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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)

Right wing Christianists love to talk about fiscal responsibility, but they can't practice it.

Where is "God" when they need him, huh? He's hiding because he took one look at that pagan monument, started scratching his head, and was overheard muttering "HOW do they come up with this stuff? I never said to use my brand to bilk people out of 30 million a year...Jesus H. Christ..." Religion, the Number One Scourge of Mankind.

If they are exempt of taxes they shouldn't qualify for protection, bunch of thieves.

Greed and mismanagement. Why would anyone continue to
donate to this church is any wonder. The whole family is on the payroll?

"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)."
Posted by: Laila Leah | October 18, 2010 at 03:15 PM

The Crystal Cathedral leaders must have sinned terribly for God to punish them thus by taking away the prosperity that they thought they so richly deserved. Thanks for letting us know that God thinks they're wicked and has laid up their wealth for the righteous!

Did anyone see that episode of "Life After People" that feature the Crystal Cathedral? Interesting that episode showed its destruction! Now we get watch it with people! So long house of lies!

The very structure of the massive Crystal Cathedral goes against the teachings delivered by Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus Christ would have reacted to Schuller and his progeny in the same way that he reacted to high-level Jewish rabbis who presided over the Temple On The Mount, nearly 2,000 years ago.

While Reverend Schuller delivered inspiring messages, the Crystal Cathedral's ostentatiousness overshadowed everything the man ever said, in my opinion.

-Peter Wexler

I wonder if they had any Bibles at that church?

Matthew 19:21:
"If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

Seems they could have helped a lot of poor people with all that money and crystal.

"if jesus came back to earth and saw what they were doing using his name, he'd never stop throwing up"....woody allen

Jesus replied, "Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head." - Luke 9:58

....let a lone a crystal palace...

Awwww, are they still having the Christmas show then?

How can the money be gone? Look at that place!!! The money has been spent on a really nice church. Sell the property and buy a shack that fits a "non profit" business, I mean organization....

It's like the scientology letters I get in the mail. Every one of them talks about these super buildings and resorts they are building. Non profit???? Right.......

Let's be clear - God is the last thing you will find at the Crystal Cathedral. A money obsessed family running the place maybe, but God distanced himself from these con men years ago.

Why isnt the son running it? I bet it would be all right if he was there instead of the daughter.

I believe God makes a way when things are not how we plan, but we must Trust in him in these moments of trials. Never say look what we have accomplished but instead say look at what God has accomplished. Just trust in him in any trail you might face and see the wounders of beauty God for you.

First Bless John 3:16.

"... it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

Whatever a man shall sow, that shall he also reap - Galatians 6

Ever since Dr. Schuller fired his son, who was doing a good job of taking the church into the 21st century, the church has gone to the dogs. And who picked Sheila to run the church? Pastor? She's more a 'front-person' for her father, provides lack-luster sermons (if you can call them that), and is just so non-inspiring. Not at all like her father and definately not inspired like her brother. She and her other sister pushed him out. Smooth power play, but now they are paying the price. SEE WHAT GOD CAN DO????Used to attend and contribute. NO MORE. Perhaps they should go under or have another reputable institution 'buy them'. They have gone the way of businesses that just don't know how to manage their money. Shelia Coleman is so wrong for the Crystal Cathedral.

Waa-waa-waa. These scammers should have been paying taxes all along, too. Let them sink.

This is horrible. Look at this list of stuff that is owed.

PNCEF LLC. equipment finance company: $1.9 million
Promotional Media Inc.: $397,555
Infocision Management Corp.: $359,788
Media Services Agency: $352,370
Lloyd Daniel Corp.: $318,500
FGS-CA Inc.: $252,992
KWGN: $206,954
World Marketing Inc.: $200,386
Thomas Nelson Publisher: $200,219
Dayster Television: $172,997
Wheelchair Foundation: $163,551
Hearst Television Inc.: $105,400
Lin Television Corporation: $90,567
Kristina Oliver, livestock supplier: $56,000
Gray Television Inc.: $55,522
Sharon Crabtree, managed props for pageants: $20,000
Carin Galletta, public relations: $16,000
Bruce Johnson, drycleaner: $11,500
Juliet Noriega, wardrobe supervisor: $10,000

The question is - why were they not paying their bills and were was the money coming in going.

Religion, like the lottery, is a tax on the poorly educated.

I could not stand Schuller or his son. Always talked in a very dramatic and phony way. Put so much emphasis on money and success. Had to have the best looking church and now look where they are. I hope they lose the whole church. God does not care what the building of worship looks like. He only cares if you are leading your congregation to Jesus, which by the way he never had an altar call for non believers. So sad

Big Karma!

@EmeryAnnHarris The Crystal Cathedral leaders must have sinned terribly for God to punish them thus by taking away the prosperity that they thought they so richly deserved. Thanks for letting us know that God thinks they're wicked and has laid up their wealth for the righteous!

Abundance is a right for the believer in Jesus Christ. The Crystal Cathedral is not closing its doors. The building is not a representation of a person's RELATIONSHIP with God. So you ask, why do Christians need to worship in a beautiful place, and I ask why do sinners need to gamble, do drugs, and commit all manner of sin in monuments built specifically for SIN - "What Happens In Vegas Stays In Vegas".

People all over the world are confessing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior everyday and Christian Churches are increasing in their resources. God calls His children the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, they can never be wicked. However, He does call non-believers such as yourself wicked. Every Christian has an expectation and right that you do not have because God said so. Don't be fooled to think that your intended insults are hurting Christians, you're just condemning yourself to eternal damnation. You cannot say you didn't receive the memo.

One less parasite upon Humanity! (Next up: the Catholic Church.)

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