Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange buys Crystal Cathedral

Late Thursday evening U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kwan issued the ruling, acknowledging the tremendous work put in by Chapman University, the diocese’s competitor, which offered as much as $59 million for the 40-acre Crystal Cathedral campus. The diocese will get the property for $57.5 million.
Under the diocese’s plan, the ministry will be able to lease the core buildings including the cathedral and the Tower of Hope for three years — at $100,000 a month during the first year and $150,000 for years two and three. They also will be able to lease the school building for $10,000 a month until the end of school year 2013.

After three years, Crystal Cathedral Ministries and the school will move to the 10-acre property on Lewis Street where St. Callistus is now located.

There are 1.2 million Catholics in Orange County. Bishop Tod Brown:

“We will get a renowned architect to renovate that building so it will be suitable for a Catholic place of worship,” he said. “But we have no intention to change the exterior of the building.”

The decision to back the Catholic purchase was a last minute about face for the Crystal Cathedral board, which had told remaining congregants that the board backed Chapman University purchase bid.

Tensions escalated between the parties Thursday after the Crystal Cathedral board in a late meeting Wednesday picked the diocese as the preferred buyer after choosing Chapman on two different occasions.

Board member Diane Highum defended their decision, saying the ministry will go on regardless of where it is located. She said board members were uncomfortable with Chapman’s lease terms and its future plans for the campus.

“I will be able to live with the decision we made although it was a very tough one,” she said. “There is no question in my mind that the ministry will go on in a different direction.”

Chapman University’s original offer was for $51.5 million with a 15-year leaseback and a five-year buyback option. But during the course of this week, Chapman has made two additional offers – one for $51.5 million with a $1-a-month, 15-year lease for core buildings without a buyback option and another that came Wednesday afternoon for $59 million, with a $25,000-a-month lease for 10 years, also without a buyback option.

Crystal Cathedral founder Robert H. Schuller released a statement in support of the board’s decision Thursday. Rev. Schuller and his wife, Arvella, are both voting members on the board.

“My wife and I, prior to Monday’s hearing, had already decided to support the diocese’s offer to purchase the Crystal Cathedral campus,” he said. “Though we deeply respect Chapman University, the uncertainly regarding the future use of the campus for religious purposes was divergent to the call of both God and our denomination that we embraced 60 years ago.”

Robert Schuller started the church in the 1950′s in a drive in. In 2010 bankruptcy was declared, with debts of over 43 million.

The Reformed Church of America will be severing its ties with the remaining congregation of the Crystal Cathedral.

Scott Treadway, president of the Reformed Church in California, says the cathedral’s goals and mission, including worship style, are not in line with those of the denomination – leaving them with no choice but to discontinue their long and unique relationship with the Crystal Cathedral.
“We have resolved that the governance requirements of the (Crystal Cathedral) and RCA are mutually exclusive, and discussions are underway toward a gracious parting of ways,” he said in an email response.

The Reformed Church’s relationship with the Crystal Cathedral was unique because the cathedral had grown into much more than a local community church when it became a worldwide television ministry, Treadway said.

So an agreement was forged, he said, where the Reformed Church continued to ordain the ministers, but that the ministry and property were administered solely by Crystal Cathedral Ministries. Although the agreement worked well for many years, the relationship became stressed when “there was a dissonance in ministry direction, music style, bankruptcy and risk to the property,” Treadway said, referring to the ministry’s shift from traditional music to a praise style of worship.

“It became an unsolvable mess,” he said.

The Crystal Cathedral under the direction of Schiller’s two daughters (Sheila and Gretchen) went independent pentecostal in worship style and theology. The bankruptcy filing revealed the Schuller family excesses.  Four hundred creditors are waiting to be paid. The Hour of Power brings in 70% of the church’s revenue, and if you haven’t taken a look at how bad the new format is, you can have a look here.  The service is not even a shadow of what it was in its heyday, it looks like every other cheap televised independent pentecostal service spewed out on tv.
The church once boasted a congregation of 10 thousand, two english speaking services now draw a couple of hundred. An independent afternoon Spanish service  draws over a thousand. The electronic church is not likely to survive its founder and the weekly congregation is not likely to survive its founder either.

Catholics are not without concerns, which I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about. Bishop Tod’s Hour of Power
Chapman University statement
Bishop Brown statement
Sheila Schuller Coleman special video statement just hours before judge ruled

The mega problems of mega churches
Why Christian TV will get worse before it gets better

About Bene Diction

Have courage for the great sorrows, And patience for the small ones. And when you have laboriously accomplished your tasks, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.
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7 Responses to Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange buys Crystal Cathedral

  1. Bene D says:

    I’m not without sympathy for members who poured their lives into this church, it’s decline has been swift and congregants trust and good will gravely shattered. The disclosures of Schuller family dysfunction, the draining of finances, the ongoing nepotistic mismanagement lead me to think that there will not be a congregation to move in three years. The grief and anger of members and former members will be freshly spilled again over the coming days.

  2. Mark Byron says:

    Schuller has been Pentecostal-like for decades in that he was a mainline version of Word of Faith with things like Positive Confessions. I don’t recall CC going into the various “manifestations of the Spirit” like other Pentecostal/charismatic TV preachers, but I might be behind the curve.

  3. Pingback: Reformed Church of America Moves to Sever Ties with Crystal Cathedral « Thinking Out Loud

  4. EnglishTeacherInPain says:

    No offense, but… in just ONE paragraph are these errors:

    Schullers two daughters >> should be: Schuller’s (possessive).

    pentecostal in it’s worship >> should be: its (using it’s means “it is.” What you have written reads “Pentecostal in it is worship” which, of course, does not make sense. So if “it is” does not apply, then it should be “its”).

    400 creditors >> Never start a sentence with numbers. Spell them out: Four hundred.

    the churches revenue >> Should be: church’s (singular possessive; you were describing ONE church’s revenue, not many churches – plural; if you were describing the revenue of several churches, then it would be churches’ revenue, plural possessive).

    was in it’s heyday >> Should be: its (see above).

    pentecostal >> A proper noun, should be capitalized: Pentecostal.


    Probably not your fault if you graduated from public high school in the last 30 years. The purposeful dumbing down of public schools by the Marxists is a reality & part of the globalist New World Order agenda.

  5. Bene Diction says:

    No problem. Fixed. Thanks.I can’t address public schools in Kansas, so I’ll commend you for your grammar and let your conspiracy thinking pass.

  6. Tim Thibault says:

    Glitz, glamour and money, what else can one expect from those pursuing excellence in Christ…

  7. Dave (not David of the other posts) says:

    Only two hundred attendees? Wow, I hadn’t realized it had fallen so far. No wonder, what little I did watch of their service seemed little different than what I can find at many megachurches or so-called ‘Christian TV’. And many churches are experiencing falling attendance as their useless rituals really don’t matter. The local paper where I lived had an article about how metropolitan pastors are trying to find ways to increase falling attendance.

    The power of dead rituals to attract participants isn’t what it used to be. People need answers that they are not finding at “church”. And with America trending more and more toward secularism, the trend appears unlikely to change anytime soon.

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