(Photo: Reuters/Alex Gallardo)
Crystal Cathedral, the Garden Grove, Calif., megachurch known for its "Hour of Power" broadcasts, will this weekend during its celebration of Mother's Day, honor Roman Catholic icon Mother Teresa of Calcutta and feature a special sermon from the Rev. Bobby Schuller.
Schuller, the grandson of the ministries' founder, the Rev. Robert H. Schuller, will preach as one of several prominent guests during this Sunday's service. Another guest will be Kiran Yocom, the India-born founder of nonprofit Seniors Helping Seniors and an expert on Mother Teresa, "one of the greatest women of faith," as the Albanian nun is described on Crystal Cathedral's website.
Mother Teresa, humanitarian, laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize and a recognized blessed figure of the Catholic Church, has been popular with Christians, including evangelicals. Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren, who is one of the most popular evangelical figures in America, has written the forward to a book released by Time magazine about the renowned nun of Calcutta. Warren praises Mother Teresa as one of the greatest evangelists of the 20th century.
Albert Mohler, the ninth president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., has written about Mother Teresa, saying: "The remarkable nun had achieved world-wide recognition for her work among those she identified as 'the poorest of the poor,' and that recognition was richly deserved."
"By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus," the famous nun was known to have said.
Despite being lauded by many as providing a true example of evangelism and self-sacrificing service, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who passed away in 1997, remains a somewhat controversial figure among some observers.
Mother Teresa's diaries, published in 2002, revealed that she was tormented by a crisis of faith for 50 years, which made some critics question Pope John Paul II's decision to support her speedy beatification after her death.
Meanwhile, no details were provided by Crystal Cathedral on the specifics of Bobby Schuller's sermon. The founder's grandson has returned to the church unexpectedly, less than two months after all members of the Schuller family left, reportedly due to leadership and financial disputes. Church administrators announced that Schuller would be a regular guest speaker. The young pastor has previously led Crystal Cathedral's Gathering Community ministry and is currently a pastor and teacher at Tree of Life Community church, also in Orange County.
Crystal Cathedral Ministries has also clarified a statement recently published on its website about having "funds enough for six weeks."
The ministry, founded in 1955 by Robert H. Schuller and his wife Arvella, has been struggling financially for years. In Oct. 2010, the church filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and in February of this year, its lofty glass property in Garden Grove was sold to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange County. The congregation has less than three years to find new premises while it leases the property from the Diocese.
Crystal Cathedral is still looking to find a new senior pastor, while its current president and CEO, John Charles, struggles to keep the bankrupt megachurch afloat. Charles recently told The Christian Post that donations to the ministry had doubled since the Schullers' departure, expressing optimism about the ministry's future.
In response to CP's query about the dramatic call for donations on the church's website -- which states that the church must "move forward quickly or, sadly, the lights will be turned off" -- Charles issued the following statement Thursday: "The outlook for the Crystal Cathedral is promising. Attendance is up, but the summer is traditionally a slow time for donations. The appeal for contributions was a proactive attempt to counteract that."