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.
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.