Coffee with cream and spirit: Conference offers women a ‘fresh’ way to worship

Holly Schurter

Jennifer Rothschild loves coffee.

“I’m a coffee addict,” she says. “I love the casual atmosphere of a coffeehouse, where everyone feels welcome.”

To share that coffee-house welcome with other women, Rothschild developed Fresh Grounded Faith Conferences, a custom blend of storytelling, Bible teaching, prayer, “worship in a whole new way” and community-wide fellowship. She’ll be serving it up at West Side Christian Church in Springfield from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

The conference is open to women of all ages, all denominations — or no denomination — and includes lunch. Conference tickets can be purchased for $40 through Thursday.

Rothschild, an aspiring commercial artist, had to adjust her life goals when she was diagnosed with a rare, degenerative eye disease at age 15. Over the next few years, she lost her sight and turned to music as a creative outlet.

Now nationally known as a speaker, writer and musician, Rothschild, 44, is married to Dr. Philip Rothschild. They are parents of two sons.

Diane Beeman, an administrative assistant on the Women’s Ministry Team at West Side Christian Church, says Rothschild was invited to come because three women’s Bible studies at West Side are studying her DVD series, “Lessons I Learned in the Dark.”

In that series, Rothschild shares lessons she has learned from her circumstances, including what she describes as the first, greatest lesson: Despite our circumstances, we can survive and thrive.

Those lessons led her to share what she was learning with others through such books as “Lessons I Learned in the Dark” and her newest release, “Self Talk, Soul Talk,” and through personal appearances on “Good Morning America,” “The Billy Graham Television Special,” “Dr. Phil,” and the “Women of Faith” tour.

She also has created an e-zine, WomensMinistry.Net, and is finishing up a Lifeway Bible study DVD series, “Me, Myself, and Lies,” which will be released in February 2009.

The State Journal-Register caught up with Rothschild this week to talk:

SJ-R: Please tell us how you developed Fresh Grounded Faith Conferences.

Rothschild: I’m a coffee addict, and this validates it! We wanted to transfer that enriching, comforting, awakening atmosphere of a coffeehouse to a girl-friendly event, with no compromise of the abiding truth of faith and the Bible. This is our launch year, with six events; next year we have 12 Fresh Grounded Faith Conferences scheduled.

SJ-R: You’ve said, “It’s been my desire to reach women in cities around the country by connecting women in local churches with each other.“ How does a Fresh Grounded Faith Conference do that?

Rothschild: My greatest hope is that this is not a one-time event, but the beginning of unity for those who profess faith in Christ. We have the essential truths of faith in common; we want to show the world who Jesus is and why he came.

SJ-R: You talk about experiencing “worship in a whole new way” at a Fresh Grounded Faith Conference. What do you mean?

Rothschild: I believe all worship is God-centered. This is a “freshening up” of traditional worship. It will be comfortable for someone who has worshiped in a traditional way all her life, but freshened up in a way they’ve never engaged in before.

SJ-R: In your books and when you speak, you talk a lot about “tenacious faith.” What is “tenacious faith?”

Rothschild: Tenacious faith is the ability, the willingness and the commitment to never quit.

SJ-R: What can a woman who comes to a Fresh Grounded Faith Conference expect?

Rothschild: She can expect an opportunity to laugh, to cry, to grow, to have fun, to be in community with other women. When she comes, she will deepen her knowledge of herself and God. I encourage women to be very present at conference. The laundry will still be there when they go home.

Holly Schurter can be reached through the State Journal-Register features desk at (217) 788-1512.


Fresh Grounded Faith Conference will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday at West Side Christian Church, 2850 Cider Lane.

Tickets are $40 and available through Thursday by calling 793-2800, or at