Crystal Cathedral Bankruptcy: Can Robert Schuller Save Calif. Megachurch?

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  • A view of Crystal Cathedral, the glass-walled megachurch in Garden Grove, Calif., is seen this Aug. 10, 2011 photo.
    (Photo: Reuters/Alex Gallardo)
    A view of Crystal Cathedral, the glass-walled megachurch in Garden Grove, Calif., is seen this Aug. 10, 2011 photo.
By Ravelle Mohammed, Christian Post Reporter
September 20, 2011|2:05 pm

The controversy surrounding the bankruptcy sale of Crystal Cathedral continues as speculation mounts regarding the return of Dr. Robert H. Schuller, founder of the Garden Grove, Calif., church, as senior pastor.

Some believe that Schuller, famous for his "Hour of Power" broadcast, might be the church's saving grace.

Whispers of Schuller's return arose following the Sept. 14 decision of a federal bankruptcy judge to go ahead with the sale of the iconic glass church, as creditors look to recoup $50 million from the struggling ministry.

"I'm 85 years old, and I've been thinking about the future of the church," Schuller said while leaving the federal courthouse in Santa Ana last week, NBC reports.

Almost 400 creditors received a timeline to vote on the sale plan for the megachurch, which has already received several offers – the highest bid coming from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange for $53.6 million.

The Crystal Cathedral was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October 2010 when faced with lawsuits for money owed to vendors from the 2009 production of "Glory of Christmas."

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In addition to the past due expenses, the church was also slammed by a decline in revenue.

The cathedral's current senior pastor, Sheila Schuller Coleman, announced in May that the church was being sold as a result of its financial situation.

The church then announced a "faith-filled" decision in July to try to raise money through contributions from supporters and save Crystal Cathedral from a sale, but it appears the sale is imminent.

"We don't really know right now exactly how the plan is going to flesh out, who the buyer is going to be, who's going to choose the buyer," Carl Grumer told NBC.

Grumer is an attorney representing Dr. and Mrs. Schuller and their daughter, Carol, and her husband Timothy Milner.

"There are a lot of unknowns at this point, so it's difficult for us to make any kind of determination," Grumer said.

Other interested buyers include Chapman University, Hobby Lobby, and My Father's House International Church in Norco.

The Christian Post contacted Crystal Cathedral for a comment Tuesday, but the message was not returned at the time of press.

 

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