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Pastor Dante Gebel to leave Crystal Cathedral for convention center

March 5, 2012 |  5:48 pm

Pastor Dante Gebel leaving Crystal Cathedral

This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.

The Crystal Cathedral's popular Spanish-language ministry will be moving to the Anaheim Convention Center next month, church leaders announced Monday.

The independent ministry, headed by the Rev. Dante Gebel, a dynamic Argentine pastor, began at the Crystal Cathedral three years ago with about 500 people. Now attendance is numbering more than 5,000 in two Sunday services at the Crystal Cathedral.

The first service at the convention center will be Easter Sunday, April 8, at 11 a.m.

Executive Pastor Mario Krawchuk said the ministry will be renting the space from the convention center week to week, but no formal contracts are in place.

"We will go step by step," he said.

Gebel has always been clear about his independent relationship with the Crystal Cathedral.

"We knew sooner or later we would have to relocate to a larger location," Gebel said in a statement issued Monday.

He added that he is grateful to Crystal Cathedral founder Rev. Robert H. Schuller for starting a Spanish-language ministry and said that Senior Pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman has always given him "unconditional support and complete freedom."

"We will be eternally grateful to her ministry and generosity," Gebel said.

For the record, 6:45 p.m. March 5: A previous version of this post incorrectly said that Gebel's first service would be Sunday, April 7, at 5 p.m.

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-- Nicole Santa Cruz in Orange County
twitter.com/nicolesantacruz

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

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