Published on July 19, 2017 by Sarah Waller  
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Samford University’s Center for Faith and Health and Congregational Health Ministry program will host the Exhale Conference, July 28–29, focusing on how to sustain joy in the midst of trials. 

“In times of difficulty, it’s common to hear someone say, ‘Just breathe.’ But, you don’t get relief when you breathe in,” said Debbie Duke, director of the Congregational Health Ministry program. “The relief comes when you exhale.”

All are welcome to attend this two-day event, from caregivers to health care professionals and everyone in between. The conference is designed to help anyone who is going through any kind of trial in life.

The conference will include seven speakers, who will provide unique perspectives to the conference’s topic, offering personal testimonies on how God walked them through a time of suffering.

“Even with the same topic, the stories will be so different because our speakers will be sharing personal convictions of what God has taught them,” Duke said. “We all respond to life differently. Some turn to communities, like their faith family; others are more introspective, turning to scripture, music or prayer. All of these perspectives will be represented, and I hope it can be a time where we can learn from one another.”

On the first day, Brian Pitts, Samford’s minister to students for spiritual formation, will speak on “Your Story of Hope.” 

“Understanding the power of your own story is important,” Pitts said. “It allows you to derive meaning from difficulty rather than solutions to unsolvable dilemmas.”

The remaining of the speakers will talk on Saturday, including Bob Willis, an author, sculptor and ordained Southern Baptist minister from Oklahoma. He has selected to speak on Psalm 147:3, “He heals the brokenhearted.” As Willis speaks, he will create a sculpture from a lump of clay, symbolizing how mankind is broken, but God heals all broken hearts if we let him.

The cost of the Exhale Conference is $25, which includes three meals. Continuing education credits are available for nursing and social work. To register and learn more, go to

Sarah Waller is coordinator of marketing and communication for the College of Health Sciences.