A day of fellowship and inspiration is set for Saturday, April 6 as the 21st annual Women’s Breakaway is held at Chilton High School.
The popular event is sponsored by Faith Alliance Church of Chilton and draws hundreds of women each year from around Wisconsin and the country to enjoy this free daylong event.
With a mission based on Matthew 28: 19-20, “To Bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to unsaved and or unchurched women in Calumet County and surrounding counties and disciple and encourage them in their walk with God”, the event aims to provide fellowship and hope to all who attend.
The highly anticipated event each year was the dream of Faith Alliance members Sandi Kerscher and Vicki Anhalt according to Women’s Breakaway committee member Kathy Lorenz. “They wanted to have a get together with other women and have an interesting spiritual speaker,” she explained. “What began as a few women gathering from Faith Alliance Church in Chilton for this event has grown every year from the original 130 women to almost 700 attendees last year.” The growth of the breakaway forced the committee to move the yearly event from the church to Chilton High School in 2004.

Event has grown each year
The event has not only grown in the number of attendees each year, but also in size and length. “The first get together had only one main speaker with a lite lunch and lasted only a few hours,” Lorenz said. “A committee was then formed to organize the event each year. Right now we have 20 ladies on the committee, many of whom have been on the committee for 15 years or more.”
The dedicated ladies who work on the committee have become a finely tuned machine, working well together, and forming deep and lasting friendships. “We depend on prayer for the event and each other, along with God’s help to make it a God-glorifying event.”
“Although we pride ourselves on working together, the committee has not been without its problems,” Lorenz added. “Last year we had a main speaker all set up and some of the brochures already printed when two days before our registration was to open, the speaker called and said she was double booked and couldn’t make it.” Lorenz said the committee met and prayed. “We asked one of the seminar speakers to move up to main speaker, which she graciously did.”
Lorenz said another challenge the committee faced over the years was a seminar speaker failing to come to the event as scheduled. “We adjusted and moved people to other seminars,” she said. “Many new challenges come up and we work together to deal with them and learn from the experiences.”

Church members work together
The event is made possible with the assistance of the men of Faith Alliance who assist with moving and setting up chairs and tables, supplies for the kitchen, and more than 60 door prizes donated by area businesses each year.
Homemade desserts and muffins are supplied by members of the church congregation and are served for breakfast and lunch during the event. “The last several years we have had a nice continental breakfast starting at 7:30 a.m. with juice and coffee, muffins and doughnuts, and a fruit platter.”
The members also prepare and serve the free lunch that is provided and help with other duties as needed during the day. Typical menus throughout the years have included chicken salad and other sandwiches, fresh fruit and vegetable salads, soup, chips, string cheese, and a variety of desserts.
As the event has grown over the years, so have the choices of many different and numerous seminars.
The committee works hard each year to offer seminars that are of interest to all age groups including classes on parenting, seminars on aging and caregivers, spiritual seminars, gardening, arts and crafts, food, drink and more.
“We try to do a variety of spiritual and secular so everyone can find something they would be interested in,” Lorenz said.
Longtime emcees for the event are Joan Mertens and Marj Jensen, who never fail to entertain with their quick wit and ease of conversation. The ladies have served as hosts for more than 15 years.
The Faith Alliance Church popular Christian men’s singing group known as “Standing Firm” provides entertainment to begin each breakaway. Attendees then attend one of 14 seminars that are presented in different rooms at Chilton High School. “The main speaker begins at 11 a.m. and they have come from all over the country,” Lorenz said. “They are always Christian speakers who give the salvation message.”

Variety of speakers and sessions
“A few years ago we had Jennifer Shaw as a main speaker. Her husband was in Tower 1 and killed on Sept. 11. She was a young married widow and went through a very traumatic experience. She talked about how God taught her to forgive and use her experience to help others. She has written several books and goes around the country speaking about her life and relationship with God helping her.”

The free lunch is served at 12:30 p.m. and afternoon seminars begin at 1:45 p.m. and door prizes are awarded throughout the day, adding to the fun of the event.
The high school gym is filled with vendors on the day of the breakaway, including non-profit groups that sell items made by women in other countries.
No fee is charged to those attending the breakaways each year, with committee members trusting in God to supply their needs. “A free will offering is taken during the event and it has always been enough to cover our expenses,” Lorenz said.
While paper registrations are still accepted, online registration is quickly gaining in popularity and the committee also now has a Facebook page.
“Each year a survey sheet is handed out to the ladies who attend to get more ideas on what they might be interested in for the next year,” Lorenz said. “It’s rewarding to see how well the event has been received by the community.”

Event set for Saturday, April 6
This year’s 21st annual Women’s Breakaway is set for Saturday, April 6 with featured seminar topics including cooking, painting, recycled vintage, mission trips, personal safety techniques and more. Registration is required.
The day will begin at 7:30 a.m. and the keynote speaker for this year is Robyn Dykstra who will inspire those in attendance with “Finding Hope in the Midst of the Mess”.