can already take advantage of Beliefnet's partnership with Network for Good, the web's leading resource for bringing together donors, volunteers and charities, which has customized for Beliefnet a tool enabling community members to raise money for their favorite causes or houses of worship.

Special Networking Tools for Individuals, Organizations and Houses of Worship Include:

  • PROFILE PAGES allow groups and individuals to build a spiritual “home” online –customized websites are easy to make and easy to update.
  • ATTRACTIVE DESIGNS accomodate a full range of tastes, from classy to funny to religious, and more.
  • JOURNALING TOOLS enable community members to express their views, connect with friends and enhance their spiritual lives through spiritual journaling and blogging. Posts can be either public or private. Members can also use powerful "guided journals" for journal prompts and inspiration. Groups can post lessons or inspirational material for online or in-person meetings and discussions.
  • VIDEO & PHOTO SHARING areas provide members a place to showcase their favorite meaningful, beautiful, or entertainting videos and photos, and public galleries offer vast collections of religious and spiritual videos and photos for other members to surf.
  • FIND KINDRED SPIRITS or old friends with tags and keyword searches that bring together people with similar interests or beliefs. Create virtual groups to study, pray or just have fun.
  • SCHEDULE EVENTS MORE EASILY with easy-to-use calendar and invitation tools that keep group members informed on the latest activities and changes.
  • AWARD-WINNING CONTENT FEEDS bring wisdom and inspiration from the nation's foremost spiritual teachers and thinkersdirectly to personal and group pages.
  • DONATION TOOLS can be added to each page for fundraising efforts for causes and houses of worship.

PRIVACY CONTROLS permit users to choose which personal information to keep private, and which to share with everyone. Group leaders can control access, edit content and monitor member activities

  • FAITH FILTERS limit searches to people of a certain faith for those who seek to mingle within a particular denomination.
  • SAFETY is a priority. Pornography, violence, illegality and harassment are strictly forbidden.

Please visit the beta site at http://community.beliefnet.com/ to view the entire menu of tools and award-winning content available at the largest community dedicated to faith, inspiration and spirituality. The Beliefnet Community's technology was developed by Small World Labs of Austin, Texas, a social networking software company.


About Beliefnet

Beliefnet, winner of the 2007 National Magazine Award for General Excellence Online, is the largest online community for spirituality and inspiration. Its mission is to help people find and walk a spiritual path that instills comfort, hope, clarity, strength and happiness for people who are exploring their own faith or curious about other spiritual traditions. Beliefnet offers a wide variety of resources including articles, quizzes, devotionals, sacred text searches, photo galleries and intimate interviews with noted politicians, celebrities and the world’s most esteemed clergy and spiritual leaders. Beliefnet, Inc. is an independent, privately held company with more than 3 million unique visitors each month according to Media Metrix, and a daily newsletter readership of nearly 11 million subscribers. The company is not affiliated with any spiritual organization or movement.

[1] Rainie, Lee. Family, Friends & Community. 2004. Pew Internet & American Life Project. 22 October 2007 <http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/126/report_display.asp>

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