Easton United Methodist Church has a long, 126-year history serving the congregation of the small valley about 12 miles west of Leavenworth.

Easton United Methodist Church has a long, 126-year history serving the congregation of the small valley about 12 miles west of Leavenworth.
New chapters in that history are being added with a recent church renovation and the addition of a new minister.
Church official Diane Behne talks more about the renovation project in this Q5, and new minister Dean Lashley chimes in, as well, discussing what led him to Easton.

1. Diane, can you tell us about the Easton United Methodist Church's renovation? How long has the church been a staple of the Easton community?
"The renovation project was a complete overhaul of the church's sanctuary. New concrete floors were poured, along with all new carpeting and tile. There was a lot of electrical and duct were done. The walls were re-sheetrocked and given a fresh coat of paint, and many items were cleaned and refurbished, such as the pews.

2. The church will host an event soon to celebrate the renovation completion and to show off results to community members. What will the festivities include and when will it be?
"The church will be having a renovation celebration on the evening of Saturday, July 26, from 5-7 p.m. All who come will be able to see the work that has been done to the church's sanctuary, inside and out. We will be providing a huge smorgasbord meal. A piano player will be in the sanctuary all night long, playing music and taking requests for any hymns you would like to hear or sing along to.
"We will also be having door prizes throughout the evening. This is our way of giving back to all the folks who have supported us throughout the years, to let them know that we are here when they need us. It is also a great time to celebrate the coming of our new pastor."

3. How long did the renovation take and are parishioners eager to start attending their place of worship again?
"We started the renovations in October 2013. When we got started, we met in the church hall, but as the renovations got more involved, we had to move out of our church completely.
"Bob Watkins, a member of the church, owns the building that used to house the old Baptist church in Easton, and offered us the building to use. We were excited to be able to move back into our church building the second Sunday of June."

4. Can you tell us about some of the programs the church sponsors such as the outreach program and the canned good drives? How does Easton United Methodist Church best help needy people in the area?
"The church's outreach program has teamed up with the Pleasant Ridge School District to host food drives to gather canned and dry foods that are given to families in need within the Easton community. When asked, the United Methodist Women's group provides meals for the family and friends after funerals. The group also provides sweet treats to our local businesses for Valentine's Day to let them know how much we appreciate the fact that they are here for us like the church is here for them.
"At Thanksgiving and Christmas, we adopt families in need. We give them food to prepare their holiday meals and gifts. Also, at Christmas time, the church sends care packages to active duty military service men and women who are away from home. We also collect school supplies during back-to-school time for the children in our community."

5. The church has recently welcomed new minister Dean Lashley. Please tell us about him. (Note: This question was answered by Lashley.)
"I have lived in Kansas my entire life, though I thoroughly enjoy traveling. My wife, Carmalyn, and I have been married for 21 years and have two daughters. Victoria is 13 and Audra is 11.
"Carmalyn and I both grew up in south-central Kansas in the Pratt area, where we met. Later, we lived in Lawrence for 13 years, briefly in Bonner Springs, and then Salina for eight years before moving back to this side of the state.
"Before going into ministry, I worked in retail for 25 years. I worked for Walmart for 12 years and Target for 13 years. At both, I was involved in management, primarily anything to do with freight. Though I enjoyed retail, over the past several years I had increasingly felt like God was directing me to do something different with my life. As I became increasingly involved at First United Methodist Church in Salina, it became apparent that indeed God had other plans for me.
"Over the past year, I have worked at the First United Methodist Church in Salina as director of adult spiritual growth and equipping. During that time, I worked with the pastor there, David Watson, and others discerning what God had planned for me and my family. It has been an amazing journey, though I can't completely comprehend why God has chosen me for this path. I will be starting seminary in the fall at Saint Paul School of Theology while serving the Easton church.
"Easton United Methodist Church is my first appointment as a local pastor and my family and I are thrilled about it. Easton United Methodist has been an incredibly welcoming church with wonderful, inviting people. My family and I are excited to discover more about the community as we make new friends in Christ. I feel honored to have this chance to learn and serve in such a community as Easton."