(Photo: Reuters/Alex Gallardo)
Crystal Cathedral Ministries will celebrate Memorial Day Sunday with a veteran of the Navy SEALs and a representative of the New York Police Department. Bobby Schuller, grandson of the ministry's founder, will deliver the sermon.
The Garden Grove, Calif. ministry, known for its long-running "Hour of Power" worship broadcast as well as its iconic glass church building, invited former Navy SEAL, current author and full-time minister Chad Williams to speak to the congregation Sunday.
Williams served tours of duty in the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iraq, having been one of only 13 from a class of 173 to make it straight through to graduation when trained to be a SEAL. "Williams sank into wild bouts of drinking and fighting off-duty, before accepting Christ," according to a statement from the church. Williams will discuss his testimony shared in the book SEAL of God, published in April.
"Chad will draw from his experiences as a SEAL to help people understand the depths of Christ's sacrifice and love," John Charles, CEO and President of Crystal Cathedral Ministries said in a statement. "It will be a wonderful message for Memorial Day weekend."
Another Memorial Day weekend guest at the church will be Daniel Rodriguez, known as the "Singing Policeman," who will perform during service. A former member of the NYPD, Rodriguez gained fame for his renditions of "God Bless America," the national anthem and other songs in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He worked at Ground Zero in New York City in the aftermath of the attacks.
In maintaining a Crystal Cathedral Memorial Day tradition, a giant 90-foot flag will be raised at the end of both services to the sounds of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," church officials said.
The popular California ministry claims it is slowly but surely on its way to recovery after years of financial strife and an eventual bankruptcy. After being forced in court to sell the Garden Grove campus to the Catholic church in February, the congregation has less than three years to move to a different location.
Last week, Charles said the only location within the church's budget might be St. Callistus Catholic Church, located just a few blocks from the current campus. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange reportedly offered the Protestant ministry free rent for the first year if it moves to St. Callistus. After the first year, Crystal Cathedral Ministries' rent would increase to $25,000 per month.
The ministry's founder, the Rev. Robert H. Schuller, and his wife and all other Schuller family members left the church in mid-February due to financial and leadership disagreements. Bobby Schuller is the only family member to return the congregation, where he often appears as a guest speaker.