Maria-Pia Seirup was appointed Associate Pastor to Jesse Lee Memorial UMC in 2016 after serving as Director of Children’s Ministries for 12 years. Maria-Pia, or “MP” enjoys creating welcoming and nurturing environments where persons of all ages are invited to encounter God and serve others. Maria-Pia received her BA from McGill University (Montreal) in Modern Languages. In 2015 received her Masters in Religion from Yale Divinity School. In 2016 she was commissioned as provisional deacon by the New York Annual Conference. Her call to ministry leads her to focus on creating safe environments, teaching and training leaders/teachers so that persons of all ages may grow in faith knowing in their hearts the hope and promise Jesus brings us through his life, death and resurrection. By helping persons discover their gifts and nurturing the spark of God inside, each person, at every age and stage of life, Maria-Pia’s hope is that everyone will listen for and act on God’s call to share their gifts with others to promote God’s justice, kindness and mercy in their everyday lives.Maria-Pia especially enjoys working with children to encourage their wonder of the world around them and helping them connect that wonder with an age-appropriate concept of God’s grace and love. She experiences great joy and satisfaction when the children, youth and adults find their own voice and gifts and respond by sharing their gifts with others and form trusting relationships with God, their peers and mentors. Maria-Pia and her husband, Peter, have lived in Ridgefield for 34 years. They have 3 grown children, one 8 year-old granddaughter and a sweet Sheltie-dog, Muffin. Their children attended Ridgefield schools and were active in the Jesse Lee children’s and youth ministries growing up. Visiting with their children, who now live in 3 different time zones across the United States (OR, MN & CO), is a high priority during MP’s and Peter’s free time. Maria-Pia and Peter enjoy traveling with friends, volunteering at the UMC Camp Kingwood, cooking and doing mission work together. For relaxation Maria-Pia enjoys contemplative prayer, sewing and knitting as well as biking, walking and yoga. She takes great pleasure in sharing her handwork and cooking skills with children and adults.