The End of an Era: Who Bought the Crystal Cathedral… And What of It’s Parishioners?

I read the following post on the Blaze with a sad heart.  We knew this was coming, in one form or the other, and those of us who were somehow tied to the church in anyway mourned, questioned what happened and accepted or rejected the news of the story that has unfolded fairly steadily over the past 3 years.

I have read the accounts and comments, have written about it myself and have chatted and emailed with friends, fellow parishioners and Glory volunteers and even Carol Milner along the way.

There were a 168 comments at last count at the Blaze to the article below.  Sadly there are many more negative comments than positive, sympathetic or Christian comments!  Here are few (20) examples:

I have ben watching “The Hour Of Power ” since 1981. I have found it inspiring and uplifting. I visited the campus a few years ago for a conference. I was impressed by the number of members actively engaged in committees. It is sad that such good people have this happen.

Wow, just shows how superficial “Christianity” has become in the land of milk and honey. It’s no wonder we are in such moral decline in this country. Who cares about the building, Jesus Christ should be your only concern as a Christian. If the pastor is truly a follower of Christ, then why would the “congregants” not go with him? This whole thing stinks on ice and is likely a good gauge for what “Christianity” has become to the masses who call themselves Christian.

“For you have the poor always with you; but me you have not always.” Matthew 26:11. Why is God not worthy of such a structure? I see a lot of discussion about God but none about worship. Is worshipping God so trivial to you? A monument to God is at least as important to faith as the new Freedom Tower and the St Louis Arch are to remembering our heroes. Poverty is often a state of mind and there is little true poverty in America. Faith is a free gift but few are willing to accept it. I would accept worshipping God in such a nice building that was built to honor Him. I hope the Catholic Church will grow and have a redeeming effect on that community. Southern California needs a spiritual rebirth and maybe this is a beginning.

Didn’t know churches existed in CA

I went out there for a week long program which was to help me implement a program for our church. It was very nice. The offered program was excellent. It was not my style building as I like wood and stained grass windows etc. It is interesting that the Catholic Church bought it. Does not seem their style either. Proof positive that they are very, very rich. I went to the Vatican and that opened my eyes big time. Their treasures could feed, cloth and house all of the world’s poor. The follies of their naughty priest’s has not made even a bitty dent in their purse. My opinion only

I thought the Catholic Church was broke from paying off old child molestation claims.

No, the majority of child molestation claims come from Protestant churches. You just don’t hear about those claims because the MSM likes to dump on the Catholic Church.

This congregation was NOT a CHRISTIAN one but a COUNTERFEIT CHRISTIAN one. Schuller is a False Teacher and a Charlatan and finally got what He deserved…..Good riddens to the False Christian HOUR OF POWER show…..The Building is exchanging Hands from 1-Christian Cult to an even Bigger Christian Cult, the ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH and WHORE of REVELATIONS chapter 17…

Matthew 7
Judging Others
1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

57-million$ could feed 57million poor people. Who is your God?

Jesus wasn’t rich, yet religious leaders today con people out of their money as a regular part of church business. None of those people talk to any gods or spirits… yet people send them money thinking they are something better than human. I am sure many will be shocked at the realization that they are no different than any other con artists through history. Many will still support their so-called leaders. Who cares. “Shocker”.

Instead of putting your wealth to good use for your family you gave it to someone claiming to be a leader so that he never had to do anything but act out in a religious play. If you don’t want to work and you want to make a lot of money just take drama classes and start a church.

Ha ha ha, it wasn’t the Vatican bank… some people get goofy views of how the Catholic church funds things. It was the diocese that purchased it with independent funds. And no, I’m not Catholic, but I find it silly that so many people are mad at the Catholic church for buying a building that couldn’t be paid for… what did you want, another government bail-out to keep it going? 

If we are to walk in His path, we are to speak with love and kindness. You can only be SAVED through the blood of Jesus Christ, and receive the Grace of Salvation by believing in Him. If you study the Bible, you can see that Jesus wasn’t real big on organized religion. I think God couldn’t care less about our ’monuments’ to Him, and would prefer to see the money spent on His children. Salvation is a gift, the saving Grace of Christ Jesus, however, Faith without works is dead. The Bible also says as you do for the least among you, it’s like doing it for Jesus.

So many of are hurting these days… spiritually, financially, physically…. be a blessing to others and do for them, and you can’t go wrong. Don’t judge. When you see a need, fill it. Yeah, you may end up giving a wino $20 that he’ll spend on liquor, but you can answer to God for what YOU did with the money… as he’ll have to answer for what HE did with it.  God bless us all. PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE IS A LIE! thiefinthenight.org speaks to me; maybe it will speak to you, too.

I invite all readers to go to the website of the Most Holy Family Monastery to get a correct view of the true Catholic Church. The true Catholic Church It is not the New Order Church with the New Order Mass. That is a counter-Church that has stolen the buildings but is not the true faith.

I’ve read all of these comments, and now will add mine. I believe God looks on our hearts, not the Churches we go to. He knows those who belong to Him. There are Believers and unbelievers in all the Churches. Denominations are man made. I am not Catholic, but have been greatly blessed by a Catholic Priest and a Nun who prayed for me to receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. There is one Body of Christ. Are you part of this Body? Do you belong to Him? Those who seek Him will find Him.

One mistake I saw in a couple of comments was about the Catholic Church giving us the Bible. That is not true. The Bible was written by Jewish men who were moved by the Holy Spirit. The Bible is about Jews, Jesus was a Jew, and God used Jews to give us the Bible.

Well lets be happy it was not turned into an Islamic Building of sorts, as has been going on in Europe for decades, and churches being bought by the Muslims… Or perhaps you’d all be happier to have it turned into a mosque?

Get a spiritual grip here folks. Listen to the hatred you are exhibiting. I mean none of it is Christian. I mean if the Catholic Church is The Whore of Babylon then God will deal with IT in His time! If Robert Schuller is/was/ might be, a huckster then He will pay the price for eternity! Our mission as Christians is to believe, and practice! Pray and convert! Love and soften hearts! If these folks you are hating on are as entirely evil as you assume them to be… Then they are the least of our brethren, and as such deserve love not hate.. So get the to a holier place you guys> My Goodness!!!!! …PLTH

Thank you PLTH for your good words and Christian soul!!  This church, or perhaps its leaders may not have been perfect… but then again who is; perhaps they leaned too far into the feel good or new age range and the Schullers were perhaps too lenient or indulgent with their children, but the Crystal Cathedral did a lot of good for lots of people. The pageants and Hour of Power touched millions who might otherwise never have been able to get to church or would not have given church a chance; many of whom went on to join more traditional churches or stay in the word. Their 24-hour helpline helped save countless lives. And many many parishioners, Bible Study groups, and volunteers of all sorts have done endless good works.

I feel blessed to have been part of the volunteer cast of the Glory of Christmas and Easter for many years as well as to have seen my daughter fly for Him as one of the Angels.  And I (we as a family) have met, volunteered with and worked with many amazing, loving, dedicated and giving people who were members of the Crystal Cathedral and the Ranch.  Our daughter went to school with Robert Anthony’s kids at the Rancho Capistrano school and we know a fair amount of the family members more than from just the distance of the stage or pulpit, having been in classes and retreats with them and having stood on the sideline cheering on our kids as parents.

I grew up a Catholic and could never really get “with the program” and I worry about the present Pope… but whether we are Catholics, Mormon, or members of a Church or Synagogue others think is off the message, it is each of our own responsibilities to connect with God, read the Bible, help others and find our own way.  Those who have gone the wrong direction, especially clergy who fall into a world self indulgence, self worship and away from the teachings of the Bible, will have to answer for their failings. As for the rest of us… we might want to start with ourselves and then our own church rather than judging from afar.

As for my opinion on the Board’s decision… I am glad that the Cathedral will remain a Christian church.  But my choice would have been to sell to Chapman University, who have a Christian background: Chapman University is a private, non-profit university located in Orange, California affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) who offered a mixed-use solution allowing the Crystal Cathedral Ministry to at least entertain the option of continuing the Hour of Power and perhaps even resurrect the Glories which they cannot do in another facility.  It is not “worship of the building”; it is the possibility of continuing the ministry’s premier programs that touch so many and require the accoutrements of the building to achieve them. It tells me that the leadership of the church… the family are essentially done.

There was drama in a courtroom at the Ronald Reagan Federal Building in Santa Ana. A bankruptcy judge approved the bid from the Catholic Diocese of Orange to purchase the Crystal Cathedral for $57.5 million. Long-time members of the congregation begged Judge Robert Kwan to approve a bid from Chapman University which would have allowed the Crystal Cathedral ministry to continue at the iconic glass structure.

We have a friend who always says things turn out they way they are supposed to…  My husband said as much as he also thinks the Chapman deal was the better deal on the table for the continuation of the ministry as well as for the congregation, this was undoubtedly God’s choice.

Marion Algier~

This Oct. 27, 2011 photo shows the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

SOLD! CATHOLIC CHURCH TO PURCHASE CRYSTAL CATHEDRAL FOR $57.5 MILLION

SANTA ANA, California (The Blaze/AP) — In July, we first reported about the the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange’s bid to purchase the Crystal Cathedral. Now, it’s official. The iconic, gleaming glass building has been approved for sale to the Diocese of Orange in an effort to get the house of worship back on solid financial footing after declaring bankruptcy last year.

The move was approved Thursday by U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert N. Kwan after a bidding war between the diocese and Orange County’s Chapman University for the sprawling 40-acre property – and was opposed by many Crystal Cathedral congregants who fear it will be the end of their church

The diocese will pay $57.5 million to use the building in Garden Grove made of 10,000 panes of glass as a long-sought countywide cathedral.

“It will become a true center for our Catholic community in Orange County,” Bishop Tod D. Brown told reporters after Thursday’s packed hearing in federal bankruptcy court.

The decision will force congregants of the Crystal Cathedral to find a new home after three years – possibly in a Catholic church up the street that the diocese will vacate.

But some fear the ministry won’t survive the move as congregants – and possibly “Hour of Power” television viewers – feel dismayed after pouring their hearts, and pocketbooks, into the elaborate campus.

Rather, churchgoers threw their support behind a proposal by Chapman University for the site to expand its health sciences offerings and possibly start a medical school – a plan that would have paid up to $59 million for the site allowed the church to continue to use the famous building designed by renowned architect Philip Johnson.

For the last two weeks, the board of directors of Crystal Cathedral Ministries had supported Chapman as the preferred buyer. But the board did an about-face Wednesday and voted to back the diocese instead to preserve the church as a religious institution, citing church bylaws and a wish to respect the spirit of donors who footed the bill for the building.

“I’m really pleased to know that this campus is likely for at least decades, if not centuries, to be kept as a sacred place of worship,” Carol Milner, daughter of church founder Rev. Robert H. Schuller, said after the hearing.

Video:  Crystal Cathedral will be sold to the Roman Catholic Diocese

The decision riled several dozen congregants who attended the six-hour hearing in bankruptcy court and pleaded with the judge to let them remain in their beloved church.

“It shouldn’t be about the money. It should be about what’s inside your heart,” Jim Kirkland Jr. told the court, breaking into tears. “A lot of these beautiful people have put in their hearts, put in their time.”

Dr. Robert H Schuller - 610x-41-253x200Schuller started the Crystal Cathedral as a drive-in church in the 1950s under the auspices of the Reformed Church in America. Decades later, the Southern California ministry evolved into an international televangelism empire and erected its now-famous building.

In 2008, the church’s revenues plummeted amid a decline in donations and ticket sales for holiday pageants (The Glory of Christmas, Glory of Easter, and Glory of Creation) due to the recession, church officials said. But some experts say the church failed to attract younger members while alienating older churchgoers with an ill-fated attempt to turn the church over to Schuller’s son, ending in a bitter and public family feud.

The church laid off employees and cut salaries, but its debts surpassed $43 million, prompting the Crystal Cathedral to declare bankruptcy last year. 

The selling of “the Ranch”, property that was donated to the Crystal Cathedral in the will of a devoted parishioner, the housed a school and retreat center run by Robert A. Schuller for several years, barely made a dent.

Much of Thursday‘s hearing was devoted to analyzing the church’s sudden change of heart about a buyer, with Kwan urging the church to justify its reason for choosing a lower bid and one that went against the wishes and recommendations of many of its congregants.

Some congregants at the Crystal Cathedral said losing their church would be a sign of failure of the ministry‘s leadership and they wouldn’t follow its leaders to a new site.

Churchgoers also questioned whether the ministry that shares the name of the building it inhabits would be financially viable elsewhere, noting that viewers of the “Hour of Power” are equally attached to the glass-spired church and are the source of 70 percent of the church’s revenue.

But those who supported the board’s decision said the congregation will continue to thrive through the good-hearted people who worship together and band together to help those in need.

“The Crystal Cathedral will go on,” said Susan Dawson, whose husband was recently appointed to the church’s board. “They will love wherever we go because we are a community, we are a community of loving believers.”

Related:

Crystal Cathedral Is Cautionary Tale for Pastors

Crystal Cathedral Prays for Miracle

Famed Pianist Roger Williams Dead at 87

Schuller Ousted From Crystal Cathedral Board

Robert H. Schuller Latest Drama of Crystal Cathedral Mess

Crystal Cathedral Put Up for Sale to End Debt Woes

Rifts, debt tear at Crystal Cathedral
TEARFUL SCHULLER PLEADS FOR DOLLARS FOR CRYSTAL CATHEDRAL
Rev. Schuller Retires as Lead Pastor, Takes New Crystal Cathedral Post

Pianist Roger Williams:  Schuller Kids Spoiled Crystal Cathedral

Video: Crystal Cathedral Is Sold in Bankruptcy Proceeding

Video:  Robert H. Schuller’s 85th Birthday

Some photos from better times at the Crystal Cathedral from the Glory of Christmas, Glory of Easter and Creation:

crystal cathedral glory of Creation

The 3 Kings

Don As Gold King

GOE Crowd

300px-CrystalCathedral sm

Photos by the UCLA Shutterbug and Posted by Ask Marion~

About Ask Marion

I am a babyboomer and empty nester who savors every moment of my past and believes that it is the responsibility of each of us in my generation and Americans in general to make sure that America is as good or even a better place for future generations as it was for us. So far... we haven't done very well!! Favorite Quotes: "The first 50 years are to build and acquire; the second 50 are to leave your legacy"; "Do something that scares you every day!"; "The journey in between what you once were and who you are becoming is where the dance of life really takes place".
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4 Responses to The End of an Era: Who Bought the Crystal Cathedral… And What of It’s Parishioners?

  1. Pingback: Crystal Cathedral Sale to the Catholic Diocese of Orange Closed Escrow on Friday… | askmarion

  2. Pingback: Landmark Crystal Cathedral Gets a New Name — Christ Cathedral… and Slips Into History | askmarion

  3. Pingback: Dr. Robert H. Schuller Has Esophageal Cancer | askmarion

  4. Pingback: Remembering Avella Schuller | askmarion

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