A bankruptcy court has approved the sale of Crystal Cathedral’s property to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange county, but the California megachurch’s pastor told the congregation Sunday it wasn’t too late for God to do a miracle and rescue the ministry.
God has “intentionally delayed” the miracle, Senior Pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman told the 400 members during Sunday worship as she asked God to reveal His final plans, The Orange County Register reported.
“Is a miracle delayed, denied?” the pastor asked the congregation several times during the service. “No!” the members replied each time. “We have many reasons to believe that God’s miracle will still come to pass and His glory will still shine all that much brighter,” said Coleman, founder Robert H. Schuller’s eldest daughter.
The Garden Grove church’s website also features a video on its homepage where Coleman says, “I want to reassure you … mind you … it’s not too late. There is still time for God to step in and rescue Crystal Cathedral Ministries.”
The church leadership believes God will help them to raise $50 million to pay off the debts by a miracle. The church’s website calls for donations. “Help save the Crystal Cathedral,” it urges, calling for pledges ranging between $5 a month and $1,000 a month. But, the church, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last October, had raised only $172,775.50 as of September-end, according to church’s financial statements.
After the board of Crystal Cathedral endorsed the $57.5-million bid of the diocese, Robert Kwan, the judge of the Santa Ana, Calif., bankruptcy court gave his approval Thursday. But Coleman says in the video the board had to take the decision “reluctantly.”
The diocese’s terms allow Crystal Cathedral to lease core buildings for three years at $100,000 a month during the first year and $150,000 for the following two years. The megachurch will have to vacate the premises after three years when it may have to move to a smaller Catholic church, St. Callistus, which the diocese will vacate.
The Crystal Cathedral board had earlier decided to accept a bid by Orange County’s Chapman University, which was willing to pay $59 million for the campus besides providing for $1 monthly rent for core buildings for Sunday services for 10 years. But the megachurch agreed to sell the 50-acre property to the diocese at the last minute.
Schuller explained that Crystal Cathedral decided against selling the property to Chapman University because “the uncertainty regarding the future use of the campus for religious purposes was divergent to the call of both God and our denomination that we embraced nearly sixty years ago.”
Ever since Schuller handed over the leadership of the Crystal Cathedral to his family in 2008, the megachurch has faced numerous challenges, including a growing debt and a leadership struggle.
Robert Schuller, known for the weekly “Hour of Power” program, founded the church over 55 years ago. The construction of the Crystal Cathedral, which includes the main sanctuary designed by architect Phillip Johnson, was completed in 1980 and cost $18 million.