Dr. Robert Schuller Sr and wife Arvella resign from international Crystal Cathedral board

Los Angeles Times: Schuller resignation from Crystal Cathedral board is end of an era

Robert H. Schuller and his wife cited the “negative” environment at the church he founded when announcing their resignation from the Crystal Cathedral board.

“We cannot continue to serve on the board in what has become an adversarial and negative atmosphere especially since it now seems that it will not be ending any time soon,” Arvella Schuller said in a statement Saturday.

The Schullers’ resignation marks the end of an era. For the first time, no family member is serving on the board of the church that Robert Schuller founded 42 years ago.

A minister from the Midwest, Schuller began preaching in Southern California in 1955 from the roof of a snack shop at a drive-in theater. With Schuller relentlessly pushing a message of the power of positive thinking, the church’s astonishing growth mirrored that of Orange County. It was also the birthplace of the popular weekly televangelist series “Hour of Power,” which reached millions of viewers.

The financially ailing church sold the Crystal Cathedral campus to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange in February for $57.5 million.

The resignations are a result of a breakdown in negotiations over financial claims against the church that the Schullers filed in Bankruptcy Court.

Schuller; his wife, Arvella; their daughter Carol Schuller Milner; and her husband, Timothy Milner, allege that the church owes them money for copyright infringement, intellectual property violations and unpaid contracts.

Sorting through competing financial claims has delayed $12.5 million in payments to some church creditors and could threaten the church’s ability to continue its ministries, including the “Hour of Power” broadcasts.

Payment to creditors was expected this spring, but because some claims are for unknown amounts and the Milners and Schullers have not agreed to establish a payment reserve, vendors cannot be paid until those amounts are determined by the court, said Nanette Sanders, attorney for the creditors.

This was released yesterday, it’s an odd statement from the 85 year old, who is speaking as if he is broke. The family is believed to be asking for about 5.6 million.

Orange County Register:

The elder Schullers have been embroiled in a legal battle with the board of directors regarding intellectual property and copyright infringement claims as well as back payment for services rendered, Schuller Milner said.
The exact figure for how much is claimed was not available Saturday. Attorneys for the Schullers have made almost weekly offers to the Cathedral’s board to settle the claim, which includes a $120,000 annual housing allowance, a $198,000 annual payment in license fees and additional medical benefits, according to Schuller Milner.
Last Tuesday, “the board said we’re ending all negotiations. We don’t want to negotiate any further and want to go to court,” according to Schuller Milner

Crystal Cathedral renamed
It was announced today that the Crystal Cathedral congregation  followers of Shiela Schuller Coleman and her followers are going to have a new location in a few weeks and the church will be called Hope Center of Christ. (Update: Coleman will not be back at the Cathedral, she preached her last sermon Sunday). Members who chose to stay at the Cathedral will do so, where services will revert back to traditional worship.  When Sheila Schuller Coleman made the announcement she said they needed a new home for what is left of the congregation ‘sooner than they thought.” Or not. I think we’re seeing a church split in what is arguably now a local congregation, and it’s a question of dividing up the spoils.

Sheila Schuller Coleman is expected to be ousted as Sr. Pastor of the Cathedral congregation – the new church she announced will be her and a few bff’s. I suppose it’s merely a matter of making it official, and the remnant of the Crystal Cathedral congregation who aren’t Schuller-Coleman fans will attempt to stay on until the lease runs out.

The Crystal Cathedral was a celebrity driven mega church ministry. It’s over. I wonder what mega church, televangelism ministry is next?

Update: Robert Schuller Jr. weighs in.

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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16 Responses to Dr. Robert Schuller Sr and wife Arvella resign from international Crystal Cathedral board

  1. Bene D says:

    Robert Schuller Sr. had a head injury in 1991, which has required surgery, and some people believe it was the beginning of the financial trouble for the church he started.


    Here is an article from the Orange County Register, outlining some of the Schuller family bankruptcy court claims.

  2. valerie says:

    I was wondering if his daughter would be still preaching. However I can not say anything because do not know the trials and tribulations off all concerned, other then well its a sad adding but hopefully their faith will pull them through as a family.

  3. Mark Byron says:

    The church was star-driven and Papa Schuller was the star. Take that away, and you have a generic megachurch that is shrinking out of existence.

    For some reason, the metaphor of a star running out of energy and collapsing into a supernova, making a lot of light and noise (yes, you don’t hear a star in the vacuum of space, but give me some poetic license; Marvin the Martian would never hear that “earth-shattering ka-boom”) as it is dying, comes to mind.

    As for the next collapse, look for the nest star to be retiring. Focus on the Family, although not a televangelistic entity per se, might be the one to watch next. Post-Dobson, it seems to be shrinking but with enough non-Dobson stuff to keep it viable at a lesser level.

  4. highrpm says:

    for some reason, the 1967 monterey pop festival and janis joplin’s cover of “piece of my heart” pop into my head while reading this.

  5. Dana says:

    It will bewilder me unto my death bed that seemingly thoughtful, intelligent, rational human beings abandon thought, intelligence and rationality the moment the word god is mentioned.

  6. fjc says:

    No point in staying on if the money has dried up.

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

    This often happens when a church or any type of movement, is founded in no small part on the personal appeal, charisma, magnetism, etc. of the founder. Best wishes to the Schuller family in this next phase of their lives. Perhaps God has better plans for them and will use this situation to bring them closer to Him. I hope the same for the members and attendees of the church. God has a way of getting our attention when He wants to.

  8. fjc says:

    I very much suspect that the story of the decline of Crystal Cathedral is more about money and power than anything else.

    Even in it’s last days the emphasis is on how much money the Schullers can drag out of this almost defunct organization.

    Perhaps the family will come up with a scheme to buy some television time and do a one time show to raise money for themselves…..oops I mean for the glory of God.

  9. Bene Diction says:

    Jr. mentions his father’s ‘signs of dementia in the update.

  10. Paul from Edmonton Alberta says:

    This guy, like all televangelists is an arrogant crook. I agree with fjc, he and his family will try to suck every last penny they can from the organization. This isn’t a church it’s a family run company, benefiting no one but the owners.

  11. I loved the inspirational message of the Hour of Power. However, I never swallowed the huge Crystal Cathedral theatre in light of said message, and even more considering the later news of its financial disaster. I’m not impressed with the money grab I’m reading about now. Why don’t the pastors go back to the grassroots drive-in preaching that was so impressive? Then the medium would really be the message.

  12. joan says:

    I would like to be able to send one more message to Dr. Rober Schuller to thank him for all the love and encouragement he gave to me and to millions of people through the years. I have lost one of the most important people in my life. Thank you. dear friend, your Beloved is waiting for you and you will get your reward. God loves you and so do I.

  13. Irene says:

    I awoke in the early hours of the morning in Canberra, to hear Shiela Schuller-Coleman speak of the decision the church Board on TV. I was shocked and sad at this announcement, as over the years I have enjoyed Dr Schuller’s sermons as they made a lot of common sense. I wish Dr. Schuller and his Shiela the very best in the future but also implore them not to fall under this terrible situations fallout. God knows what is going on within the hearts of people. Also, when all said and done the Crystal Cathedral is only made of glass, bricks and mortar. Within it’s walls lies it’s church. The crystal cathedral is NOT the church, as the church is made up of the congregation and it’s pastors. Shiela Schuller-Coleman is obviously a beautiful and gifted, loving woman who obviously loves her faith and family. She, like her father, is ‘down to earth’ and a ‘grass roots’ preacher. We need more preachers like her, in what is often a male dominated vocation. Also, the grandness of the surroundings of a church is ultimately unimportant but I do understand why Dr Schuller wanted to build such a grand and amazing place. Nevertheless, we should remember now, considering what has happened, that Christ preached to the people on hill tops and often out in the fresh air. The celebration of people’s faith and love of God can take place anywhere. It is the pastor’s message that is the most important element.

    I congratulate Shiela as she has carried a heavy load of responsbility for a long time now. It would be nice to see her take a few breaths to recover and then quickly move forward but also remember to share this transformation as this responsiblity does not lie on her shoulders alone. It is understandable that she might wish to ensure her parents security but hopefully she will not get too bogged down in finances and muckiness. I admire her courage, love and loyalty and remind her to ignore snipes and criticisms. Sadly, people for whatever reason, like to kick and snipe when they sense tall poppies stumble. Sadly, things happen in life that can turn our world upside down but with strength and determination I am sure that Shiela and her family will sustain. My very best wishes.

  14. Annette says:

    Understood that a lot was going on at the Chrystal Cathedral after the son left. But it is with much sadness that I absorb the fact that Dr. Schuller and his wife, Arvella, are no longer a part of the Church the built from scratch.
    Dr. Schuller’s sermons On Possibility Thinking brought me through some tough times, particularly during my early years in College and beyond. Will not be convinced they intended to leave a drive-in- church, build another church to see themselves, retiring outside its doors, and sold. Won’t kick them when they are down. Hope they’ll be able to see better days ahead, somehow. None among us is perfect. God bless, Dr Schuller,Snr.

  15. kenny says:

    I am a really not happy about the new development,Dr. Schuller’s tough times never last was a book that brought light into my world,birthed my present company,help me through when I lost my loved one and realy inspires me.May God see you through these tough time too you and your family in jesus name.

  16. Joel says:

    I am praying for Dr Schuller , this man gave so
    Much to so many. I am saddened by his plight.

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