Goings & Comings


CARISSAWe are excited to welcome Rev. Carissa Surber who will become SPUMC’s newest pastor on July 1st, 2016. We will formally have a chance to meet and welcome her in worship this coming Sunday, July 3rd, where she will preach and serve communion for the very first time among us. There will be a cake and punch reception for her in Fellowship Hall following each of our services. We hope that you will be on hand to personally greet Carissa and her husband, Matthew.

For the past two years, Carissa served as the pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church in Odenton and is a provisional elder in the Baltimore-Washington Conference. While at Trinity for the last two years, she has led the congregation through a variety of new experiences, including intergenerational worship (especially seeking to involve children), missional partnerships, and a stewardship campaign grounded in a theology of abundance. In 2013-14, she served as a pastoral intern at Bethesda UMC with Rev. Ron, where she taught adult Sunday school, co-chaired the Community Life committee, and coordinated an Advent devotional guide written by church members. While in college, she was on the summer program staff at West River Center, organizing nightly worship services with diverse groups of clergy and lay volunteers.

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 deeply 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.

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. 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 BWC’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.

Send Carissa an email and give her an early welcome to SPUMC!



housewivesFor the last eight years, Rev. Nicole has served the congregation and community with grace, compassion, joy and great effectiveness and she will be dearly missed. As Nicole, Brian and Grady prepare for their move to Charleston where Brian has accepted a position in Cardiology at the Medical University of South Carolina, we sent them out in style this past weekend.

Many Thanks to Everyone Who Made Nicole’s Farewell Weekend So Special!  We had a great Cookout, Roast & Toast on Friday night which featured the talents of MC Rev. Lee Ferrell, Josh Bennett who sang an original song called “The Funny Thing” (which, ironically, had us all in tears), Nicola Patterson & the SPUMC Choir (performing a beautiful piece, “Be Not Afraid”) that Nicola had composed for the occasion) and of course the hilarious skit “The REAL Doctors’ Housewives of Charleston” — Lori Sexton, Jill Hellwig & Rev. Lee had us rolling on the floor with this one. Thanks to all of the tribute speakers (Todd Bridges, Lori Sexton Brian Houston & Rev. Jim Farmer) for their poignant memories and to the UMW & UMM for tending to the picnic part of the evening. A huge shout out to Sandy O’Donnell & the SPRC for helping to coordinate the entire weekend’s events.

Then  on Sunday morning,  Rev. Nicole preached a powerful final sermon that had us both laughing and crying — “I Have You in My Heart” — and Bette MacWilliams, Alyssa Pepper, & Ron Shippee offered their words of witness and thanks at our three services. Rev. Nicole was presented with some special gifts — Lou Fetter’s sugar cookies, a beautiful stole created by Carol Rice and the basket of letters and cards you sent in, along with a print called “Woman at the Well” to go along with the gift presented in her honor to Living Well on Wilkens. Grady received a Maryland football and crab to remind him of his time with us. A commemorative SPUMC Altar created by Sean & Candis Wise was also presented to Nicole on Friday evening and it sat on the the real altar on Sunday.This was all topped off by a cookie reception in her honor after each service in the Fellowship Hall (thanks to all our bakers!).

It’s not too late to contribute to  Nicole’s Farewell Gift to honor her eight fruitful years of ministry here – half of the contributions will go to support Living Well on Wilkens (as per her request) and the other half will be given to Nicole and her family as a thank you. You may give by check (make sure to mark your check “Rev. Nicole” in the memo section) or online at severnaparkumc.org/give.  So far we have received close to $4000 for Living Well on Wilkens!