A Federal bankruptcy court has approved the sale of the Crystal Cathedral Ministries’ famed Crystal Cathedral glass building to the Roman Catholic Diocese for $57.5 million, in order to allow the church to settle its financial indebtedness.
The sale of the building was given the green light by U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert N. Kwan, following a fierce bidding competition between Orange County’s Chapman University and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange for the ownership of the 40 acre Garden Grove, Calif. Property.
Members of Crystal Cathedral Ministries had favored the bid by Chapman University to acquire their iconic building for $59 million and the assurance that the building would still be available for use by Crystal Cathedral Ministries.
Still, Chapman University’s indication that the property would also be used to house a medical school, and expand its health science facility, opposed the sentiment of member donors who contributed to the construction of the building, and believe that it should strictly remain a religious institution.
This sentiment is echoed by Bishop Tod D. Brown, of Roman Catholic Diocese, who told reporters on Thursday, following the bankruptcy hearing, "It will become a true center for our Catholic community in Orange County."
In a statement to Brown, and congregants of Crystal Cathedral Ministries, Rev. Robert H. Schuller, had this to say:
“My wife and I, prior to last Monday’s court hearing, had already decided to support the Arch Diocese’ offer to purchase the Crystal Cathedral campus. Though we deeply respect Chapman University, 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."
Schuller, who started the church as a drive-in during the 1950s, continued:
“When representatives from the Arch Diocese visited with us, they made this promise: ‘Dr. Schuller, We will take on your calling of proclaiming Christ’s message to humanity. We will care for this campus like the treasure it is. We will embrace your obligation as our obligation.’”
On behalf of his wife, Arvella, Schuller then added: “Arvella and I now extend this invitation and this charge to the Diocese: Steward this campus. Keep it a light in Orange County that will never go out. A light that will always remind humanity how very much… God Loves Them and So Do We.”