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open hands

The Lessons Gert Left Us

An essay by the Rev. Elizabeth McCord reflecting on the life and legacy of Gert Ullsperger.

open hands

Discovering the Deeper Wisdom of Grace and Gratitude

The Covid-19 pandemic has not passed by the Carroll campus. Like so many communities around the world, we have had losses in our Carroll family: parents, grandparents, alumni, extended relations and friends. The pandemic also brought the loss of two beloved faculty members.

Kelly Raether and Jim LaRosa

Memorial Service for Kelly Raether and Jim LaRosa set

Carroll University plans to honor the legacy of two nursing faculty members lost in recent months, Prof. Kelly Lynn Raether, MSN and Dr. James Joseph LaRosa DNP, RN. The campus and community are invited to attend this live-streamed event on Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 4:30 p.m. The memorial ceremony will be lead by Carroll University Chaplain the Rev. Elizabeth McCord.

open hands

Finding Hope and Healing in our Brokenness

We are all sick and tired as we bid 2020 farewell, and I cannot imagine what 2021 will look like. I don’t have the wisdom to see what a path toward peace, reconciliation and justice might hold. Nevertheless, I am confident about two things.

bokeh christmas lights

Thankful to be 'Merry and Bright'

President Cindy Gnadinger and Reverend Elizabeth McCord continue the Carroll University tradition of lighting the Christmas tree on Main Lawn.

US Flag and I Voted Stickers

A Moment of Reflection before the Election

Carroll University's chaplain and director of spiritual life, The Rev. Elizabeth McCord, organized an interfaith prayer service on Tuesday, Nov. 3, to encourage all members of the Carroll community to pause in prayer and reflection prior to the election.


Call to Prayer - July 27, 2020

I by nature have a sweet tooth. It’s hard for me to pass on dessert. But I find in these frustrating days I am spending too much time chewing on bitterness. This prayer is a palate cleanser if you, like me, need to be reminded of the sweet things in life.

fearful looking student

Call to Prayer - July 20, 2020

Fear impedes inner peace and can hold us back from living with abundance and grace. Fear is everywhere right now, and I know I am not at my best when trapped in fight, flight or freeze. If you are willing, join me this week in prayerfully listening to our fears, and together let’s seek a path toward greater peace and freedom. The 7-step contemplative prayer/meditation below is one tool to try.

female student

Call to Prayer - July 13, 2020

This week, if you are willing, join me in praying for our students—not for the plans we must make or the problems yet to be solved—but for the students themselves.

an outstretched arm

Call to Prayer - July 6, 2020

I invite you to use your body when praying this week’s prayer. As you are able, stand on your feet. Take a moment to lean forward and back, side to side, connecting to with senses, feeling gravity pull you to the earth and finding a center space where you feel balance and alignment. Take a few deep breaths, lifting your spine, and in prayer, invite God into your week.

covid-19 map

In Isolation, a Lesson in Interdependence

The “new normal” has become a frequently used phrase. I hear colleagues, friends and journalists say it. I even hear myself say it from time to time. Yet every time I do, I feel myself resist a bit. I’m not ready for this to be the new normal, nor am I able to envision what “normal” will look like on the other side of COVID-19. These days, normal seems more like a far off dream, a fantasy, an alternate universe where we would like to dwell, but no longer do.

student wearing a mask

Call to Prayer - June 22, 2020

As we return to campus and move more freely about our lives, we are becoming accustomed to wearing masks. Today’s prayer is for this new daily ritual. Even an inconvenience such as this can be sacred spiritual practice.

playing a guitar

Call to Prayer - June 15, 2020

Stories of liberation and songs of freedom fuel courage and redirect us toward paths of release, recovery, justice and healing. This week, let’s be like the prophet Miriam and pray with music.

artistic interpretation of open hands

Call to Prayer - June 8, 2020

COVID-19 has reminded us how much we need one another, and Mr. George Floyd’s murder has reminded us how we have failed one another The prayer below is to help us hold the things we cannot bear on our own, and it invites us to seek healing and hope for the world.

sun setting over rippled water

Call to Prayer - May 26, 2020

Adapted from the work of 20th Century American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, the “Serenity Prayer” has offered comfort and courage across generations and contexts. The contemplative prayer practice below draws from the Serenity Prayer’s themes. It invites us to discern what we can and cannot change in our lives.

Muir Beach Overlook

Call to Prayer - May 11, 2020

"Wow," according to author Annie Lamott, is our essential prayer for beauty and wonder. For me, the "Wow" prayer comes most often in nature: hiking, stargazing, breathing the ocean breeze.

billowing fabric

Call to Prayer - May 4, 2020

In writing about what she calls the three essential prayers—Help, Thanks, and Wow—author Annie Lamott reflects candidly about the struggle to be grateful during difficult times. The following prayer is a gratitude prayer that aligns with the breath.

hand reaching for help from the heavens

Call to Prayer - April 27, 2020

Author Anne Lamott writes there are just three essential prayers: help, thanks and wow. Usually, those three words sum up what our hearts need to say. This week, the prayer most on my heart is just help.

tomato plants in a garden

Call to Prayer - April 20, 2020

When the ancient Israelites were taken into exile in Babylon, they longed for the restoration of their lives and their homeland. This prayer is for finding our place in the unfamiliar times we now inhabit.

open tomb with sunlight coming in

Call to Prayer - April 13, 2020

The oldest known ending of the Gospel of Mark (16:1-8) did not include an appearance by the resurrected Jesus. Rather, it concluded with an angelic vision and Jesus’ female followers leaving his empty tomb in fear and amazement. This prayer is for all who, like those women, seek God in times of despair and find hope that is beyond comprehension.

Crocus flowers

Call to Prayer - April 6, 2020

While we ourselves may be new to tragedy on this scale, humanity is not. Throughout the world and across time, cataclysms have shaken humanity. Turmoil and suffering have shattered communities. The book of Lamentations speaks of such unthinkable grief and distress, but buried within the text are a few verses of hope. This week's prayer is for that kind of hope.

stepping stones in a forest

Stepping Stones: Spiritual Practices for Today

When crisis disrupts our lives, our souls long for comfort, stability, and direction. Simple spiritual practices offer solace for these times. Reflection and intentionality throughout the day can form a path, stepping stones that guide us.

A tent in the wilderness

A Call to Prayer - March 30, 2020

This week’s prayer draws on Psalm 27. Among our many prayers at this time, please join me in remembering healthcare professionals for their own health and wellbeing; leaders in all settings for their decision-making; and all those who are physically, financially, emotionally or otherwise especially vulnerable.

Lake Michigan waves near Milwaukee

A Call to Prayer - March 23, 2020

In difficult and uncertain times, many of us find courage by leaning into our faith. Each week, Carroll University's chaplain invites any person who wishes to join her in spiritual reflection.

June 27 storm damage

For Christ and Learning

The Rev. Elizabeth McCord pauses to reflect on the lessons we can learn from a tempest's wrath after severe weather struck campus on June 27, 2019

Beautiful clouds

For Christ and Learning

The Rev. Elizabeth McCord writes about making space for our spiritual wellness.

beach scene

For Christ and Learning

The Rev. Elizabeth McCord writes about an Alternative Spring Break trip – one of many ways Carroll students serve the community.

Panoramic View of campus