Sheila Coleman, senior pastor of the Crystal Cathedral Ministries, conveyed last week just how upset her parents, the ministry's founders, Robert H. Schuller and his wife Arvella, have been over losing their Garden Grove, Calif., property to the Roman Catholic Church.
- (Photo: AP Images / The Orange County Register, Joshua Sudock)
The senior pastor temporarily overtook the church's pulpit since, as she expressed in the last week's episode of "The Hour of Power," her father has been too upset to even attend church.
Last week saw the finalization of a long dramatic sale of the church's property to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange. The final stage of the transaction took place Friday, two years after the ministry filed for bankruptcy in October of 2010.
In the meantime, the Schullers and members of the congregation had been fighting to lift the ministry out of financial strains. Church administrators tried to hold out for a "miraculous" solution until the very last minute. The congregation failed in its last attempt to block the sale last Monday by claiming the church property was under a 99-year lease. Friday saw the ultimate end to that fight, as the escrow closed on the $57.5 million sale on a court's order.
Crystal Cathedral's congregation has been very unhappy with the sale. Some members of the community reportedly attended all the hearings in the Santa Ana bankruptcy court.
In the most recent episode of the ministry's famous televised program, "The Hour of Power," Pastor Coleman suggested that her parents were quite upset about the situation as well.
"Some of you have been asking me 'Where's your Dad?' and I just need to ask you to continue to pray for my Dad," she said.
"You can understand, it's just too painful for them to be here right now" Coleman said, adding that the Rev. Schuller and his wife would rejoin the congregation soon.
Coleman expressed the mood within the congregation saying: "Some of you, all you heard, all week long, was bad news."
The congregation is expected to exit the campus in 2015, when the property will start serving as the spiritual home of the 1.2 million Catholics in Orange County. The diocese, which received the needed approval from the Vatican in November, says it will ask local Catholics to suggest a new name for the campus, "something dealing with Christ," according to The Orange County Register.
"Our goal is to preserve an already cherished religious landmark and to enhance its worship use for Orange County Catholics and all people of faith who may be inspired by this wonderful, now Catholic, cathedral," Bishop Tod. D. Brown said in a statement after the diocese closed on its purchase Friday.
The 10,000-window signature Garden Grove property seats 2,800 worshipers and its marble chancel accommodates up to 1,000 musicians. The Schullers founded what was then Garden Grove Community Church in 1955 under the auspices of Schuller's denomination, the Reformed Church in America, which provided the young couple with $500 to start the ministry, according to the Crystal Cathedral's website.
An estimated 20 million people a week watch the "Hour of Power," currently the fourth longest-running weekly television program in history.
In another recent sermon, Coleman seemed to have been preparing the congregation for the week the sale was to take place.
"So, once again, here's our theme song to remind us that when we're hit this week by anything negative, or when we need a pick me up, we'll remember this theme song," she said, as transcribed on the ministry's blog. The words were followed by the song "Joy in the Mourning."