Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Crystal Cathedral files for bankruptcy amid mounting debts [Updated]


Faced with mounting debts and decreasing donations, the Crystal Cathedral announced today it was filing for bankruptcy protection.

The move came as the Garden Grove church was struggling to pay its bills. “Budgets could not be cut fast enough to keep up with the unprecedented rapid decline in revenue due to the recession,” Senior Pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman said in a statement released by the church.

The church plans a press conference at 3 p.m., according to church spokesman John Charles.

The famed mega-church has suffered from financial troubles in the last year.

In January, the Crystal Cathedral announced it was laying off 50 workers and selling surplus property because of a precipitous drop in contributions.

The 7,000-member church also has canceled its "Glory of Easter" pageant, a popular reenactment of the life and death of Jesus Christ, which sold tens of thousands of tickets each year.

The church, founded by the Rev. Robert H. Schuller more than 50 years ago, lost members in the wake of a family feud after he retired. His son, the Rev. Robert A. Schuller, succeeded his father, but stepped down in 2008 after disagreements. His sister, is now the church's leader.

As of January, officials said church's revenue sank 27% from roughly $30 million in 2008 to $22 million in 2009.

[Updated at 2 p.m.: In her statement, Sheila Schuller Coleman said services and programs at the church will continue, including various ministries and the "Hour of Power" television program.

"Challenging situations are nothing new to our 55-year Ministry," Coleman said in the statement. "Many people said we’d fail when we started our church in a drive-in theater. But look how successful that was! Many said we'd fail in 1970 when we made the commitment to televise our first worship service in Los Angeles and then New York … but look how far we've come! In 1977, countless persons predicted that our plans to build a 2,800-seat all-glass church in earthquake-prone Southern California would never get off the ground, but we have made history. We've always believed in a big God … a God Who is greater than any problem or challenge we could ever face."

She said the bankruptcy declaration "is just one more chapter in the book that He is continuing to write -- and we know that God's plans are good -- we have no doubt His chapter will be good!"]

--Shelby Grad

Photo: The Crystal Cathedral complex. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (123)

Non-believers are such hypocrites when it comes to the Church and finances. They think that it is okay for people that openly flaunt sinful lifestyles to enjoy an abundance of finances, but they are against the Church having financial prosperity. Every organization has a business side. Christians are supposed to be prosperous, have finances, and enjoy material things. Jesus Christ said he came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. Since Jesus Christ is the Living Word and He only speaks the Word, it is clear that Christians are supposed to be prosperous and even more prosperous than sinners. And God is able to make all grace, every favor and earthly blessing come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient (2 Corinthians 9:8. Amplified Bible)

The wealth of the wicked is laid up for the righteous (Proverbs 13:22).

Liquidate their assets and pay off the debt. If they go under- well that's too bad. A poorly planned, tax-exempt "business" like this should NOT expect any more from taxpayers. They've been mooching tax free for long enough and they are NOT too big to fail.

Creditors better move in quick.


People are starting to wise up about the difference between religion and being spiritual. You don't need these huge Cathedrals to be spiritual; they're a reflection of Schuller and his ilk's egos, greed and conmen nature. Oral Roberts, Jimmy Swaggert, The Rev. Ike, Pat Robertson, Jim and Tammy Baker, L. Ron Hubbard, Hagee, Billy Graham and scores more have made a living talking to God on your behalf for a fee.

I actually attended two services there 10 or so years ago and it was like the Tonight Show. Authors hawking books, singers pumping up Cd sales. The whole thing was tragi-comedy at the highest level.

It was bound to happen. They violated scripture with PRIDE. For a donation, they would put your name on a brick, on a wall, on a statue, praising your gift and your honor.

Scripture says,'When you give, do so in secret. So that your right hand knows not what your left hand is doing..........or you will loose your reward in heaven" Matthew 6

be forewarned: Biola, Gordon, CalBaptist, Salvation Army etc. you all do it

They didn't pay the people who made the costumes for the christmas show for years it was reported so that alone made me give a sideways look at these folks especially since I paid premium price to go to the event!

Bono said it best, "The God I believe in isn't short of cash, Mister".

Bullet The Blue Sky...

If it's really God's church how could it fail? Oh that's right, it's a church of "Man".

I too feel a long way from the hills of San Salvador.

So has anyone seen where these leaders live, where they vacation and what they drive? mmmmm??
Is this a business or a church? Are they serving the people or themselves? think about it.....

not even god cant escape the recession. obama save us lol

Some businesses just don't make it!

That place has been morally bankrupt almost since its beginning in a drive-in theatre parking lot, so financial bankruptcy makes for matching twin corruption bookends.

If they actually had shown all their financial records up front with all the members from all these years, this wouldn't be happening . But greed and not tending to the flock out of LOVE leads their hearts in another direction. MONEY MONEY MONEY. Religion shouldn't be viewed as a business, unfortunately that is what its become, a business. A place where they ask more like demand for donations so they can live in luxury and have everything YOU don't have. This is a sign of the last days and this should not be a surprise.

"oh, Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz. My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends"

Could the loss of revenue be because people are tired of the Schuller family hype?


If they would only live and preach simple just like jesus, they wouldnt be in the mess they are in.

it would make a wonderful Islamic cultural center....

They lost their tax-exempt status years ago, because it was being run like a business. Now, it's run into the ground by other family members. No wonder greed is one of the deadly sins.

Best news I've heard all day.

Shuller and his ilk are all liars, thieves and cheats.
Jesus would spit upon every member of this cult congregation.
Sell it to the Scientologists, at least they don't pretend to be decent people.

I'd really like to know how expensive it is to cool the building. The solar gain must be incredible.

Why do we need to have a structure to worship our creator in?

Turn it into an Applebee's.

RE: Ms. Colemans's remarks. The "chapter" that God is writing is called "Chapter 11"!!

I remember seeing the daughter on the show Laguna Hills, with her father, and they were pretty rich, big fancy house, yacht, and several cast members also mention how rich they were. I don't understand why people pay a man to feel good about their GODS!

"Christians are supposed to be prosperous, have finances, and enjoy material things. Jesus Christ said he came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. Since Jesus Christ is the Living Word and He only speaks the Word, it is clear that Christians are supposed to be prosperous and even more prosperous than sinners."

No, Laila. Jesus was against material wealth. There is nothing at all wrong with earning a good living. Key word is EARN. Tithing is not earning - it is charging (exceedingly high) space rent for people's butts on Sunday. Some churches do good with the money they raise. Other build ostentatious and ugly displays of material wealth. I am happy they are bankrupt. The meanest adobe mission church is far more lovely both to look at and sit inside, than this monstrosity ever was or could be.

« | 1 2 3 4 5 | »


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: