DALLAS From the city's elite to everyone in between, the pews were packed for Sunday's epic birthday bash at Central Christian Church in Dallas, the city's oldest Protestant church.

'When you're around a long time, you must be doing something right', said Mayor Mike Rawlings.

For 150 years, the house of worship at 4711 Westside Drive has prayed for the city's leadership, fed the hungry, provided sanctuary for pets, and even consecrated young love.

'Charlie and I were married in this church,' said Melissa Branan. 'We raised our two children here.'

She and her husband Charles are no longer members, but returned Sunday morning to join the celebration. Not much has changed since they said 'I do' 39 years ago.

'It got painted,' Charles chuckled. 'It's been remodeled one time... a long time ago.

'A lot is still the same,' Melissa added with a smile.

Co-pastors Debbie and Steve Chisolm credit Central Christian's staying power with God's grace, considering the faithful continued to follow despite the demolition of its original building on Ross avenue and two more moves before settling at 4711 Westside Drive.

The Chisolms believe unconditional love will continue to draw more for generations to come.

'We have people old and young, gay and straight, liberal, conservative... and everybody's welcome here,' they said. 'All means all.'


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