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Refresh Your Soul 2019: A Recap

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Episcopal Retirement Services’ Parish Health Ministry (PHM) held its annual Refresh Your Soul conference on March 18th. The theme of this sold-out event was “Living well with purpose.” If you weren’t able to be with us at the Cintas Center earlier this spring, here’s a closer look at what you missed, along with what you need to know about next year’s conference.

Introducing Refresh Your Soul

ERS launched PHM just over 21 years ago to support the connection between faith and health within local church communities. Now, PHM proudly serves 75 church congregations of all denominations throughout central and southern Ohio and northern Kentucky. Refresh Your Soul has grown to become the organization’s primary fundraiser, bolstering their mission of enhancing the physical, emotional, and spiritual health of its members. 

Says ERS president and CEO Laura Lamb, “The conference aims to inspire and engage health professionals, caregivers, and anyone looking to live well with meaning and purpose.” 

"Refresh Your Soul is a great event that offers such excellent education,” adds Candy Hart, RN, Seniority Administrator at TriHealth, the title sponsor of this year’s conference in partnership with Xavier University. “It addresses so many different things: dementia, health, inspiration. [It is a good reminder that] you never know who you’re touching [with things you say or do], how far that’s going to go in the future, or what kind of impact that will have in the world, beyond your own little office or floor.”

With past speakers including doctor, social activist, clown, and The Joy of Caring author Patch Adams; journalist and Tuesdays with Morrie author Mitch Albom; and Five Love Languages author Dr. Gary Chapman, it’s hardly a surprise that this year’s Refresh Your Soul conference sold out in record time.

Positive Energy & Shared Experiences

Refresh Your Soul 2019 did not disappoint the more than 700 caretakers, seniors, and healthcare professionals who gathered to discuss healthy aging, positive aging, dementia, caregiving, and other valuable topics.

The day’s keynote speaker was Kathryn Spink, author of the acclaimed New York Times bestseller Mother Teresa: An Authorized Biography. Spink, who was involved with the Saint’s work for many years, delivered a compelling and inspiring talk on Mother Teresa’s exceptional compassion and care for the poor, sick, and dying. She also highlighted Mother Teresa’s commitment to “doing small things with great love.”


Spink’s talk reminded attendees that this mindset is not only accessible to everyone but is also a great way to find meaning and purpose in life—even in seemingly minor acts. “Taking a flower to a grieving person, being fully present to people who are lonely. Love begins when we make our homes centers of compassion and forgive endlessly,” Spink urges.

Rabbi Abie Ingber, founder and former executive director of Xavier University’s Center for Interfaith Community Engagement, was also a featured speaker. “I think that everybody who comes to the Refresh Your Soul Conference always leaves arguably elevated, spiritually and emotionally. This conference speaks to both head and heart, and in particular to the individual whose hands are occupied with caring for the elderly, and those near the elder years of their lives. Individuals come in—OTs, people who work as counselors, social workers, nurses, all kinds of practitioners—and I am honored that they see in things that I say some value to practitioners,” says Ingber of what makes the event so special.

"I think that everybody who comes to the Refresh Your Soul Conference always leaves arguably elevated, spiritually and emotionally. This conference speaks to both head and heart, and in particular to the individual whose hands are occupied with caring for the elderly, and those near the elder years of their lives."

Spink and Ingber were joined by an esteemed cohort of featured speakers, including Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine director of operations and executive chef Leah Sarris RD, LDN, who delivered a talk on “Food as Medicine,” and motivational humorist, author, and family caregiver Kay Frances. Frances shared her message to “lighten up, stress less, and take care of ourselves” in her relatable talk, “Aging with Zest and Vigor.”

Many conference participants also attended VIP speaker luncheons on topics, including Spink’s “Perseverance and the Dark Night of the Soul,” Spink’s “Rewarding Yourself—Healing the World,” and Sarris’s “Using Food in the Battle Against Cognitive Decline.”

Other Refresh Your Soul activities included book sales and signings and exhibits by many local organizations.

As members of the diverse caregiving community, we have many things in common. Refresh Your Soul offers a wonderful opportunity to come together to share our experiences, wisdom, and insights toward more fulfilling personal and professional lives. Whether you attended Refresh Your Soul in the past and are eager to secure your spot for next time or you’re ready to benefit from this uniquely nourishing event for the first time, we hope you’ll join us in refreshing your soul later this year.

Refresh Your Soul 2020 — Promoting Healthy Living will be held on Monday, March 16, 2020, at the Cintas Center on the campus of Xavier University (XU). The keynote speaker for the conference is Nick Buettner, who played a key role in the research for the best-selling book The Blue Zones Solution.

Other featured speakers include:

  • Jennifer Molano, MD presents Sleep: An Important Ingredient for Brain Health;
  • Dave Caperton BS, presents Connect, Engage and Enjoy - Little Things that Change Everything! and
  • Kelly Rogan, MS, LSW, LICDC-CS presents When Helping Becomes Harmful - Codependency.

Optional VIP Speaker Luncheon Topics:
  • Be Well: An Owners Manual for Whole Health by Lauri Nandyal, MD;
  • The Blue Zones of Happiness by Nick Buettner; and
  • Support vs. Enabling with Addiction by Kelly Rogan.

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Kristin Davenport
July 01, 2019
Kristin Davenport is the Director of Communications for Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS). Kristin leads ERS’s efforts to share stories that delight and inspire through social media, online content, annual reports, magazines, newsletters, public relations, and events. Kristin earned her BFA in graphic design from Wittenberg University. She joined ERS after a 25-year career as a visual journalist and creative director in Cincinnati. Kristin is passionate about making Cincinnati a dementia-inclusive city. She is a Lead SAIDO Learning Supporter and a member of the ‘Refresh Your Soul’ conference planning team at ERS. Kristin and her husband Alex, live in Lebanon, Ohio with their 2 daughters. She also serves as a Trustee and the President of the Lebanon Food Pantry and is a board member for ArtScape Lebanon.

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