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Crystal Cathedral denies reports of Schuller's ouster from board

July 4, 2011 |  4:35 pm

A Crystal Cathedral spokesman on Monday denied reports that the church's founder, Robert H. Schuller, was voted off the board of directors in a meeting more than a week ago.

“He [Robert H. Schuller] was not voted off the board,” said John Charles, the Garden Grove church spokesman. “He is still board chairman emeritus.”

The church released its statement a day after Schuller’s son, Robert Anthony Schuller, said his 84-year-old father had been ousted because he had proposed adding new members to the board.

“Recently, the board of directors of Crystal Cathedral Ministries voted to change Dr. Schuller's position from that of a voting board member to the honorary Chairman of the Board Emeritus, a non-voting position,” the statement read.

The Times reported Schuller's new non-voting position June 19.

In Monday’s statement, Charles said the move will free up Schuller's time for more speaking engagements and a writing project: “He will also continue to speak in the pulpit of the Crystal Cathedral and on the 'Hour of Power' and meet with staff in creative and vision-casting meetings.”

For years, the church has been gripped by family discord. In 2006, Robert H. Schuller stepped down from the pulpit and Robert Anthony Schuller took over. Two years later, he resigned and his sister, Sheila Schuller Coleman, became senior pastor shortly thereafter. The church filed for bankruptcy in October, citing more than $50 million in debt.

Documents related to the case revealed generous tax allowances and payouts for church insiders. In May, the church filed a reorganization plan that calls for the sale of the church campus with the option of buying the buildings back.

In the statement, Sheila Schuller Coleman, the executive director of the church, said she would continue to consult her father for insight and advice.

“Dad will continue to provide leadership for this ministry through me for as long as possible,” she said in the statement. “I have and will continue to defer to his wisdom and honor him for his unprecedented accomplishments.”

Angie Schuller Wyatt, Robert Anthony Schuller's daughter, said the bankruptcy judge should reorganize the board.

She said she thinks her father would be best as senior pastor.

“Everybody loves a comeback story,” she said.

Charles said the reports of the board ousting Robert H. Schuller were inaccurate. "I think it's hearsay,” he said. “As far as I know, it's not true.”


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Photo: Crystal Cathedral founder founder Robert H. Schuller. Credit: Allen J. Schaben