Bio | Writing, Speaking & Singing | Cru Harvard Chaplain | Spiritual Formation | Tammy’s Music


During college a friend asked me three provocative questions:




These three questions led me to God who changed my life.

I am so grateful for the forgiveness, love, freedom, joy, and hope God extended to me, and for the past thirty years I have enjoyed inviting those on college campuses and beyond to experience the same.

I am passionate about spiritual formation, especially helping others develop a rhythm of life that makes space for God in the fast-paced, always connected world in which we live.

Having deep, life-changing conversations with those in the Harvard community is one of my greatest joys as is serving alongside these same folks in the township of Mamelodi in Pretoria, South Africa.

I call myself a contemplative activist. To be able to sustain work among communities with overwhelming need, I find it important to engage in spiritual disciplines that strengthen the body and soul.

I find that strength for the soul is also needed to endure personal suffering. Ten years ago, our sixteen-year-old son, Zach, suffered a severe traumatic brain injury playing high school football. Instantly, he became severely disabled for life.

Our family has experienced a lot of loss, and I grieved much, but I have also experienced God’s nearness in suffering.

Here you will find a place that you can be authentic and transparent with whatever is going on in your life. Here you can grieve and lament. Here you will find an ambiguous loss learning community who helps each other be resilient. Here you will learn spiritual practices that will strengthen your soul for the work you are called to do in the world.



Tammy speaks regularly on the issue of ambiguous loss in a variety of secular and religious contexts including: an NFL Community Huddle dedicated to helping families deal with brain injury, as a featured speaker at a plenary session of Cru’s bi-annual staff conference, at Harvard’s Memorial Church for their weekly Faith and Life Forum, and at a gathering of undergraduate college students at the University of Virginia. The audiences range from 20 to 4000.

She and Pat have been quoted in newspaper articles on Sports and Religion in the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, the USA Today, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, and Vice Sports as well as interviewed on CNN, the ABC evening news, and local NBC and CBS stations.

Tammy routinely speaks before hundreds of people at the historic Park Street Church in downtown Boston where she serves as the Director of College Ministry. She gave the opening prayer at Harvard Commencement—something she has done in a variety of settings over the years. She has spoken and sung multiple times at Harvard Memorial Church’s Morning Prayers.

She speaks in secular venues like athletic teams, clubs, and sororities. In these settings she teaches on leadership, burnout, high performance teams, emotional development, and talking, listening, and conflict resolution skills.

Tammy speaks to groups of people with disabilities, physical therapists in training who work with people with disabilities, and family members of those with disabilities. Most times the format is lecture and Q&A, but sometimes she is asked to do concerts.

With an M.A. in Spiritual Formation Tammy speaks on campuses and in churches on topics such as prayer, spiritual disciplines, contemplative spiritual practices, dealing with grief, spiritual direction, discernment, and spiritual leadership.

Retreats and conferences are other venues in which Tammy speaks. She speaks on various topics: interpersonal communication, emotional development, spiritual formation, and leadership. She also leads soul care retreats.

Tammy and Pat are certified instructors for Interpersonal Communications Programs. They teach talking, listening and conflict resolution frameworks across the country and around the world in secular and religious contexts.

Tammy sang at a televised NFL Community Huddle, at a plenary session for 4000 at Cru’s bi-annual staff conference, at Harvard’s Memorial Church, in conjunction with her Harvard lectures, and at churches all over the country and world. Most times she sings solo, but sometimes she sings while she and Zach each play one hand of the guitar.

Tammy has developed a spiritual formation curriculum that she has used on campuses, in churches, and on mission trips to South Africa.

Other pastimes Tammy enjoys are sculling, waterskiing, mountain biking, playing basketball, singing, playing guitar, writing songs, going on dates with her husband, and hanging with her four adult children.

Tammy blogs for Huffington Post’s religion section and Cru’s national women’s website.

3 Powerful Ways Churches can Offer Support through Ambiguous Loss

 Cru Harvard Chaplain

Harvard Christian Impact and Athletes in Action exists to be a Christ-centered community that engages the entire campus with the Gospel of Jesus Christ both in word and in deed to see students lives transformed for a lifetime.

Christian Impact and AIA is composed of a community of students at Harvard who are journeying through these four years of college together. We believe that our spiritual life has a meaningful impact on the rest of our lives and we want to integrate our faith with everything we do. We believe that there is something profoundly significant about the historical person named Jesus, and together we hope to be a part of how he is renewing the world.

CI is a ministry of Cru at Harvard with staff who serve our local movement. Pat and Tammy McLeod are Harvard Chaplains for Cru. Pat’s special areas of interest are Christ and culture, science and religion, and sports. Tammy’s interests include spiritual formation, prayer, ambiguous loss, interpersonal communication/conflict resolution, and spiritual leadership. CI also enjoys a wonderful partnership with Memorial Church which provides us with a central meeting location for our weekly activity and other events. This year, because of renovations in Memorial Church, you can connect with the McLeods in the chaplains offices located at 44R Brattle Street, 3rd floor. 

For more information, click on a link below:






Harvard Christian Chaplain

 Spiritual Formation

Spiritual formation is not just about internal transformation but out about being transformed for the sake of the world. There are deep problems in the U.S. and the nations of the world, and we can work together to solve these. Our inner transformation will give us the strength we need to serve. Instead of burning out, we will be able to sustain the important work to which each of us is called. 

Spiritual formation matters deeply to me. I completed an M.A. in the field and enjoyed learning about the way people have connected to God throughout the centuries. As a member of a spiritual leadership community I have learned numerous spiritual practices that have changed my life. I enjoy sharing these practices with Harvard students during the school year and during service-learning projects in South Africa. The results have been life-changing for scores of students.

I particularly enjoy helping others develop a rhythm of life that makes space for God in the fast-paced, always connected world in which we live.

Tammy’s Huffington Post Article on Spiritual Disciplines:

Stop Breathe Grow: Spiritual Disciplines for your Soul

Books about Spiritual Formation I Recommend:

Check back often to see my updated recommendations. 

Check back often to see updated recommendations.

 Tammy’s Music

Music has been a very important part of my life since I was a young child.

In college I studied voice, and when I came to know Christ at age 20, I wrote many songs to Scriptures I read. I hope to include some of those later, but the first song I wanted to share is one that I wrote for my son, Zach, who became instantly severely disabled for life from a football injury at age 16.

The lyrics to this song are below, and my husband Pat arranged the slides. We used this multi-media presentation on the sixth anniversary of Zach’s injury at a ceremony of ambiguous loss.

A Time to Mourn, A Time to Dance: A Tribute to Zachary McLeod.

Picture 108.jpg


Hugs and loves and kisses goodbye, see you later tonight
Smiles and nicknames, a look in the eye, moments that bring such delight
Hello, then silence, a fast, quiet drive, a prayer and peace is flowing
Lost and rushing we finally arrive, we say goodbye without knowing
Waiting, waiting, holding, holding


Beauty in suffering calls out to me
Beauty in suffering calls out to me
Though everything changes, nothing really changes,
Though everything changes, nothing really changes,
You are there

Seasons pass and some things are gone, but our love can’t be broken
Held and carried, kept safe from the storm, by One who our love has spoken
We will wait and pray for you, our hearts are joined in a chorus
Holding fast to One who is true, holding to One who is for us
Praying, praying, hoping, hoping



Running and crying and praying for him, music that pierces my soul,
Sunlight that dances off waters I see, even the trees speak to me


Copyright  2010, Tammy McLeod