Rev. Carissa Surber

Executive Pastor

Rev. Carissa is passionate about worship and authentic engagement with scripture. From a life in the United Methodist Church and a heart for service with the broader community, she believes that all of life – from the sanctuary to the school, from the kitchen to the workplace – is an act of worship. She is interested in walking alongside a community of believers and exploring together what vibrant Christian living looks like in the 21st century.

Rev. Carissa is a provisional elder in the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church. Before coming to Severna Park in July 2016, Carissa was the pastor of Trinity UMC in Odenton, MD. While at Trinity, she led the congregation through a variety of new experiences, including intergenerational worship, missional partnerships, and a stewardship campaign grounded in a theology of abundance. Previously, she served alongside Rev. Ron at Bethesda UMC, where she taught adult Sunday school, co-chaired the Community Life committee, and coordinated an Advent devotion guide written by church members. While in college, she served on the program staff at West River Center, organizing nightly worship services with diverse groups of clergy and lay volunteers.

Carissa received her Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Cedar Crest College in Allentown, PA, where she worked with foster families through Lehigh County Children and Youth Services. Before attending seminary, she spent one year serving in direct care at the Board of Child Care. She graduated with a Master of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary in May 2015. Carissa is married to Matthew Surber, who serves as the program director for West River Center, one of the Baltimore-Washington Conference’s camp and retreat centers. They live at West River with their puppy, Maisy. A lifelong lover of nature and the performing arts, Carissa enjoys singing, playing piano, hiking, Zumba, and listening to podcasts.