Easter season makes for even busier times for this farm wife doing triple duties as a rural church preacher.
Diane Euler of Dwight, a small town near Council Grove, said her strong faith, musical abilities and desire to serve led her to take a position as a minister at United Methodist churches in the towns of Miller, Admire and Allen, which are east of Council Grove.
Being the pastor for three churches year-round keeps Euler quite busy, but she felt called.
“Jesus called us to love one another, and serve one another,” she said. “I felt the call to serve that great commandment to love my neighbors and share my love with all others.”
Diane is married to Steve Euler, lifelong Morris County farmer following in footsteps of his father, Sam. Steve is also the local water district manager, generally a full-time job itself.
“With all of his own chores, Steve is very good to me,” Diane said. “He always goes along to the services, drives the car. He’s my greatest supporter.”
Her love of church began at a very early age.
“I was raised on a farm at Dunlap, and I seldom missed attending Methodist Church on Sunday,” she said.
Musical talents soon showed through.
“Of course, I always joined in singing at church,” Diane recalled. “I started doing solos from kindergarten all through the years at Dunlap Grade School.”
That included featured numbers for school programs, community gatherings and church services.
Soon musical instruments were added in.
“I took piano lessons from Lois Wirsig and started playing the saxophone in junior high,” Diane noted.
Attending Council Grove High School, she was in band and selected a member of the Brave Voices singing group, which performed at meetings and competed.
Studying elementary education at Marymount College in Salina, Diane sang in the choir.
“It was a lot of fun,” she said. “By then, I was also getting asked to sing at a number of weddings and funerals, too. That’s always such a privilege to serve others, help when I can.”
After teaching first and second grade for a few years at Salina, Diane moved back to the Morris County area in the early ’90s.
Always active in her church, she served numerous roles, pianist, organist, soloist, choir member, musical program coordinator. “I tried to help out whatever I was asked to do,” she said.
Married to Steve in 1999, Diane became a member of his family’s Dwight United Methodist Church. “Steve’s mom and dad were strong church members there,” she said. “Right away I became one, too.”
Within a short time, due to her most apparent faith beliefs, Diane was asked to speak at some church services.
Her calendar became more filled with preaching in addition to singing engagements. “I was increasingly asked to fill the pulpit when area pastors went on vacation or had other obligations,” Diane said.
That soon led to Diane becoming a licensed local pastor in the United Methodist Church. In July 2016 she was appointed to serve the North Lyon County Tri Parish of Miller, Admire and Allen.
It makes for a busy Sunday morning.
“I start with services at Miller at 9 o’clock, and leave before it’s over,” she said. “But, I’m still a tad late for Admire at 10 o’clock. Then, I’m generally a bit tardy for Allen, too. But after the 11 o’clock Allen service, being a social bug, I stay awhile to visit.”
As reference, it’s about 8 miles from Miller to Admire and a little more than 5 miles on to Allen.
Fortunately, Euler only prepares one sermon presenting it at all three services.
“Steve says I do make a few changes each time,” she said, smiling.
Music is essential for church services, and Diane works with pianists and singers in that coordination. “I try to help line that up a few weeks ahead,” she said.
Rural church survival is tough, but with Pastor Euler’s service the North Lyon County Tri Parish is doing just fine.
“There are nearly 80 in attendance at the three churches combined each Sunday,” Diane said. “They are dedicated to their faith and their churches working hard together keeping each one going.
“God takes care of those who are strong in their faith and beliefs,” she insisted.
Following traditions of the rural churches, starting with Lent, Easter season brings additional coordination.
“Each church has regular services on Palm Sunday,” Pastor Euler said. “But Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services are rotated among the churches.
“The Tri-Parish hosts an Easter Sunrise Service at 6:30, at the Admire Cemetery. Then regular Sunday services are at each of the churches,” she continued.
A new tradition is the Christmas Eve Service hosted by the North Lyon County Tri Parish at the Admire Community Center. “It has continued to grow with people from outside the area coming besides our local church members,’ Diane said.
A popular spring attraction is the Drive Your Tractor to Church Sunday. “We started that three years ago rotating churches. Weather has had some influence on participation, but we had 18 tractors come to the Admire Park last year.
“Some come from quite a distance,” Pastor Euler related. “One came from Council Grove, and we let the children bring their toy tractors and the like, too.
“My sermon is related to agriculture and livestock our stewardship to God’s creations. Then, there’s a potluck dinner which farm folks always enjoy,” she noted.
A new attraction is on tap this month. “The Allen United Methodist Church is always very creative in fundraisers and such activities,” Diane credited. “This year, they’ll host an Out To Grass Sunday, April 24th, at the Allen Senior Center, from 11:30, to 1:30.
“Cowboys will be busy moving cattle to pasture and can stop by in their working clothes for dinner. There’ll be cowboy beans, the fixings, and homemade cobbler, too” she promised.
That’s regular “work” plus Pastor Euler must keep up with each individual church board meetings, weddings and funerals. “There’s a wedding tomorrow after the three church services,” she noted.
Top her busy life as farm wife and pastor, Diane is a mom and grandma. “Lexia and Kaleena are my two daughters and we have four grandchildren, Troy, Gabrielle, Destiny, and Joey,” she proudly stated.
Christmas season brings another task for the energetic faithful server. “Marilyn Wells, Dwight United Methodist Church organist, thought with so much musical talent we should have a Community Cantata,” Diane remembered.
“That was 15 years ago. Marilyn picked the songs, but insisted that I direct it. Marilyn passed away a few years ago, but we carry on.
“It’s been a lot of fun with singers from several towns. We’ve had from 15 up to 27 singers,” Diane said. “The community building is nearly filled, as about 85 people generally come to be spiritually entertained. It’s the first Sunday of December, and we’re planning on the 16th performance this year.”
Divine calling to “love one another and serve” is being answered by Pastor Euler; call Diane and she’ll respond.