Pin on Pinterest
Erik Stolpe

The lights were low and the music soulful Friday night at Central’s Coffee House Cabaret.  It was the first of a series of dinner and musical performance by local talent held in the church fellowship hall.

Central Christian Church Choir Director, Tim Caffee, and choir member, Michael Raines, teamed up with Bill Forbes, Lois Leftwich and Eric Stolpe to perform jazz favorites like “Stray Cat Strut” and Moody Blues “Nights in White Satin.”  A selection from “Black Orpheus” and sung in Portuguese by Lois attested to the remarkable talent that makes up Central’s congregation. Bill and Michaels soft shoe along with Bill’s rendition of George Burn’s “The Baby Song” kept everyone in stitches. Guest performances included a debut piano duet by one of Tim’s new students, Anaya Sharp, who shared the bench with her teacher, and Turtle Creek Corral soloist, Lonnie Parks, who amazed everyone with "You've Got a Friend."

Michael and Lois singing Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe” brought the evening to a close.

A dinner of red beans, rice, hot-from-the-oven cornbread and home baked King Cake were served in honor of forthcoming Mardi Gras.

This was the first of a quarterly series that will give locals the opportunity to perform at the “cabaret.” Plans are underway for a June performance of “Pop Fun in the Summertime.”  The evenings are family- friendly, loads of fun and open to the public. Also, if you are interested in auditioning for the June event, contact Michael Raines by calling the church office at 214-526-7291.

All this talent ties in with a music/drama camp for kids who are interested in performing arts that will be offered at Central this summer.  Check out the church web-site for more information.

Pin on Pinterest
4711 Westside Dr.

At Central Christian Church people are asking, “What’s going on upstairs?”  Renovations are taking place to turn the light-filled space that looks out onto the Live Oak canopies into a state-of-the-art wellness center named Westside Wellness. The project is headed up by program director Kirsten Joy Burch of Living Yoga.

Kirsten is a master teacher and yoga therapist who holds an impressive list of certifications in the practice of yoga, holistic services and lifestyle. A strong supporter of holistic medicine, Kirsten teaches traditional yoga, Ayurveda, meditation, Yoga Nidra and more.  In the wellness center, classes in tai chi, diet, nutrition and counseling will be offered.

Central is a three-story Mid-Century Modern building that was erected in the early 1950’s when the Disciples of Christ congregation moved from downtown Dallas to the Highland Park location on Westside Drive. Ground was broken at the new six-acre suburban location in 1952 and services began inside the church in 1953.

This era was known as The Dynamic Decade for churches throughout America.  It was a decade when the American family was embraced as an institution by men and women seeking normalcy after World War II. The economy was booming and people bought nice cars and homes in the suburbs.

It was a fine time to go to church … and to build.  Only a few years passed before plans were underway to expand the space of the new church.  After all, the congregation had grown from approximately 350 members attending the downtown location to a whopping 1250 members by 1963 at the new location on Westside.

A parlor, the large fellowship hall and the little chapel were added to accommodate the expanding activities of the church. Currently, the building boasts a fully-operable stage for musical and dramatic productions and a commercial size kitchen. In short, Central has enough space available to accommodate today’s lifestyle for the entire community.

Today, Central is once again a smaller congregation— one with an older membership. But it remains active in the community and the city it loves.

The wellness center will help bring the building alive with people and activities seven days a week instead of just one.

There is already co-working space (office space available for rent).   Any why not work in a space overlooking tree-tops rather than streets full of traffic? Brown bag it on a picnic table in the shade of the sprawling Bois D’ Arc tree or a spot near where the roses bloom or in the quiet seclusion of the prayer garden. Whether you choose to dine in fellowship hall or opt for a quick game on the front lawn with a co-worker, at Central, you will avoid the hustle and bustle of a more harried lifestyle.    

The one-acre community dog park draws neighbors and their dogs to spend time in the shade of mature live oaks, visiting, reading or playing fetch with their best friend. Church services are held on the first and third Sunday of the month in the park to allow people of any denomination to worship in the casual setting with their dog by their side.

If you have been wondering what’s going on upstairs at Central, or if all this sounds like something that you have been looking for, join Kirsten on Tuesday morning, March 5, at 10:30 a.m. in the church parlor to hear first-hand the wonderful plans that are coming to 4711 Westside Dr. and to get a free demonstration in yoga.

The meeting is open to the public and there is no charge unless you plan to stay for lunch.  Lunch is $5.00 per person. Respond by noon on Monday, March 4, to the church office at 214-526-7291 if you plan to attend.

Pin on Pinterest

Local talent will gather in Central Christian Church Fellowship Hall Friday evening to enjoy dinner and cabaret-style musical performance.

Tim Caffee and Michael Raines are teaming up with Bill Forbes, Lois Leftwich, Grady Quick, and Eric Stolpe to perform favorites like “Nights in White Satin,” “Jumbalaya,” and “Stray Cat Strut.” Enjoy a selection by Lois from “Black Orpheus” set during the time of Carnival in Rio and laugh till your sides ache at Bill’s rendition of George Burn’s “The Baby Song.”

This is the first of a quarterly series that will give locals the opportunity to perform at the “cabaret.” If you are interested in auditioning for future events, contact Michael Raines by calling the church office at 214-526-7291.

In celebration of forthcoming Mardi Gras, traditional New Orleans fare, red beans and rice followed by King Cake, will be served. This is family fun at it’s finest.  All of the community is invited to enjoy the evening of free entertainment.

Pin on Pinterest
Sample food fit for King Rex


“If Ever I Cease to Love” is the song synonymous with Mardi Gras. It goes something like this: “May sheeps heads grow on apple trees, if ever I cease to love, may I be stung to death with flies, if ever I cease to love.” Silly? Yes.  But we might add to the lyrics of the song, “if ever I cease to learn.”

Borrowing from other culture’s traditions is a fantastic way to embrace community and continue to learn while having fun.

Join Central in Fellowship Hall on March 3rd following morning worship as the congregation and guests celebrate Mardi Gras.

Sample Creole and Cajun foods, find the Baby Jesus in a King Cake and enjoy pralines just like Aunt Sally made.  Second line dancing and Zydeco music will add to the festive occasion. These are all traditions of Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras is the last day of “carnival season” and the last celebration before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.  Translated, Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday.” On Fat Tuesday, pantries are cleared of food that will not be eaten during Lent and would spoil during the 40 days of fasting.  Foods like milk, eggs and oil that are used in pancakes needed to be eaten rather than going to waste, so pancakes were often served the night before Ash Wednesday.  Thus the term—Pancake Tuesday. Churches around town often host pancake suppers on Fat Tuesday.

Another name for Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday is Shrove Tuesday. Shrove comes from the old middle English word 'Shriven' meaning to go to confession to say sorry for the wrong things you've done. 

Purple, green and gold are the official colors of the celebration.  Purple represents justice, green represents faith and gold represents power.  Rex, Latin for king, is King of Carnival.  Rex is actually an organization established in the 1800’s to organize the Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans which includes the famous parade. Legend says that King Rex has issued a proclamation commanding his subjects to gather and join in the festivities.  

As you can see, all these traditions have meaning and history, and they all lead to Easter, the holiest of celebrations in the Christian Faith.

Join Central in the sanctuary at 11 a.m. Sunday morning and plan to stay and bring a guest for this beautiful celebration.  All are welcome!

Pin on Pinterest
Have You Heard What's Happening at Central?

Join the Disciples Women to learn about the great things that are going on.

Kirsten Joy Burch will be at the Disciples Women’s March meeting to share what’s happening upstairs and the exciting progression of the Westside Wellness Center (WWC). Learn all about what you can expect to experience in this innovative concept that is taking place right here at Central. WWC will include studios for yoga, tai chi, nutrition coaching and pastoral counseling. The focus in the WWC is to work holistically – addressing the needs of body, mind and spirit – bringing together the best of Eastern and Western health wisdom.  Kirsten will even demonstrate yoga that everyone can do.  That’s right!  Kirsten says you won’t have to leave your seat. 

Rev. Cara Gilger will also join the group to explain all that she is doing and the “children, youth and family assessment.” Cara will share her affirmations and recommendations for Central’s preparation to welcome families with children and youth into the congregation and community. Hear how she will help with the implementation over the coming months.

Gather in the parlor at 10:30 on Tuesday morning, March 5, to meet these women and hear all the wonderful things that are in store for Central.

Additionally, Anne Pogson will review results of the nominating committee and details of the April field trip will be shared.  Plan to attend this informative meeting.

Those who would like may lunch at a local restaurant.  After all, it is Fat Tuesday!

Remember, you don’t have to be a member of Central Christian Church to attend the Disciples Women’s meetings.  The ministry is open to all and all are welcome. 

Pin on Pinterest

Love is always in the air at Central Christian Church, but especially so this week as the congregation celebrated Valentine’s Day at a sit-down meal following morning worship.

Chocolate and flowers decorated fellowship hall while members and guests enjoyed a delicious Sunday dinner. The menu included chicken spaghetti, salad and hot bread followed by a dessert smorgasbord of cakes, pies, cookies and bars.  

Food and fellowship may remind you of an old-timey church pot luck, but Central embraces the new, so it was the men who cleaned up the kitchen.  After all, the church was celebrating Valentine’s Day.

Join Central the first and third Sunday of the month at 9 a.m. for church in the dog park or every Sunday for the 11 a.m. service in the sanctuary.  Be sure and check with the church office or visit the website for the many activities during the week. All are welcome!

Pin on Pinterest
Olive Henderson

Thursday, Valentine’s Day, Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) celebrated the life of long-time member Olive Henderson who passed away last month at the age of 98.

Olive had come to America shortly after World War II from her home in England where she served both our country and hers as a volunteer in the United Service Organization. She joined Central in 1983 and was an active volunteer in the Westside Workers and the Disciples Women’s Ministry, using her talents and skills to help those in need through both groups.

Officiating at the memorial service were Rev. Dr. Ken Crawford with music by pianist, Carolyn Shinn and soloist, B.J. Austin. Olive’s hobbies included kitting and ballroom dancing. She had knitted socks for the soldiers during the war from her home in England and later afghans for cancer patients at Parkland Hospital in Dallas.   Olive had spent many years dancing at Dance USA in Dallas, and club members Kari Halme and Diane Montgomery honored Olive by performing a dance to Glen Miller’s big band music.  Tributes were written by friend and dance partner, Joe Whitman, and Westside Worker, Katheryn Livengood.

Honoring Olive’ British heritage, afternoon tea was served in the church fellowship hall following the service.

Pin on Pinterest
Valentine Luncheon at Central Christian Church

Rev. Dr. Katie Hays was guest speaker at the Disciples Women’s February meeting at Central Christian Church.  Her topic was “Women’s Moral Agency in the Early Church.”

Katie currently pastors Galileo Church, where LGBT and neurodiversity are welcome. However, Katie grew up in a more traditional congregation, one where women did everything.  They tended the nursery, cooked the pot-lucks—literally kept the church going.

“But,” Katie said, “they didn’t have a voice unless they were singing.”

As Katie grew older, when hearing Biblical stories spotlighting men, she wondered where the women were and what they were doing. She began to examine the female Biblical characters behind the scenes and their roles in the early church, bringing to focus a subject still prominent in today's lifestyle.

Following Katie’s attention-grabbing and motivating presentation, the Disciples women enjoyed a delightful Valentine-themed lunch prepared by Rosemary Davenport. When Rosemary hosts, the food and décor is no less than amazing. 

Lunch was tortellini with prosciutto and peas, raspberry compote with a sweet ending of assorted brownies and chocolate dipped strawberries.

When everyone “oohs and aahs” over the beautiful table setting, Rosemary’s response is “This is my gift. I do it out of love.”

And love it was—a lovely valentine for all.

You don’t have to be a member of Central or any church, for that matter, to be a part of this great group of women and the educational and entertaining programs that they enjoy.  Spring will bring a field trip to the Christian Arts Museum in Ft. Worth with lunch at the famed Joe T. Garcia’s Mexican restaurant.  

Email Shelia Huffman at for more information or contact Laura Ninesling in the church office at 214-526-7291.

Pin on Pinterest
Soups On! Past Souper Sundays.

This Sunday, February 3rd, folks all over America will come together in their home, at a friend’s home or at a sports bar to watch the big game between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams as Super bowl LIII is played.  Some will even have the fortune of witnessing sport’s history first-hand at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

It is a day of epic excitement, offering something for everyone. Even those who may not be died-in-the-wool football fans (and yes, there are some) can look forward to the half-time entertainment that will feature big names like Maroon 5, Travis Scott and Gladys Knight. Others can’t wait to check out the commercials that go hand in hand with the super bowl.  Foodies are practicing recipes that they will show-off to friends and neighbors as they celebrate this big day.

Still another way to celebrate Super Bowl is through Souper Bowl of Caring.  The movement was originally founded by a church youth group but has expanded to many types of participating groups.

Central Christian Church will gather in Fellowship Hall following morning worship this Sunday to enjoy a bowl of hot soup before going home to plan for the afternoon activities.  Members and visitors are invited to leave a can of soup or dry soup mix in a box designated for the Rams or for the Patriots, whichever team you support.

The food gathered will be delivered to North Dallas Shared Ministries to be distributed to Dallas’ poorest families and individuals. 

Stop by Central to donate a can of soup and you will have scored, whatever the score.

Morning worship is at 11 a.m. in the sanctuary.  Bring Your Dog to Church is at 9 a.m. in the dog park. Souper Bowl of Caring is at 12 noon in Fellowship Hall. All are welcome.

Pin on Pinterest
Michael Raines and Ken Crawford

Central Christian Church looked a bit like a cowboy watering hole Sunday afternoon with boots, bandanas and pots full of chili decorating the fellowship hall, but it was just the annual “John Shinn Chili Cook-Off.”

Michael Raines and Pastor Ken Crawford brought home the blues with “Sweet Red Pepper,” Michael’s winner in the traditional category and Ken’s “White Ghost” concoction that took the most creative category.

I asked these lay potagers if they had any words of advice for great chili making.  Michael revealed that he bought his meat for the traditional chili at local Dallas institution, Jimmy’s Food Store

Ken shared his winning recipe for creative chili (a vegetarian offering) and it follows this article.

The real winners were, of course, the church members and guests who got to sample ten delicious pots of red.

Here’s what you do, take not a bowl, but a muffin tin, so you can choose a variety of chilis, top them with traditional condiments like onion, cheese, corn chips and jalapeños, grab a handful of saltines and head to your table. Waiting there is hot-from-the-kitchen hush puppies, deep-fried on-premise by Frank Whitington.

The cook-off may not compete with the history or prestige of the Terlingua Chili Cook-Off, hailed as the granddaddy of them all, but it’s food, fun and fellowship with roots in Central Christian Church.  Named after long-time member and two-time chili winner, the late John Shinn, the annual cook-off is another way to celebrate love, now and then, and the memories created at Central.

Come be a part of this wonderful congregation.  Sunday worship is at 11 a.m. on Sunday mornings and church in the dog park is at 9 a.m. the first and third Sundays of the month.  All are welcome.

White Ghost Chili

1 large sweet potato (diced)

5 can beans including cannellini, great northern, white kidney, lima and garbanzo

Garlic cloves (pressed)

Chili powder mix of your choice


1 bottle Shine light

Avocado oil

½ carton vegetable broth

Add beans, broth and ½ bean juice to crockpot with pot on high

Sauté potato and garlic in avocado oil till browned

Add ½ chili mix to bean and ½ to potatoes

Transfer potatoes to crock pot

Deglaze potato pan with beer and boil off alcohol.  Add to crock pot and simmer.