“A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.” Oscar Wilde
Well, it looks like the Reverend Robert Schuller’s legacy at the Crystal Cathedral has been shattered.
According to an article in the Orange County Register,
“The Rev. Robert H. Schuller, who started his ministry in an Orange drive-in theater more than five decades ago, has been voted off the board of Crystal Cathedral Ministries, which has been torn apart by debt and familial disharmony for the last several years.”
The July 3rd OC Register article includes the following:
“The church has not released information about the board meeting where Schuller, 84, was ousted, but his son Robert A. Schuller, who was himself forced out of the cathedral by his sisters and brothers-in-law three years ago, confirmed it Sunday.
He said his father wanted to enlarge the board, which was not received well by the others. ‘A majority of that board consists of paid employees of the church and that's a serious conflict of interest,’” Robert A. Schuller said.”
However, once the news leaked, a denial was soon to follow. An L.A. Times headline “Crystal Cathedral denies reports of Schuller’s Ouster from Board” contradicted the claim that the senior Schuller was out.
Here’s how that news was conveyed:
“’He [Robert H. Schuller] was not voted off the board,’ said John Charles, the Garden Grove church spokesman. ‘He is still board chairman emeritus.’
The church released its statement a day after Schuller’s son, Robert Anthony Schuller, said his 84-year-old father had been ousted because he had proposed adding new members to the board.
“Recently, the board of directors of Crystal Cathedral Ministries voted to change Dr. Schuller's position from that of a voting board member to the honorary Chairman of the Board Emeritus, a non-voting position,” the statement read…
The L.A. Times article concludes with this statement:
"Charles said the reports of the board ousting Robert H. Schuller were inaccurate. "I think it's hearsay,” he said. “As far as I know, it's not true.”
So the founder of the Crystal Cathedral now holds a NON-VOTING position on the board? That certainly sounds like an ouster to us!
Fox News featured a news story that indicates the dire state of the Crystal Cathedral. Here’s an excerpt:
“…the church's financial travails, including a significant drop in donations and dwindling membership, culminated in its filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The church still owes about $7.5 million to unsecured creditors, many of whom are vendors for the cathedral's "Glory of Christmas" pageant. According to a reorganization plan filed by the church last month, they have an offer from Irvine, Calif., developer, Greenlaw Partners LLC, to buy the core buildings for $46 million.
Robert H. Schuller has been at odds with his daughters over how they have chosen to run the church. The cathedral recently switched over from a traditional worship format to a Gospel-style choir — much to the chagrin of many long-time members. Sheila Schuller Coleman also required choir members to sign a covenant acknowledging Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and the belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
The older Schuller publicly lashed out at the contract saying everyone is welcome in the church. Phillip Johnson, the architect who constructed the cathedral's iconic glass sanctuary, was an openly gay man.”
There is little doubt that the Crystal Cathedral board has likely had some heated discussions over these controversial issues. And just yesterday Bloomberg News reported that the Crystal Cathedral Ministries received two bids to buy the campus out of bankruptcy, according to court filings by its creditors.
This news service confirmed the following:
“Chapman University and Greenlaw Acquisitions LLC both offered $46 million to purchase the 30-acre campus in Orange County, California, and lease back part of the property to the church so it can continue operating, the official committee of unsecured creditors said in papers filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Santa Ana, California.
The church plans to sell the campus in a court-supervised auction with Greenlaw as the initial bidder, said Marc J. Winthrop, Crystal Cathedral’s attorney.”
Attorney Winthrop indicated that the final decision of a buyer is “a long way off” because they a number of potential bidders are interested.
Bloomberg does shed some light on the financial dealings of the church. The article states:
“Crystal Cathedral has proposed a reorganization that would use cash from the proposed $46 million sale to repay a bank loan of about $33.3 million in full and pay lower-ranking creditors over two years.
The Garden Grove, California-based church, known for its television show “The Hour of Power,” listed assets and debts of $50 million to $100 million each in Chapter 11 documents filed in October. The church estimates its congregation has 10,000 members.”
Perhaps in the weeks and months to come, we will get a crystal clear picture of what indeed is happening within the walls of the Crystal Cathedral. Also, we are breathlessly awaiting an answer to the question: How did Sheila decide which two questions to put in her covenant requirements?
Lydia's Corner: 2 Samuel 9:1-11:27 John 15:1-27 Psalm 119:49-64 Proverbs 16:1-3