The Reverend Philip Stonhouse
Rev. Philip is happy to be a part of the family of St. Matt’s. Philip completed his Masters of Divinity at Wycliffe College and has been blessed to learn from some amazing leaders, including his parents who are priests in Saskatchewan. Philip has done dynamic missional work for the gospel, such as planting a new church in Ajax, creating partnerships with schools and other community groups, launching summer camps and afterschool clubs. Philip is happily married to Mary Anne and is excited about faith and hopes that you will be too, so that together we might grow in faith together and share the good news of Christ's love.
If you would like to know more about Rev. Philip here is an article by Insight Magazine.
The Reverend Merv Mercer
Merv Mercer has served at St. Matthew's for more than five years and his wisdom, experience, and sense of humour help develop our community of faith in deep and meaningful ways. His vocation as Anglican priest has taken him around the world and he has served as a professor at Wycliffe College, at the University of Toronto. In 2012, Merv was made a Canon in the Diocese of Toronto for his pastoral development of seminarians, his work on selecting priests for ordination, and his skill in ministering during periods of transition. His servant-leader heart continues to make a difference in the lives of those at St. Matthew's. Merv has two daughters and three grandsons and is married to his incredible wife, Dawn Mercer.
Christian Formation and Education Director
Dawn Mercer has been serving at St. Matthew's with her husband, Merv, for over five years. Dawn has been integral to developing the G.I.F.T. Groups (Growing in Faith Together), and helps write, edit, and facilitate relevant and practical teaching. Dawn's gifts in education, digital development, and enthusiasm for the community are grounded in her love of God and desire to share relevant messages of hope. Dawn leads by example, and encourages spiritual growth in all-ages ministry. She directs our Messy Church services and continues to make a difference in the lives of the children in our community - as well as their parents, grandparents, and everyone in between. Dawn has two daughters and three grandsons and is married to her gem of a husband, Merv Mercer.
Youth and Discipleship Associate Pastor
Christine is a creative teacher, preacher, and designer. She has a calling to develop sustainable, emotionally-healthy youth ministry in churches, and is excited to be working at St. Matthew's to build up ministry with youth. Christine earned her Master's of Divinity from Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto, and is a self-taught graphic designer. Christine takes great joy in the community and relationships at church and looks forward to contributing to the ongoing goals of discipleship and inter-generational ministry. Christine has a heart for prayer, a love of animals, and a passion for gaming.
Family Ministries Associate
Jeff is committed to helping families follow Jesus together. He co-hosts Messy Church on Saturday mornings with Dawn Mercer, a fun form of church for children and adults that involves creativity, celebration and hospitality. He works hard to connect with parents and families as a means of supporting faith formation in the home. In his spare time, Jeff studies theology in the Master's of Divinity program at Trinity College at the University of Toronto. He is a life-professed Anglican Franciscan with the Third Order of the Society of St. Francis. He and his wife, E.J., have two children, and love playing games, reading books, and spending time together.
Organist and Choir Director
A passionate musician and committed Christian, Tyler Versluis has dedicated his life to demonstrating how the arts and faith intersect. The grandson of an organist, Tyler learned the importance of music and worship at an early age, and began serving in churches in his late teens as a church musician in St. Catharines, Ontario. He studied music composition at the University of Toronto completing a Doctor of Musical Arts in 2018. His compositions frequently display the imprint of his faith. Tyler leads music at the 9:30 am family service, and plays the organ and directs the choir at St. Matthew's. A husband and a father to three young children, his family life reminds him of the importance of growing in one's faith, and the church's role in nurturing that growth.
My favorite bible verse is Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me."
One of the first ministries I was involved with was fundraising. I enjoyed the communal goal and the fellowship of fellow parishioners to help raise money for the benefit of Saint Matthew's.
Looking to the future I would like to expand St. Matthew's role in the community. This would increase our congregation size and our presence in our neighborhood.
Outside of St. Matthew's I enjoy seeing the Toronto Raptors both live and on television. Watching and playing sports including golf and tennis is a real hobby of mine.
As an Anglican my whole life and active member of St. Matthew’s parish for many years I love the tradition of the liturgy but also a healthy blend of gospel songs and diverse readings. The Beatitudes, as recorded in Matthew 5:1-12 from the Sermon on the Mount, form a guide for Christian living each day.
One of my favourite hymns is:”Make me a Channel of Your Peace,” also known as the Prayer of Saint Francis. It focuses my heart and feet in seeking to follow Jesus. Our family joined St. Matthew’s when we moved to the neighbourhood and sought a vibrant, friendly, family-oriented parish in which to worship. It was a natural fit to begin my volunteering and service within our church as a teacher with the children's ministries now named so aptly, Club Matt. Numerous other activities and service work within the Church followed and I am particularly interested in outreach projects locally and further afield.
Just as many organized religions struggle to appeal to a rapidly changing world, St. Matt’s faces many challenges not the least of which has been the Covid pandemic. But in these challenges, as we quickly adapted to virtual services and online study groups, many blessings have been given to our Parish. Adaptability, diversity and flexibility will continue to frame our growth as we focus of “Sharing Jesus Love”.
My favourite Bible verse is, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Love your neighbour as yourself." Mark 12:30-31
The first activities I got involved in at St. Matthew's was the nursery, St. Theresa’s Anglican Church Women's group (ACW), and the Chancel Guild, which helps all the beautiful things happen at the front run smoothly!
My hope for St. Matthew’s is that our church will continue to grow as a welcoming place for anyone seeking a church home!
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)
Since I was a little girl, I can remember loving all the bible verses about light. As I gazed up at the flickering candles on St. Matthew’s altar, or stared around at the story-filled stained-glass windows, the light always caught my attention. As I grew into adulthood and in my faith, this particular verse always spoke to me about the shining hope of Jesus. That no matter the state of the world or my own life, God’s light would always be with me.
I started teaching Sunday School when I was in high school – in fact, almost immediately after I was confirmed. Should I mention that this may have been because the 15-year-old me found the lengthy services a trifle boring when I no longer took part in a children’s program? 😊 Perhaps, but through teaching, I also found my own calling within the church. I loved the children and finding ways to make the bible come to life for them. And through the following decades, I continued to be involved in children’s programs in one way or another.
As children and young people remain so important in my Christian life, my hopes for the future of the church revolve around them and connect to some of my other passions: diversity, inclusion, social justice. I hope to see the world-wide churches welcome and fully include all people, no matter their race, culture, background, sexual orientation, gender identity, or political leanings. Love is love, and Jesus lived that love for us all so we can do no less than to follow him.
As a mom to two amazing grown daughters, and having recently launched my own business while also trying to finish writing a novel, I find myself very busy entering a new stage of my life - I am excited about what is ahead.