Meet the Team

Rev Lynn McKeon  -  Vicar of Christ Church Gentleshaw and St Bartholomew Farewell,                                        and Rural Dean of Lichfield

I was born in Moseley, Birmingham, into a large Roman Catholic family of Irish origins. I attended Roman Catholic Primary and Comprehensive Schools, and worshipped each week at St.Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, Chasetown, until I was 18 years old.

I became involved with Christ Church, Gentleshaw when I was 18, and was subsequently accepted into the Church of England. I then trained as a Lay Reader, and ministered within the Church in this capacity for 18 years. During this period I recognised a calling to ordained ministry, and spent a number of years discerning God’s call on my life. I went off to a selection conference, was recommended for training in 2007, completed an Ordination Course and was Ordained Deacon in 2009, and Ordained Priest in 2010.

I served my curacy at Christ Church Gentleshaw as a self supporting priest (voluntary un-paid)  I was appointed Interim Minister, following The Rev’d Martin Butt’s retirement as Priest-in-Charge. During a two and a half year period as Interim Minister, while The Diocese of Lichfield looked at the deployment of Clergy in the Burntwood area, I progressed through the process of transfer to Stipendiary (Paid) Ministry. Following a second set of selection interviews, my application to transfer was accepted. The Post of Priest-in-Charge of Christ Church Gentleshaw and St Bartholomew Farewell was advertised, I applied for the post, was interviewed and subsequently appointed. I was then licenced by The Bishop of Wolverhampton The Right Rev’d Clive Gregory on the 1st of December 2015, the post now being a part time post of two days and a Sunday each week. I am now the Vicar of the united Benefice of Farewell & Gentleshaw and The Rural Dean of Lichfield.

My hobbies include looking after my many and varied pets, walking, playing guitar.

Rev Bill Hassall - Retired Priest

Rev'd Bill retired from full time ministry in 2005 after over 30 years in full time ministry as a Vicar in a number of parishes within the Dioces of Lichfield. He now fulfils his calling to ministry as a priest within Christ Chrch Gentleshaw and St Bartholomew Farewell, whilst hilding a Permission to Officiate licence from The Bishop Of Lichfield.

His hobbies include, gardening, looking after his chickens, reading and completing Jigsaws.







Carol Shelley  - Lay Reader

Having grown up in London I made my way to the Midlands to train as a teacher, in Birmingham. I met and married a "Shropshire Lad"; and the rest as they say is history.

I worked as a teacher for thirty three years (time out having my own two children and part time for five years at the end of my career); loving almost every minute of it. I began as a High School Art teacher; moved to Middle School and was "reorganised" into Primary; only to end back in Middle School education.

The year I retired saw me make the commitment I had considered for some time, to take the two year training course to become a Licensed Reader in the Anglican Church.  In September 2008 I was licensed at Lichfield Cathedral, and am part of the worship team for Christ Church Gentleshaw and St Bartholomew Farewell.

My personal indulgences are cooking, travel, theatre, music and reading; although quite a lot of time is given over to various crafts some of which I am able to use as part of my life in faith.

I have been blessed with a wonderful marriage, two great adult children and their partners, and four delightful grandchildren. My only disappointment is that my daughter, her husband and their two children live on the west coast of America.

My faith life has had its ups and downs; but the best moment I have experienced was when I fully understood for the first time that God loves me as I am; and that trusting in him, with the guidance of Jesus and the strength of the Holy Spirit can only make every step through life more fulfilling. 

Fran Powis - Lay Reader & PCC Secretary

Gary and I moved to this area the day we married 40 years ago and have been worshipping at Christ Church since our eldest son was baptised here in 1980.  Our second son was born in 1982 and we moved into Cannock Wood in November 1983.
The weekend that Gary was due to return to work, after the move, it snowed and snowed. Snow had drifted against the hedges and Cumberledge and Hayfield Hill’s had to manage with a single, cleared track for some while after that.
Since then, despite ups and downs and varied weather, our stability and mainstay have been our church and church family.
 I got involved in a stewardship campaign in 1982, pushing a pram with a toddler at my side, inviting people to a Stewardship Supper which was a great success.
As a late starter, once family commitments permitted I spent many years on the P.C.C. in various roles, before becoming Church Warden in 2004 and beginning Lay Reader training 2006.  I was licensed in 2008 and so joined the Leadership Team. God has been with us throughout our children’s growth to maturity, we now have three grand-sons and a grand-daughter.
We have had great support through our short-lived efforts to run a local post office and through redundancy for both of us at different times and we are now enjoying pensionable age as we find more time for our garden and I am available to prepare and lead 9.15a.m. services of Morning Prayer on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday each week.
I became a Parish Councillor at its inauguration and served for five years, living in a community like this it is good to get involved and so return something to the life of the village and to be able to share our faith and the generosity of the Lord with others.
I feel very privileged to have lived and worshipped in this community and look forward to however many years God may give me in this picturesque setting. 

Gary Powis - Reader Emeritus & Webmaster
I was born in the village of Shareshill, between Wolverhampton and Cannock and went to the local primary school and also attended the local C of E Sunday School and also at various times a nearby Methodist Chapel Sunday School. My secondary education was at Cannock Grammar School and during my early teenage years I joined Shareshill Church Choir. During this time I was confirmed but like many other teenagers I drifted away from church life and did not really come back until our first child was born.
I spent the majority of my working life (37 years) in the Circulation department of the Express and Star before taking early retirement. I then had a complete change of direction working part-time for 31/2 years as a driver for a local agricultural merchants before the company went into liquidation.
Like Fran my involvement with Christ Church began with the birth of our first son. I joined the P.C.C in 1981 and have been a member for most of the time since. I have also been a member of Deanery Synod on two occasions. During this time Fran and I also completed the Bishops Certificate Course in Christian Education.  I served as Church Warden for eight years before retiring from the post to begin Lay Reader training and was licensed as a Lay Reader in 1998 and have been part of the Church Leadership team since then. Unfortunately due to health issues I have now taken Reader Emeritus status but continue to be involved in many background ways.
In 1995 I joined the Cannock Wood and Gentleshaw Village Hall Committee as Church representative and served as Chairman from 2000 until retiring from the committee in 2012. I also had the privilege to serve as a Parish councillor for several years also being Chairman of that organisation for 4 years before retirement again in 2012.
My hobbies include Model Railways, Natural History and Woodworking especially using recycled materials to make various items for home and garden use and for resale for church funds.
Like Fran I believe that we have been fortunate to live in such a wonderful community and area for so many years and it has been good to be able to give something back in return both to the community but most especially to God and our church family.

Marion Tait  - Churchwarden & Messy Church Co-ordinator

My parents, Ken and Margaret Topping, moved to Cannock Wood in 1963 so I partly grew up in the village. I went to Sunday School at Christchurch Gentleshaw and was confirmed from here. At the age of 21 I left the village to work in various parts of England, Wales, Scotland and Jersey as a Hotel Receptionist and returned to the area in 1978. I returned to Gentleshaw Church following the Christenings of my two daughters and have lived in Bradwell Lane since 1987. Both girls were married in this Church and their own children baptised here. For a few years I was Brown Owl at Gentleshaw Brownies and for the last 4 years I have been the Booking Secretary for the Village Hall. I belong to the village W.I. and look after the accounts for Cannock Wood & Gentleshaw Welfare Association. I have been involved with Messy Church from the beginning and have taken great pleasure in seeing the children return time after time and in welcoming new ones.

Lee Bragginton - Churchwarden

Profile to follow


Barry Gerry - P.C.C Treasurer

Profile to follow


Heather Edwards - Electoral Roll Secretary

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