Crystal Cathedral Bankruptcy: Robert Schuller 'Not Returning' as Senior Pastor

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By Ravelle Mohammed, Christian Post Reporter
September 23, 2011|9:16 pm

Carol Schuller Milner, daughter of Crystal Cathedral founder Robert H. Schuller, has quelled mounting speculation regarding the return of her father as senior pastor of the California church, insisting that the elder Schuller would not be assuming the position.

Both Milner and Schuller were present for the Sept. 14 ruling of a federal bankruptcy judge to move forward 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 reported.

Whispers of Schuller's return arose following the court order.

"He is of course thinking about the future of the church, because he virtually raised it from the ground," Milner said, according to The Orange County Register.

"When we were kids, we were told that the church was our sixth sibling," she added.

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However, Milner declared that her father's concern for the Cathedral did not mean Schuller would take on the role of senior pastor, currently held by his daughter Sheila Schuller Coleman.

The Christian Post contacted Crystal Cathedral for a comment regarding its future plans, but the call was not returned at the time of press.

Officials at Crystal Cathedral have until Oct. 31 to come up with the $50 million owed in debts or risk losing the iconic glass worship facility to a Catholic archdiocese or another prospective buyer.

Moderators of the official "Hour of Power" Facebook page have asked supporters to sign up for "24/7 Prayers" – an effort to seek "God's miracle that will save Crystal Cathedral."

"Crystal Cathedral is now being prayed for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week," the message on the California megachurch’s Facebook page declared. "Thank you to all our friends around the world who are praying for God's miracle that will save Crystal Cathedral."

The 24/7 Prayer initiative is an added attempt to prevent the sale of the Cathedral.

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

Crystal Cathedral administrators and the committee of creditors have until Oct. 31 to decide on an actual buyer.

The Garden Grove church 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."

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

Senior Pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman declared 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.

 

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