Our Worship Leaders
After retiring from full-time ministry, The Rev’d Canon Michael Burgess came to St. John’s as Honorary Assistant in the fall of 2010. Prior to this he served in the Diocese of Toronto as Incumbent at the Church of the Transfiguration, The Church of Epiphany and St. Mark, Parkdale and as the Chaplain at Royal St. George’s College. He was an Honorary Assistant at St. Ann's, Gladstone Ave. and later became Interim Priest at the Church of the Advent in West Toronto. Father Michael completed his theological and seminary work at the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield (Yorkshire, England) and was ordained in Chelmsford Cathedral in June 1976. He served in two parishes in the Church of England before coming to Canada at the invitation of Archbishop Lewis Garnsworthy. For five years, he was Domestic Chaplain to Archbisop Terence Finlay. Before entering the priesthood he had a busy and successful career in the UK theatre. He is currently the Artistic Director of Stage Centre Productions, one of Toronto's most highly regarded community theatre groups.
The Rev'd Canon Cheryl Palmer became Director of Cemetery Ministries at St. John's in 2012 after spending 16 years, first as Associate Priest and then as Incumbent, at St. Clement's Church in North Toronto. Before that, she was Anglican Chaplain at the Hospital for Sick Children, while serving as Honorary Assistant at Christ Church, Deer Park. She was Associate Priest at St. Stephen's, Downsview, and Assistant Curate at St. John's Church, Ancaster (Diocese of Niagara). Canon Palmer is a graduate of Queen's University and the Faculty of Divinity, Trinity College, Toronto (MDiv). She has served on numerous diocesan committees, including, recently, the Postulancy Committee, which assists the Bishop in selecting candidates for ordination. She has also been a facilitator for Fresh Start, a diocesan program supporting new incumbents in the critical transitional period of ministry at a new parish.
Mattthew Whitfield our Organist and Choir Director, is a graduate of York University (B. Mus) and the University of Toronto (M. Mus) where he studied with renowned organist John Tuttle. As a liturgical organist, he has performed on some of Canada's best-known and largest pipe organs at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene (Toronto), St. Paul's Bloor Street (Toronto), and Metropolitan United Church (Toronto) where he worked as an Assistant Organist. A prizewinner in several competitions, he also performs in concert and has written for Organ Canada, the official journal of the Royal Canadian College of Organists.