- (Photo: Reuters/Alex Gallardo)
Crystal Cathedral, the Garden Grove, Calif., megachurch founded by the Rev. Robert Schuller more than 50 years ago, appears to be headed for a name change as well as a new design of the iconic church building, according to the property's new owner, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange.
The diocese finalized the $57 million purchase of the iconic property, complete with a stunning glass church building, on Friday. The ministry has been struggling financially for years, and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Oct. 2010. The diocese will allow the Crystal Cathedral congregation to stay on the campus for the next three years before moving in. However, that is not stopping the new owners from making public some of its intended changes.
This week, Bishop Tod Brown announced that the diocese is looking for suggestions for a new name for the building. The suggested name should refer to Christ or to his activities as illustrated by the Gospels and can be submitted through the diocese's website. Following a review of all suggestions, Bishop Brown will determine the cathedral's name. The deadline for suggestions is Feb. 20, the diocese said in a statement.
"It is our goal to make the new cathedral a gathering place for Catholics and other people of faith. By asking for naming suggestions we begin the process of connecting this wonderful structure and its future to our faith and the larger community," Brown said.
The diocese also suggested that it might seek to make some architectural changes to the landmark building.
"Before the building may be used as a Catholic cathedral several design and other changes must be made," the diocese's statement, published on its website, reads.
The opening for a new name is already drawing interest. OC Weekly mocked the ministry's bankruptcy by offering names such as "Poor Palace," "Sell What you Own Place" or "The Church of Jesus Christ of Current-Day Aint's" in a recent blog post. The always-creative Twitter community also immediately picked up the challenge, though apparently missing the instructions about the new name pertaining to the Gospels. One suggested pitch on Twitter was "Window Washer's Nightmare Building."
Meanwhile, as the Crystal Cathedral congregation is coming to terms with the prospect of having to move to a new location, the church's senior pastor, Sheila Coleman, reminded the heart-broken congregation recently that a church can never lose its "house" – underscoring the idea that Christians should not attach themselves to a church building, but bear in mind "God's house" as their ultimate home.