The Rev. Canon Gary van der Meer
Pastor & Incumbent
I'm really interested in our church's part in the health of the whole community. I want to support the interlocking contributions of so many neighbourhood organizations, in a partnership of face-to-face friendship. One of the most exciting aspects of St. Anne's is our deep local connections. All the threads of community come through St. Anne's.
A bit about me: I like to read and I always have books on the go. I'd love to hear about what you're reading. I enjoy reading theology, and I keep up with some young adult fiction (that's the section of the bookstore where you will find me browsing).
I enjoy athletics: running, rock climbing, yoga, canoeing and kayaking. Above all, I'm a cyclist, everyday and all winter, on mountain-biking trails, and on long distance trips. If you would like to go for a bike ride with me, the answer is already yes. I am a rider and team leader for the annual Friends for Life Bike Rally, a group ride from Toronto to Montreal to support the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation. Find out more about my ride here.
I like to play in the kitchen (that's my approach to cooking). I like to buy foods I have never had before, and figure out how to prepare them. Recipes bring out the rebel in me; I never quite follow them.
I love the church. It's important to me to challenge Christian communities to become more welcoming and inclusive. I enjoy sermons, both giving them and hearing them. I find that I'm listening for connections between the very different time when the sacred texts were written, and the challenges in our own times. If on the day after you've heard a sermon, I remember what I heard, God has something to work with.
I love coffee. Meet me at one of our great local coffee spots, and let's talk.
Originally from Brockville, the Rev. Canon Gary van der Meer came to Toronto to study. Following a history degree from the University of Toronto, he completed the MBA program at the Schulich School of Business, York University. Gary studied theology at Trinity College and was ordained in 1993. He served parishes in Orillia, Port Perry and High Park before coming to St. Anne’s in 2011. In 2018, Gary was appointed Interfaith Officer for the Anglican Diocese of Toronto, a role that encourages friendship and understanding between people and communities of different faiths.
The Rev. Tim Taylor
The Rev. Judith Alltree
The Rev. Judith Alltree is fond of using the phrase “the ministry of small gestures” to describe her work. “That really sums up, in one sentence, what we do,” says Alltree over the course of an interview at the Mission’s Hamilton headquarters. “We listen. I go onboard now with little bags of chocolates for the crew. It’s a little gesture, a small gesture, but it just says to the crew, ‘We’re happy to see you, we’re glad you’re safe. What do you need, how can we help you?’ ”These small gestures—a bag of chocolates, a kind word, the lending of an ear—can go a long way in accumulating the trust of a ship’s captain and crew. And in an industry that critics say is notorious for its lack of oversight, trust is a commodity in short supply.
Society’s collective amnesia with regard to the method by which the vast majority of everyday items reach our shores contributes to this lack of oversight, says Alltree. Ninety per cent of everything people use comes by way of ship, she says, but little or no thought is spared for the men and women aboard. The crew is rendered “invisible,” and thus becomes much more vulnerable to a myriad of workplace abuses, some of which can lead to loss of life.
“We talk a lot about fairly traded coffee, cocoa, sugar. And that’s really important, and we can never lose sight of that,” says Alltree. “But what we also have to remember is that it gets here on a ship. Nobody thinks about the human element to that—it is fairly traded, [but] as soon as it gets on that ship, fairness goes out the window.”
Judith was ordained deacon and priest in the Diocese of Toronto. She brings thorough experience in the ceremonial practice and rite of Anglican Church and extensive experience of the Lutheran liturgy through past leadership in Lutheran congregations (Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada). Judith's previous career in business and performing arts management includes skills in creative project development and management, sales, marketing and event production. Judith is the Executive Director and Chaplain of the Mission to Seafarers' Southern Ontario Chapter, a non-denominational and multi-faith organization that cares for seafarers who arrive in the ports of Hamilton, Oshawa and Toronto.
Director of Music
Mervin is the founding director of the Toronto Beach Chorale, the Artistic Director of the MCS Chorus of Mississauga, and conductor of the PCS Singers of Brampton and the National Award-winning Esprit Chamber Choir. Mervin is a strong proponent of arts education, Mervin presents an innovative and successful interactive arts education program for elementary school students in the Peel School Board. Integrating Canadian visual art, poetry, and music, the program showcases a song cycle inspired by Group of Seven paintings and poetry written by young people.
A graduate of the University of Toronto Faculty of Music (MUS BAC), he has diplomas in vocal performance and vocal pedagogy from the Royal Conservatory of Music, as well as a Colleague diploma and a Certificate in Service Playing from the Royal Canadian College of Organists.
Mervin is a wonderful vocal coach who inspires joyful singing.
Mary Lou Harrison
As the Parish Administrator, I lead the administration and communications for St. Anne’s. I enjoy the amazing energy and creativity of the people in our St. Anne’s community. I appreciate the deep respect here for the continuity of past, present and future. You will hear my voice if you call the church, and I look forward to greeting you when you visit.
Mary Lou is a communications specialist, with extensive experience with local newspapers and volunteer organizations as an editor and writer. Her academic background is in Canadian history, and German Language and Literature. She is passionate about social justice issues. She is a member of the Diocesan HIV/AIDS Network, and has a special interest in environmental stewardship. Mary Lou is an active member of Rotary International and Girl Guides of Canada. A self-proclaimed "people person", she also loves gardening, reading, and swimming.
From Left to Right: David Roeder, Marc Potvin, and Peter Gorman