(Photo: Reuters/Alex Gallardo)
A day after the iconic building of the California megachurch Crystal Cathedral was given a new name by its Catholic buyers, guest speaker for the worship service Bobby Schuller told the congregants there was hope and they should get together to make the next two years the "best ever."
Speaking to members during the Sunday service, the grandson of founder Robert H. Schuller acknowledged it was sad to see the name of the Garden Grove campus changed to Christ Cathedral, but added he felt a "sense of hope."
"So much of our identity has been wrapped up in this beautiful place … How can we survive? Our name is Crystal Cathedral," The Orange County Register quoted Schuller as saying. He added that it was perhaps a mistake to name the ministry after its campus, but sought to console members, saying the Roman Catholic Church is "of the Lord," who will continue to be worshipped at the cathedral.
Schuller was invited to speak on the first Sunday after the church announced it would move to St. Callistus Catholic Church in 2013, and Bishop Tod Brown of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange announced the new name for the cathedral it now owns.
Schuller added the ministry would have its best last year ever before it moved to St. Callistus. He also said Crystal Cathedral could use this year to make plans for the best year after that for its continued work and its world-renowned Hour of Power television program. "We need everyone," he said. "We need to do this together."
Interim Senior Pastor Lawrence Wilkes also spoke in the church, telling members that a Korean congregation regularly prayed for the ministry at 5:30 a.m. He said he also had plans to lead a prayer service for the Crystal Cathedral Monday through Friday at 8 a.m. "We want prayer for this ministry. We need that," he was quoted as saying.
The ministry's president and CEO, John Charles, said it was "a brand new era" for the church. He also told members the church could get to "turn the tables on them" by renaming St. Callistus. "We've got to pull our own kind of contest, if you will."
The Catholic diocese bought the landmark campus in February for $57.5 million on a court's order. The Crystal Cathedral ministry had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 2010.
The deal allowed Crystal Cathedral to continue to worship on the campus for three years for $100,000 a month during the first year and $150,000 for the following two years. The congregation was expected to move out of the campus in 2015, when the building would serve as the spiritual home of the 1.2 million Catholics in Orange County. But the ministry has planned to move to the new location earlier seemingly due to financial constraints.
Crystal Cathedral had been facing a growing debt and a leadership struggle since the founder handed over the leadership of the church to his family in 2008. Schuller founded the church with a $500 loan over 55 years ago.