Senior members of Orange County’s Crystal Cathedral Church who were resisting alleged nepotism and a doctrinal shift in the California landmark megachurch had their website shut down over copyright issues.
Jim Kirkland, who started crystalcathedralmusic.net a few months ago but found it closed Saturday morning, told The Orange County Register that the Crystal Cathedral administration complained to the domain name company about unauthorized use of its copyrighted name.
“I started this website because, like many other members who left the ministry and many others who still remain, I love the traditional choir and music as presented by [choir director] Don Neuen and [pianist] Roger Williams,” Kirkland was quoted as saying.
A groups of members associated with Kirkland started an online petition in July alleging nepotism in the church’s leadership and a shift in its doctrines. The petition was featured on Kirkland’s website.
The protesting members wanted the family of founder Robert H. Schuller to be transparent and were concerned about the church’s move toward a Pentecostal-type service with praise music, as opposed to the traditional hymns that were sung earlier. Alleging that the Schuller children had brought down what their father built with their in-fighting, many members left while others continued to fight within the church.
Founded by Schuller in 1955, the California megachurch is now led and managed by his daughters and their family members since 2008.
Schuller was ousted from the church’s board of trustees in July but was reportedly reinstated. His son Robert A. Schuller was voted out three years ago. They were allegedly dismissed due to their attempts to induct members who had no self-interest.
The megachurch in Garden Grove, known for its iconic glass sanctuary, is also facing a financial crisis with $50 million in debts. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last October and was planning to sell the 40-acre campus, a decision its leaders later abandoned saying God would provide the money to pay off creditors.
When founded over 55 years ago, the Crystal Cathedral was known as the Garden Grove Community Church and its first services were held in an Orange Drive-In Theatre. The construction of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove was completed in 1980 and cost $18 million.
The church is affiliated with the Reformed Church in America.