By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
6/29/2012 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Its official: after bankruptcy proceedings, the Reverend Robert Schuller's Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California will become a Catholic church. The congregation has announced that it will fully vacate the massive steel-and-glass church by no later than June 2013.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Long considered a Protestant landmark, the cathedral was where the "Hour of Power" TV ministry was based. The fast-growing Diocese of Orange bought the church campus for nearly $58 million last year, renaming it the Christ Cathedral.
Schuller's ministry has struggled to survive in recent years amid declining donations, a disastrous leadership transition and internal family struggles which have split the congregation.
The Crystal Cathedral, with 10,000 windows and room for nearly 3,000 worshippers and 1,000 musicians was built in 1980; ten years after Schuller began broadcasting his sermons on the "power of possibility thinking" into the homes of millions each Sunday.
Many longtime congregants of Schuller's ministry have reacted negatively to the sale. The children of one philanthropist threatened to disinter their father from its cemetery while another congregant sued for $30 billion.
After initial misgivings, the fate of Schuller's ministry once it leaves the Cathedral is largely in doubt. The diocese will grant the congregation six months rent-free at a nearby Catholic church and it plans to continue filming the "Hour of Power."
"We could film in a studio," New CEO Crystal Cathedral Ministries John Charles says. "We're still going to have the same great preaching, the same great music and pulpit guests. The ministry is not about the building - it's more about our congregation and who we are."
Broadcasts of the "Hour of Power" were recently cut back to 30 minutes on Lifetime and Discovery channels. The 85-year-old Schuller no longer appears on the program and hasn't attended church since last fall.
His son and daughter, who each failed to assume their father's mantle, are no longer involved in the ministry. Sheila Schuller Coleman formed a new church after a falling out last year.
The congregation plans to change its name once it moves.
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