About our one-day event

reNEW your Courage - a Day for Writers and Speakers
Saturday, November 6th, 2021 9:00am-4:30pm
First Church Congregational, Wethersfield, CT

Join other writers and speakers from New England and beyond with this one-day event to reNEW your Courage with 5 keynotes. You will find "Courage to Persevere and Hope," "Courage to be a Storyteller," "Courage to Share your Message," "Courage to Explore New Things" and "Courage for Truth and Authenticity" from an amazing faculty of non-fiction and fiction writers. The event also includes a “New Books Celebration."

We will offer a booktable, and have worship and prayer.

All attendees have the opportunity to be published in a devotional “The Courage to Write” alongside other award-winning authors.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

We will be complying with COVID precautions as required by the event facility and local government. Please READ our full requirements concerning COVID safety on the menu at the top of this page. A full refund will be given if we have to cancel the event due to COVID restrictions.

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About our one-day event

Co-Directors and Faculty

Rachel BrittonreNEW Co-Director - Author, Blogger and Speaker

Rachel is a British-born writer, speaker and blogger. She is author of books on prayer and a variety of devotionals. Her blog, rachelbritton.com, is for women of all ages to help them be bold on the journey through confident faith, bold prayer, and adventurous living. Rachel is Content Director for RADIANT NYC, an online magazine empowering NYC women to live radiant and unashamed by directing them to Jesus.

Through her 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Rachel equips women in their faith from writers and speakers to south Sudanese refugees. Rachel graduated from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary with a Masters in Religion, cum laude. Prior to this, she served on ministry staff to women at Grace Chapel, a large non-denominational church in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Raised on the east coast of England, Rachel moved to New England with her husband. They now reside in NYC. In London, Rachel worked in newspaper and magazine publishing, including for the BBC Worldwide and The Independent newspaper. Rachel and her husband Colin have three young adult children spread across many time zones. She loves to travel and spend time hiking and skiing in the Rocky Mountains. Rachel cannot live without a mug of English tea.

Rachel BrittonreNEW Co-Director - Author, Blogger and Speaker

Rachel is a British-born writer, speaker and blogger. She is author of books on prayer and a variety of devotionals. Her blog, rachelbritton.com, is for women of all ages to help them be bold on the journey through confident faith, bold prayer, and adventurous living. Rachel is Content Director for RADIANT NYC, an online magazine empowering NYC women to live radiant and unashamed by directing them to Jesus.

Through her 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Rachel equips women in their faith from writers and speakers to south Sudanese refugees. Rachel graduated from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary with a Masters in Religion, cum laude. Prior to this, she served on ministry staff to women at Grace Chapel, a large non-denominational church in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Raised on the east coast of England, Rachel moved to New England with her husband. They now reside in NYC. In London, Rachel worked in newspaper and magazine publishing, including for the BBC Worldwide and The Independent newspaper. Rachel and her husband Colin have three young adult children spread across many time zones. She loves to travel and spend time hiking and skiing in the Rocky Mountains. Rachel cannot live without a mug of English tea.

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Lucinda Secrest McDowellreNEW Co-Director - Award-winning author and speaker

Lucinda Secrest McDowell, M.T.S., is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping you Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, McDowell is the author of 15 books and contributing author to 30+ books. Her award-winning books include LIFE-GIVING CHOICES, SOUL STRONG, DWELLING PLACES, and ORDINARY GRACES. Lucinda, a member of the REDBUD WRITERS GUILD, received Mt. Hermon “Writer of the Year” award and guest blogs for The Write Conversation. Whether co-directing “RENEW ~ RETREAT FOR NEW ENGLAND WRITING,” pouring into young mamas, or leading a restorative day of prayer, she is energized by investing in people of all ages. Known for her ability to convey deep truth in practical and winsome ways, she writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and blogs weekly at HTTPS://LUCINDASECRESTMCDOWELL.COM/

Lucinda Secrest McDowellreNEW Co-Director - Award-winning author and speaker

Lucinda Secrest McDowell, M.T.S., is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping you Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, McDowell is the author of 15 books and contributing author to 30+ books. Her award-winning books include LIFE-GIVING CHOICES, SOUL STRONG, DWELLING PLACES, and ORDINARY GRACES. Lucinda, a member of the REDBUD WRITERS GUILD, received Mt. Hermon “Writer of the Year” award and guest blogs for The Write Conversation. Whether co-directing “RENEW ~ RETREAT FOR NEW ENGLAND WRITING,” pouring into young mamas, or leading a restorative day of prayer, she is energized by investing in people of all ages. Known for her ability to convey deep truth in practical and winsome ways, she writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and blogs weekly at HTTPS://LUCINDASECRESTMCDOWELL.COM/

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Tessa AfsharRegional Faculty - Award-winning historical fiction author

Tessa is an award-winning author of historical and biblical fiction. Her novel Land of Silence was voted by Library Journal as one of the top five Christian fiction titles of 2016 and was nominated for the 2016 RT Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Inspirational Romance. Harvest of Gold won the prestigious 2014 Christy Award in the Historical Romance category. Her book Harvest of Rubies was a finalist for the 2013 ECPA Book Award in the fiction category. In 2011, after publishing her first novel, Pearl in the Sand, Tessa was named New Author of the Year in the Family Fiction-sponsored Reader’s Choice Awards.

Tessa holds an MDiv from Yale University where she was co-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School for one year. She worked in women and prayer ministries for twenty years before becoming a full-time writer. Tessa speaks regularly at women’s events, and has keynoted at the Oregon Christian Writers Conference. Tessa is a devoted wife and mediocre tomato grower. But that has not cured her from being exceptionally fond of chocolate.

Connect with Tessa Afshar on her Website: TessaAfshar.com

Tessa AfsharRegional Faculty - Award-winning historical fiction author

Tessa is an award-winning author of historical and biblical fiction. Her novel Land of Silence was voted by Library Journal as one of the top five Christian fiction titles of 2016 and was nominated for the 2016 RT Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Inspirational Romance. Harvest of Gold won the prestigious 2014 Christy Award in the Historical Romance category. Her book Harvest of Rubies was a finalist for the 2013 ECPA Book Award in the fiction category. In 2011, after publishing her first novel, Pearl in the Sand, Tessa was named New Author of the Year in the Family Fiction-sponsored Reader’s Choice Awards.

Tessa holds an MDiv from Yale University where she was co-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School for one year. She worked in women and prayer ministries for twenty years before becoming a full-time writer. Tessa speaks regularly at women’s events, and has keynoted at the Oregon Christian Writers Conference. Tessa is a devoted wife and mediocre tomato grower. But that has not cured her from being exceptionally fond of chocolate.

Connect with Tessa Afshar on her Website: TessaAfshar.com

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Heidi ChiavaroliRegional Faculty - Award-winning fiction author

Heidi Chiavaroli writes women's fiction, exploring places that whisper of historical secrets. Her debut novel, Freedom's Ring, was a Carol Award winner and a Christy Award finalist, a Romantic Times Top Pick and a Booklist Top Ten Romance Debut. She makes her home in Massachusetts with her husband and two sons. Visit her online at heidichiavaroli.com

Heidi ChiavaroliRegional Faculty - Award-winning fiction author

Heidi Chiavaroli writes women's fiction, exploring places that whisper of historical secrets. Her debut novel, Freedom's Ring, was a Carol Award winner and a Christy Award finalist, a Romantic Times Top Pick and a Booklist Top Ten Romance Debut. She makes her home in Massachusetts with her husband and two sons. Visit her online at heidichiavaroli.com

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Lori RoeleveldRegional Faculty - Award-winning Non Fiction Author

Lori Stanley Roeleveld is an author, speaker, and disturber of hobbits who enjoys making comfortable Christians late for dinner. She’s authored three non-fiction books including Running from a Crazy Man, Jesus and the Beanstalk, and her latest, The Art of Hard Conversations, as well as a Christmas novella, Red Pen Redemption.

Though she has degrees in Psychology and Biblical Studies, Lori learned the most from studying her Bible in life’s trenches. Blogger. Wife. Mother of adults. Part-time giant-slayer. Not available for children’s parties.

Connect with Lori Roeleveld on her Website: LoriRoeleveld.com

Lori RoeleveldRegional Faculty - Award-winning Non Fiction Author

Lori Stanley Roeleveld is an author, speaker, and disturber of hobbits who enjoys making comfortable Christians late for dinner. She’s authored three non-fiction books including Running from a Crazy Man, Jesus and the Beanstalk, and her latest, The Art of Hard Conversations, as well as a Christmas novella, Red Pen Redemption.

Though she has degrees in Psychology and Biblical Studies, Lori learned the most from studying her Bible in life’s trenches. Blogger. Wife. Mother of adults. Part-time giant-slayer. Not available for children’s parties.

Connect with Lori Roeleveld on her Website: LoriRoeleveld.com

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Kirsten PanachydaWorship Leader

Kirsten Panachyda writes to infuse courage into the soul-weary, especially parents of kids with mental illness. She is a speaker, Bible teacher, and award-winning writer. Her book Among Lions: Fighting for Faith while Parenting a Kid with Mental Illness is looking for a publishing home. Her work-in-progress is a novel set in first-century Britain.

Kirsten PanachydaWorship Leader

Kirsten Panachyda writes to infuse courage into the soul-weary, especially parents of kids with mental illness. She is a speaker, Bible teacher, and award-winning writer. Her book Among Lions: Fighting for Faith while Parenting a Kid with Mental Illness is looking for a publishing home. Her work-in-progress is a novel set in first-century Britain.

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Jennifer DrummondPrayer Leader

Jennifer Drummond lives with her husband, two school aged children, and one sweet puppy in Hamilton MA. She loves photographing flowers and trees, writing poetry and looking for beauty all around, knowing that God speaks to us everywhere and all the time. In addition to providing spiritual direction locally and online, she reads voraciously by the fireplace and blogs somewhat regularly at “That Got Me Thinking.”

Jennifer DrummondPrayer Leader

Jennifer Drummond lives with her husband, two school aged children, and one sweet puppy in Hamilton MA. She loves photographing flowers and trees, writing poetry and looking for beauty all around, knowing that God speaks to us everywhere and all the time. In addition to providing spiritual direction locally and online, she reads voraciously by the fireplace and blogs somewhat regularly at “That Got Me Thinking.”

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Testimonials

See what other people are saying about us.

reNEW is such a special community of writers. The encouragement, the professional sessions and workshops, and the amazing support is why I keep coming back.

Having a weekend away to connect with God and other writers was a balm for my soul and a kick in the pants to get back to writing.

Spiritual inspiration, professional development and companionship for the journey in one conference.

At reNEW, I was reminded of my calling, encouraged to go deeper, offered focused training, and enjoyed the company of like-minded women! We spent the weekend engaging honestly with one another about the joys and struggles of writing and I left freer and more energized to live into my ordinary life and work.

The balance of time to write, time to learn, time to connect, and time apart with the Lord proved unique and welcome.

God continues to use reNEW to grow me into a woman who communicates His encouragement and purpose.

Appointments

FOR RETREAT WEEKENDS ONLY: Professional critiques on written work, coaching on writing or speaking, spiritual direction and headshot appointments are available. Find out more.

Scholarships

FOR RETREAT WEEKENDS ONLY: We offer partial scholarships on a limited basis to help defray some of the costs of attending reNEW 2021.

Contact Us

If you have any questions or want to get in touch, use the form below. We look forward to hearing from you.

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