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Crystal Cathedral: Spanish ministry may find different home from church's new one

November 18, 2011 |  3:35 pm

Dante gebel

The popular though independent Spanish-language ministry at the Crystal Cathedral, where people stand in line for hours to cinch a seat, may not move with the church's English-language ministries when the time comes.

The Spanish-language ministry, seen as the Crystal Cathedral's success story, has grown from a few hundred congregants to about 5,000 under the direction of an Argentine pastor, Dante Gebel.

According to the terms of a $57.5-million deal approved Thursday night in bankruptcy court, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange becomes the new owner and will require Crystal Cathedral ministries to move to a new location within three years.

The diocese plans to use the cathedral as its own after that; St. Callistus Catholic Church, also in Garden Grove, would be an alternative site for the Crystal Cathedral's ministries.

But Gebel, in a post on Facebook on Friday afternoon, said his congregation may be too large for St. Callistus and suggested that the Anaheim Convention Center or the Honda Center would be a better fit.

In the post, Gebel wrote in Spanish that the Crystal Cathedral's sale will not affect the Spanish-language  ministry. His ministry has always wanted to remain independent of the Crystal Cathedral, he said, adding  that congregants do not come to the cathedral for the structure, but to worship God.

He also said the sale "is the best thing that could have happened to the Hispanic church."


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-- Nicole Santa Cruz

Photo: Dante Gebel preaches at a Crystal Cathedral Spanish-language service. Credit: Katie Falkenberg / For The Times